Dieffenbachia Propagation: Tips For Rooting Dumb Cane Plants

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Dieffenbachia propagation is a great way to increase your collection and knowledge of dumb cane plant care. Plus, Dieffenbachia is quite easy to propagate.

Has your Dieffenbachia plant care helped your dumb cane grow too big for the spot in the house? 

Tall Dieffenbachia Tropic Snow ready for propagating by removing the topshootPin
Tall Dieffenbachia Tropic Snow ready for propagating by removing the top shoot (tip cuttings)

I’ve had a Dieffenbachia Tropic Snow reach 4′ feet tall in a 10″ inch pot, like the one in the image below.

There are several ways to propagate Dieffenbachia plants using:

  • Top shoots (big stem tips cuttings)
  • Stem shoots
  • Removing suckers from the base to grow new plants

There and several reasons to propagate Dieffenbachia as well.

IMPORTANT NOTE: When propagating dumb cane, ALWAYS make sure to use a clean knife or razor while cutting new shoots, as Dieffenbachia plants are very susceptible to bacteria.

Afterward, wash the knife thoroughly to remove any poisonous sap. Dip the knife or blade in rubbing alcohol to further sterilize. Bacteria is nothing to play with.

What Is The Best Soil For Propagating and Growing Dieffenbachia Plants?

Dieffenbachia prefers a soil mix similar to African violets. The soil mix drains well but still holds some moisture.

When growing the Dieffenbachia plant outside on a shaded patio, a soil mix like the one below works well.

Bamboo plant roots in red pot.Pin
Photo Credit: Instagram @designpepe

Recommended potting soil for Dumb cane growing outdoors:

  • One-part all-purpose loam
  • One part peat moss
  • One part of sharp sand, perlite, or vermiculite.

When growing Dieffenbachia indoors as a houseplant, purchase a houseplant potting mix or make your own with the following:

  • 2 parts peat moss
  • 1 part perlite

Keep it simple. Remember there should be drainage holes to allow the excess water to drain.

However, as a rooting medium, we like adding extra perlite to the soil mix to improve drainage and keep the soil moist.

Dry mix one part peat moss and 1 part perlite. After mixing, add some water to give the soil some moisture. This makes a simple rooting medium for Dieffenbachia stems and canes, allowing cuttings to root and become established.

Indoor plant in jar by fireplace.Pin
Photo Credit: Instagram @greenerkarma

Propagation Tip:  Springtime is the best time for propagating Dieffenbachia plants, just before the growing season begins.

What To Do When Your Dieffenbachia Plants Grow Too Tall? Take Topshoots!

One frequent complaint about Dieffenbachias is that older specimens (the mother plant) become leggy and develop bare stems with only a small tuft of leaves at the top over time.

This can make dieffenbachia plants top-heavy, and without enough weight in the pot, plants can easily fall over, causing leaf and plant damage.

Indoor plants in glass vases on a shelf.Pin
Photo Credit: Instagram @bykatrinasophia

After a certain age, this is more or less normal. When Dieffenbachia plants have a more tree-like form (almost resembling a palm tree), it makes the plant unattractive.

The “Top Shoots” method of propagation is ideal when your Dieffenbachia grows long legs and there is plenty of naked stems.

To shorten a plant, make a new plant, or simply eliminate the bare stem – one option is air-layering the top.

The other option is to sever and cut the top portion of the plant off a few inches below the lower leaves.

Should You Use A Rooting Hormone With Dumb Cane Propagation?

Speed up rooting for even a large tip cutting by dipping them into rooting hormone powder and planting in a small pot to establish roots.

Another method is to root the top shoot in water. Yes, you can root a Dieffenbachia in water as a rooting medium. Once roots start to form, transplant the new shoot into a pot using the soil recommended above.

NOTE: While waiting for roots to form, syringe the foliage frequently.

You’ll soon have another vigorous, rooted, healthy plant growing in no time!

Three plant cuttings rooting in water.Pin
Photo Credit: Instagram @edensrealm

Rooting cuttings are done the same way as the top shoot, except that the Dieffenbachia cuttings come from suckers at the parent plant’s base, not the plant’s tip.

How Do You Propagate Dieffenbachia From Stem Cuttings?

Gently remove stem cuttings at the stem area, and ensure to cut on a node.

These are the parts of a stem with “eyes” or points where new leaves and plants will sprout. Eyes on Dieffenbachia cane stem sections.

Dieffenbachia cane with the stem eyePin
Eyes on Dieffenbachia cane stem sections

Remember to prune the foliage from each cutting with pruning shears.

Place stem cane cuttings on their side, with about 1/2 the stem buried in the soil with the “eye” pointing upwards. 

Rooting is a “mini” greenhouse like a soda bottle planter, jar, or plastic bag that will speed up the rooting process.

Using sphagnum moss or wrapping with clear plastic will also help the stem cuttings root faster.

The stems will soon grow new roots and turn into singular specimens. This propagation method can be accelerated if you keep the environment humid. 

Make a simple mini greenhouse from a soda bottle to prevent moisture from escaping. 

It’s also important to keep the humidity levels consistent. So ensure to provide humidity using a humidifier or pebble tray.

Moreover, don’t forget to give the cuttings enough light but avoid direct sunlight, as it can scorch the leaves once established.

Roots should start forming in 2-4 weeks. Keep the temperature around the 72° degree Fahrenheit range.

After the roots have formed, transplant the cuttings in a well-draining peat-based potting mix when the canes grow roots and shoots.

You then transplant the cane sections to a sunny area in your yard or garden.

graphic of a rooting Dieffenbachia stemPin
Once small cane sections have rooted practice regular Dieffenbachia plant care

Final words on propagation. In the world of Dieffenbachia – the dumb cane plant, you’ll find many mutants, sports, and variants. 

To keep stock clean most of the plants produced today and sold commercially start in labs as tissue culture micro cuttings.

NOTE: Wear protective gear like rubber gloves when propagating new Dieffenbachia plants. Calcium oxalate crystals can cause skin irritation. 

Hand holding a cup with young plant sprouting.Pin
Photo Credit: Instagram @lushindoorblooms

In this article, the focus has been on propagating Dieffenbachia to start new plants. But plants suffering from overwatering problems, root rot, and yellow leaves due to attacks from aphids and mealybugs are also reasons to start new plants.  

Related: More on the dumb cane’s toxic properties.

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