Question: My dieffenbachia is so tall it’s touching the ceiling. How can I cut it back, and can I use the stem to make more plants?

Answer: If they’re fairly healthy and vigorous at the time, dieffenbachias can be cut back rather drastically. Spring or early summer are great times to do it, since lighting is better then, to foster vigorous regrowth. You could probably cut the plant back almost to the soil line. Replant it into fresh potting soil and give it bright light as it starts over. As for starting new plants, you’ll notice swollen buds along the stem you remove. Each of those has the potential to make a new stem. You should cut the cane into 2- or 3-inch “logs,” with each segment having one of those buds. Lay the stem segments on their sides in 4-inch pots, half-submerged in loose potting soil, with the buds all facing upward. The old stem segments will develop roots, and the buds will begin to grow into new stems. Once the plants are 4 or 5 inches tall, you can repot them into larger containers, perhaps grouping some of them together as you do.

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