Emergency help for my Dieffenbachia

tfrasqueri(Jax, FL)January 22, 2007

I'm hoping that someone here can help me. I have a dieffenbachia that was so full of life and was almost as tall as I am but unfortunately it became top heavy and broke while I was moving from VA to FL. That was on the 1st of December. Since then I haven't been able to keep it looking as healthy as it used to. First, I've had to keep cutting the stalks because they kept getting soggy. So what used to be 5ft tall is now only about a foot and a half tall. I've cut down almost all the way to where the leaves are coming out. I have 4 stalks. I have purchase new soil and perlite and replanted in a much smaller pot. Can someone help me with anything else I can do to keep it alive? This plant is my favorite plant and would do just about anything to keep it from dying off. I've attached a before and after pic for reference.

Thanks in advance,




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GrowHappy(z7 MD)

Soggy stalks sound like rot or maybe frostbite. Dieffs do not like drafts or cold temperatures. When frostbitten, they tend to turn a yucky brownish yellow color and just kinda flop around. If you keep the soil on the dry side and keep it warm/humid, it should recover. Caveat: This should work if rot is not present. Have you taken a good look at the roots to see if they are rotted? If they are still firm and in good condition, your plant is probably suffering from frost bite.


    Bookmark   January 22, 2007 at 9:55PM
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amany(MI / 6)

I've rooted smaller diefs several times. Never a Tropic Snow, so I hope I can contribute something useful...

I've done it two ways:

1. I've rooted them first in water. When the roots got to be 0.5 - 1 inch long, I potted them in soil. Then I watered almost as if they were established diefs. Just a tad bit more. Not a lot.

2. I've put the stalks right in the soil and watered as described above.

I've used the first method more. Just because I like to see roots emerging. I don't remember if the second method took longer or not. But it worked.

Either way, I put them in areas where they could receive a lot of bright light and didn't allow them to stay constantly moist. I just didn't let the cuttings get as dry as I would my established diefs. I also use a lot of perlite in my soil to allow it to drain well and help the roots out.

I really hope you can save those plants. They're beautiful. Plus I know you've been having a hard time finding another, so it would be great to hold on to them.

Oh, by the way, try not to use too big a pot. That extra soil will stay wetter longer than needed and could rot the stalks. Please also be sure that you got all the rot cut off the stalks before attempting to reroot. Also, expect to lose some of the bottom leaves.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   January 23, 2007 at 8:50AM
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tfrasqueri(Jax, FL)

Thanks a lot for the replies. I did cut off all the rotted parts before repotting and I did use a smaller pot. When my mother-in-law had the plant she saw the rot, cut it off and put it in water but when I got it back this past Friday it was starting to rot again and had no roots, so I just bought the new soil and perlite and repotted in the soil. I hope it works. ONE MORE QUESTION. This might sound stupid but I have sunlight shining straight through my back window. Is it considered filtered light because it's shining through the window and is nonfiltered light when the plant is outside and the sun is shining directly on the plant? Sorry for the stupid question but I want to be completely sure. Thanks again for the very helpful responses Amany and Growhappy.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2007 at 10:25AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Filtered sunlight would be direct light that is filtered by a sheer curtain. Even heavy window screen can do a decent job of filtering sunlight. Or the foliage of an outside tree. Though a glass window does 'filter' certain wave lengths of light, it is still considered full sun.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2007 at 11:53AM
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tfrasqueri(Jax, FL)

Ok, so if I have sunlight shining directly through a window that has no screen it wouldn't be wise to put the dieffenbachia in front of that window right? Now if I keep it in the same room but in a corner that is bright it should be ok, is that correct? Sorry if I seem naive but I love my plants yet still new to it.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2007 at 12:13PM
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I am new to the board and I just love dieffenbachias. My mom has some in Ohio and brought me a fresh plant to Georgia. Since then I have made multiple plants. First of all, I take all of my plants outside and the onset of spring and they stay outside until the first frost. Remember that the plant comes from the tropics and they are originally grown outside. They enjoy full sunlight or under the carporch. Honestly, they need a good deal of light. If the leaves start off large then start to grow small this indicates that there is not enough light. I usually water one day a week and only cover the top of the dirt, let that soak in then cover one more time, depending upon the size of the pot. Actually I have one from my father-in-law's funeral in 1998 and I took it outside and it is beautiful. Also a quick note, once the plant becomes top heavy it will lean to the side, my did this and you would have thought someone had died the way I hollered. At this time, you can cut it a little over the top of the pot and put the top in water to form roots, or the plant can simply go back into the same pot or a new pot. The bottom leaves will die off some but the plant will sprout new leaves. Also if the bottom of my plant stalk has stringly leaves I cut them off. When they become heavy at the top I will cut the stalk then cut it again and thereby have now three new plants. They are relatively easy to grow, just simply find time to take a look at them and let them know they are loved and the plant will come back. Also your plant the before and after is a beautiful plant. Good luck and write back. I also get on the internet to further understand plants that I have because some of them are particular. I could go on and on. I do not buy any plants from places that they grow under a flourescent light, such as K-mart or grocery stores, because most plants that grow in these conditions usually die off if not started off properly. I also love african violets.
One moore thing, I catch rain water and water my plants with it. Rain water is pure and tap water may contain minerals which are added to achieve purity, with may reak havoc on the roots of a plant. If the plants are moved outside, they they will of course be watered with the pure water each time it rains and will grow like crazy.........During the cold months, I usually cluster the flowers in an area that receives alot of light because they go somewhat dormant and grow slowly in the winter months but still need to receive some sunlight.Before I go, the first picture, you should have cut the stalks right below the bottom leave, then but the naked stalks and put the naked stalks halfway in the pot of dirt, and woohoo you would have had multiple plants growing right before your eyes, however, the new plant in the second picture is showing out itself, it is in a good place for excellent light.
Let me know what you think..............FreddeB

