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by Andrew S.
(Ithaca, NY)


I’ve had this plant for years now, never known what it is.

Recently it has seemed sad, one of the stalks has fallen over. The leaves regularly grow new ones and older ones die. It seems to grow these odd red things quite frequently, they start out green and become red.

People have suggested that it is a peace lily in the past, but I don’t think so.

They are about 1-2 feet tall.

Any thoughts on what this plant might be, or any information about it?

Drought Smart Plants reply:
Oh Andrew – poor thing! It looks very sad! That is a really overgrown Deiffenbachia, and although I’ve never seen them bloom, that has to be what the red things are.

These plants are also known as ‘Dumb Cane’ as this is the effect if someone (or your cat) happens to chew on a leaf. Not recommended.

When a plant in this shape attempts to bloom, it usually means one of two things: it’s getting ready to die, or it will die soon. So, honestly, I don’t think there is much hope for it to ever completely recover.

However, don’t give up yet; I know you like a challenge, so here’s one:

Cut the top off this plant, at about 6-8 from the soil. In time, hopefully not too long, it may produce some pups at the base of the stem, which you can remove carefully with a knife or sharp blade and pot them up separately.

The top part may root in water, if it’s not too far gone.

The main thing to remember with these types of house plants is that they look great in the store as they are grown in a greenhouse with bright but not intense light from above, which seldom occurs in our houses.

This means that you have to turn them a quarter turn every couple of days to stop them from this leaning behavior.

Good luck with your propagation!

Comments for Very tall and odd red things

Nov 19, 2011

red things
by: Andrew S.

I have cut one of the tops off and have it sitting in some water, we’ll see what happens with that.

As far as the red things, they come every few months. I’ve had this plant for years and they are pretty regular.