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How to Propagate Dieffenbachia (In Soil and Water)

How to Propagate Dieffenbachia (In Soil and Water)
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Dieffenbachia plants are among the most popular houseplants that you can find. These plants are great because they can help to freshen up the room.

They’ll make the air fresher in your home and they’ll help to make your home look nicer as well. If you’re looking for a good houseplant, it’s easy to recommend dieffenbachia plants.

Perhaps you already own some of these plants and you’d like more. One easy way to make this happen without spending money to buy new plants is to propagate your current plants.

Propagating plants isn’t that hard once you know how to approach things. Read on to learn how to propagate dieffenbachia plants.

Once you’ve read all of the information, you’ll understand exactly what you need to do. There are a few different methods that you should know about.

Can You Propagate Dieffenbachia From a Leaf?

If you have a dieffenbachia leaf, will it be possible to propagate and make a new plant? Sadly, this isn’t going to work.

You can’t propagate a dieffenbachia plant using just a leaf. You’re going to have to take a stem cutting to get the desired results.

Stem cuttings have everything that you need to propagate to a dieffenbachia plant. Leaves won’t do so you’ll want to know exactly where to make the cuts to get this process started right.

The best thing to do is to take cuttings from the stem or to take tip cuttings. Either will work for this process.

Below, you’ll learn about taking the cuttings. This will help you to get things right so you can propagate many plants.

How to Take Cuttings From Dieffenbachia Plants

Before getting started, it’ll be best to gather the necessary tools. You’re going to want to wear work gloves or gardening gloves during this process.

You want to wear gloves because these plants are actually toxic. They contain oxalate crystals that will cause skin irritation if you come into contact with it.

It can even cause you to experience swelling in your mouth and throat if you ingest bits of the plant. Avoid touching the plant too much with your bare skin and never put it near your mouth.

Try not to get any of the sap on your skin when you’re taking the cuttings. Wearing the gardening gloves should help to make that easy.

Wearing a long-sleeved shirt might also prove to be beneficial. This makes it unlikely that you’ll come into contact with the sap and you’ll be safe from skin irritation.

Now you’ll want to get your gardening shears to start taking the cuttings. Ensure that you clean and disinfect the gardening shears before getting started.

Doing so ensures that you won’t accidentally cause issues with fungal infections. You can easily sterilize your shears with bleach and water before wiping them down thoroughly.

When you plan to take cuttings from several different plants, you should disinfect and wipe down the shears before moving onto the next plant. It might seem like a pain, but taking these precautions will prove to be worthwhile.

You want to cut the tips from the end of the plant using the shears. You can also look for shoots that are coming from the main stem.

The presence of a node is important because that is what will determine if the cutting will be capable of propagation. The nodes are the part of the stem where the leaf emerges.

They look like raised rings that are located around the stem. Typically, it’ll be lighter in color than the rest of the stem.

It could be a lighter shade of green or it might even be somewhat yellow. Try to cut the stem into two-inch pieces while ensuring that each piece has a node attached to it.

This will allow you to propagate many plants. Once you have the cuttings, you’ll be ready to put them in the soil.

How to Propagate Dieffenbachia in Soil

Propagating dieffenbachia plants in the soil will be a decidedly easy process. You simply need to fill a planter with a potting medium so the cuttings can grow.

It’s recommended to fill a pot with soil that has been made using one part sand and one part peat moss. You want to moisten this potting mixture thoroughly before going forward.

Allow the potting mix to drain before putting the cuttings in there. It’s important not to put the cuttings in until things have dried out properly.

When you’re ready, place the cuttings that you took in the pots. You want to place the cuttings with the bottom portion being inserted directly in the soil.

The leaf bud or node should be above the soil. Some people choose to dip the end of the cutting in rooting hormone before putting it in the soil.

This can help the process but it isn’t truly necessary. You can easily buy rooting hormone online or at a local garden center.

Do your best to push the potting mix up against the cutting to ensure that it will remain upright. Now do the same thing with all of the other cuttings from the dieffenbachia plant.

You want to keep the cuttings moist without making them too wet. The planter will thrive if you position it somewhere that’s warm and dimly lit.

It will take time for the roots to start growing. How fast this process will go depends on various factors such as the species of the dieffenbachia plant that you’re working with.

You could have to wait between three and eight weeks to see results. Eventually, you should see green shoots start to grow.

Once you see the new green shoots, you’ll be able to transplant your baby dieffenbachia plants into fresh containers. You’ve successfully propagated the plants in the soil.

How to Propagate Dieffenbachia in Water

It’s also possible to propagate dieffenbachia plants in water. The process is similar to what is described above, but you’ll be doing things slightly differently.

