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dieffenbachias

Gardening Reference » Gardening in 2005
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by love my plants on July 21, 2005 09:17 PM
Hi Everyone!! I have a question about my 8ft dieffenbachia. She's 5 years old and has bloomed for me 8 blooms in the last years. She getting too big, how do I downsize without killing her? Also, she is so heavy she has a large bend. thanks
by mike57 on July 25, 2005 01:59 AM
HI Love My Plants [wayey] .heres some information that might help you.

CAUTION: Dieffenbachia's the juice of the plants found in the leafs and stems can cause partial paralysis of the tongue and mouth and throat a potentially dangerous situation for anyone especially children and pets who like to chew on things. Only a short contact of the juice with the tongue or mouth is enough to cause paralysis!!!!!!!!!!!!

So be very CAREFUL!!! with this plant.you can prune them back to make them grow fuller and healthier.
dieffenbachia plants will normally grow to about four or five feet in height. They like some sun but too much and their leafs will burn up to little and their leafs will lose some of there color. They need a fair amount of water.but If they get too much water it can cause root rot.or the growth will be very stunned. If your dieffenbachia is getting the right amount of water and fertilizer it will have strong stems that will be hidden by the bases of the leafs at the bottom giving it a very full appearance. dieffenbachias love humidity.some of the older
plants will tend to get a little leggy with the stems becoming more bare and the plant looking more like a tree than a plant.with a little trimming. you can keep the plant in more of a plant shape not a tree.discard the cuttings in a plastic bag and tie it up and place them in the garbage or burn them unless you would like to try and root them.MAKE SURE that you WASH YOUR HANDS after pruning it but i recommend wearing gloves.hope this helps and good luck with your plant. your friend in gardening.mike57 [wayey] [flower] [flower]

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by Will Creed on July 26, 2005 07:35 AM
Hi Love My,

You have to be bold with your Dieffenbachia. It is quite normal for Dieffenbachias to grow taller than their stems can support. The only solution is to cut them way down. Usually this means cutting it so that the lower remaining stem is 3 feet tall or less.

New growth will emerge and start to grow upward from just below where you make the pruning cut. Thus, if you cut too high, you will soon have the same problem all over again.

It is a an act of faith to chop nearly all of the plant down and know that it will survive and fluorish. I have done it successfully many times.

The uppermost section that you trim off can often be successfully rooted at the base of the plant.

Although it is true that Dieffenbachia sap contains a toxic substance that swells mucous membranes and causes mild skin irritation for some people, there is no reason to take any more than the obvious precautions.
by Cricket on July 26, 2005 08:29 AM
Do you have to seal the cut?
by Will Creed on July 26, 2005 08:54 AM
No. The days of sealing pruning cuts are over. More recent research has established that even large trees are better off when allowed to heal on their own without seals of black tar.
by Cricket on July 28, 2005 05:55 AM
Thanks, Will. Good to know. [Big Grin] Now I don't have to ask what to use to seal cuts.
by love my plants on August 08, 2005 08:44 AM
Thank you all for your great info. I really appreciated it. I decided to break off the bigger stems and I'm trying to root them in water. So far, so good. Looks like it's working. Still can't get main stem to straighten up. Guess I'll work on that. THanks again.
by Francine on August 14, 2005 01:05 AM
hi love my plants,

i love diffenbechias,i m 43 and when i was little girl my mom had 2 of them and she kept it about 35 or 40 years,every so often (5 or 6 yrs,or when they almost touch the ceilling she d prune them and leave the bottom part alone in it s pot to groww again,like will said,and the upper part she d put in a bucket of water with leaves and all and it would make another one wich she transplant when the roots were formed.sometime sh e d even cut a little piece of the cane before puting it in water to have a third one grow.she was magnificient with her diffen. and that way almost all the familly got a few diff.

so don t be shy and good luck!!

