Friday, November 30, 2007

Random plant event: Dracaena deremensis 'Warneckei' sport?

One of the first things I got to do when I started the new job was cut back a big Dracaena deremensis 'Warneckei' that had one cane that was too tall, and beginning to fall over. The particular plant in question was having all kinds of other problems too, mostly from being too hot and in too much sun, but there wasn't much we could do about that in late August.

So I cut part off and shortened the cane and stuck what was left over back into the soil, and it eventually (after about three months) rooted and everything, and after a little bit of cleaning up, it's . . . well, it's still not going to be winning the Miss Dracaena Pageant anytime soon. But it's still looking better than it was.

The raison d'post here is that when the cane I cut resprouted, it did so with an interesting variegation pattern of green leaves with a broad white stripe in the middle:


It remains to be seen whether this is going to be stable, or whether it's just something it's doing with the new small leaves before it gets back to business as usual. There's potential money in this if it proves to be stable and propagatable, though I'd be surprised if this is something we're equipped to handle, legally and practically: patenting requires proof that it's a stable mutation, among many other things, and we don't have the space to devote to a large number of slow-growing plants, and so on and so forth. I'd be surprised if it were stable, too, as far as that goes. But I suppose even if we didn't do the propagation ourselves, we could still patent it ourselves and then sell the rights to someone else, so it's worth keeping an eye on. If I had any room at all inside the apartment, and a lot of extra money laying around, I'd consider buying it myself, just to see what it's going to do.


UPDATE: There's considerably more on this plant at the profile post for Dracaena deremensis 'Warneckei,' including its identification as a previously-known variety and a lot more detail about plant patenting.


8 comments:

Sarah S said...

I've witnessed this phenomenon, too, Mr. S. (Sorry to burst your bubble!) I have a variegated Pepperomia Obtusifola that, when propagated through leaf cuttings, will only produce solid green plants. Maybe this is a similar thing.

I am very interested to see what will happen with this plant as it gets older - if no one buys it, keep us updated!

Sheila said...

I think I have a small one at one of my jobs that looks extremely similar to yours. I'll be there next Friday and will report back to you.

Sheila said...

Took me a while to get back to you. I was wrong. You do have something fairly unique. Good luck!

Amanda said...

Hello, I dont know if you check this still, but I have a plant that loos exactly like yours and it came that way. The white stripe is getting thinner but it is also about 5 feet tall and falling over, going to cut it and replant it this spring. Dont know what the plant is.

mr_subjunctive said...

Well, I did see, semi-recently, that glasshouseworks.com is selling a Dracaena that they're calling 'Skunky,' which is what I eventually decided was what this sport was equivalent to. So there are some out there. This one was murdered last December, unfortunately.

Colleen Pailthorp said...

Finally, I found it! I have a plant like this that is about 4-5ft. tall and it had a baby! It came right from the bottom of the stem and looks so healthy. The Tall "mamma" is so leggy. I like the height in the summer when I take it outside but there's hardly space for it inside now. (Michigan). For the health of the plant, should I cut off mamma? :( I'm not sure I can, I've had her for so many years!

mr_subjunctive said...

Colleen Pailthorp:

I think this is probably a bad time of year to cut it back (early summer would be better), but there's nothing to be afraid of if/when you do. It will likely sprout new shoots from the top, particularly if it's in a warm, bright location. The top that you cut off will probably also root in water, if given a chance to do so.

Colleen Pailthorp said...

Thanks for responding. Today I'm thinking that I could never cut off the original stem. I get sentimental. I posted two pic of it on my garden page if you want to look at it and give your opinion. It just so randomly and quickly grew the new stem! I may be forced to cut of the "mamma" if, in the early summer, she continues to look less healthy. Is baby sucking the life from her?