There are a number of plants that belong to the dieffenbachia genus. They are gorgeous tropical perennials, and they make great houseplants. I have a dieffenbachia plant at home, and I am always stunned by its beauty. So if you are interested in growing dieffenbachia, read on to find out more information about this plant, and get all the dieffenbachia care instructions.
What is a dieffenbachia plant? The dieffenbachia plant is also known as “Dumb cane”, it got this nickname because the sap of the plant is toxic, and when ingested it can cause irritation. So it is not the ideal plant to have in an environment with small children or pets. The leaves of the dieffenbachia have a pointy, oval shape, and depending on the varieties the colors are a combination of green, cream, and white. When they grow well they can reach up to 3 meters in height, with 20 cm long leaves. But, in ordinary indoor conditions it is very rare that they will reach this size, they will usually reach between 90 centimeters to 1,5 meters. Dieffenbachia plants are fast growers, so if it gets the right care and conditions it can reach 60 cm height in a year. These plants are able to adapt to different conditions.
How to Care for Dieffenbachia Plants
When talking about dieffenbachia care there are a few things you need to know if you want your plant to thrive. So I will start by talking about some dieffenbachia care problems. Because it is a tropical plant, it does better in environments with high humidity, so if during the winter months it tends to get dry where you live, the pot can be placed on a wet pebbles tray, and you can spray the leaves of the plant with some water.
But, when growing dieffenbachia, the problem that is most common is excess moisture. As is true in the case of most houseplants, overwatering is one of the biggest dieffenbachia problems. So it is important that you plant your dieffenbachia in well-draining soil, and that you water it lightly, which means the soil should be maintained moist, but definitely not soggy. Before watering your plant you can check if the top 2,5 cm of soil are dry, if yes then it means you can water it.
Other dieffenbachia problems may be caused by wrong light conditions. Most of the varieties of dieffenbachia, when growing indoors, will grow best under bright, indirect sunlight.
Here are some more pieces of information you need to know to take care of the dieffenbachia house plant.
- Soil. Use well-draining and aerated potting mix. In order to avoid the roots getting damaged, it is important that the drainage happens well, as I said before, they shouldn’t be left swimming in soggy soil.
- Light. These plants are great indoor plants because they are able to tolerate lower light conditions. But they do enjoy some bright light, especially during the months of winter. In the growing season, these plants thrive when they have access to indirect sunlight. Because the side that is facing the direction of the light tends to be favored, it is good that once in a while you rotate your plant a little. If you notice that your dieffenbachia stopped growing, it probably means that it is not getting enough light.
- Watering. Dieffenbachia watering is quite simple once you get used to it. In the growing season, don’t let the soil dry out, it should be kept regularly moist. In the case of a big dieffenbachia twice a week watering might be needed, but remember to reduce the amount of water during the winter. Although you are aiming to keep the soil moist, it is important that you don’t overwater your plant because this can end up causing root rot. By making sure the top part of the soil is dry before giving your plant more water, you will avoid this problem.
- Humidity and temperature. Dieffenbachias like warmer conditions, between 18 to 23 celsius. In the case, the temperatures drop below 15 celsius or the plant gets exposed to cold drafts, there is a good chance that it will start dropping its lower leaves.
- Fertilizer. You can choose to feed your plant every month or so using a diluted, balanced fertilizer. Although there are some people that use a diluted weak fertilizer in every watering.
How to Propagate Dieffenbachia
Propagation of dieffenbachia plants can be done in three fairly easy ways:
- When you re-pot your plant in the spring, you can divide the offsets (leaving them with some intact roots) and plant them in separate new pots. If you decide to use this propagation method, it is important that you are careful that the parent plant’s roots system is not damaged in the process, and try to use a tool that has been sterilized this way any spread of disease can be avoided.
- In the case of leggy, older dieffenbachias, what you can do is cut off the top of the plant and plant it into new potting soil with some rooting hormone. After a while, the stump will start sprouting new leaves. When the new leaves have started to appear, you can remove the old ones.
- You can sprout pieces of the cane. To do this you just need to lay the pieces in potting soil that is damp. After a while, the pieces will start taking roots, and later on, leaves will start sprouting.
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