Dracaena Broken Stem: Common Causes & What You Can Do

Many things can cause a dracaena broken stem, including physical damage or other factors like stem rot.

It’s essential to figure out what caused the damage in the first place to know what options you have for your plant.

Keep reading to learn more, including whether you can save your plant or not.

Identifying Dracaena Broken Stem

Dracaena plants are known for their sturdy and tough nature, but occasionally, you might encounter a broken stem.

A broken stem can be due to physical reasons like damage or rapid growth of the top section, or it can be due to diseases like stem rot that weaken the stem and make it vulnerable to breaking.

A dracaena with a broken stem
A broken stem on a dracaena – credit u/alwayspotatoes23

Identifying a broken stem is very easy, but closer inspection will give you a good idea of why it has happened.

If the broken section appears healthy, like in the picture above, there’s a good chance that a physical reason is to blame, like damage or due to a top-heavy plant.

If the section is mushy or discolored, then stem rot or another disease is likely to blame.

Common Causes Of Dracaena Broken Stem

Here are the most common reasons for a dracaena broken stem.

Physical Damage

Physical damage is the most common cause for a dracaena broken stem by a long way.

This can happen for a lot of different reasons, for example, if you are moving house and your dracaena gets damaged during transport or if it accidentally falls over while you are repotting it.

If your dracaena has particularly long stems, it can be more prone to this type of damage, so you need to take care when moving it where possible.

Rapid Growth

Sometimes, rapid growth can cause the stems of your dracaena to become more prone to breaking.

For example, if one of the stems grows rapidly due to receiving more sunlight, it could be at risk of snapping where the stem meets the trunk.

Stem Rot

Stem rot can also lead to a broken stem in your dracaena.

Stem rot is easy to identify because it makes the stem turn soft to the touch.

Stem rot can occur from root rot as a result of overwatering that spreads into the stem, or it can affect parts of the stem higher up if diseases spread into those sections through cuts or even due to freezing.

Other Diseases

Other infections and diseases can weaken your dracaena’s stems and cause them to break. An example is Fusarium solani, a species of fungus that affects dracaena plants worldwide.

Lack Of Light

Lack of light can be another factor causing dracaena stems to break.

Insufficient light can lead to weak, elongated stems, which are more prone to breaking.


A lack of nutrients can also make dracaenas more susceptible to stem breaks.

Nutrients like potassium and phosphorus are important for the overall health of plants and the development of strong roots. Without these nutrients, dracaenas will become weak and at risk of stem breakages as well as diseases.

Can You Repair The Broken Stem?

A broken stem cannot be repaired in the sense of re-attaching the broken section – once the breakage has occurred, there is no reversing it.

There are still options, however, depending on what causes the breakage in the first place. The broken section might be a good candidate for propagation, which will result in two plants out of one – not bad for such an initially bad situation!

In other cases, the broken section may be rotten, and the only viable thing to do is to throw it away.

Will The Broken Section Heal?

The broken section will heal fine if it was due to physical damage and not disease.

As you can see on my dracaena marginata in the image below, it’s quite common for dracaenas to be cut to promote multiple stem growth.

A stem of a dracaena marginata split into two
Sometimes dracaenas are cut on purpose to promote multiple stem growth

If the breakage occurred to a mature plant, it’s more likely for the broken section to heal and leaves to grow from either side of it rather than new stems forming.

3 Different Scenarios For Dracaena Broken Stems

There are three different cases for broken stems on dracaenas, and each has a slightly different method.

These are if the stem is rotten at the base or trunk, if the stem is rotten at a higher up section, or if the stem is healthy.

If The Stem Is Rotten At The Base (Worst Case)

The worst case for a dracaena broken stem is if the trunk of the plant is soft and rotten due to stem rot caused by initial root rot that spreads into the trunk,

The severity of the rot will indicate whether you can salvage any other parts of the plant. If the entire stem is rotten and soft, the whole plant needs to be discarded.

If only the trunk is rotten, you can take a cutting of the stem above the rotten section and propagate it (more details on this later).

If The Stem Is Rotten Above

If parts of the stem are rotten above the main trunk due to a disease or freezing, then cut 2 inches below where the stem starts to become firm and discard the rotten section.

If The Stem Is Healthy (Best Case)

If the stem is healthy on both sides of the breakage (usually the case with physical damage) then both parts can survive.

The main plant will recover from the breakage just fine, and the broken section can be propagated. For propagation methods, see the section below.

Propagation Methods

There are two main ways to propagate a stem cutting taken from a dracaena – these are water and soil propagation.

Water Propagation

To propagate your dracaena using water propagation, simply cut a section at least 3-4 inches long of the stem just below a node. Nodes are the round, white bumps on the stem where roots can grow from.

Use a sterilized pruning tool or knife to do this, and in the case of a section that is already broken, you can trim the bottom so it is flat.

After taking the cutting, rinse the bottom and place it into a jar of water so that the bottom is fully submerged. Distilled water is much better to use here, and you can hold the cutting in place using pebbles if needed.

Once secured, place it in an area with sufficient bright, indirect light and make sure the other care requirements are met, like humidity and temperature.

The water will need to be replaced once every week to prevent algae growth, and it should take 60 days for a full root system to develop. You don’t have to wait this long, though, as once the roots are a few inches long, you can transplant them into soil.

For a full guide on growing dracaenas in water check out our guide here.

Soil Propagation

Soil propagation is another effective method to propagate your dracaena plant. Once again, cut the stem just below a node and remove any leaves from the lower section of the cutting. Instead of placing the cutting in water, plant it directly into well-draining potting soil, ensuring that at least one node is below the surface.

To encourage rooting, it’s important to increase the humidity. This can be done with a humidifier or by placing a plastic bag or tub over the plant.

This method allows your dracaena to establish a stronger root system more quickly than water propagation and doesn’t require translating as the cutting is already in the soil.

Consider Rooting Hormone

Using a rooting hormone can increase the success rate of propagating your dracaena, especially when using soil propagation.

To apply the rooting hormone, simply dip the freshly cut end of the stem into the powder or liquid before placing it into the soil.

In Summary

Dracaena broken stems are a lot more common than you would think, and the chance of recovery depends on whether the breakage was caused by diseases or physical damage.

If the broken section is healthy, it’s a great idea to propagate it to grow another plant. If it is rotten, there is no option but to discard it.

Want to learn more about dracaenas? Read some of our other recent articles on this plant below:

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About Me

Hi, I'm Joe! I'm the head of SEO and content management at Bloom and Bumble. I'm a huge plant lover and over the years my home has become more like an indoor rainforest. It has taken a lot of trial and error to keep my plants healthy and so I'm here to share my knowledge to the rest of the world.

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