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unidentified plant
unidentified plant  
QUESTION: Ive had this plant for about 5 yrs, started out in a basket withlike 6 other different plants & I seperated them all. Transplanted it prolly 3 times in the 5 yrs ive had it but have never know or could find what it was called! So therefore I cant find out if I can seperate it (bc it seems like all the smaller 1s arw coming from the same root.), hos often I should transplant, where I should put it, & everything else! Where the old leaves have fallen off its made like a bark all the way up to the new leaves. Justvhasnt grown much in the past couple yrs t So thought it might b time to get it outta that pot! We live in southern ohio if u think that would help anything about soil or light. If u could help me thatd be great! Thanks!

ANSWER: Hi Tiffani,

I am on  a better computer and can now get a better look at your plant. It is a Dracaena deremensis 'Janet Craig.' It is not a Cordyline. Yours is badly overgrown so you are unlikely to find photos that look like yours, especially the leggy stems. However, you will see that the leaves are the same.

Pruning it back will not harm it.


Hi Tiffani,

The photo is not great quality, but your plant is either a Dracaena or a Cordyline. Both are close relatives and have he same care requirements.

The stems tend to grow long and leggy as they age. The solution is to cut back the leggy stems to about 6 inches. New growth will then slowly emerge from just below the pruning cut and grow upward from there. The top cuttings can be rooted in the same or a differnt pot after they have been shortened to a 3 inch stub below thelowest leaves.

In general these plants do best when kept tightly potted in small pots. They rarely require repotting. Provide moderately bright indirect light all day long and keep them no more than 6 feet from an uncovered window. Allow the top quarter of the soil to dry before watering thoroughly.

I have written detailed articles on pruning and on Dracaena care that I will email to you (or anyone else) who emails a request to me at

Please remeber to give me a rating and nomination if you have found this information helpful.

Let me know if you have any questions.

Will Creed Interior Landscaper

Visit my website at

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

red draceana?
red draceana?  
QUESTION: Hi Will! Im so sorry to bug you again as I know your probably very busy but I had another question about my plant, that is most definitely a janet craig like you had said! Does it have "babies" from the same root ball? Ive tried googling it but havent been able to find an answer to if it does or not. Mine was 1 plant & over the yrs its had 4 others come up around it! When they 1st came up & got big enough I tried seperating 1 & planting it by itself & it died so I didnt try to seperate the others. I probably damaged the roots too much I think, but can I separate the others some how, or is my best bet just to cut them off too? O & how far down from the leaves should I go to cut? My main big 1 started curving & now has a big elbow like 3 "leaf lines" down from the leaves. I was gonna cut it there but thought it might not be enough. Just dont wanna cut it & have 1 part goin straight into the ground but the leaves laying on the dirt bc of the elbow in it. So sorry of all the questions! I have a lot of different plants but this 1s always been my "mystery plant" & my biggest plant. Also have 1 that is red with skinny long leaves than I know is also a dracaena. I found the name at 1 time but cant remember what it is now! Myb a red dragon or somethin like that? Can I cut it the same way to propagate it too? So sorry for all the questions again! If u cant answer them all thats fine, just was mainly wondering about the babies & how far down to cut from the leaves! Thanks again so very much! *Tiffani*

Hi Tiffani,

It is somewhat unusual, but not at all rare for a Janet Craig to push up new stems from below the soil. I cannot think of any good reason to try to separate the new shoots. As you discovered, it is easy to damage the roots of it is not done properly. I don't recommend trying it.

You also seem to be considering pruning, which is cutting a stem off above the soil. That is entirely different matter than separating root sections. I suggest that you cut the long, curved stem in two places - about 4-6 inches above the soil and about 2-3 inches below the lowest leaves. The short stub left in the pot will put out new growth in a month or so. The top cutting can be rooted separately in a small 4" or 6" pot filled with a peat-based potting mix or it can be inserted in the existing pot so you have multiple stems together in one pot. What you are doing here is cutting out and discarding the middle section that is bare of leaves and curved.

The plant with the thin green leaves that have red margins is called Dracaena marginata.

I have written detailed articles on pruning and on Dracaena marginata care that I will email to you (or anyone else) who emails a request to me at

Please remember to give me a rating and nomination if you have found this information helpful.

Let me know if you have any questions.

Will Creed Interior Landscaper

Visit my website at

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Will Creed


I am the only expert in this category with professional hands-on experience and knowledge of all indoor plants. I can answer questions regarding light, water, fertilizer, repotting, pruning and humidity and temperature requirements. I can identify plant pests and provide information on safe, effective treatments. My answers are based on 35 years of professional experience and scientific research and are clear and easy to understand. I do NOT use search engines to find answers to your questions. If you read my previous posts here, you will get a good idea as to how thorough and professional my answers are.


I have over 35 years of professional indoor landscaping experience caring for plants in homes, offices, building lobbies, stores, restaurants, and other adverse environments. I have written extensively on the care of indoor plants, including a 260 page book. My specialties include Ficus trees, low light plants, repotting, pest control, and re-blooming holiday plants. Be sure to check my ratings and nominations to learn why I am the top-rated indoor plant expert. I am the only House Plant expert consistently ranked in the AllExperts Top 20.

BA, Amherst College

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