Dieffenbachia Propagation: How To Propagate Dumb Cane Plants

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

Are your Dieffenbachia plants growing too big for that spot in the house? I’ve had a Dieffenbachia Tropic Snow reach 4′ feet tall in a 10″ inch pot, like the one in the image below.

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

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. Drip the knife or blade in alcohol to further sterilize. Bacteria is nothing to play with.

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

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

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

Recommended potting soil for Dumb cane growing outdoors:

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

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

  • 2 parts peat moss
  • 1 part perlite

Keep it simple.

However, as a rooting medium, we like to add some extra perlite to the soil mix to improve drainage but still keep 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 to allow cuttings to root and become established.

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 over time older specimens (the mother plant) become leggy, develop bare stems with only a small tuft of leaves at the top.

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

After a certain age, this is more or less normal. When Dieffenbachia plants have 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?

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

Another method is to root the topshoot 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!

Rooting cuttings is done the same way as the top shoot except that the Dieffenbachia cuttings come from suckers at the base of the parent plant and not the tip of the plant.

How Do You Propagate From Stem Shoots?

Gently remove stem cuttings at the stem area.

These are the parts of a stem that has “eyes”, or points where new leaves and plants will sprout.

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

Place stem cane cuttings on their side, with about 1/2 the stem buried in the soil with the “eye” pointing upwards. Rooting in a “mini” greenhouse like a soda bottle planteror a plastic bag will speed up the rooting process.

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.

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

graphic of a rooting Dieffenbachia stem
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 microcuttings.

NOTE: Wear protective gear like rubber gloves when propagating dieffenbachia. The calcium oxalate can cause skin irritation. More on the dumb cane toxic properties.

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