Identify this plant and how do I propagate it??

Hi Judy! I recently repotted this healthy but seemingly crowded plant. I tried rooting the stems that broke off but it will not root! My father just died & it was his. It looks so sad now, would you please identify what this is & can you tell me how to grow roots? I appreciate your help! Thank you: -)

Hi Zelda,

Your plant is a type of dieffenbachia. All parts of a Dieffenbachia are extremely poisonous which is how they earned the nickname “dumb cane plant”and should be kept away from pets and children. Read more about common houseplants that are poisonous in Don’t Feed Me To Your Cat! A Guide to Poisonous Houseplants.

Dieffenbachias are usually propagated using air layering or stem cuttings. You can read all about dieffenbachias in the Popular Houseplant section of the website.

propagationLearn how to propagate plants by plant division at by air layeringLearn how to use Air Layering to propagate houseplants.: Propagating houseplants by air layeringLearn how to use Air Layering to propagate houseplants. is used primarily for large plants with thick strong stems that are not easily propagated by other methods. The new plant is propagated while still attached to the parent plant.

1. Use a sharp clean knife make an upward 1” slit just below a node on the stem of the “mother” plant. A node is where a leaf attaches to the stem. The slit should go 1/2 way through the stem. Place a piece toothpick in the slit to keep it open. If the slit heals shut, the new roots won’t grow.

2. Remove any bark or leaves a few inches above and below the slit in the plant stem. Dust the area with Rooting Hormone that contains a Fungicide.

3. Pack a large handful of moist sphagnum moss around the slit. Cover the moss with clear plastic, and tie the plastic securely to the stem. Check the moss weekly to be sure it stays moist but not soggy.

4. When roots have filled the moss, cut the stem below the new root ball and plant it. air layeringLearn how to use Air Layering to propagate houseplants. may take months, so try to be patient.

Propagation by Stem Cuttings: Use a sharp, clean scissors or razor blade to cut a 3”-5” piece from the end of a healthy stem just below a leaf node. A node is where a leaf joins the stem. Remove leaves from the bottom 1/3 of the stem. Dip the cut end of the stem into a small amount of Rooting Hormone that contains a Fungicide. Plant the stem in moist potting soil. Cover the pot with clear plastic to increase the humidity and prevent the soil from drying out. Check the plant every few days to be sure the soil stays moist. Tug on the stem cuttings after a few weeks, if there is resistance, roots have developed, the plastic can be removed, and the propagation was successful.