Ask a Question forum: What's wrong with my Dumb Cane / Dieffenbachia ):

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Name: Nathan Davies
UK
procrastinathan
May 6, 2018 5:01 AM CST
Please help! This is my first proper houseplant and I love it so much, but dry brown patches are appearring on several leaves, and I believe it is hurting my Dumb Cane.

I keep this plant on a well lit shelf out of direct sunlight and water it every few days when I notice the soil is dry around an inch or so down. I let the water drain in my bathroom sink and the pot its in is actually suspended in another pot as to let further water pass through- however I don't know how it was treated in the garden-centre where I bought it.

Does anybody recognise what is wrong from my description and photos?

Is this root rot? I don't know how to check the roots without harming my plant so any advice on how to check will also be much appreciated.

Do you recommend I repot my Dumb Cand into a larger pot, too?

Thank you so much for any answers! I hope we can save this beautiful plant together.
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Name: Christine
Saugerties, NY zone 5a
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Christine
May 6, 2018 5:55 AM CST
Did you re-pot her when you brought her home? The soil looks very dense to my eyes, and could be suffocating the roots. Other members will have more advice for you.

Welcome! To The Forum
Name: Nathan Davies
UK
procrastinathan
May 6, 2018 6:07 AM CST
Christine said:Did you re-pot her when you brought her home? The soil looks very dense to my eyes, and could be suffocating the roots. Other members will have more advice for you.

Welcome! To The Forum


Thank you Christine! Thank You!

I haven't repotted at all- this is how it came when I bought it. I have purchased a larger pot with drainage, so I'll go with what you're saying and I'll try to re-pot my Dumb Cane whilst checking all of the roots and I won't pack the soil so tightly!

Again thank you so much! I'll keep an eye out for any further recommendations, too. Big Grin
Name: Christine
Saugerties, NY zone 5a
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Christine
May 6, 2018 6:26 AM CST
Hold off re-potting until other members advise you, just want to add, always use perlite added to your soil, I do a 50/50 mix Green Grin!
Name: Bill
Livonia MI (Zone 6a)
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BigBill
May 6, 2018 8:58 AM CST
It appears to have grown to the edge of the pot and could use repotting. Use a soil that is rich and fluffy. I love Miracle Grow potting soil. Don't use garden soil as it is too dense.
Don't go crazy with too large of a pot either. Just make sure it provides a little extra room for the existing root mass. Refrain from a larger pot expecting the plant to grow well enough to fill the new pot with new growth and new roots. Too large of a pot often leads to watering issues.
Welcome! to the forums and hope it works out well.
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Name: Will Creed
NYC
Profess plant consultant & educator
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WillC
May 6, 2018 9:14 AM CST
I advise strongly against repotting it at this time, especially since you are inexperienced and so much can go wrong if repotting is done incorrectly. There is nothing that suggests it needs a larger pot at this time.

From the photos, I see one leaf that has deteriorated. The loss of some occasional leaves is normal and not a cause for making any major changes.

I'm sure you Dieffenbachia is reacting to its recent change in environment to your home. It is very important that you get the light just right for it. A shelf is probably not a good location because the back side of it will not get any significant light.

Find a location within a few feet of a moderately sunny window but where it is protected from the rays of the sun falling directly on the leaves. I north window is best. Make sure it is placed so the entire plant gest light and rotate it every week so all leaves get equal exposure.

Allow the top half-inch of soil to dry before watering thoroughly enough that a bit of water runs through the drain holes.

Trim off occasional older leaves as they discolor and don't worry about it. As long as new leaves come in looking healthy, then you will know you are on the right track.

Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Name: Nathan Davies
UK
procrastinathan
May 6, 2018 11:18 AM CST
WillC said:I advise strongly against repotting it at this time, especially since you are inexperienced and so much can go wrong if repotting is done incorrectly. There is nothing that suggests it needs a larger pot at this time.

From the photos, I see one leaf that has deteriorated. The loss of some occasional leaves is normal and not a cause for making any major
changes.

I'm sure you Dieffenbachia is reacting to its recent change in environment to your home. It is very important that you get the light just right for it. A shelf is probably not a good location because the back side of it will not get any significant light.

Find a location within a few feet of a moderately sunny window but where it is protected from the rays of the sun falling directly on the leaves. I north window is best. Make sure it is placed so the entire plant gest light and rotate it every week so all leaves get equal exposure.

Allow the top half-inch of soil to dry before watering thoroughly enough that a bit of water runs through the drain holes.

Trim off occasional older leaves as they discolor and don't worry about it. As long as new leaves come in looking healthy, then you will know you are on the right track.



Thank you so much!

The "instructions" that came with the plant says it should've grown well in low to medium light levels and I assumed my shelf was ideal because my room has a large window with pale walls.

The pot I intend for my dieffenbachia to eventually live in isn't massively bigger than the current one so I may attempt to repot with the help of my grandparents who have gardened and dealt with outdoor plants a lot- so thank you for pointing out that I may have difficulties myself.

I'll remove the two smaller leaves in the photo and maybe the large leaf with a lot of damage beacause a lot of new shoots are growing anyway and the plant is looking very busy!

Thank You! Thank you for all of your help and advice!

Name: Nathan Davies
UK
procrastinathan
May 6, 2018 11:25 AM CST
BigBill said:It appears to have grown to the edge of the pot and could use repotting. Use a soil that is rich and fluffy. I love Miracle Grow potting soil. Don't use garden soil as it is too dense.
Don't go crazy with too large of a pot either. Just make sure it provides a little extra room for the existing root mass. Refrain from a larger pot expecting the plant to grow well enough to fill the new pot with new growth and new roots. Too large of a pot often leads to watering issues.
Welcome! to the forums and hope it works out well.


Thank You! Thank you very much!

I will look at my local gardening store for Miracle Grow / potting soil and the Perlite that Christine has recommended to me.

Do you know if they sell smaller amounts of potting soil at regular garden-centres? I've only ever seen large bags of soil and I dont need much at all because the larger pot I have is a nice, one small step up from the current plastic pot.

Thank you for your advice and recommendations!
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Profess plant consultant & educator
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WillC
May 6, 2018 2:42 PM CST
I will be very curious to see how your plant is faring about two months after the repotting, which you seem to be determined to do. Good luck with 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

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