Dieffenbachia Houseplant Turning Yellow

I received this plant as a gift. It was in a tiny pot so I reported it about 2 weeks ago. Every day I wake up and it looks worse. This is how it looks right now. What do I do to save this plant?

Why a Dieffenbachia Gets Yellow Leaves

A dieffenbachia gets yellow leaves for one or several of the following reasons:

  1. The dieffenbachia plant is over watered.
  2. The dieffenbachia plant is under watered
  3. The dieffenbachia plant is too close to an air conditioner or cold draft.
  4. The bottom leaves are not getting enough light.

How to Fix an Over Watered Dieffenbachia Plant

Your dieffenbachia plant looks like it has an over- watering issue. When the pot that a plant is planted in is too large, the soil does not have a chance to dry out quickly, the roots stay wet too long and eventually begin to rot. When a plant has root rot and the cause of problem is not corrected, the plant to eventually dies.

You need to take the plant out of its pot, get rid of all the wet soil, remove all of the dead or dying leaves, and allow the plant to sit out, bare root for 24 hours.  Cut off any roots that look dead; hopefully the remaining roots will dry out overnight. Re-pot into the proper size container using fresh, dry soil. The new pot should be 1″-2″ wider and 1″-2″ deeper than the root ball of the plant. There must be drip holes in the bottom of the pot so excess water can drain out.  Place your plant in bright, indirect light and don’t water for at least 7-10 days.  When you water, water well enough so that the water comes out the drip holes in the bottom of the pot. Your dieffenbachia should never sit in this excess water.  Do not water again until the top 2″-3″ of soil has dried out (usually takes a week or more).

You can read all of my care tips for a dieffenbachia in the Popular Houseplant section of the website. The picture is of a different variety, but the care is the same.


These plants are considered very poisonous and should be kept away from pets and children. Read more about common houseplants that are poisonous in my book  Don’t Feed Me To Your Cat! A Guide to Poisonous Houseplants.