Dieffenbachia is a simple houseplant that endure an extensive variety of conditions. Dieffenbachia is grown for its eye-catching leaves. Large, tropical-looking leaves in many shades of green are marked with spots, stripes, dots or colored veins. Most dieffenbachias will grow from 3 to 6 feet tall and 1 to 3 feet wide. Individual leaves can be 18 inches long by 12 inches wide. They are popular in homes and offices for their colorful, large leaves. The common name dumbcane results from a mouth numbing substance in the stem and leaves. Some people may get a skin rash from the plant’s sap. This plant can be toxic if eaten.
Scientific name: Dieffenbachia
Common name: Dumbcane, Giant Dumbcane, Spotted Dumbcane, Leopard Lily.
How to grow and maintain Dieffenbachia:
Dumbcane needs soil that will retain water, but also drain well. If general potting soil seems to pack tightly, add some Perlite or sand and a little peat moss for aeration. To mix your own soil add 1 part moist humus or peat, 1 part garden soil and 1 part Perlite or coarse sand. Add a light dusting of lime to the mix and use a pot that has a hole in the bottom.
Dumbcane’s prefer a medium to bright lighting source, but can do well even in low light conditions. An area that gets bright, but filtered light is the ideal location.
Keep the temperature above 50 degrees. Ideal is 65 to 75 degrees. A spot outside in the shade during the summer will be fine as long as it does not get too hot where you live.
The plant loves humidity. Putting it in a bathroom will give you bath a great look and give it the humidity it likes. If you can’t do this, mist the leaves from time to time.
The best way to water Dumbcane is too completely drench the soil and let it get moderately dry before rewatering. This method can only be used if you have a pot with a hole in the bottom so that excess water can properly drain. Let dry between waterings, but never allow Dumbcane to get bone dry for long periods of time.
You should fertilize Dumbcane at least every two weeks. Use a good quality plant food that is lime free. Don’t fertilize during the winter months when the plants growth rate is slowed.
The plant will grow from stem cuttings. When your stem has dropped a lot of leaves, cut a piece of the stem off, and slice int 2″ pieces. Dry them for a day or so and then stick into a rooting medium such as perlite, sand or vermiculite. The cuttings will establish roots and then grow into new plants.