Dieffenbachia houseplants require minimal care to produce their abundance of large, variegated leaves. The plants thrive when they receive bright light and occasional watering, but they may eventually become overgrown. An overgrown dieffenbachia produces tall stems with top heavy foliage growth at the top instead of even leaf distribution over the length of the stem. Cutting the dieffenbachia plant back properly encourages a fresh flush of new, fuller growth that prevents the stem from becoming too tall and weak.
Cut back one overgrown stem to within 6 inches of the soil surface with a clean knife. Make the cut above a leaf or leaf bud. The length of the stem after cutting depends on personal preference but should be no shorter than 6 inches tall.
Trim the next stem once new growth begins on the first. Cut the second stem back to approximately the same height as the first. Continue cutting the remaining overgrown stems as the last one cut produces new growth.
Minimize irrigation as the foliage grows back on the plant. Dieffenbachia requires less water when producing fewer leaves. Water only when the top 2 inches of soil begins to dry until the foliage grows back in, then resume normal irrigation practices.