diffenbachia - Knowledgebase Question

Chesapeake, Vi
Avatar for vrbuterfli51
Question by vrbuterfli51
October 2, 2010
I bought a diffenbachia during the summer. I soon brought it inside because it was too hot. The leaves were turning yellow/brown and still are. Also now one side of the stalk is beginning to get mushy in spots. I have been careful about watering it. The plant has several new leaves and there are buds beginning on the stalk. What is causing the mushiness? Should I throw it away?

Answer from NGA
October 2, 2010
Sounds as though the leaves suffered from sunburn when the plant was outdoors. Diffenbachia can live happily on a shady porch or patio but cannot tolerate direct sunshine. Now that it is indoors, the damaged leaves will eventually drop off the plant and any new growth should be healthy. Mushy stems or stalks indicate a bacterial or fungal disease, usually brought about by overly wet soils. Although you've been careful about watering, the plant may have developed the problem several months back. I don't know that the plant can be saved - and if it can, how well it will thrive. I think I'd toss the plant and start all over with a healthy new specimen. When you water, water thoroughly so excess water drains out of the bottom of the container. Then allow the top half inch of soil to dry out between waterings. If the container doesn't drain well, the roots can be sitting in water, even if the top of the soil looks dry. It's hard to judge just how much water a plant needs so a good approach is to water it completely and then pick up the pot so you know how heavy it is when the soil is saturated. Then, before watering again, pick up the pot so you can judge just how heavy it is, and how much water is still in the soil. After a few tests like this you'll be able to tell whether or not the plant needs to be watered, just by picking it up. Hope this information helps you grow a healthy and happy diffenbachia.

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