How to Propagate Dumb Cane Plant?

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Dumb canes are recognizable for their lovely variegated foliage. If you have an especially interesting variety, you may be more motivated to multiply your dumb cane plant.

If taking care of your Dieffenbachia comes easy to you, propagating it will be just as easy. In this article I will describe the three dumb cane plant propagation methods you can use.

Dieffenbachia Propagation Methods

The three dumb cane multiplication methods I’m going to cover in this article are:

  • Rooting stem cuttings
  • Air layering
  • Replanting suckers

Rooting Cuttings

Rooting of cuttings can be accomplished in two ways — either rooting in potting medium or rooting in water.

You can harvest cuttings from stem shoots or big tip cuttings (top shoots). Because the sap of the plant can irritate the skin and mucous membranes, wear gloves when handling the plant and avoid touching your face and eyes.

When harvesting use clean pruning shears (use rubbing alcohol) and cut at least a 3 to 4-inch section. I’ve had much quicker results rooting stem tips, but you can cut any section from the top to the base of the plant.

Rooting in Potting Medium

A good potting medium for rooting dieffenbachia stem cuttings is half sand, half peat moss mixed thoroughly. The soil should be moistened before planting the stem cutting.

Place the end of the stem cutting in rooting hormone, then plant in the potting medium and keep in a warm place. Covering the pot with a plastic sheet will keep it warm and the soil moist.

Keep watering the soil whenever it looks dry. For roots to form, the soil should be moist. In about 4-8 weeks, stem cuttings will root.

Rooting in Water

For rooting dumb cane plant cuttings in water, you’re going to need slightly bigger cuttings, around 4 to 6 inches long.

Place the cuttings in a jar with water and replace the water every other day or so. Keep in a warm and bright location, but out of direct sunlight. Once you see roots forming, it’s time to plant the stem cutting into their own pot.

Air Layering

This method works if you have a bigger dieffenbachia plant. It’s also a method that’s best applied if your dumb cane has grown leggy.

Choose one of these leggy stems that has healthy leaf buds and make a 2-inch upward slit on the stem. To keep the slit open insert a bit of sphagnum moss or a toothpick.

Put a little rooting hormone on the cut and cover the area with damp sphagnum moss. Wrap some clear plastic around it and secure it with duct tape.

Once the roots start to show (this can take a while, so be patient) through the plastic wrap, cut the stem below the roots, remove the plastic and pot in a well-draining potting mix.

Replanting Suckers

Dieffenbachia produces suckers that you can remove from the base and replant in a different container.

Before you do anything related to handling your dieffenbachia plant, make sure to wear a long-sleeve shirt and protective gloves.

Once you’re equipped with protective clothing, unpot the dumb cane plant and gently loosen the soil to inspect the root ball.

Check that when you make your division, there are around 3-5 stems/shoots per each division.

Discard diseased roots and plant debris, and repot the divisions in fresh, well-draining potting mix.

You can go with any of these propagation methods I described above, keeping in mind that it takes some times for the dumb cane plant to produce suckers, so division is not something your can do on the regular.

The best time to propagate your dumb cane plant is in spring, before the growing season kicks in.

How Long it Takes for New Plants to Grow?

Dumb Canes (Dieffenbachia)
Dumb Canes (Dieffenbachia)

Depending on the propagation method you’ve chosen and the environmental factors, your dieffenbachia can take anywhere from 2 weeks to a couple of months to form roots and start growing.

If conditions are optimal, especially when it comes to temperature and light conditions, it will take less for your dumb cane plant to root.

Should I Fertilize?

Dieffenbachia can benefit from feeding during the growing season. Feed with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer not more often than every 4-6 weeks. Dilute the fertilizer to half-strength to prevent fertilizer burn. Stop fertilizing in fall and winter.

How to Make Your Plants Grow Faster?

Dumb cane plant can reach a height of 10 feet when grown outdoors. Indoors, it stays much smaller. If you want your dieffenbachia plant to grow faster and become taller, there are a few things you can do including:

Make sure light conditions are optimal

Dieffenbachias generally enjoy bright, indirect light. New leaves shouldn’t be exposed to direct sunlight, especially in spring and summer.

There are dumb can plant varieties, like the ‘Camille’ that will grow normally even with low light conditions.

Make sure to water correctly

Before you water this plant, check if the top of the soil is dried out. If it is, water deeply, but make sure that water drains from the pot and excess water that pools in the saucer is discarded.

Like with many other plants, dieffenbachias are also prone to root rot if they’re overwatered, so always check if your dumb can plant really needs watering.

Avoid cold temperatures

The ideal temperature range for dumb cane plants is between 60-80 F. Below 60 F, the plant will do poorly. Leaves may even fall off. The same goes for cold drafts and fluctuating temperatures.

Use a good quality soil

Potting soil is not a good choice for dumb cane plants. This plant requires a well-aerated, well draining soil that is not prone to compaction.

Using coarse sand, perlite, peat or humus in combination with all-purpose potting soil will create a lightweight potting medium that drains fast and aerates the roots.

Wrapping Up

Propagating dumb cane plants takes a bit of time, but it’s easy to accomplish. Knowing how to multiply a dieffenbachia plant comes especially handy when you have a unique dumb cane variety.

Updated: August 31, 2020

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