How to Propagate Dieffenbachia? [Complete guide]

Dieffenbachia, or dumb cane, is an attractive tropical plant that can grow and thrive indoors. You can watch your dieffenbachia grow and flourish with sufficient sunlight and proper soil drainage.

The plant has beautiful green leaves with yellow or cream-colored blotches. They grow upright and spread their stunning foliage to breathe life into any empty corner of your house.

Dieffenbachia is a beneficial plant for your bedrooms and living rooms, as it can remove toxins from its surrounding air so that you can breathe cleaner and purified air.

While you might be tempted to buy two or more dieffenbachia at once, their propagation is an excellent feature, which is relatively easier than other houseplants. This means you can get one dieffenbachia and watch how it supplies endless smaller plants through simple propagation methods like cutting.

While other plants require careful separation of the offshoot roots from the parent roots, or transferring them from one pot to another is a hectic process. Dieffenbachia can grow new roots even if the tip of a cane is planted in soil and watered for a few weeks.

You will need to propagate your dieffenbachia when it is actively growing to prevent overcrowding and unkempt plant appearance. Repotting helps with congested roots and makes more space for new root growth.

The key to the propagation of these plants is their nodes, and dieffenbachia has plenty of those. Wherever you see a node on dieffenbachia, that area of the plant has the potential to grow new roots and leaves.

Read on to learn different techniques and methods to propagate dieffenbachia, but first, let us consider some precautionary measures before you handle this plant.

Dieffenbachia: Necessary Precautions

Dieffenbachia plants contain idioblasts, which produce calcium oxalate crystals that can cause rash, redness, and swelling if it contacts the skin. If you are not careful and touch your eye with the hand that contacts the sap, it can lead to eye irritation and sometimes permanent damage.

If the sap or a plant part is ingested, then rinse your mouth quickly with lots of water until all the plant materials are expelled from the mouth.

While cutting and propagating dieffenbachia, use rubber gloves with suitable eye protection to prevent any trouble.

Do not use the same tools between different dieffenbachia plants without cleaning them, and ready your pots with the potting medium before you start the cutting process. Even the containers in which you will plant the smaller dieffenbachia must be sterilized.

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

How to Propagate Dieffenbachia

There are two efficient methods of propagating dieffenbachia, stem cuttings and air layering. The stem cutting process is pretty straightforward than air layering and is a standard method used for reproducing dieffenbachia. There is a third procedure of dieffenbachia propagation, called division.

Stem Cuttings

Stem cuttings are an excellent way to propagate many dieffenbachia plants at once. Stem cuttings can be used for older dieffenbachia that becomes bare at the base.

Before beginning the process of stem cuttings, you need to locate and identify the presence of nodes. A node is a raised ring from where a leaf emerges. They are lighter in color than the rest of the stem, and cuttings must be two inches long and have no less than one node attached to each.

There are two approaches to stem cuttings. Either you can propagate dieffenbachia in water, or the other option is dieffenbachia propagation in soil.

1. Rooting in Soil

Dieffenbachia propagation in the soil is a decidedly easy process and consists of the following order of steps.

  • Before cutting the stems, ensure that your shears are cleaned and sterilized, protecting the fresh stem cuttings from bacterial and fungal infections.
  • Wear rubber gloves and start cutting dieffenbachia from the base, or middle section, resulting in many 3 to 4-inch sections of the cane.
  • Fill a pot with equal quantities of sand and peat moss, and moisten it so it is ready for the stem cuttings.
  • Remove any leaves from the dieffenbachia stem cuttings, and place them in sunlight so they are adequately dried.
  • Allow the potting mixture to drain before you proceed with the following steps.
  • Dip the dieffenbachia stem cuttings in high-quality rooting hormone
  • When the potting mix and dieffenbachia cuttings are ready, you can place the stem cuttings in the soil.
  • Place the dieffenbachia stem cuttings horizontally in the potting mix, with the bottom portion inside and the leaf bud facing above the soil.
  • Pack the soil around each stem cutting so that it will remain upright even with the movement of the pot.
  • Now repeat the process with all other dieffenbachia stem cuttings.
  • Place the new planters in a warm place, and moisten the stem cuttings without excessively wetting the potting mix.

