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Dieffenbachia with recurring stem infection: Advice?

Posted by anotherstephanie WA (My Page) on
Sun, Mar 9, 14 at 16:37

Hi! I have a set of large dieffenbachias that I propagated from a plant too big to move. The ones I rooted up in water are doing fine, but the ones I rooted up in soil have some kind of recurring infection at the cut. Every few months, the cut gets mushy and dies back a node or two, but then the infection stabilizes and scabs over. (The one in the photo has just scabbed back over.) Any ideas what I could be doing to keep the infection from recurring?

More information: The soil was new and sterile when I planted the cane, and I cleaned the knife with alcohol before cutting the cane. The plants spent some time outside last summer, inside in a slightly shaded south window, and inside in a bright west window. The inside air has been pretty dry this winter. I tend to let them dry out a bit between waterings, but not let them go bone-dry, but since the infection restarted I've been watering them less.

At first I suspected that the infection was erwinia rot, but now I'm not totally sure-- I recently lost one of these dieffenbachia cuttings to an infection that was DEFINITELY erwinia, and that infection had a distinctive smell and spread rapidly throughout the stem from the soil line. Not only am I worried about salvaging these cuttings, I'm worried about the prospect of transferring my water-rooted cuttings to soil. Are they just going to pick up the same infection?

Thanks for any thoughts!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Dieffenbachia with recurring stem infection: Advice?

Just throwing out some ideas, maybe you can dust the tops with sulphur and then seal the cuts with wax. I've seen some scabs become mushy again because water got inside. A scab can crack and even a little moisture will start to rot out the stock. I've never sealed anything with wax but I'm sure there are people on here who have that can advise you.


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