How to Make Dieffenbachia Bushy

One of the reasons dieffenbachias are such popular indoor plants is because of how lush and bushy they are. Their broad and striped leaves make the plant voluminous and a wonderful addition to any room.

However, as dieffenbachias grow, they are prone to becoming leggy and losing their fullness. This can be frustrating for plant lovers who don’t understand where they’ve gone wrong.

This article will discuss why your plants become less full and outline the key steps to achieving bushy dieffenbachias.

A Guide to Bushy Dieffenbachias

There are many steps you can take to make your dieffenbachias look bushier. These include ensuring your plant gets sufficient sunlight, using fertilizer, repotting, pruning your dieffenbachia, and more.

We’ve discussed these in detail below so you can restore your plant’s fullness with proper care.

Also read: Should I Use Coffee Grounds on My Dieffenbachia?

Ensure Your Plant Gets More Sunlight

Because dieffenbachias are known as a “shade plant,” they’re often not getting enough sunlight. However, while it’s certainly possible for dieffenbachia to grow in the shade, they won’t thrive and maintain their fullness if they lack adequate sunlight.

When your dieffenbachia is in a dim room, it may become leggy because it is trying to stretch in the direction of the sun. This results in a tall, sparse stalk with smaller leaves. Because these leaves are spaced apart, your once-beautiful dieffenbachia may look extremely sparse.

Since your plant needs to get enough sunlight, ensure you keep it in a more brightly lit location. That being said, be careful that the sunlight isn’t direct since this can scorch the dieffenbachia’s leaves. Keep the dieffenbachia at least 4-6 feet away from the window.

Indirect or filtered sunlight is the key to a bushy dieffenbachia. For example, the sunlight can be filtered through a curtain or reflected off other surfaces.

If there isn’t enough sunlight, you can also use “grow lights.” LED bulb grow lights are the best option since they don’t heat up as much as other grow lights and won’t damage your dieffenbachia.

Ensure Your Plant Gets Even Sunlight

While getting sunlight is a good start, it’s not enough to result in a bushy dieffenbachia. You must also ensure the dieffenbachia is getting even sunlight.

If your dieffenbachia only gets sunlight on one side, that side will flourish while the other is neglected. The stalk may tilt towards the sun, resulting in an uneven, lopsided plant.

Therefore, unless your dieffenbachia is on a porch where it’s getting sunlight from all directions, make sure that you frequently turn the plant pot so that the sunlight is evenly distributed. This is one excellent way of ensuring your dieffenbachia is balanced and rounded.

Best practice includes rotating the plant every 3-5 days and turning it one-quarter every time. You can do this when watering the dieffenbachia, so it’s regular.

Follow Proper Care Instructions

Like any other plant, following the care instructions properly is essential to see the best possible growth. One of the most important parts of caring for a dieffenbachia is watering it properly.

Many individuals see their dieffenbachia become sparse and leggy when they under or overwater their plants. There’s a delicate balance when it comes to watering your dieffenbachia.

Overwatering is harmful and can not only cause root rot but can also end up killing your plant. Only water your plant when it’s needed.

Check the soil before watering your dieffenbachia to see if the soil requires water. You can do this by sticking your finger into the soil and seeing if it’s dry. When the first 2 inches of soil are dry, you must water your plant.

Dieffenbachias thrive when the soil around the plant’s roots is damp. If the soil is not only dry but also hard-packed and peeling away from the container, your dieffenbachia is underwatered and needs to be watered.

Alternatively, you can use a thin, wooden stick and push it into the plant’s base. If it’s damp when it comes out, your plant is not dehydrated. However, when it’s completely dry when it comes out, you know it’s time to water your plant urgently.

If the wooden stick is removed and it’s soaked through, it means that you have overwatered your plant. It’s essential to let the soil dry out when this happens.

Overwatering can lead to root rot, which can harm your plant. If you smell something musty or see fungus gnats, you’ll know your plant has developed root rot.

