How to Prune a TOO Tall Dieffenbachia

I have a lovely plant/tree that continues to grow upwards despite the ceiling obstructing it. I’ve moved it to a room with higher a ceiling but that won’t fix the problem long term as it will keep growing. It also stops growing “leaves” on the lower portions of the stalk/trunk.

I have no idea what kind of plant it is – I’m not a green thumb! How should I maintain it? Can I trim the top? I thought that would kill it?

Many thanks,


Hi Aaryn,

Your very tall plant is called a dieffenbachia. You can aggressively prune to keep a dieffenbachia short and bushy and prevent it from getting too tall. Cut anywhere along the main stem, preferably above a leaf node (a leaf node is the small bump on the stem from which new leaves grow). New growth develops directly below the cut in the stem.

You can plant the section you cut off directly back into the original pot or plant it in a new pot. The cut end should be cut on the diagonal and dip it in a very small amount of rooting compound before planting it. These are very poisonous plants and the sap is very irritating. Always wear gloves and a long sleeve shirt when pruning or propagating the plant.

You can read all my care tips for a dieffenbachia in the popular Houseplant section of the website.