How to propagate a Dragon Tree (Dracaena)

Last Updated: April 23, 2023

Dragon Tree (Dracaena) ready to be propagated

Dragon Trees, also often known by their Latin name Dracaena, are a really easy plant to propagate! You don’t really need a mature plant to propagate it as it’s all done with either top or stem cuttings. They grow fairly quickly in spring and summer so you won’t be waiting around for new growth for long. They are also a great plant for propagation beginners as there aren’t many steps and the success rate is quite high. 

In this post we’ll guide you through the whole propagation process; the various ways you can propagate, top tips and things to avoid, what tools you’ll need and things to look out for to ensure a successful propagation.

Why propagate a Dragon Tree?

Firstly, they don’t always grow how we want them to – they can sometimes grow sideways, too leggy and can also become very tall. Propagating can help to keep your plant the right size for the space. 

Another reason you may choose to propagate your Dragon Tree is if you notice any problems developing on part of the plant. Overwatering, sunburn etc can impact the health of your plant. If your efforts to revive your plant have been unsuccessful then you may choose to propagate the part of the plant that’s still healthy. It’s a great way to keep at least some of the plant alive. 

And lastly, our favourite reason is to get free plants! Propagating is a great way to multiply the amount of greenery in your home without actually having to spend any more money on plants. Cuttings also make great gifts for friends and family if you already have too many houseplants so the reasons you might want to propagate one are almost endless…

What tools you will need?


  • Healthy and mature Dragon Tree

  • Sharp scissors/shears

  • Spare pot

  • Fresh soil and water

  • Newspaper or plastic sheet

What methods can I use to propagate my Dragon Tree?

There are only two ways you can propagate a Dragon Tree: through top cuttings or stem cuttings. It may seem quite daunting to cut the top of your plant off but this is the only real way you can propagate your plant.

The main difference between the two methods is how many cuttings you produce. Tip cuttings will give you only one new plant, whereas larger stem cuttings can give you multiple new plants. Below you will find a step by step guide to each method.


How to propagate a Dragon Tree through top plant cuttings


  1. Locate the various offshoots

    Dragon Trees have various stems coming off one central stem. Each of these offshoots can be cut off to produce top cuttings. You want to choose a mature stem offshoot that is healthy and not displaying any signs of illness or unhappiness (yellow leaves near the top of the stem, brown leaves or dots on the leaves). Propagating a part of the plant which shows signs of illness will harm your chances of a successful propagation.

  2. Make the cut 

    This is the scary part! Now that you have located the section of the stem, you need to cut it off! You want to cut off a section of the stem that has about 5-8 leaves on it. This will ensure the cutting is mature enough to grow roots but too many leaves will mean it needs a lot of energy to keep it alive which increases the chance of issues occurring.

    Use clean scissors/ shears or a knife to make the cut to avoid passing on dirt or any infection to the plant. Use your tools to make a clean cut across your plant in a diagonal way. This increases the surface area of the cutting and will increase root growth.

  3. Take off a few lower leaves 

    As you will be placing your cutting in water for several weeks you want to carefully remove a couple of the lower leaves that may end up sitting in the water. They will rot if they are sat in water for a long period of time so best to cut them off now. If your cutting only has a few leaves then skip this step and make sure the water level isn’t super high.

  4. Fill up your container with water 

    Next, you want to fill up a glass with fresh temperate water to place your cutting into. Make sure the water isn’t super cold or hot as this will shock or burn the cutting which will often cause it to wilt and die. It is best to use purified water so the levels of chlorine and fluoride aren’t as high as in the water straight out of the tap.

    Dragon Trees aren’t always super sensitive to this compared to other houseplants but if you can use filtered water or rainwater then it’ll help prevent the yellowing of leaves.

  5. Place your cutting in water

    Place your glass in bright but indirect sunlight. Intense light can damage your cutting and might mean your propagation isn’t successful.

  6. Change out the water regularly 

    Switching the water every few days will prevent it from stagnating and will keep it free from bacteria that can harm your cutting. Stagnant water will also start to smell pretty bad so definitely something you want to avoid.

  7. Be patient

    This is the point where the propagation process can get a little boring. There is nothing left to do other than change out the water and wait for roots to grow from the bottom of your cutting. Don’t worry if this process takes several weeks or months as that is totally normal!

    During this time you should start to see new growth from your mother plant. A new bud will form out of the stem where you made the cut and normal growth should resume fairly quickly.

  8. Plant your cutting into potting mix

    Once the roots on your Dragon Tree cutting have matured well and are several centimetres in length then it’s time to pot into fresh soil. You want to always use a high-quality potting mix to help with drainage and aeration and make sure that your plant gets all the right nutrients. Carefully place your cutting into the mix making sure not to damage the delicate newly formed roots and continue regular care.

Stem cutting of a Dragon Tree

How to propagate a Dragon Tree through stem cuttings

The stem cutting method uses all the same steps as in the top cutting method so we won’t repeat them all again but it’s worth noting the one difference. In the stem cutting method, you take a much larger cutting and then cut it into several sections. You want each section to have several leaves and be about 5-10 centimetres in length. 

It’s up to you how many sections you cut off, it depends on the maturity and size of the mother plant as well as how many new plants you want to have. 

Apart from this, propagating through stem cuttings will follow all of the same steps and top tips as just using top cuttings.

Dragon Tree Propagation FAQs

Here’s a few of the most common questions we find people have when looking to propagate their plants.

Common problems when propagating a Dragon Tree

As with any houseplant, you won’t always have a 100% success rate as there are some things that can go wrong. The wrong environment or care will heavily impact your cutting as they are much more sensitive without a strong root system. We recommend checking in on your cuttings daily as this will help to spot any problems early which will give you the best chance to fix it! 

You will have to be a little patient as you wait for the new roots and leaves to grow but as long as the environment is bright and warm and the water is being switched out regularly, you shouldn’t run into many issues. 

Check out our full Dragon Tree care guide to find out more about caring for your cuttings once they have matured.

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