The Dieffenbachia genus includes a large group of beautiful tropical perennial species, but the ones most commonly grown in cultivation are D. sequine, D. oerstedii, D. maculata, and D. amoena. Several Dieffenbachia species have recently been reassigned with different names, so you may run into confusion on the precise naming of different varieties. Collectively, they are generally known as dieffenbachias or dumb canes.
Dieffenbachias feature pointed, ovate leaves in a variety of combinations of green, cream, and white colors. A large, well-grown dieffenbachia can reach 10 feet, with leaves 20 inches long. However, the plants will rarely reach this size in typical indoor conditions.
- Dieffenbachia is best grown as an indoor plant in bright, indirect sunlight. Plant it in fertlile, well-drained potting soil with a high peat content. It will do best in high humidity. One way to provide this is to place the pot on a tray of pebbles that is kept wet.
- Dieffenbachia plants appreciate bright light during the winter months. During the growing season, the plant prefers dappled shade or indirect light.
- Use a fast-draining, well-aerated potting mix. Make sure their drainage is good to avoid damaging the roots; they should never be left in soggy soil.
- During the growing season, Dieffenbachias like regular moisture and do not want to dry out. A large dieffenbachia might need to be watered twice a week. In the winter, cut back on the water.
- This plant likes above-average warmth. If the temperature drops below 60 degrees Fahrenheit or if the plant is exposed to cold drafts, it is likely to lose lower leaves and assume a palm-like appearance.
- For best results, feed regularly (every 4 to 6 weeks) with a balanced, diluted fertilizer, such as a 20-20-20.
- Repot annually for best results—simply lift the plant as a whole, knock away any old soil and dead material from the roots, and replace it in a larger container. Watch out for signs of stress on the plant, like roots poking out from the surface, crowding, or falling leaves, which could signal that the plant needs repotting. After repotting a dieffenbachia, give it some time to adjust to its new setting. Make sure to wear thick gloves, or else you risk hurting yourself by contact with the milky, mildly toxic sap.