The Q&A Archives: Dracaena

Question: I have a friend who is from Haiti and she asked me to find out how she can replant a piece of a "corn plant" that she has. She isn't sure whether to root it in water or just replant it or what? I can't seem to find any information online about "corn plants". Is it possible that there is another name for it?

Answer: The other name for corn plant is Dracaena. These plants generally grow a tall, skinny stem with tufts of leaves on top. You can cut the stem of the plant back and repot the top. This will you with a bare stem, but a new stem will grow from the old stem, within a few inches of the cut. This offshoot will develop leaves over time, which will disguise the cut until the new stem grows taller and the lower leaves fall off. This is best done in the spring when plant growth is most vigorous. Or, you can try air layering the top. The process is simple but can take up to a year for roots to develop. I'd start about 12" below the foliage (this will be the bottom stem of your new plant). Wound the stem by cutting about 1/3 through and propping the wound open with a small stone. Wrap the injury with moistened spaghnum moss (that's where the new roots will develop), and cover the moss with plastic wrap to keep it moist. You can gently tape the top and bottom of this moss package to keep moisture inside. New roots will develop at the site of the injury and then you can cut your new plant away from the parent plant. Again, this is best done in spring. You can certainly try one or both procedures now, but it may take longer for you to see results.

Hope this helps you with your propagation project!

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