Dieffenbachia are easy-care houseplants that are all about foliage. This large, leafy plant often has variegated patterns, introducing color and vitality to a space. Native to tropical regions of South America and the Caribbean, dieffenbachia is part of the Araceae family, making it a distant relative to pothos, philodendron, and monstera plants. Dieffenbachia is sometimes found in plant shops in the aroids section. Dieffenbachia care is easy, but learn more about proper techniques to help your plant look full and amazing.
Types of Dieffenbachia
Dieffenbachia plants have a central trunk or cane and an upright growth habit. Broad, ovate leaves emerge from the trunk and taper to a point. The foliage often has a pronounced midrib and symmetrical veining. Leaves are typically green and may have yellow, white, or cream specs or expansive floods of color. Houseplants can reach up to five feet tall and equally wide with proper dieffenbachia care. Some of the more popular dieffenbachia plants include:
- Camille dieffenbachia
- Camouflage dieffenbachia
- Honeydew dieffenbachia
- Mary dieffenbachia
- Snow dieffenbachia
- Sparkle dieffenbachia
- Tropic Marianne dieffenbachia
- Tropic Snow dieffenbachia
- Tropical Tiki dieffenbachia
Dieffenbachia Light Requirements
Dieffenbachia plants do well in the shade, making them a popular choice for plant owners who want the look of a leafy plant but don’t have the natural light necessary. Grow dieffenbachia in medium light, although this plant can live in low light. Plants that live in low light will feature slowed growth. Dieffenbachia plants will appreciate a sunny spot in the winter, so try to locate near a south- or west-facing window or bring in grow lights to help this leafy beauty thrive. Rotate dieffenbachia to keep the plant growing upright and prevent leaning.
How Often to Water Dieffenbachia
Water dieffenbachia when the top couple of inches of soil is dry. Saturate the soil when the plant needs water until excess water drains through the pot. Empty the saucer or cover pot so the roots are not submerged in standing water and the soil is not waterlogged.
Best Soil for Dieffenbachia
Well-drained soil is vital for dieffenbachia care. The plant is not picky about the soil as long as it allows excess water to drain, although acidic soil will support new growth.
Temperature for Dieffenbachia
As a tropical plant, dieffenbachia likes warm conditions, and most homes are typically comfortable for the plant. Generally, 65° to 75° F is acceptable. This plant loves to spend summer on a porch or patio, but wait until the temperature is above 60° F to move the plant outdoors. Cold air temperatures or exposure to a drafty window during the winter may cause leaf drop, so monitor the temperature and move the plant as needed.
A humid area in the home is a good fit for dieffenbachia. These tropical plants like increased moisture in the air and will do well in a kitchen or bathroom. Low humidity can be a problem for dieffenbachia, so routinely inspect the leaves for dry edges and increase the humidity if necessary.
Most large houseplants need a nutritional boost to support new growth, so regularly fertilize your dieffenbachia to help it thrive and bulk up. Apply a balanced, water-soluble plant food every four to six weeks.
Pruning is not essential to dieffenbachia care, but it can drastically impact the plant’s appearance. Remove lower foliage to create a tree-like plant, or trim upper growth to control the height and create a bushy look.
Use clean, sharp shears when pruning dieffenbachia, and wear gloves. Cut stems produce a white sap that often causes irritation if it comes into contact with the skin. Wash the shears when you’re done to remove any sap.
When to Repot Dieffenbachia
Proper dieffenbachia care requires repotting every one to two years. Roots growing above the soil or through drainage holes in the pot indicate the plant is ready for a new container — repot dieffenbachia in a new, larger container with fresh soil.
Division is the easiest way to propagate dieffenbachia. When repotting, untangle the roots to divide offsets from the mother plant. Trim the roots if necessary using clean, sharp shears or a knife.
Tall plants with bare expanses of cane can be propagated to create full plants. Remove the top leafy section, apply a rooting hormone to the cut end, and place it in the soil. Cut the cane into smaller pieces and lay those pieces horizontally on the soil. New foliage will emerge from each cutting.
Do Dieffenbachia Bloom?
Houseplants do not always bloom, but with excellent dieffenbachia care, the plant may set flowers. The flowers are typically white spikes that add an interesting visual element to the plant. Flowers are more likely to emerge with plants that spend the summer outside in warm, sunny, and humid climates. Dieffenbachia is grown for its ornamental foliage, so some plant owners remove the flowers to redirect energy into foliage growth. Be careful of sap if you remove the flower stalks.
Is Dieffenbachia Pet Friendly?
Dieffenbachia plants are not pet friendly. All parts of the dieffenbachia plant contain calcium oxalate crystals known as raphides. Chewing on the foliage or stems can cause oral irritation, numbing, drooling, and swelling. Dieffenbachia is not poisonous, but it is unpleasant and uncomfortable. Cut or damaged stems produce a sap that can cause skin irritation, so be careful if you have this plant around curious pets or little ones.
Dieffenbachia Styling Tips
Styling dieffenbachia is easy because the broad, variegated foliage does all the hard work. Dieffenbachia is a large plant that can easily fill a corner and is a natural fit in a room with a high ceiling. Choose a large container with a minimalist look so the leaves stand out and receive the attention they deserve.
Dieffenbachia Care Tips
Dieffenbachia is a forgiving and adaptable plant that does well with minimal attention. The only drawback of these plants is the sap they produce, but as long as you take care when pruning, these tropical houseplants are easy to maintain.