When you take cuttings from the stem, you’ll want to cut sections that are between four and six inches long. Remove all of the leaves from the stem before going any further.

Now pour water into a glass that is tall enough for the stem. Put the stem into the glass of water and then keep an eye on it for a few days.

Change the water in the glass every few days to be safe. Doing so should help the chances that the propagation will go smoothly.

Keep the water glass in a room that’s bright and warm. You don’t want the cuttings to be placed in direct sunlight, though.

Indirect or filtered sunlight should work out just fine. You just don’t want to cause the plant to shrivel up due to excessive sunlight.

After several weeks have passed, you will see that roots have started to form. This is a sign that the propagation is going as intended.

You can continue to care for this new dieffenbachia plant in water if you’d like to. These plants can survive in water using the water roots.

Conversely, you can transfer it to a potting medium if you’d rather keep the plant in soil. Dieffenbachia plants grow much larger in soil than they do when kept in water.

Transplanting to the soil will be more difficult if you wait too long, though. You want to do this after the first few roots have formed.

Air Layering

Air layering is another thing that you can look into. You might wish to propagate a dieffenbachia plant that has become rather large.

Sometimes these plants will start to get leggy and it’ll be apparent that propagation is a good choice. You’ll want to do this when the leaves are starting to lose their color.

You can take stems that are doing well and use them to make new healthy roots as well as branches. Air layering is more complicated than the propagation methods mentioned earlier.

To get started, try to identify stems on the plant that have healthy leaf buds. Once you’ve found one, carve a slit that is two inches long on the stem.

Get a toothpick and insert it into the cut that you just made. You don’t want the slit section to be touching the main stem.

The next step involves brushing the cut section with the rooting medium that you’re using. Take a bit of sphagnum and moisten it with water.

You can squeeze it with your hands to remove excess moisture. It’s important to make sure that the sphagnum moss isn’t dripping.

Once it’s ready, you’ll need to place some of the moss on the cut section of the stem. Use a piece of string to tie it around and then cover the moss using polyethylene film sheets.

Do your best to ensure that there are no air pockets stuck between the film sheets and the sphagnum moss. After a few days, you should start to see some results.

You’ll notice that roots have started to propagate from the cut portion of the stem. Eventually, roots will come out of the moss.

After you’ve seen that there is new growth, you’ll want to remove the film. Grab a sharp knife and remove the new branch from the parent stem.

This new branch is going to be planted in a pot that’s filled with an appropriate potting mixture. It’s recommended to cover this branch with film again to prevent moisture loss.

Give the branch the time to properly establish roots. Once this occurs, you’ll remove the film and put the pot in a room that gets indirect sunlight.

Bright sunlight that won’t scorch the plant will help it to keep growing. This is more complex than the other propagation methods, but it still isn’t that hard to do.

Important Tips

There are certain things that you never want to do when propagating these plants. One thing to remember is that you need to avoid touching your face when you’re doing this job.

Even if you’re wearing your gloves, you might have an urge to scratch your nose or rub your eyes. This would be a terrible idea due to the fact that these plants are toxic.

Dieffenbachia plants can severely irritate your skin. If you were to accidentally rub some of the sap from these plants on your face, it could lead to severely annoying issues.

Be mindful of what you’re doing and don’t touch your face when you’re working with these plants. If you must touch your face, remove your gloves, wash your hands, and then do what you need to do.

You’re also going to want to put these plants somewhere safe. Since they’re harmful, they can be dangerous for your kids and your pets.

There’s a good chance that you have cats or dogs in your home. These pets are so common in North America, and both of them can suffer if they chew on dieffenbachia leaves.

When cats or dogs chew on these leaves, it’ll cause them to experience pain and it’ll give them a burning sensation. This can also lead to issues with swelling and it might be hard for your pets to breathe.

You don’t want your pets to go through something so horrible. Thus, it’s best to keep these plants in a location where the pets won’t be able to touch them.

The same goes for any young children that you have in your home. You don’t want your kids touching these plants or putting the leaves in their mouths.

Be mindful of this situation and put the dieffenbachia plants somewhere safe. Even the cuttings should be placed in a safe spot just to avoid potential problems.

Final Thoughts

You’ve learned a lot about propagating dieffenbachia plants. These plants are rather easy to propagate when you utilize the two most common methods.

It’s simple to take cuttings from the stem and propagate them in soil or water. Just ensure that the stem cuttings contain a node and you’ll get good results.

You can also use the air layering technique to propagate these plants. That process is a bit more involved, but you can get larger plants if you go this route.

Just be sure to take the necessary precautions when working with these plants. Wear your gloves when handling the plants and never touch your face.