Dieffenbachia is a tropical perennial herbaceous plant in the family Araceae. It is also known as leopard lily or dumb cane. It is native to South America and thrives in countries like Mexico, Brazil, and Argentina. Dieffenbachias are commonly grown indoors as houseplants because they have beautiful green, white creamy oval-shaped leaves.
Ingesting dieffenbachia can temporarily impede a person’s ability to speak, hence the common name dumb cane. Leopard lily is a very toxic plant, therefore should be kept away from pets and children.
There are many different types of dieffenbachia available, and we have chosen a few notable cultivars that we like:
- Dieffenbachia ‘Camille‘ – Light lime-colored center of leaves, with dark green on the edges.
- Dieffenbachia ‘Compacta‘ – Creamy-yellowy center with dark green edges.
- Dieffenbachia ‘Camouflage‘ – Light green leaves with creamy vines
- Dieffenbachia ‘Seguine‘ – Leaves with dark green edges and lighter green in the center, when blooming it has white flowers
- Dieffenbachia ‘Tropic Snow‘ – Leaves with shades of yellow and white
- Dieffenbachia ‘Tropical tiki‘ -Upright leaves with dark green edges and cream-colored blotches.
- Dieffenbachia ‘Delilah‘ – Big pointy leaves with a greenish-white center.
- Dieffenbachia ‘Honeydew‘ – Beautiful golden yellow center of the leaves
- Dieffenbachia ‘Mary‘ – White and green leaves, while new leaves are beautiful bright green
- Dieffenbachia ‘Sarah‘ – Irregular white spots with darkish green leaves
Caring for Dieffenbachia
Dieffenbachia is a perfect houseplant since it does not require direct sunlight. However, watering this tropical plant can require some expertise. When you follow the tips and tricks provided in this article, you should not have any problems growing this stunning plant.
Dieffenbachias grow quite fast, up to 2 feet (0.6 meters) in a year in height. This is great news, but it comes with some maintenance, this plant needs repotting regularly. When roots start showing on top of the soil, or the plant starts dropping leaves it might need a bigger pot.
To repot, make sure to wear some gloves to not touch the sap. Lift the plant out of the soil, remove any extra organic material from the roots and place it in a larger container.
Dieffenbachia is susceptible to root rot when given too much water. Keeping that in mind, this tropical plant will have problems, when the soil dries out. A mature dieffenbachia might need to be watered twice a week, once a week should be enough for a smaller plant.
The key part in watering this plant is watering it when the top 2 inches of the soil is dry. Water deeply after the top of the soil is dry.
This is the main indicator that the plant needs more water.
Soil and Fertilizer
Dieffenbachia needs fast-draining soil, a well-aerated potting mix is an ideal choice. For maximizing growth, use a diluted balanced fertilizer every four weeks.
As previously mentioned, dieffenbachia grows well in indirect sunlight or shade. However the plant will grow towards the light, so it is a good idea to rotate it regularly to keep the plant balanced.
Perfect temperatures for this beautiful houseplant are 65-75 °F (18-24 °C). Dieffenbachia is quite sensitive to temperature, if the temperatures are lower than 60 °F (15,5 °C), leaves can start dropping.
Dieffenbachia is a tropical plant and therefore will thrive in high humidity, this can become a problem in colder regions when the humidity drops during the heating period.
Use a mist spray on the leaves regularly to provide humidity, or place it near a humidifier. Another trick you could use is to have the pot placed on a tray of pebbles, which is filled with water.
Propagating dieffenbachia is remarkably easy, there are even three ways to do it.
- Lay a piece of cane horizontally in moderate moisture-covered potting soil
- A piece of cane will start to take root and leaves will start sprouting
- Plant the pieces which started rooting in a pot with potting mix
Propagating by stump
- Cut off the top of a mature dieffenbachia
- Place into potting soil and add rooting hormone
- Leaves will start growing from the stump
Diving roots can be a bit tricky.
- Cut off the offsets and plant them in their new pots
- Be careful not to damage the roots of the parent plant
Spider Mites might enjoy living on the underside of the leaves of dieffenbachia. Use neem oil or soap water to get rid of these pests. One part rubbing alcohol and four parts water can also work, but do not use this method regularly.
Drooping Leaves – cold drafts or low temperatures can cause this, but it can also be caused by too much direct light. Incidentally too little light can also cause drooping leaves, but in that case, the leaves should turn yellow as well.
Yellow Leaves – The main cause of this is underwatering or overwatering the plant, if watering is done incorrectly the leaves can even start dropping. Being short of nutrients can also cause yellow leaves, add a little fertilizer if you have not done it for a while. You can remove the yellow leaves since they add extra burden to the plant.
This tropical plant is a terrific choice for an office or home interior design, it will stand out in any setting, guaranteeing a better indoor environment.
Just make sure you don’t overwater dieffenbachia and follow the guide we provided, and you can’t go wrong.
There are so many types of dieffenbachia to choose from, so choose the varieties you prefer!