This plant is meant to be a good sized plant, that looks impressive in any room you put it in. But what if it doesn’t? Why is my dieffenbachia leggy, I hear you cry?
Thankfully, there are all sorts of explanations as to why this could be happening, and lots of solutions for you to fix this problem.
What You'll Learn Today
Why Is My Dieffenbachia Leggy?
This plant is supposed to be majestic, with glorious foliage and vigorous growth. Leggy is definitely not what you want!
If it is leggy, chances are it is not getting enough sunlight. These plants don’t like direct sun, but without enough light they will not grow well.
Too much water will cause lots of problems, from leggy stems to root rot. Only water your dieffenbachia when the top 2 inches of the soil is dry.
If your plant is pot bound, this can cause issues with legginess. Check that there are no roots poking through the surface of the soil, or through the drainage holes of the pot.
Dieffenbachia like to be warm, so if your plant is too cold then this can definitely cause it not to grow at its best.
This article explains what you can do to help your leggy plants, and how to stop them becoming so in the first place.
How Do You Fix A Dieffenbachia Leggy?
If your plant has gone leggy, you may think that this is it and it cannot be saved. Well, luckily you can bring it back to its bushy glory!
- Find it a spot in your house with bright, indirect sunlight. This will give it all it needs to photosynthesize well.
- Keep it warm. These plants come from tropical places, and they won’t thrive if they are consistently kept at less than 15 degrees C.
- Ensure it has enough nutrients. They are not particularly hungry plants, but they will benefit from a dose of diluted fertilizer every 6 weeks in the growing season.
- Allow it some humidity. Because of its tropical nature, this plant will benefit from sitting on a tray of moist pebbles, or some regular misting.
- Make sure it is not cramped. If its pot is too small, dieffenbachia will not thrive – make sure its roots have room to spread.
- Check your watering schedule. Too much watering can damage these plants; they don’t need a drink until the top 2 inches of soil are dry.
Although leggy plants do look a little sad, there is definitely hope – especially for the easygoing dieffenbachia.
How Do You Prune A Dieffenbachia Leggy?
If your plant is getting leggy and wayward but you wanted a bushy one, it may be time for a little hard pruning.
Don’t worry too much about taking off a lot – this is a relatively hardy plant and you will find that it bounces back from pruning.
The most important thing to remember is to wear gloves. Dieffenbachia sap is toxic, so you don’t want it on your skin or in your mouth.
Using sharp, sterilized secateurs, snip away the longest and leggiest sections. This will encourage the plant to grow back.
You can prune from anywhere on the plant – top, sides, lower – and it will still grow back stronger than ever.
For general maintenance, pinch the top growth out regularly, to keep it growing out from the sides and creating a strong bushy plant.
How Do I Know When To Repot My Dieffenbachia?
These plants can grow incredibly large in the wild – up to 10 feet tall! As houseplants they will generally get to 3 feet at the maximum.
This is still pretty big for a houseplant! As it is a large plant, you will need to ensure that your dieffenbachia has enough space to grow.
You will know that it needs repotting if it starts to show roots through the surface of the soil, or poking out through the holes in the pot. Luckily, repotting is easy!
- Take a pot that is at least 2 inches larger and wider than the previous one. Half fill it with fertile, well draining compost.
- Gently remove your dieffenbachia from its original pot by turning it upside down with your hand supporting the stem and the soil around it.
- Check that the root ball is not too compacted to grow; you can tease it apart carefully with your hands to give it some more space.
- Place the root ball into the new pot, and sprinkle compost around it until the roots are completely covered.
- Give the plant a good watering to settle it in, and add some more compost if the level settles too far below the rim of the pot.
- You can give it a feed at this point, to allow it a chance to get really strong as it settles into its new home.
How Do You Root Leggy Dieffenbachia?
If your dieffenbachia turns leggy and thin, you can take cuttings to grow yourself an entirely new plant that might be more bushy. This is a pretty simple process:
- Wearing gloves to avoid the toxic sap, cut 4-6 inches long stem sections from the main plant.
- Remove the leaves from the stem cuttings, as they will distract the plant from making roots.
- Place the cuttings into a glass of water and keep them in a warm spot – this should be out of direct sunlight or they may shrivel and die.
- Change the water every few days to keep it clean and free from mold or microbes that may affect the plant’s growth.
- After 4-8 weeks, you should start to see little roots appearing at the bottom of the stem – now it’s time to pot them into compost and grow them on.
- You can also plant your stems straight into compost – just dry them out for a night, then dip the ends into rooting hormone for the best results.
This is a good video which will show you the best way to turn your leggy dieffenbachia into lots of new plants simply and easily:
Once a plant starts to grow leggy and spindly, you would be forgiven for thinking that it’s all over for that plant. This is not the case!
Even if your dieffenbachia starts getting leggier than a supermodel, with a little care and attention you can turn it back into the bushy forest it once was.