Dieffenbachia (Dumb cane) - Care tips

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With this species you are in for a treat! Dieffenbachias have some of the most beautiful mixes of foliage you will find on a houseplant. The Dieffenbachia is native to tropical America and the west Indies and is a member of the Araceae (Arum) family. This genus includes more than 50 species of tropical plants and are popular as houseplants because of their tolerance to shade.

These plants can grow up to 2 meters high. The leaves are generally large and oval and almost always have irregular spots with lighter green, yellow or even cream-coloured spots.

The unfortunate nickname comes from its ability to cause swelling of the mouth in those who eat the leaves, which makes them unable to speak, or "dumb". This means that when you buy a Dieffenbachia, you should always consider the plant and how it will (or will not) get along with any pets and children.

Dieffenbachia Care Tips

Dumb Cane (Dieffenbachia) care is easy when you know exactly what to do. With the following information, we will help you with the right information regarding the growth requirements in order to keep your Dieffenbachia alive and thriving.

Light and placement for Dieffenbachia

Dieffenbachia tolerate a wide range of lighting conditions. They grow in heavy shade and can be used in dark areas of the house, but growth will be slowed. The best growth is achieved in bright indirect light. A relatively humid atmosphere results in vigorous growth, as the large leaves can dry out in a warm room. Maintain humidity by grouping the plants or using a tray of pebbles.


Provide your Dieffenbachia with moderately moist soil. Watering is an important part of growing dieffenbachia. Water thoroughly and only water again when the surface of the potting medium feels dry. Dieffenbachia do not tolerate constant overwatering.



It is difficult to make specific fertilization recommendations for foliage plants like the Dieffenbachia. Dieffenbachia that receive a minimal amount of nutrients will grow slowly but maintain a desirable shape. As a general guideline, use a complete fertilizer and only feed every 4-6 weeks during the active growing season. If the plants are growing in low light, they definitely do not need to be fertilized as often.

Propagating Dieffenbachia

Dieffenbachia can be propagated in two ways: stem cuttings and air-layering. Stem cuttings are a fairly straightforward and one of the most common processes for reproducing a plant. Air-layering, on the other hand, is a form of layering in which the Dieffenbachia plant is wrapped or potted in a moist growing medium to accelerate root growth.

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Most common pest on Dieffenbachia

The classic pests that affect most houseplants can also affect your Dieffenbachia: mealybugs, spider mites and aphids. For these pests, you can try to wipe them away with a cotton swab soaked in alcohol. This is an effective tactic if you discover the infestation in its early stages, but we recommend that you visit our PLNTS doctor page to make sure which pests are infecting your Dieffenbachia and how to control them.

Are Dieffenbachia’s toxic for pets or children?

Dieffenbachia contains; crystalline, needle-like structures that are emitted when the cell walls are damaged. Ingestion of the plant causes a stinging and burning sensation in the mouth and throat, with symptoms lasting up to two weeks. This reaction can make speaking impossible. Exposure to the eyes is particularly painful. So, handle the plant with care when pruning or making cuttings for propagation. Small children and pets should be kept away from Dieffenbachia plants.

Buy your new Dieffenbachia at PLNTS.com

At PLNTS.com you can buy your new Dieffenbachia online, for example the Dieffenbachia Reflector.

Whether you like your PLNTS big from the start or prefer to grow them from tiny BabyPLNTS into full-grown PLNTS - we’ve got you covered!

Hi, I'm Emma, your PLNTS.com guide!

Hi, I’m Emma, your PLNTS.com guide!