Cuttining Back a Dracaena Mass Cane

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Posted by Horticulture Guy - Peter Punzi | Posted in Northeast U.S. Gardeners | Posted on 19-10-2006

Q. I own a Dracaena Mass Cane.  It stays indoors in the winter and is brought out in a screen house in the summer months.  It enjoys being outside so much that it now is taller than ceiling height of the house. Question: Can the top be cut back?  It is about 9 ft. tall now.  If I cut it back to say 4 ft. will this kill the tree?  Is there a certain time of the year this should be done? Tony R. – Valley Stream, NY

A.   Yes in theory the canes can be cut back on Mass Cane (Dracaena fragrans ‘Massangeana’) since the plant you now own came from a stem cutting taken from a mother plant.  So in theory you should be able to remove the stem and have new growth form below the cuts.  In theory you could also put rooting powder on the revomed stems, or sections of those stems and start new plants (stripping the leaves off of them when they are removed.  In tropical regions like Costa Rica where they are harvested I believe they propagate all year.  But in NY I would wait until the weather is a little closer to “tropical” and do it in the spring the late spring or early summer.  I have never performed this operation on a Mass Cane myself so this is all theoretical.  Since most plants have multiple canes I would suggest testing one cane this summer and see how it responds.  If you get new growth then you can comfortably prune back the other canes.