The Q&A Archives: Dracaena o Cordyline, bare trunk

Question: My plant has lost all the interior leaves and now it is a bare trunk. It just has 4 leaves in the end of the trunk, two of them have become brown and are drying already. I believe that it is a Dracaena or Cordyline. I bought the last year and It had long purple edge leaves. I've heard about this kind of plant, if they will get too tall and the trunk will become unaesthetic, just cut it at about 10-20 cm from the base. And in few weeks the bare trunk will start to appear new branches. I can use the cut part to propagate Dracaena by using the top of at least 15 cm long by the semi-ripe cutting method, by putting the cutting in water. Is it true? I will appreciate any help, I don't want my plant die.

Answer: The growth habit you describe sounds like cordyline or dracaena. The plant does lose its lower leaves and develops a bare trunk. You can cut the plant at any height and new foliage will grow just beneath the cut. You can also root the top of the plant in water or in moistened soil. What you have read is true.

These plants will grow in low to bright light, in moist to dry soil. The browing leaves can indicate dry air (from air conditioning, perhaps?) or the plant is in a draft. Move your plant, water when the soil is dry and it should perk up.

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