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pruning help for a giant dracaena fragrans

Middleton, WI

My corn plant is giant, sprawling, leggy and I have no idea where to begin with pruning and shaping it. Currently it has 7 heads, stands 8' tall and sprawls 7' wide. I'm planning to move in a month to a smaller place, and I'd like it to be a little more manageable. Also, the top stalk is suspended from the ceiling by a plant hook... I'd prefer it to stand on its own.

Any recommendations for pruning and shaping a plant this size? If I cut off a whole stalk, would that root as a new plant? What's the maximum amount of pruning I should do without stressing the plant too much?

Thumbnail by rattusses
Medford, NJ

hmmm....this actually looks pretty good compared to how some of these plants look after being in a pot for a long amount of time. It looks healthy and sort of the way it should. I don't know much about propagating them, and believe it has something to do with air-layering, too much trouble for me. My idea would be to just give it to someone who will care for it, since it is so pretty, and get yourself a new smaller one.

Nevada, MO(Zone 5b)

That really is neat looking! If you can spare the space, keep it the way it is! You've obvously done a good job so far, it is paying you back!

Woodway, TX(Zone 8a)

I agree with the others, it looks like it's in great shape to be growing inside, which is unnatural for any plant. It would hurt, but you could cut it off at ground level and let it start over; that way it wouldn't be so topheavy. Congrats on taking such good care of it.

Duncan, OK(Zone 7a)

you can also make new plants with the cuttings. I did & i got a new plant, gave 2 of the heads to my mom and they also rooted and grew for her.Cut the heads as close to the main stalk as you can, let them dry for a few days,then put rooting hormone at the end of the cut and place them in well draining potting mix, they will root and you will have another corn plant... Let us know what you decide to do and how it turns out for you....


Amalie63

Vicksburg, MS(Zone 8a)

It looks like you have one part of your plant that is reasonably short--I would leave that one and cut off all the taller ones in order to make it more manageable to move. You could then either root the cut stalks for yourself or give them to family and friends.

Woodway, TX(Zone 8a)

You can also take stem parts that have at least one leaf node and lay them on potting soil sideways, pushing them in but not enough to cover them up. Keep the potting mix moist but not wet. After a couple of months a new plant will sprout from the node. Ti plants from Hawaii are brought back to the 48 and started in this way. Patience is a requirement, though.

Culpeper, VA

Gosh, I like the look of that. I would leave it as it is if that was mine. I've never seen one look that good.

Susan

Maspeth, NY

Your plant is BEAUTIFUL!!!!!

Palm Bay, FL(Zone 9b)

Wow, what a monster! Yes, it is gorgeous - but it does take up a lot of prime real estate in the house... amalie63 has good advice. You wouldn't be slaying the seven headed dragon - just spreading the love around! Keep up the good work taking care of the manageable "babies"...

Middleton, WI

Wow, this thread really took off!

I wanted to post that I did not end up pruning --- I moved Audrey twice over the summer with minimal damage, and she now resides in my dining room. She's growing a new head in a sub-optimal spot, so I will be rooting that one as a trial.

On the down side, I now have a giant scale infestation to deal with.

Thanks for all the comments, advice, and kind words!

(Tracey) Mobile, AL(Zone 8b)

What is the actual name of this plant that this thread is discussing? When I google "dracaena fragrans" it shows me only the type that is in the pic I'm uploading below.

I was given a cutting from one like the subject of the thread topic... I need to know as much as possible about propagating it. Thanks.

Thumbnail by daisylovn
(Zone 1)

Dracaena fragrans is commonly called "Corn Plant" ... I guess because it looks sort of like corn stalks. There is a solid green as well as variegated version. http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/showimage/259386/ Here's the PF information on this plant: http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/54287/

http://images.google.com/images?hl=en&q=images+of+dracaena+corn+plant&um=1&ie=UTF-8&ei=_7nwSoaWGovW8AbY1cWKCQ&sa=X&oi=image_result_group&ct=title&resnum=1&ved=0CB0QsAQwAA

The only way I know to propagate is by stem cuttings.

Warren Center, PA(Zone 5b)

I agree with everyone, " A Beautiful Plant" instead of pruning it have you given any thought to staking and retraining it. I would die to have mine look that nice. I take bamboo sticks and rubber bands and gradually pull my plant to where I want it to go. Don't try and pull to much at one time though or you might snap it. They are fairly flexible and over time you should be able to pull it into a more structured shape. They will root easy though if you do snap some off. I found that I usually get two shoots from each piece that I root up generally one on each side so it does add a bit of character to the cutting.

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