    Bookmark   October 10, 2007 at 2:27PM
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I forgot the most important thing about this wonderful plant. The sap is poisonous, if it gets on your tongue, it will swell and you will choke. Always remember when dealing with the babies to wash your hands and any utensils used to cut, etc. Be very careful with this type of plant, because it may present a safety hazard for children and plants. You should hear my daughter, she knows about the poison and gets upset when the leaves cry [when watered the leaves appear to give drops of water from the tip of the leave]. If this drop gets on your skin wash immediately with soap and water because it will irritate the skin..........Love my dieffenbachias.FREddeB

    Bookmark   October 10, 2007 at 4:10PM
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I brought this plant for 15 months now, it hasn't grew at all, but it doesn't look like it's dead, the leaves are really little and yellow. is it dead? and when i pour some water in it, it would directly go down to the saucer. and there are lots of tiny flies around it. what can i do to make it grow, greener, and get rid of the flies?

    Bookmark   February 3, 2008 at 7:48PM
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I've had a dieffenbachia for many years (probably close to 20). Recently, after it had been growing beautifully with many mature shoots that came off the main stem some time ago, all of a sudden the leaves started to get brown at the tips which spread to the whole leaf. There was also evidence of fluid leakage from the leaves. Then, many leaves on all the shoots started to die. So, I repotted the whole thing since it did seem pretty root bound. It didn't help much. I'm down to one stalk that only has a few leaves on it. Other stalks that I thought would make it just rotted out at the base. As an emergency measure to try and save it, I cut some stems that still looked pretty good and am trying to root them in water. They seem healthy but have not yet developed roots. I also repotted some of the stems (that sort of divided off the main plant with some roots on them) in separate pots following the repotting. Those don't seem to be doing well at all, which is surprising since I've always been able to plant stem cuttings successfully. It just seems like the whole plant, including roots, have very little life left for whatever reason. Is there anything else I can do? I really hate to lose this plant....it's like an old friend. Any suggestions? The amazing part is it seemed to reach such a peak of growth right before all this and just looked great. Beyond trying to get more growth in the ways I've done, I don't think there actually is much to do. If the root cuttings in water don't work, I think it's a done deal.


    Bookmark   February 12, 2008 at 7:01PM
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I, too, have a dieffenbachia that is suffering!
We received as a gift from a florist & had it inside originally in original florist plastic pot/basket. It began getting brown, dried spots on the inside of the leaves.
I repotted to a clay pot with Miracle Grow & moved outside in a partial shade location, looked as if was doing well, so moved to full sun, which was a mistake. The same leaf problem began again.
I moved back to protected spot, but the plant looks awful.
I really want to keep this plant, can anyone help?

    Bookmark   June 5, 2009 at 9:02AM
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I need help with my diffenbachia plant!The stalk is not very big and and it wants to grow taller but hangs over!What should I do?

    Bookmark   July 4, 2013 at 11:06AM
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Mommajo71: You can tie it to a stake to keep it upright. Can you post a new post with a picture? You also might have other underlying issues causing the stalk to be weak.

rennyy: From what I've learned in the short time I've been on this forum, you need a better draining soil to start with. My dieffenbachia prefers not to have direct sunlight, but be in a bright room. It also does not like wind. Well, the original one I inherited did not like wind, the one I have now is a descendent of that one.... Anyway, once I took it inside where there was no wind, it livened up again. Posting a new post with a picture will likely help you get proper help :)

    Bookmark   July 6, 2013 at 11:14PM
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