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SOLVED: strangely weak-stemmed plant

Devils Lake, ND

We got a plant from my wife's step-mother today. It's a large plant, the leaves are over a foot long. The main stem of the plant, as it comes out of the soil, is extremely thin compared to the rest of the plant, making the plant very weak and unable to support itself.

Anyone have any idea what kind of plant this is? How is it *supposed* to grow? Are we supposed to support it with something?

Thanks in advance!


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Raleigh, NC(Zone 7b)

Dieffenbachia bowmannii - etoliated growth from not enough light.

Devils Lake, ND

Cool! Thanks for the help! I'll get this thing into full sunlight and see if it recovers.

Jacksonville, FL(Zone 9a)

Whoa! If it goes straight into full sun, it'll burn it up. Move it gradually to brighter light. This way it will have a better chance of recovery.

Opp, AL(Zone 8b)

I wouldn't have hope of strengthening this plant, as is, and definitely not without repotting. You could propagate several nice-looking plants from this much more easily than trying to get this plant looking better. Don't think it's possible to do anything to cause it to be able to support itself since it's habit is epiphytic - it's expecting to find a tree trunk to lean against, grab with aerial roots, climb up, although sufficient light can keep them growing as upright house plants that are quite large. Experiencing wind that it must resist to stay upright also causes plants to become stronger. You could put the stem much more deeply into the soil, but that would be cheating yourself out of new plants you could propagate instead, if that is an attractive idea.

Being in ND, it would take a lot more sun to burn than in much lower latitudes. If you were to propagate leafless stem sections, they wouldn't need to be eased into the sun, but the tip with existing leaves would. If possible, a window that gets sun in the morning would be great.

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