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by gomerp618 on September 08, 2005 07:38 AM
My grandmother had one for as long as I can remember. When she got Alzheimers and had to be placed in a home, no one is really sure what happened to that plant and I was kind of bummed about it. But the coolest thing happened, in a conversation between my mom and her cousin it was discovered that her cousin had some babies from that plant. My mom went and got one from her that last year we had to cut down because it reached the heights of her 12 foot ceiling! We cut the stalk down and I put the top in dirt and kept it very moist and finally it took root. We put pieces of the stems in dirt and covered them with plastic and kept them humid and they rooted as well. We ended up with about 5 plants out of all the pieces we put in the dirt under plastic, plus 2 others from the top and the original stem. My brother has the original stem and it's growing it's own baby without any propogation. I just think it is so cool that after all these years that plant is still in the family.

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by bionikmq on September 10, 2005 10:37 AM
[wayey] I just stumbled onto this site by googling house plant care. I'm not a gardener by any means. [Embarrassed] Whenever my elders were 'doing it' and would try to get me interested, I'd always 'have something else to do' -like build model cars or go fishing. [lala] Anyway, I also have a dieffenbachia that needs some TLC. My wife and I re-potted it 'cause it was outgrowing its 8x5" plant store pot after putting up with my overwatering and/or neglect for the past 18+ months. I put it into about a 22x16" round pot with regular bagged store bought potting soil, after loosening the roots with a sharp knife as I'd seen done on TV quite a few years ago in order to break up the root-bound-ness?, planting it at the same height as it was, with rocks under the soil to allow for drainage. Then I layered some bagged dried sphagnum peat moss about a 1/2' deep over the top of the soil 'cause I thought it would do some good. [Confused] When I watered it in to settle the soil I added a very dilluted solution (1 tspn. of Miracle Grow liquid starter to a 1/2 gallon of water), of which about a cup was used to water in a broken stem from this plant which I had previously rooted in water and starter about 6 months ago and had just planted in the leftover orginal pot. I waited over a week to re-water them with another dose of very diluted Miracle Grow solution as they were looking a little droopy but were dry to the touch even under the moss. I expected they may shock some. The big one perked up for a day or so but now it's starting to turn brown on the outer edges in spots and on the tips, and the small one looks like it may give up the ghost altogether as its pale and withering, and it has only three or four leaves to begin with, so there isn't much to work with. I'm guessing I over fertilized or watered them, or there's too much acid in the soil from the peat. What should I do? My hunch is to add some ash or soda to bring the acidity down, but how much if I do, and how without disturbing the already stressed root structure, or am I completely off base here? Thanks, Bionikmq

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by Will Creed on September 10, 2005 09:26 PM
Bionikmg,

You have provided lots of interesting information, some of it outdated.

Most importantly, your plant is ailing because the pot is way too big. Plants do best when they are kept quite potbound. I know this is counter-intuitive, but it is a fact. If your Dieffenbachia needed a larger pot at all (and it probably did not), it should have been only an inch wider and deeper than the old pot. I suggest that you undo your up-potting and get it back into its original pot before the roots rot out completely.

Putting drainage material at the bottom of a pot is no longer recognized as a good practice. A plant potted in the proper sized pot with good soil and with drainage holes in the pot will drain well all on is own.

There are no miracles in Miracle-Gro! A freshly repotted plant has more than enough nutrients in the fresh soil. Adding fertilizer is simply overkill and if too much is added it will indeed kill the plant. It is best to skip it altogether.

Using sphagnum moss on the surface of the soil has more of a decorative purpose than anything else. It will serve somewhat as a mulch and keep the soil from drying out as quickly. However, that is not a particularly good thing with potted plants. If you like the way it looks, then leave it in place. The natural acidity of the moss is not affecting your plant.
by bionikmq on September 11, 2005 05:41 AM
Thanks a lot Will Creed. I will find a proper size pot and not use the 'Miracle Gro'. I only had it on hand to start new roots on a broken stem that was a result of the plant being unable to sustain its own weight in its original container about six months ago. I assumed a little wouldn't hurt since I'd never fed it anything for over 18 months but plain 'aired out' tap water once a week and kept it in good ventilation and light. After reading through these threads more I realize I should have just reduced the height of the plant by trimming. Give kids books they'll eat the pages. You and this web sight are a great resource.

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