Ask a Question forum→Droopy dieffenbachia

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Brooklyn, NY
Jillybeans00
May 22, 2020 4:11 PM CST
Recently my dieffenbachia is so droopy i don't know what is going on with it! I haven't changed anything I'm doing to it. Usually i err on the side of caution and let it get really dry before watering because it doesn't seem to mind getting dried out and I'm scared of overwatering. Usually by the time it's dry it's starting to look a little droopy but perks right up once watered. Before i watered it last, it looked a little droopy- as always, but when i watered it, it didn't really perk up all that much. Now it's getting droopy again but is nowhere close to ready for another watering. I also noticed one of the leaves is getting yellow at the tip. Any advice of what my little plant baby might be needing??

Edit: I did realize one thing that's different is that we are sheltering in place at my mother in laws house and she has been running the AC (we had one or two very hot days last week) and leaving the window open by where the plant stays on nice days. Nice for us, but a bit of a draft for the plant to be on the windowsill next to. Any advice on what to do with them when the AC starts running more often? (Assuming those is the issue)


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[Last edited by Jillybeans00 - May 22, 2020 4:20 PM (+)]
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oneeyeluke
May 23, 2020 2:13 AM CST
Watering issue. If your not sure which, then tip the plant out of the container very gently without disturbing the roots. Get a look and feel of the soil when your not sure which it is.

I mostly use the lift method for knowing when to water. When the plant is dry lift the plant and feel how light it is, and then water until you get just a little water out the bottom drain holes, and lift again and feel how heavy it is. That's called the lift method and to double check, just stick your finger in the side of the pot and feel down a couple of inches to double check.
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Name: Will Creed
NYC
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WillC
May 23, 2020 8:11 AM CST
I'm not sure what you mean by droopiness. There is no abnormal droopiness in the photos you posted. Dieffenbachia leaves do normally arch downward as yours do in the photo.

If the droopiness is more severe than that, then that is a sign that the plant is not getting enough water. It should be watered before it reaches the point of unusual droopiness.

If the plant droops significantly and then fails to perk up again after watering, then that is a more serious problem because it means the roots are no longer absorbing water even when it is available in the soil.

Please enlighten us about just how much droopiness it is experiencing and post a photo as it is right now.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
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Brooklyn, NY
Jillybeans00
May 23, 2020 5:31 PM CST
So i took it out to see how the soil felt and realized it is root bound, not sure if that makes any difference. Attached a photo of that. Soil feels damp, i just watered It yesterday so that seems normal to me.

That's about as droopy as it gets. In the past the leaves would stick more upwards though, so it just feels more droopy than usual.

Photo 1 & 2 are what it looks like now
Photo 3 & 4 are the roots when i took it out to look at it today
Photo 5 is an older pic from April, and it's grown since then but that's what the leaves usually look like, they stick more upward as opposed to dropping (specifically the top leaves)

Thanks for all your help guys!


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Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
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WillC
May 24, 2020 8:20 AM CST
Your plant is not rootbound. A plant with a healthy root system will have lots of roots wrapped around the outside of the soil. Do NOT repot it.

The droopiness that you are concerned about is normal. When it was gown in a greenhouse, it received light from overhead so that caused the leaves to remain more upright. In your home, the light comes from the side so the leaves adjust accordingly. Your plant is fine and will remain so as long as you leave the roots undisturbed. Thumbs up
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Brooklyn, NY
Jillybeans00
May 24, 2020 8:58 AM CST
Awesome! Great news, thanks Smiling
Definitely won't be repotting! That being said, does taking it out of its pot count as disturbing it?! The roots used to stick out of drainage holes a bit, but since i pulled them out they obviously don't do that anymore. There was a layer of soil that remained at the bottom when i pulled The plant out, and i just placed it back in on top of that without touching anything, and pressed lightly on the top once it was back in the pot to secure it a bit. Didn't want to press too firmly. Do you think that upset the roots at all?? Should i be pressing it in Harder to make sure it's really compact?
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
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WillC
May 24, 2020 9:02 AM CST
You did good! You didn't poke into the roots or remove soil so it should be fine. Hurray!
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Brooklyn, NY
Jillybeans00
Jun 15, 2020 6:53 PM CST
Update: since posting this, some leaves have turned yellow and i have plucked them off. They were underneath and as i understand this is normal— but today i noticed a couple of the more mature top leaves turning yellow as well, which is the first time i have seen this
Is this normal?? Crossing Fingers! Or is something bad happening to my plant ?! Crying


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Name: Lin Vosbury
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)

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plantladylin
Jun 15, 2020 7:12 PM CST
It doesn't look like an issue with over watering, so I wonder if perhaps it's not receiving enough water? Is there any heat generated from that window? If so, that could cause the soil to dry rather quickly.

Dieffenbachias (Dieffenbachia) require bright to medium light or dappled shade and although I've read that they can be acclimated to direct sun locations, I've fried a few here in Florida, trying to slowly acclimate them to sun. When grown as an indoor plant, they need bright light and high humidity. You can increase humidity levels by sitting the pot atop a tray of moist/wet pebbles. Always keep a little water in the tray, replacing it as it evaporates.

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Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
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WillC
Jun 16, 2020 7:59 AM CST
The larger leaves all emerged while the plant was still in the ideal condition of the nursery. The intensity of the indirect light in the nursery greenhouse is much greater than you can provide in your home so that is why the newest leaves are smaller and healthy while the older leaves are adapted to more light and slowly dying back.

So to some extent, the loss of the older leaves is expected. However, improper watering and light that is too low will aggravate the loss of those leaves. In the photo, it appears that you have it close to a window, so I don't think light is a problem.

How do you determine that it is dry enough to water and how often does that occur?
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Brooklyn, NY
Jillybeans00
Jun 16, 2020 7:44 PM CST
I haven't changed anything as far as it's location or watering routine at all in months now. It was really flourishing in these conditions, with lots of new growth, and big, bright, perky leaves. Seems like overnight it started getting droopy, which is when i wrote this post. Then i took the plant out to check roots out as per some advice on here, and placed it back. I didn't mess with the roots at all but that seems to have exacerbated the drooping of leaves and now they're turning yellow.

The plant is at a window where it gets an hour or 2 of direct sunlight early in the morning when the sun isn't strong, then it's in bright indirect light the rest of the day. I don't water it until the soil is visibly dry (light brown) and i stick my finger in and it's dry up to at least my first knuckle, if not further. For a while my plant was really flourishing in these conditions and i felt like my plant was drinking rapidly — i found it needing to be watered about every 3 days but now it's not drinking as rapidly at all and probably get watered more like once every week, if not a bit more.
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
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WillC
Jun 17, 2020 9:37 AM CST
I do think it is adapting to your home environment. In doing so, it will shed some of the older leaves and it will use less water. As long as new leaves are coming in and remaining healthy, then your plant should be okay long-term although never as lovely as when you first purchased it.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Brooklyn, NY
Jillybeans00
Jun 23, 2020 8:21 AM CST
Hm well now that you mention it, there's a leaf that has been unfurling for a week or two and it seems to have just stopped unfurling. Taking way longer than any other leaf has taken at any rate.


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