Houseplants forum: Dieffenbachia care

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North-Central Texas
Skye3
Jun 1, 2018 11:41 AM CST
This deifenbachia was a gift from my grandmother. It's kind of sentimental. The original plant was found in a basement in 1955, my grandmother got a cutting from that plant in the 70's and from that she grew this one and one other. I want to make sure I take good care of it. I already don't like how tall it is though. She has told me you can just basically cut it in half at an angle and plant the top half in another pot. I don't want to do it now as it's just been moved to my house and I don't want to shock it too much. When is the best time to do that? Is there any other way to encourage it to fill out? I've been watering it well once a week and it has a few miracle gro house plant spikes in it.

Thanks!
Thumb of 2018-06-01/Skye3/991708

Name: Gene Staver
Portage WI 53901 (Zone 5a)
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gasrocks
Jun 1, 2018 12:28 PM CST
Yes, be nice to it and don't shock it any more. Take those plant spikes out of the pot. Does not need them. It will not fill out. Grow on top, yes. Cutting off the top and then planting the top piece is very iffy. Bottom part will put out new growth. Is it ugly to you? Gene
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Profess plant consultant & educator
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WillC
Jun 1, 2018 1:29 PM CST
Grandma knows best! Dieffenbachias are notorious for growing very tall and then starting to lean and flop over under the weight of their very large leaves.

New growth will only emerge at the end of a stem. It does not branch. By pruning the stems back, you control just how far down the new growth will be. Pruning is the only way to eliminate bare, leggy stems. I prefer to cut the stems back to 6-12 inches above the soil.

Pruning the stems will no more shock the plant than will your getting a haircut shock your system. It will alter its appearance, however. It is a non-seasonal plant so the pruning can be done at any time of year.

Remove the fertilizer spikes, as Gens advised.

The top cuttings can be rooted in water, in separate pots or at the base of the existing plant.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
North-Central Texas
Skye3
Jun 1, 2018 6:20 PM CST
gasrocks said:Yes, be nice to it and don't shock it any more. Take those plant spikes out of the pot. Does not need them. It will not fill out. Grow on top, yes. Cutting off the top and then planting the top piece is very iffy. Bottom part will put out new growth. Is it ugly to you? Gene


I don't think it's ugly, I think they are very pretty plants. But my grandma has one that has so many leaves that the stems don't show. It looks so full and pretty but it's also about half as tall as mine. I don't think I could find the spikes to take them out.
North-Central Texas
Skye3
Jun 1, 2018 6:33 PM CST
WillC said:Grandma knows best! Dieffenbachias are notorious for growing very tall and then starting to lean and flop over under the weight of their very large leaves.

New growth will only emerge at the end of a stem. It does not branch. By pruning the stems back, you control just how far down the new growth will be. Pruning is the only way to eliminate bare, leggy stems. I prefer to cut the stems back to 6-12 inches above the soil.

Pruning the stems will no more shock the plant than will your getting a haircut shock your system. It will alter its appearance, however. It is a non-seasonal plant so the pruning can be done at any time of year.

Remove the fertilizer spikes, as Gens advised.

The top cuttings can be rooted in water, in separate pots or at the base of the existing plant.


I don't think I could find the spikes to take them out. I guess I assumed they would branch out. My grandma has one that is so full of leaves that you can't even see the stems. I think it's pretty the way it is but I think it might start to really lean if it grows much taller.

Maybe hers is full like this because it's younger? I'm still learning about plants and their growth! Smiling

If I cut it down close to the soil and plant the tops in the same pot will it look more full, like hers (the picture attached)

Thanks for the help!
Thumb of 2018-06-02/Skye3/02a321

Name: Will Creed
NYC
Profess plant consultant & educator
Image
WillC
Jun 1, 2018 7:10 PM CST
Don't worry about the spikes if they are not easy to find.

One or both of the stems can be cut back to a height of 3-4 inches above the soil. New growth will then slowly emerge at that height and grow upward from there.

In addition, you can take the tip cuttings and insert them in the same pot. Eventually, you will have four stems growing from the soil and none of them very tall - more like Grandma's.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
Contact me directly at [email protected]
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
North-Central Texas
Skye3
Jun 1, 2018 7:20 PM CST
WillC said:Don't worry about the spikes if they are not easy to find.

One or both of the stems can be cut back to a height of 3-4 inches above the soil. New growth will then slowly emerge at that height and grow upward from there.

In addition, you can take the tip cuttings and insert them in the same pot. Eventually, you will have four stems growing from the soil and none of them very tall - more like Grandma's.



Thanks for all the tips!!

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