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House Plants/dracaena warneckii question


Hi. We have a dracaena warneckii that we took home from the funeral when my husband's older brother died five years ago (at only 48, :( RIP). So this plant has sentimental value for us.
I am NOT particularly good with plants, and have killed almost every houseplant I have even looked at, except my nearly twenty year old philodendron, and for some reason, an oxalis I have had several years.
The dracaena is about three feet tall, and has struggled off and on, although I don't know why. I have repotted it twice as it became larger, using brand name potting soil, because I hoped it would be of a better quality.

A couple of years ago, it began to lose its lower leaves, or they would turn brown, so I pruned them off. I thought they would grow back, but they never did.  There is a long part with no leaves, although it remains green, strong, and there is a bunch of leaves at the top bright green and thriving.

We water when the soil seems dry, and it sits directly in front of a window.

About three weeks ago, it was nice and the window was open, and a breeze blew my curtain, which whipped around and broke a stem at the top with about five big healthy looking leaves on it. There is now one stem at the top with about seven big green leaves and new shoots coming in at the center.

I took the broken part and removed it, initially putting it in a jar of water to try to get it to root out. Then I became afraid this would cause the base to rot, so I took it out and wrapped it in a wet paper towel which I covered with another paper towel.

This part I removed is beautiful and green, but it is not putting out roots.

Is there any way I could get it to? I read there is some kind of rooting hormone. Would this help? If I can get it to root, I would remove the green top portion still attached to the original plant stem, and try to root it out as well.

Another thought I had was cutting the original plant stem down so it is only a few inches sticking out of the pot, and see if it would sprout leaves. The stem appears healthy and green, although it has no leaves down the length of the plant.

Thanks just if you know what might work let me know, thanks a bunch.


Tomorrow make a trip to Lowes, Home Depot or Menards and pick up a bottle of Rotting Hormone. It will be in the houseplant fertilizer and insecticide section. Dip the end of that cutting in it then make a hole in the soil beside the plant that it broke off of and insert the cutting. Snug the soil around it and treat it like it is already a rooted plant. Be very careful to let this plant dry out between waterings. Do not water it unless it has been dry for at least 3-4 days. Being wet too long is why it has lost it's lower leaves. It needs to dry out between waterings and it should never sit with water in it's drain tray.

Yes, you can cut the other top off and treat it like a cutting also and the cut the stem down to 4-6 inches and it will quickly grow a whole new top because it already has a good root system. Do not be too quick to repot it, it likes to be root bound and stays healthier when it is.

When you do repot any plant you should only move it to a pot that has a diameter 2 inches larger than the pot you are taking it out of. If you go any larger it is too easy to overwater the plant and get root rot. If you have more questions feel free to write again. Good luck!


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Darlene K. Kittle


I have been an Advanced Master Gardener for 24 years and I raise around 300 houseplants and bonsai trees a year including tropicals, succulents, and cacti. I have also been a professional plant care person for businesses in the Fort Wayne, IN area and currently professionally care for bonsai trees for my customers.


I am also studying the Japanese art of bonsai with tropical plants and is President of the Fort Wayne, IN Bonsai Club.

Fort Wayne, iN Master Gardeners. President of the Fort Wayne Bonsai Club. Allen County Master Gardeners

I am not a hortculturist. I am a Purdue University Advanced Master Gardener for 24 years. I have studied plants on a personal level by growing hundreds of plants annually for the last 35 years. I have also studied under several nationally known American Bonsai experts.

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