Dracaena Marginata Cuttings Root Easily In Water: Here’s How To Keep Them Healthy

This plant is commonly known as Madagascar Dragon Tree, Dragon Tree or Red Edge Dracaena. Dracaena marginatas are extremely popular houseplants and rightfully so. They’re spiky, a bit edgy, fit in beautifully with modern, Asian or bohemian decor but sometimes they get a bit out of hand.

I inherited a Dracaena marginata “Tricolor” from the previous homeowner which needed to be pruned back before I transplant and bring it in for the winter. I’m sharing with you a few things to keep in mind when rooting the cuttings.

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Dracaena Marginata Propagation

Dracaena marginata cuttings are very easy to propagate in water.

The long stems, which are called canes, reach and twist towards the light. Their normal growth habit is for the canes to become very long over time.

As this happens, they shed the lower leaves which turn yellow then brown and fall off. If the plant isn’t getting enough light then the canes become thin and leggy and the foliage has a droop to it. You can prune those canes down and take cuttings because Dracaena marginatas respond very well to this.

Tips on Rooting Dracaena Marginata Cuttings

If you’ve taken long cuttings, eventually you’ll see quite a few yellow leaves will appear at the base of the foliage head. No need to worry, this is normal. Just remove those leaves & recut the stems if necessary.

Dracaena marginata cuttings

These are some of my Dracaena marginata cuttings before I cleaned off the yellow leaves & recut them the canes.

Watering

Make sure you change the water every 5-7 days.

You don’t water bacteria to build up in the water.

Fill your vase or jar 1/4 to 1/3 with water. You don’t want the level any higher than that because the roots will emerge too high up on the stem. Also, the stems will be more prone to rot if the vessel is completely full.

Bright Light

Keep your Dracaena marginata cuttings in bright light.

Low light isn’t good and neither is the direct hot sun. In that case, your cuttings will burn.

Pruning

If you need to recut the canes, then make sure your pruners are clean & sharp. I always take my cuttings at an angle because that’s the way I was taught – it lessens the chance of infection.

Dracaena marginata cuttings

Roots started emerging from the bottom of the canes after 10 days or so.

The Dracaena marginata canes can be twisted, straight, long or short. The growers train them into some pretty crazy shapes and forms. I had a candelabra form (which I gave to a friend before I moved) which you can see here.  I usually cut my taller Dracaena marginata back every 2 years or so and you probably will need to do so to.

Dracaena marginata cuttings

This is my sweet kitty Riley. Oscar, his tuxedo wearing companion, can be seen in the lead photo.

And you’ll see that roots emerge from the base of the canes in no time. You can enjoy the cuttings in a beautiful vessel as I’m enjoying my “cutting arrangements” in my kitchen and dining room. When it comes time to transplant the mother plant, I’ll put a couple of these cuttings at the base. The other cuttings are all going to a friend. I’m spreading the Dracanea marginata love!

Happy indoor gardening,

Signed by Nell Foster

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18 Comments

  1. Thanks Kristina! I was told it was for better root formation & to reduce chance of infection. Nell

  2. Oh yes Michael, I know that but thank you for pointing it out. I’ve done a blog post on that subject & all Dracaenas are considered toxic to both dogs & cats. Fortunately, my kitties don’t eat any of my houseplants. Nell

  3. I have two major tall dracaenas that I inherited 20 years ago. They live outdoors in big pots. One has a 10 ft. tall cane that is growing up into the eave of my house. The other plant towers up about 12 feet. Should I wait until spring before I do the cuttings? The plants are very healthy but the weather has been cold. I am in Houston with some chilly days ahead – not necessarily freezing, but in the 40s at night.

  4. Hi Sharon – Oh yes, definitely wait until the weather warms to take those cuttings. Very end of winter/early spring should be fine just as long as the evening temps are above 55 degrees. Nell

  5. Hi Nell, and I’m back since my last posting last Autumn. I had made the diagonal cut on the Dracaena Massangeana, doing all step by step. The plant is doing well, even though the top part is touching the ceiling and the top leaves obviously not having room to grow and not getting proper light, and the plant is just way outgrowing it’s pot.
    It is not showing signs of rooting yet at the diagonal cut. In Japan where I live, we are at the end of a cold winter and Spring is around the corner. I consider that the reason it hasn’t rooted yet it was because it was Autumn when I made the cut and the plant was just not going to root in Autumn and Winter and that perhaps I should wait until Spring settles in, around April and see if there are any signs of rooting and if not then to make a clear cut.

    Do you think it is still possible it will root at the diagonal cut I made? I have read that the diagonal cut works well for the Dracaena, so what do you also think the reason may be for not rooting during this time? And is there anything I can check about the cut? (The moss around the cut is still moist and wrapped in clear plastic, but did have a look inside and no signs of rooting).

    Thanks for any advice you may have for me. It has grown so incredible well, but there is no more room for it to grow being crushed onto the ceiling, and the size of the plant at this point is very disproportional to the size of the pot (I replanted it one and a half year ago, but can not go into a bigger pot at this point since it reached the ceiling).

  6. Hi Janie again, I realized that I did not specify in this posting that the method I used was the air layering, connecting back to my earlier comment that I see here above, dated September 8, 2017. This is the method I used and referring to here–I made a small diagonal cut on the stem, inserted a piece of plastic material and wrapped it with moist moss. I had done that sometime after we were in touch in September following step by step the air layering method.

    I am considering whether it was really because the plant was just not going to root in Autumn/winter and that is the reason it has not shown any signs yet.
    Spring is just beginning here in Japan where I live. How much into Spring do you think I should wait before finally making a clear cut and placing the cutting in water for rooting? Should I do anything more about the air layering cut to help it root?

    Again, thanks for any imput.

  7. Hi, I’m trying to root my dracaena marginata cuttings in water following your how-to steps. It’s been 11 days since I cut them and put them in the water. There are no signs of roots and I noticed about 5 days ago that the cut part of the stems are getting mushy. I’m not sure what I did wrong or what went wrong. I followed your instructions and tips. Is this common..? Should I re-cut the stems and start over?

    Also, how long does it normally take for the original plant to start growing a new top/leaves?

    Thanks, Shannan

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