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Dieffenbachia

Dieffenbachia (deef-in-BOCK-ee-uh) are popular house plants because of their attractive foliage and their adaptability to interior environments. They are medium sized plants, usually growing 3’ to 5’. Hybridizers have produced many beautiful new Dieffenbachia hybrids that can add color and interest to your interior décor.

Dieffenbachias are sometimes called “Dumb Cane”. This common name refers to the presence of calcium oxalate crystals which, if chewed, can cause swelling of the throat and tongue. A severe reaction can result in asphyxiation if the airway closes. Keep plants away from small children or pets that may ingest the toxic leaves. The sap can give some people a rash.

Light

Moderate to bright indirect light.

Water

Moderately dry between thorough waterings, do not allow roots to stand in water.

Temperature

Warm temperatures of 65°F or better.

Humidity

Average house humidity is fine.

Fertilizer

Apply a general purpose house plant formula when plant is actively growing. Over-fertilizing can cause leaf-tip burn.

Maintenance

If plant becomes leggy, cut the canes back to a point just above an old leaf joint. New growth will appear along the trunks or around the base of the plant. Cuttings can be rooted in water or in a light potting mix.

Some beautiful cultivars to try include:

  • Dieffenbachia ‘Camille’—creamy yellow leaves with green edges
  • D. ‘Compacta’—yellow leaves speckled with green
  • D. ‘Camouflage’—mottled light green and white leaves with larger splotches of dark green
  • D. ‘Octopus’—dark green leaf with white and yellow spots
  • D. ‘Paradise’—taller growing variety, soft yellow leaves with green speckles
  • D. ‘Parachute’—green leopard-like spots on yellow leaf
  • D. ‘Sparkles’—yellow leaves, edged and splotched in green, white midvein
  • D. ‘Starbrite’—yellow and white long leaves with green speckles
  • D. ‘Sterling’—green leaves with pretty white branching midvein
  • D. ‘Triumph’—whitish-yellow leaves with green speckles
  • D. ‘Tropic Marianne’—larger yellow leaf with green margin
  • D. ‘Tropic Snow’—large growing variety with pretty variegation, whitish-yellow center fading into yellow then to green
  • D. ‘Tropical Tiki’—pretty gray, white, and green variegation

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