The Q&A Archives: plants

Question: How can you get plants with thick stems like yucca, dracaena and dumb cane to grow sprouts or plantlets?

Answer: Yucca develops offsets or pups at its base naturally when it is mature. The mother plant blooms by sending up a tall flowering stem, then dies out. The surrounding babies fill in the space. The new plants can be divided off to propagate the plant. In nature it will also grow from seed.

When you see a dracaena in a pot with several stems that means it was planted with more than one rooted cutting to create a full looking pot. It does not produce new plants at the base. This plant is usually propagated by tip cutting but can also be air layered.

Dumb cane or Dieffenbachia will sometimes send up additional stems from the roots as it grows and matures. Cutting back the main stem or taking tip cuttings from a plant can encourage new growth as well. This plant is usually propagated by tip or cane cutting in the spring/early summer or occasionally by air layering but it can also be divided or grown from seed. In commercial operations nowadays it is often propagated by tissue culture.

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