Dieffenbachia spp. or Dumb Cane are plants belonging to the family Araceae, characterized by large green leaves heavily mottled with yellow, white or light green.
The exuberant foliage gives an air of jungle to your home.
Many varieties are available in the trade, from dwarf varieties to plants that can measure over a meter high.
Caution! The plant contains calcium oxalate and is toxic. Though rarely lethal, it irritates the skin or provokes swelling of mouth and throat when ingested, which can prevent you from speaking, hence the name Dumb Cane.
Dieffenbachia are evergreen plants that grow in clumps. They can be more than 2-3 m high, but as a houseplant they generally remain smaller.
Leaves are ovate-oblong to oblong and pointed, with different combinations of green and white. When the lower leaves fall, the reed-like stem becomes visible.
Dieffenbachia, dumb cane
Dieffenbachia: in honor of J.F. Dieffenbach, a German physician and botanist (1794-1847)
Central America to Brazil
Shady, moist lowlands
USDA zone 10-12
Any commercial potting soil
Partial shade or light, no direct sunlight. The more the leaves are mottled, the more it needs light.
Water weekly during growing period, once every two weeks in winter. Do not leave water in the saucer as this may cause the roots to rot.
Fertilize twice a month during the growing season, with universal liquid fertilizer. Do not fertilize in winter.
Annually in the spring. Provide a relatively large pot so that the plant may grow.
By division of suckers. Caution: use gloves because of the toxicity of the plant.