Cutting Back a Palm Type Plant?

We have had this palm looking plant in our house for over 25 years. It was about 2 ft high. Now it's getting too tall, up to the ceiling. We tried to donate it or give it away to someone but no luck so far. So, I wonder if we cut it back will it regrow? The 3 stems are about 2/3 of the total height. We would like to save this plant if we could. It was a present from our son and his wife when they got married. All the best for the coming holidays.


Mike from Mercier Qc., Canada

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December 21, 20081 found this helpful
Best Answer

This plant is not a palm! It is a Dracaena or Dragon Tree.
There are many different varieties. It is a houseplant here and can easily be cut back. We cut ours back to about 10 or 12" and dripped wax on the ends to stop the milky discharge(our book said to do this). Be sure to wash your hands and not get it in your mouth. In a couple of weeks new sprouts will be coming out the sides of your stalks and you have a short plant again. You can also plant the tops and get new plants from them too! Look it up in any houseplant book or google it to get better propagation instructions. Good Luck.

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By Kay B. (Guest Post)
December 22, 20080 found this helpful
Best Answer

Below is info I got from googling. I've had afew of these plants over the years and I like to cut them back so that they do bud and form other shoots off of the stem, which it looks like you could very well do that and reduce the height of your plant so that you could keep the original plant in hour home if that's what you want to do.


Just a thought -- on one of your son and wife's anniversaries you could give them back the cuttings off the top of the plant. Usually when I cut mine I just put it aside for a couple of days to let the wound heal over and then I apply rooting hormone to it before potting. If you're a plant lover like I am a lot of my plants have sentimental value and this would keep the thought alive -- love endures!

"Draceana's come from the Dragon Tree, dracaena draco, which is a native plant to the Canary Islands, so their growing habits, likes and dislikes, and temperamental preferences are all very similar.

They can grow to more than 4m (12-13ft) but can easily be kept smaller by pruning the stems prior to spring.

The stems of a draceana marginata are commonly flexible and thin and seem adequately disproportionate to its height and also the foliage that tops it.


They can easily be bent and shaped to conform to your structural desires by using bonsai wire to contort each stem.

If your dracaena is only single-stemmed and you want it to branch out, cut the foliage from the top and reduce the stem to the desired height. Within a few months the foliage will begin to bud from the wound and new branches will grow.

How to propagate dracaena maginata

Draceana's can be propagated by a variety of ways but the most easiest is by taking a cutting from the stem and after applying some rooting hormone to the base (don't forget which end is 'up') firmly push it into some potting mix. Water frequently and apply a liquid fertilizer when the foliage begins to appear.

Other methods of propagating dracaena include air-layering and basal root cuttings.

Fertilising dracaena marginata

Soluble liquid fertilisers are the best form of nutrient release for dracaena's but during their dormant period you can also add some slow release pellets to their growing area or container."

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December 17, 20080 found this helpful

Wow! Beautiful, wish I lived closer I'd take it off your hands. LOL. How about a hospital lobby? I would be afraid to cut it now.


Best Wishes, Peg in NE Ohio

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By (Guest Post)
December 20, 20080 found this helpful

Join freecycle (if their is a group in your area) or try craigslist. It would be a shame if such a nice plant did not find a new home. Good luck.

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December 20, 20080 found this helpful

I don't think you can cut/prune palms like you do regular trees or plants without killing the stalk you cut and possibly the entire plant by over pruning ...

I like the idea of donating to a hospital or perhaps a tall lobby of maybe your local city office, library, etc ???

If it were me, I would keep it and just let it 'do it's thing' ;-)

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December 21, 20080 found this helpful

katklaw777 is right. It is a dracaena and it will flourish with a good haircut. Also correct is the caution about the milky discharge. It is toxic so be careful. The parts you cut off can easily be rooted.


Set them aside for a day or two so that the wound heals, be sure to keep away from pets. Then just pop the stems into a pot and water. You will have new plants soon for yourself or to pass on to others. Lydia, New Caney, Texas

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December 22, 20080 found this helpful

Lots of good advice .
I would cut the three largest branches at different heights.
With the two smaller branches the plant will still look good while you wait for the new sprouts.

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By msbutterfly770 (Guest Post)
December 22, 20080 found this helpful

I took a nine foot diffenbachia and cut it into 8-9 inch pieces. Dipped each one in hormone powder and stuck it in the dirt. They are doing great. Hope this will work for you, it is the same principle.

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