Keep your dieffenbachia bushy by avoiding both underwatering and overwatering. When you put a finger in the soil, you can tell it’s time to water your plant, and the soil is dry until your first knuckle.

Use this trick to ensure you’re caring for your dieffenbachia adequately so it can grow bushy instead of scraggly.

Other important aspects of care include temperature and humidity. Avoid extreme temperatures and keep your dieffenbachia between 60°F and 75°F for best results. 

It’s also essential to ensure that the humidity level is high enough. Low humidity can cause the dieffenbachia’s leaves to droop and eventually fall off, giving it a less full appearance.

Dieffenbachias flourish when the ambient humidity is 50% or more. If humidity is low, either move your plant to a more humid environment like a bathroom or use a humidifier.

Do Dieffenbachia Like Humidity? [Signs And Process]

Use Fertilizer

Caring for your dieffenbachia properly is essential but can only do so much. However, you can always give your plant a helping hand by fertilizing it.

Fertilizer provides essential nutrients that help dieffenbachia thrive and encourage growth. Use liquid fertilizer diluted with water. Start with half of the recommended strength and build up to the full strength later.

Please note that fertilization is only necessary during periods of new growth. This is usually during the summer and spring, so you can skip fertilization in fall and winter.

Be careful with the fertilizer since overfertilizing can cause leggy growth and damage your plant. Keep it full and bushy by using the right amount of fertilizer.

Gently Shake Your Dieffenbachia

This may sound like an odd suggestion, but it’s important. Think of gently shaking your dieffenbachia as giving it some exercise.

A wobbly dieffenbachia stem is unsightly and takes away from the plant, looking bushy and beautiful. In addition to ensuring the dieffenbachia gets even sunlight, you can also gently shake it.

Dieffenbachias flourish when they’re shaken every so often because that’s what happens in the wild. The wind blows the dieffenbachias around, and you can do the same, so the stalk grows thicker.

However, be careful. Don’t be rough with the plant. Instead, gently sway it back and forth every few days.

Another method of doing this is by placing a fan in front of the plant. However, this needs to be controlled. Use the lowest setting and ensure this is for a short time.

Direct air blown on your dieffenbachia can affect humidity and cause more damage than good. We recommend sticking to swaying your dieffenbachia back and forth.

Prune Your Dieffenbachia

It’s normal for dieffenbachias to grow taller and look less bushy. While sunlight and fertilizer help, they don’t wholly restore your dieffenbachia to its previously bushy state.

To do this, you must prune your dieffenbachia and keep it in the shape you want. Trimming the top of the stems is your best bet since it controls the dieffenbachia’s height while encouraging it to grow sideways.

Dieffenbachias produce many different stalks from the same root mass. Pruning the different stalks at different heights is one way of creating fullness.

Repot Your Dieffenbachia

As dieffenbachias grow, they need to be repotted. If they become too big for their current container, the root system can get crowded, leaves start to fall off, giving the plant an uneven and sparse appearance.

If you can see roots coming out of the soil or through the plant pot’s drain holes, it’s time to repot your dieffenbachia. The frequency at which you repot your plant depends on how fast it’s growing. Usually, you can repot your plants every 2-3 years.

Prune the Roots

If you don’t want to repot your dieffenbachia, there’s another way to get a full appearance. Just as you can prune the dieffenbachia, you can trim its roots.

Root pruning consists of pruning the bottom 1/3 of the root mass. This results in a rejuvenating effect, and the plant grows back.

However, if you’re pruning roots, remember to remove some leaves. This is because while the roots are recovering, the dieffenbachia will be unable to support all the leaves. Removing the topmost leaves results in a bushy dieffenbachia.

Final Thoughts

Dieffenbachias are also known as dumb canes. The “cane” in the name indicates that these plants naturally grow taller, and because of this, their leaves are usually gathered on the top.

While your dieffenbachia may have been bushy when you bought it, it’s normal for it to change and become less full. That being said, you can take steps to keep your plant short and bushy. We hope these tips help you restore your dieffenbachia to a more full-figured appearance. Keep up with our blog for more informative articles.

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