Dieffenbachia plant: Plant, Grow and Care Tips

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When it comes to planting and caring for plants indoors, most of us look for comfort and ease. We need a plant that is easy to care for. One that is low on maintaining and adaptable. The Dieffenbachia is one such plant. When planted indoors be it at home or in an office these plants are known to be the perfect décor companion. These plants can up the style quotient of any room they are placed in. Let us check out how to plant, grow, and care for Dieffenbachia Plant.

In this blog, we will take you through all these aspects of Dieffenbachia care and much more.

Before getting into care details, let’s have a look at what these plants are all about. Where they come from and what conditions they are naturally used to. This will set the ground for care tips and give you an insight into why your Dieffenbachia is not doing very well. Practices that you can alter and things that you need to stop doing completely.

First things first are these plants truly suitable to be planted indoors?

Is Dieffenbachia good for indoors?

The Dieffenbachia is a tropic plant and loves the sun. when planted indoors the growth of the plant slows down drastically. Other than this there are no visible signs that would lead us to conclude that the plant cannot survive indoors.

On the contrary, these plants are recommended as indoor plants owing to their rugged appearance as well as their tolerance and adjusting capacity. So, if you still aren’t sure if the Dieffenbachia good for indoors, we say they are. You can go ahead and purchase one today.

Not that you are at ease and are hopefully convinced that these plants are good for you. It’s time to understand in detail about where these plants come from and what are the weather conditions they are naturally used to.

Is Dieffenbachia good for indoors

What are Dieffenbachia plants and where do they come from?

Dieffenbachia is an indoor plant typically seen in homes and offices around the US. These plants add a tropical flair to the rooms they are placed in. These plants are commonly known as the “Dumbcane” or “Mother-in-law’s tongue” this is owing to the fact that its sap is toxic. When it comes in contact with the skin it can cause numbness. On the other hand, if ingested or if it comes in contact with your mouth, the sap can cause you to become mute or Dumb temporarily.

Caution: It is better to keep this plant out of the reach of children and pets due to its toxicity

The Dieffenbachia is a tropical evergreen plant belonging to the Araceae family. These plants are native to the tropics of Mexico and the West Indies south of Argentina. There are several variants of the Dieffenbachia most are variegated white and green while others are cream and green. Some have all green leaves that can be loosely striped, speckled or splashed.

These plants are generally grown for their rich green foliage, but sometimes they flower as well. these flowers look a lot like lilies. Smaller variants of the Dieffenbachia grow to about 12 to 24 inches in height while larger variants grow up to 6 feet tall. So is Dieffenbachia an air purifier? Let’s find out

All in all, these plants are native to tropical conditions and are evergreen beauties that will add spunk to offices or homes. There are also speculations if the Dieffenbachia plant is an air purifier.

Let’s look at how to plant and care for the Dieffenbachia in the following sections

How do you grow a dieffenbachia plant?

Growing dieffenbachia plants is not very difficult. These plants gained popularity because that are easy to grow or care for. Instead of focusing on growing the plant from seed, it is convenient to get them pre-sprouted.

When it comes to plants of tropical origin, it is always better to get them as saplings as they have already adjusted to the weather conditions. Starting from scratch is not a bad idea, but you will need to be extra vigilant and at the same time provide them with the perfect sprouting conditions.

For starters, these plants can be purchased off the internet on sights like Amazon, eBay and those that specialize in gardening products and seedlings. If you scout for them locally, they can be procured from local greenhouses or the gardening section at shopping complexes.

Once you have the plant in your possession all you need to do is keep them in the right spot and you will see them grow. So, what is the right spot in terms of the dieffenbachia plant?

Dieffenbachia Plant growing tips
Dieffenbachia Plant growing tips

How much sunlight does a dieffenbachia need?

Dieffenbachia is a tropical plant and hence it is a given that these plants love the sun coupled with humidity. This being said the plant cannot stand direct sunlight, this will cause the leaves to burn, it will also cause the plant to lose its vibrant color.