The time it takes to grow roots depends on the species of dieffenbachia. Usually, it takes about four to eight weeks for the stem cuttings to grow new roots, and then you can transplant the fresh and new dieffenbachia baby plants into their proper containers.

2. Rooting in Water

The process of propagating dieffenbachia in water is similar but slightly different from propagation in soil.

  • Cut three to four sections of stem and remove the leaves.
  • Fill a glass with water and place your dieffenbachia stem cutting inside it.
  • Place the glass in a bright spot but away from direct sunlight, and keep a close eye on it for a few days.
  • Change water in the glass every few days, ensuring better propagation of the dieffenbachia stem cuttings.
  • After a few weeks, new and fresh roots will develop from each stem cutting, which indicates the propagation is successful.
  • When you feel your dieffenbachia baby plants are stable in the water, you can transplant them into separate pots.

Dieffenbachia plants can survive in water by their water roots. However, if you wish to plant them in soil, do not wait too long. Transplant the dieffenbachia baby plants as soon as you see a few roots have emerged.

Click to know: Do Dieffenbachia Like Humidity? [Signs And Process]

Air Layering

Air layering is a feasible method to propagate large dieffenbachia plants. You can consider air layering your dieffenbachia when it starts losing its leaves’ color.

This process is much more complex than stem cuttings and involves using healthy and flourishing stems to propagate the plant. Air layering consists of the following steps.

  • Inspect the dieffenbachia plant stem for healthy buds.
  • Carve an upward slit about 2 inches long on the stem.
  • Insert a toothpick or a small twig into the slit so it doesn’t touch the main stem.
  • Take some high-quality rooting medium and brush the cut portion with it.
  • The next step is taking a handful of sphagnum moss and moistening it with water.
  • Take the moist but not dripping moss and place it over the slot made in the stem.
  • You can cover the sphagnum with a polyethylene film and then tie it from both ends using an electrician’s tape and a piece of wire.
  • Make sure there is no air trapped between the polyethylene film and moss.
  • After a few days, you will see new roots propagating from the stem’s cut portion.
  • The roots will eventually start to grow out of the moss, indicating it is time to remove the film.
  • Using a sharp knife, separate the new branch with fresh roots from the parent dieffenbachia stem.
  • Plant the new dieffenbachia branch in a pot filled with an appropriate potting mixture.
  • Cover the new branch with another polyethylene film to prevent loss of moisture.
  • When the branches have been established correctly in the new pot, you can remove the film and place the dieffenbachia baby plant in a bright room away from direct sunlight.

Even though this process looks more complicated than regular stem cutting propagation, it still is far less troublesome than propagating other houseplants.

Propagate a Dieffenbachia Through Division

You can always use the offshoots, or pups, of the dieffenbachia if you do not want to destroy the lovely stem of your plant. For this procedure, you will need to follow these steps.

  • Prepare containers for your new plants by putting fresh and moist potting mix.
  • Uproot your dieffenbachia gently and clean the root mass to reveal and separate the pups using a clean and sharp blade.
  • Place the offshoots with their roots intact inside the new containers, and pack enough soil around their roots to keep them upright.
  • Plant the parent dieffenbachia back into its original container.

How to Propagate Dieffenbachia From Leaf

There’s no way you can propagate dieffenbachia from its leaf.

To propagate dieffenbachia, one always needs a stem cutting, as this portion of the plants has everything you require to propagate dieffenbachia into baby plants.

Dieffenbachia Propagation Season

Dieffenbachia can be propagated all year round if you live in a tropical climate. However, the best dieffenbachia propagation season is after winter, when the plant starts to grow. Preferably springtime is the best season to propagate dieffenbachia.


If you are a beginner in the propagation of houseplants, dieffenbachia can make you feel like a pro. The plant is highly accommodating and quickly grows new roots without complex procedures or growing environments.

Buy a single dieffenbachia plant, and then enjoy propagating it into several baby plants in no time.

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