Tips for Pruning Your Dieffenbachia PlantHouseplants Last Updated On 05/23/2023
Dieffenbachia plants are known as great houseplants that allow you a lot of freedom. They are not particularly demanding so they are great even for the beginner gardeners. These plants look so good in your home so it's not surprising that Dieffenbachia is among the most popular houseplant around the world.
However, even the low-maintenance plants such as Dieffenbachia can benefit from some pruning. It should be done from time to time to improve the appearance of your plant. Also, a good reason for pruning might be propagation: if you wish to propagate your plants it's best done at the time of pruning.
In fact, you can do both at the same time: propagate your Dieffenbachia to get some new plants and improve the health and appearance of your old plant. It is a win win situation that will get you more of these gorgeous plants.
When to Prune Dieffenbachia Plant?
If you are wondering about the best time to prune your Dieffenbachia plant, there is no one good time to do it. Generally speaking, these plants should be pruned when they have shed enough of the leaves to expose the stems. In other words, you need to observe your plant and see when it's the right time to prune.
Keep in mind that Dieffenbachia plants can reach about 6 feet in height indoors. When they are this big, they will typically shed some leaves. Their big, variegated leaves simply go yellow and drop from the bottom of the stems. This will leave the canelike trunk exposed. When this happens you'll know that it's a good time to prune your Dieffenbachia plant.
How to Prune Dieffenbachia Plant?
It is not difficult to prune your Dieffenbachia plant, but you need to prepare some basic tools and materials and to follow some easy steps.
Materials you'll need:
- Gardening Gloves
- Sharp knife
It is important to wear your gardening gloves when working with a Dieffenbachia plant. Remember, it got its name "dumbcane" because when you cut it, the plant produces a material that can cause itching and other problems on the mouth and throat. It can "strike you dumb", hence the name. This is a lasting effect that can go on for a week or even two. To avoid getting the plan material on your mouth and throat, it is vital to wear gloves whenever working with a Dieffenbachia plant.
Another problem is touching the eyes: it can be very painful and it can lead to a rash. For this reason, make sure to avoid touching your face, skin, lips and eyes when you work with a Dieffenbachia plant and always make sure to wear your gardening gloves!
Here are the steps you need to take when pruning your Dieffenbachia plant:
- Cut the canes. Using a sharp, clean knife, cut through one or more canes. Make sure to do it at about 45 degree angle. Never remove more than one third of the plant's foliage because that can harm your plant. It is best to cut about 6 inches above the soil. Make sure to cut about 1/4 inch above a node. You will be able to identify a node easily: it looks like a small swelling near a brown ring on the stem where a leaf was attached. This is where the new growth develops.
- Propagate your plant. If you wish to propagate your Dieffenbachia plant, now it's the best time to do it (see below).
- Water your plant. Once you cut the canes, make sure to water your plant well. It will help it recover from pruning. However, make sure not to keep your plant too moist. Keep in mind that Dieffenbachia plants are prone to rotting if they are in a too moist environment.
Propagating Your Dieffenbachia Plant
Propagation is best done during the time of pruning. Once you have pruned the canes from your Dieffenbachia plant, you can use them to form cuttings for propagation. Here's how to do it in a few simple steps:
- Cut the cane to form cuttings. Take the cane you have pruned from the main plant. Make sure to cut it into 2 inch segments. Each segment has to have a node about 1/4 inch from the bottom edge. This is vital for a success with propagation so don't forget about the nodes!
- Remove leaves. Make sure to remove all except for a few top leaves from the leafy top of the cane. Discard the leaves. It is also good to cut the remaining leaves in half so they don't take much energy and moisture from the rest of the cutting. When cutting the leaves, make sure to trim at the end of a node.
- Plant the cuttings. Plant your cuttings, nodes down. It is best to use a soilless potting mix for this.
- Take care of cuttings as they grow. Make sure to keep the cuttings evenly moist but never soggy. The ideal temperature for the cuttings is 75 degrees F. They should produce roots in about 8 weeks.
Photo credit: rebelxtned
I'm new to Dieffenbachia. Have kept the 3 foot tall plant in a shaded outdoor location for the summer. It is now blooming. Is there a way to harvest the flower to germinate for new plants?
How do you keep a Diffenbachia to just one cane? I have 2 that start to put out shoots at soil level. Then the leaves start getting smaller and lose some of green color. I try to keep it evenly moist, but I always have some yellow leaves. Are you supposed to clip off the shoots that come from the base of the plant?
My plant is over 8' tall and is hitting my ceiling. Can I safely cut the top off?
My Dieffenbachia was propagated by my Mother from her plant about 40 years ago. It has made numerous moves in its life, even from Buffalo, NY to Atlanta, Ga. and back again! It is now more than eight feet tall + I have been so reticent to prune it. In one move it was accidentally beheaded but, in time, it recovered nicely. With this comprehensive advice, I will attempt to prune it. But I am unsure how to cut the cane. What type of knife is sharp enough to cut a thick, standing cane?
My dieffenbachia is over 6 feet tall, it can't support itself anymore and is bending and twisting despite staking it and turning it. I don't know how to prune it so that it stands up straight again.
I had to transport my 6ft tall dieffenbachia in the back of a truck I laid it down but it was still very hot that day when I got it home three hours later it was all droopy and some of the leaves were torn. Can I cut those Limbs with the torn leaves off if I cut them just above the node? I gave it plenty of water and put it in a cool dark corner and it is trying to revive itself but I still have some damage leaves.
My dieffenbachia is about 6' tall. It has only 1 cane that is about 16" exposed above the soil, making it very top heavy and leaning over. How can I cut about 12" from the cane from the bottom without killing the plant?
What if your plant has 2 feet of cane? I don't see how I can cut the cane and leave any leaves... 2nd hand plant.
Thank you so much for the complete, and through invaluable information. I've had my Dieffenbachia Plant for seven years, and my baby is 7.5ft tall and don't want to harm him in anyway. GOD bless you and your family, and may you have a blessed and happy Merry Christmas.
Respectfully, G. D. Wms.
Did you also know that if you have a node close to the dirt line you can build up the potting soil around that node and keep it damp not soaked, and it will take and grow another plant (dieffenbachia) without having to wait to propagate that node I know I've done it myself!