If you plan to plant these beauties at home place then in a way that they receive bright indirect light. Close to a window is good. These plants thrive in temperatures between 60- and 70-Degrees Fahrenheit. Keep the Dieffenbachia plant away from the cold as their leaves will start to turn yellow. At home make sure that these plants are kept away from vents both hot and cold.

These plants do adjust to low light but will have stunted growth. The leaves of these plants will also grow smaller and far apart on the stem.

If sunlight is so important for the development of this plant. There are questions asked on various forums if these plants can grow under artificial lighting.

Can Dieffenbachia plants grow under artificial light?

There are always speculations about artificial lighting if they are good enough for plants. Most gardeners may argue that artificial lighting will not help plants grow as well as they would if exposed to natural light. Some would disagree saying that it doesn’t matter what the source is as long as the plant can function normally.

With all the research done on this topic and experiments done on the Dieffenbachia plant, there is evidence to prove that these plants grow equally well under fluorescent lighting. These plants do well in the shade but also require a light source hence it is recommended that if you plan to use an artificial light source leave it on for about 12 to 18 hours a day.

Along with artificial lighting, it is also recommended that these plants are exposed to natural lighting for however long possible. As this will enhance the colour and promote plant growth.

Along with light the Dieffenbachia plants also requires a specific amount of water and good quality soil to grow. In the next section, we aim at exploring how to pot a Dieffenbachia and also the amount of water these plants require, the frequency at which they need to be watered and if these plants can be grown in water alone.

How to pot a Dieffenbachia?

When you purchase a Dieffenbachia in most cases the plant will come pre-potted. They sometimes come in transport bags; these will need to be transferred to pots when they arrive. If you already own a Dieffenbachia you will notice that in a few years the plant outgrows the pot and will need to be repotted. You might also need to repot the plant if it is infected with a disease or is subject to root rot. Here is all you need to know about potting the Dieffenbachia.

If the plant is new before planting it examine the roots. Check for damage or disease, if you notice something you can treat it there itself or get rid of the damaged roots so that it doesn’t spread to the entire plant. 

To begin take a pot that is about 2 inches bigger than the plant. Before adding potting mix make sure that the pot has drainage holes at the bottom so that the excess water has an outlet. Once you have the holes in place a tray under the pot to collect excess water. you can then fill about one-fourth of the pot will a potting that is of the well-draining kind.

These can either be store-bought or made at home by adding a draining agent to the regular potting mix. Draining agents that are normally used are sand, broken pieces of earthen pots, gravel and sometimes plastic pallets. You can also use a potting mix that is infused with two parts peat moss and one part perlite.

Once the bottom half is full, the plant can be placed on the soil bed. After the plant is in place pour in the rest of the soil to secure the plant in place. Water the plant until it overflows from the bottom to make sure that the plant is in place. Let the excess water sit in the tray for about 15 to 20 minutes and then discard it.

Tip: clear the tray in about 30 minutes of watering the plant. This will reduce the possibilities of root rot.

After you have the plant potted and ready it’s time to care for the plant here are ways in which you can care for the Dieffenbachia plant. There are also theories about this plant and if they can live in water alone.

How to care for the Dieffenbachia plant
Dieffenbachia plant

Can the Dieffenbachia plant grow in water?

Can the Dieffenbachia plant grow in water? The simple answer to this question is Yes, these plants are known to grow in water. Home gardeners have experimented with these plants and have found that they grow well in water alone.

A container filled with water is the most common way in which this plant is propagated. The same method can be used to grow the plant. The only difference that most people have noticed that the Dieffenbachia plant grows considerably well in water alone. These plants grower slower in water as compared to when planted in soil but there is no significant difference in the quality. They can be fed from time to time using a liquid fertilizer and kept in a spot that has decent sunlight.

Hence if you do not have a pot and would still like to grow a Dieffenbachia plant you can start by planting them in a container filled with water, and then gradually move to a pot.

Tip: Change the water every 3 to 4 days

So, how do you look after this plant

How to care for the Dieffenbachia plant?

Caring for the Dieffenbachia plant is not a difficult task. As these plants are adjusting in nature they adapt well to conditions different from the one they are naturally accustomed to.

How to water the Dieffenbachia plant?

