Pruning dragon tree: Here’s what you need to keep in mind

dragon tree houseplant
dragon tree houseplant

If you want to prune a dragon tree or shorten the trunk, there are a few points to consider. Here is what you need to know when pruning a dragon tree.

Reasons to cut a dragon tree are many, usually the popular houseplant simply grows too large or it shows withered and brown leaves, which give it an unsightly appearance. However, regular pruning, as known from plants in the garden, is not necessary: The plants develop their attractive, palm-like habit even without human help. However, a lack of light indoors often causes the dragon tree to develop overlong shoots, on which there are also only small and, moreover, weak leaf heads. Proper pruning provides a remedy here and stimulates branching.

The species in the house are mostly the Canary Island Dragon Tree (Dracaena draco), the Striped Dragon Tree (Dracaena fragans) or the song of India (Dracaena marginata) and their varieties. All of them are well tolerant to pruning and can be cut effortlessly if some points are taken into account.

When should you prune the dragon tree?

The best time to prune a dragon tree is early spring. Because the plant then starts the coming season full of energy after the winter dormancy, it sprouts new shoots particularly quickly at this time. So the pruning leaves hardly any traces. Basically, however, you can prune a dragon tree that is cultivated as an indoor plant all year round.

How to prune the dragon tree?

All species of dragon tree are well tolerant to pruning and can be easily cut if necessary: You can cut individual shoots as well as trim the trunk and bring it to the desired height. It usually takes only a few weeks before the dragon tree forms new shoots. Be sure to use sharp secateurs or shears for pruning. This will result in clean cuts and prevent bruising. Species such as the Canary Island dragon tree form very thick shoots, here it has proven useful to seal the cuts with tree wax after cutting. This prevents them from drying out and also reduces the risk of pathogens getting into the wound.

Propagate dragon tree from cuttings

The cuttings that are left over from pruning are excellent for propagating the dragon tree. Simply remove the leaf scapes from the shoots and place the resulting cuttings in a glass of water. Be sure to keep the direction of growth: up stays up and down stays down. The cuttings will form roots after a short time and can then be planted alone or in groups in their own pot. Be careful when planting, the fresh roots are somewhat sensitive and should not be bent or injured.

A little more tedious, but also very promising, is to put the cuttings directly into pots with growing medium. Always keep the substrate moist and place the cuttings in a warm and bright place. A mini-greenhouse with a transparent hood or a foil cover will provide increased humidity and promote root development. However, do not forget to ventilate daily, otherwise there is a quick risk of mold. If the cuttings show the first signs of leaves, sufficient roots have formed and the plants can be moved to normal flower pots. There they are cultivated as usual.

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