A beginner's Guide to Dieffenbachia Plant Care
Common Name: Dumb Cane
Botanical Name: Dieffenbachia Seguine, Dieffenbachia maculata, Dieffenbachia amoena ( see below for available varieties)
This vibrant, tropical, and easy-to-care-for plant will adapt to different environments and require little attention from you. The name Dumb Cane refers to the toxicity of its sap -- if ingested, it will burn your mouth, numb your throat, and possibly paralyze the vocal cords. Not nice at all! If you are able to provide bright, indirect light, you will see your dieffenbachia’s mottling and vibrant markings proliferate. Low-light is no concern, however. As this indoor plant matures, its stem thickens and the lower leaves drop, becoming statuesque small trees It also produces flowers, which usually remain hidden beneath the showy foliage. You can remove the blooms to encourage more foliar growth.
Important! Dieffenbachia are poisonous if ingested, so be very careful if you have pets and/or small children.
Most varieties do well in low light, but some dieffenbachia varieties like a little more indirect sunlight. In either case, the plants will live and thrive, but in lower light the growth might slow down. During the growing season, expose them to more indirect (never direct) light in order to facilitate healthy, new leaves.
Over-watering this or any houseplant should be avoided. Although these plants don’t like to dry out completely, it’s important that they never sit in standing water. Conversely, the plant will also suffer if the soil becomes too dry. The goal is to keep the soil slightly moist without over-watering.
Dieffenbachias love loose, nutrient-rich potting soil. Use a soil medium that can retain moisture but also allows for draining excess water to avoid root rot. Most pre-mixed soils will suffice. Make sure that there is plenty of organic matter, like coco-coir, peat moss, or shredded leaves, and avoid soils that contain moisture retaining crystals. If your soil drains too quickly, we recommend re-potting your dieffenbachia into a compost-rich soil mixture, with less drainage materials. Learn how to create your own universal soil mixture for all of your indoor plants!
60-85℉ is best for dieffenbachia. If the temperature drops below 50℉, the plant will stop growing.
Dieffenbachia love moisture in the air; more is always better. The goal should be to have a 60 percent humidity level throughout the year. You can place your plants atop a tray filled with water and pebbles, or use a humidifier. Misting the plant’s leaves is a temporary help, but isn’t enough to keep the humidity levels sufficient.
During the growing season, feed the dieffenbachia half-strength complete liquid fertilizer. Don’t feed them in the winter months. If your dieffenbachia sits in brighter light, then fertilize more frequently.
- This plant is toxic. Keep it out of reach from pets and children.
- Lower leaf loss is common as your plant acclimates to its new home. Simply cut the lower leaves down at the base of the plant.
- Use a moisture meter for plants with a dense, full head.