As the Dieffenbachia plant is a tropical plant these plants are sensitive to soggy soil. The best wat to water these plants is to make sure that they are watered slowly so that they can absorb enough. The slow watering method is the best for these plants.

Before watering it is also important to check if the soil is still moist or has dried out. The Dieffenbachia plant can do will a little dry soil so make sure you check the soil before watering it.

How often do you need to water Dieffenbachia plants?

Coming from the Araceae family the Dieffenbachia plant loves moisture and humidity. While watering it is recommended that you slow water the plant and let the soil the plant is in approach dryness, before the next watering session.

Watering these plants can be a little tricky as there is no specific watering schedule that you can follow. It depends primarily on the plant and the weather conditions including the amount of light the plant receives, the time of the year, the humidity levels at home and the quality of the soil the plants are in.

As a rule of thumb, the Dieffenbachia plant requires more water in summer and spring as compared to winter. As the growing cycle of this plant is March to October, overwatering during this period will damage the plant. The fleshy roots of the plants can drown or it can also cause weak growth and the stem can become mushy. To avoid this, make sure that the potting mix that is used is one that drains quickly.

Another thing to be sure of is the condition of the pot. does the pot have draining holes? And is the pot made of a material that absorbs moisture? Earthen pots are known to absorb moisture as compared to plastic and concrete variants.

All said and done, it is important to understand these plants well in order to care for them properly.

How long does it take to grow dieffenbachia?

Growth of the Dieffenbachia plant depends on several factors. The amount of sunlight the plant receives coupled with the amount of humidity is important for the growth of the Dieffenbachia plant. the amount of water also plays a vital role as over and under watering can be detrimental to the plant.

If you are planning to propagate the Dieffenbachia plant, they will typically grow root is about 3 to 8 weeks depending on the available growth conditions. The plant will also grow faster in soil as compared to when grown in a container filled with water.

Most tropical plants like conditions that are closest to the ones they are naturally grown in. which means that these plants like moisture and humidity. in case of most neighbourhoods in the US, we see that the level of humidity is low. So, does this mean that you will not be able to grow these plants here?

Should I mist my dieffenbachia?

The Dieffenbachia plant loves humidity and if it is not available naturally, you can always create it. there are several options available when it comes to increasing the humidity in the air. You can go in for a humidifier, this will keep humidity levels in check and help the plant grow. There are also a number of home remedies for the same. You can keep a container filled with water close to the plant or place the plant in a tray filled with pebbles and water.

These remedies increase the humidity in the room. Another option is to place the plant in a room that is already humid, like the bathroom. Here you will not have to strive hard to find humidity.

With tropical plants misting is a good idea when it comes to recreating their natural habitat. The Dieffenbachia plant loves to be misted; it helps them grow better. Mist the plant once a week for best results.

With all the care provided does this plant require to be fed as well?

Does the Dieffenbachia plant require fertilization?

Yes, these plants need to be fed often to help them grow well. the easiest way to fertilize these plants is to add a few drops of fertilizer when watering it. A well-balanced fertilizer that is soluble in water is best for this plant. Check for specific instructions on the packet before using fertilizers as methods and compositions may differ from brand to brand. 

Caution: Do not fertilize the plant during winter.

The most commonly asked question about the Dieffenbachia plant is – is Dieffenbachia an air purifier?

Is Dieffenbachia an air purifier?

Most commonly asked this question has attracted the attention of many health enthusiasts. Is Dieffenbachia an air purifier? Yes, it is. Does planting a Dieffenbachia plant better one’s health instantly? No, it doesn’t.

Like most plants in this league, the Dieffenbachia plant does better the quality of air in the room it is planted in. people generally confuse two plants that share the same name “Dumb cane” the Dieffenbachia “Exotica Compacta” and the Dieffenbachia Camilla. Both these plants have similar foliage the only difference is that the pattern on the former is more splotchy while that of the latter is solid. Both these plants purify the air and are good as indoor plants.

How to water the Dieffenbachia plant
Is Dieffenbachia an air purifier

Of all the variants of this plant available and sold commercially most home gardeners wonder which one is the best. There is always confusion associated with which plant is the best for them and which one they should invest in.

