How to Prune a Dragon Tree


Pruning is not required to maintain a dragon tree (Dracaena marginata), however doing so is recommended in order to improve the tree’s look and keep its size under control. According to the North Carolina State Extension, dragon trees are able to thrive in the wild within the plant hardiness zones 10b to 12a of the United States Department of Agriculture; however, they are more typically cultivated as houseplants in containers indoors. They sometimes need trimming in order to keep their size under control or improve their look, which may become spindly when exposed to low levels of light. Dragon trees are quite amenable to being pruned and will thank you for your efforts by producing new growth, which will give them the illusion of being denser and more lush.

Pruning Dragon Tree Plants

When cultivated inside in containers, dragon trees are normally kept to a height of no more than six feet since they have the potential to grow to heights of up to twenty feet when planted outside in ideal circumstances. Each stem that is trimmed back will generate two new stems, which will form a highly branched structure that is topped with the variegated, grasslike leaves that is characteristic of this species.

When the plant has to be shortened, mature growth may be cut back at any time; however, it is most effective to do this task in the spring and summer, when the plant is in an active growth phase. In order to stimulate branching, the University of Georgia Extension suggests performing periodic light pruning or pinching back the new growth shoots that emerge at the terminals of the lead stems. The removal of dead leaves might take place at any time during the year.

Pruning shears that have been sharpened and sterilised should be used to cut the stem back to the appropriate height. Instead of cutting at an angle, which would expose a bigger piece of the inside of the stem and put the plant at a higher risk of infection, make a straight cut across the stem. Move your fingers across the top of the foliage and remove any leaves that are withered or dead. According to research conducted by Kansas State University Research and Extension, if any discoloured or yellow leaves continue to appear on the plant, use pruning shears to cut them off at the base, and new leaves will emerge in their place.

Cleaning Your Pruning Shears

If you keep your garden tools clean and sharp, you will not only have an easier time trimming, but you will also reduce the risk of causing any harm to the plant. It is essential to sharpen the blades of your pruning shears at least once a year or replace them totally if they are old and worn out. Dull blades may easily crush or rip plant stems, which leaves them vulnerable to infection. It is also essential that you keep the blades clean, especially if you are dealing with plants that are exhibiting symptoms of a disease that might be contagious. To prevent rust from forming, pruners should be cleaned after each use by scrubbing them in hot, soapy water, followed by a thorough rinsing and drying with a clean paper towel.

It is also essential to sterilise pruning shears after each and every usage. The University of California Cooperative Extension suggests soaking the blades of pruning shears for half an hour in a solution of nine parts water to one part bleach to create a 10 percent bleach solution. Because bleach has the ability to corrode metal surfaces, it is essential to thoroughly rinse off the bleach, dry the blades, and then add oil or a lubricating spray to prevent rust from forming.

Caring for Dragon Trees

The need to prune dragon trees may become more urgent if improper growth conditions and care are provided. Grow dragon trees in areas that get filtered sunlight or partial shade, such as inside near an east-facing window or outdoors beneath the canopy of a tree that is tall and open. Extremely low light may lead the plant to have stunted, feeble development that will need to be remedied by the use of trimming. Additionally, the typically vivid leaves will become a dull green colour.

Because overwatering may be harmful to dragon trees, you should only give them water when the soil has become completely dry just below the surface. Because dragon trees are sensitive to the fluoride that is often contained in tap water, it is best to water them with distilled water or rainfall instead.

When cultivated in environments with high light levels, dragon trees are said to be moderate feeders, according to Logee’s Plants for Home and Garden. Although potting soil for houseplants should already have a sufficient amount of nutrients, potted plants may still need additional fertiliser to ensure their continued health and development. Utilize a fertiliser for houseplants that is designed for general use and administer it throughout the plant’s active growth season, which occurs during the warmer months. During the winter, you should stop feeding the plant so that it may have some rest. If the plant is growing in an area with poor light, reduce the quantity of fertiliser you use and the number of times you feed it.


Towels made of paper!!-!!!!-!! Bleach!!-!!!!-!!!!-!! Oil for lubrication!!-!!!!-!!!!-!! Distilled water


Shears used for pruning

Distilled water


Pruning shears