The answer to this is simple, there is no best plant but a plant that fits your needs best.

Same is the case with the Dieffenbachia, there is no best variant but you need to find the variant that suits your needs the best. here is a list of the most common variants available in the US

Which is the best Dieffenbachia plant species?

Dieffenbachia seguine this is the most popular Dieffenbachia species in the US. They are native to Brazil and come with clusters of large ovate leaves. the leaves of this plant have green margins splotched with yellow or cream color. This is the best variant if you have a big place as they can grow as tall as 10 feet.

Dieffenbachia maculata (formerly known as Dieffenbachia picta) – these plants define  ‘Perfection’. They are intensely variegated and have leaves that are as big as 8 inches. The ‘Rudolph Roehrs’, are variants that have leaves that are fully yellow with ivory splotches; whereas the ‘Superba’, has thicker leaves with white variegation.

Dieffenbachia amoena – is another common variant that grows to about 6 feet in height. These plants have massive 20-inch leaves. One notable cultivar is ‘Tropic Snow’, which has smaller leaves and more variegation.\

The leaves of this plant are a major attraction and most of the time leaf health is a topic of concern here are few frequently asked question about leaf health of the Dieffenbachia plant.

Why are the leaves of my Dieffenbachia plant droopy?

The leaves of the Dieffenbachia plant generally turn droopy when they are water-deprived. It might be a bit of a challenge to know when to water this plant. to make things simple keep an eye on the top layer of soil when it seems dry, pinch it and check if the soil sticks to your finger. If it does, you can wait a couple of days before watering the plant.

If the lower leaves of the plants are turning yellow and are droopy it is normal and there is nothing to worry about. This is a normal phase in the life of the plant and you can remove the yellow droopy leaves and let the plant be.

If the leaves are not yellow but still droopy it might be because the plant is cold. Simply move the plant to a location that us above 55 degrees. This will help the plant regain its strength and begin to function normally.

Why do the leaves of my Dieffenbachia have brown tips?

The leaves of the Dieffenbachia turn brown at the tips when there is no consistency while watering. It is better to let the soil dry out before you water again. Do not let the plant sit in soggy soil as this will cause root rot and brown leaves.

Why are the leaves of my Dieffenbachia curled with brown edges?

Curling and browning of leaves in the Dieffenbachia are caused due to excess fertilization. If you notice the leaves curling, stop fertilizing immediately. Stopping is only one part of the solution. To treat the leaves you will need to flush out the salts from the soil. this can be done by watering the plant till the water overflows. Continue doing it for about 2 to 3 days without leaving the plant in soggy soil.

In this manner, you will be able to flush out the salts and the plant will be able to function normally.

Should I prune my Dieffenbachia?

Pruning the Dieffenbachia is not a bad idea. You can do it by cutting the cane at a 45 degrees angle with sharp scissors or a knife. If you are planning to propagate the plant this is the right time. Use the cut portion to grow more Dieffenbachias.

Be careful not to remove more than one-third of the foliage. Let the plant stay for a while before pruning it again. This will give the plant a chance to grow. Always cut above the node, these are easily identifiable. They look like a small swelling near a brown ring on the stem where the leaf is attached.

Caution: as this plant is toxic, please use gloves while working with this plant. 

Should I prune my Dieffenbachia

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Summing it up

We can say that the Dieffenbachia plant is an excellent addition to your living or working space. These plants with their lush green foliage bring a tropic touch to the rooms they are planted in. Most home gardeners prefer the Dieffenbachia plant as they are easy to care for and can be grown in water as well as soil.

While these plants are beautiful and lovely to have, they are also toxic. It is therefore important to wear gloves whenever you plan to work with this plant. if you have pets or babies keep the plants away from their reach. This is the only cautionary note that comes with the Dieffenbachia plant.

The answer to the question is Dieffenbachia an air purifier? Is yes, these plants are not only beautiful but also have added benefits when added to space they are planted in. They are also known to increase the humidity in the air and hence are recommended in spaces that have cold dry air indoors. All in all, these plants are a complete package and we highly recommend giving them a try.