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Dieffenbachia Care Tips

Dieffenbachia is an elegant broadleaf featuring tender cream-colored foliage outlined in green. It received the common name "dumb cane" due to the fact that its sap contains a chemical that can cause a temporary loss of speech, and therefore it is recommended that you wear rubber gloves (and consider using eye protection) when touching this plant's lovely foliage. Some dieffenbachia care tips include keeping the soil moist but not wet, and watering it more in the summer (when it will thrive in humidity) and less in the winter months. This low-maintenance houseplant doesn't love bright sunlight, but can tolerate it; in fact it grows best in artificial lighting conditions such as in an office or commercial setting.

Well-drained soil is a friend of this plant, though an overgrown dieffenbachia can reach upwards of 5 feet, and may need to be repotted before it gets too top heavy. In fact, if you want to learn how to repot a dieffenbachia plant, it's simple: first, put on a pair of rubber gloves to prevent contact with the sap. Then, grab a pot that is slightly (but not too much) larger than the pot the plant resides in currently, fill it to within a couple inches from the top with damp, well-drained soil, and place the plant in the soil. If the dieffenbachia is root bound, gently loosen the root ball before placing it in the soil.

During the repotting process, or at any time, dieffenbachia propagation is easy; simply take a cutting and keep it moist and in a warm environment until you're ready to plant it. To maintain a healthy, happy dieffenbachia plant, clean the leaves occasionally using a damp sponge; you can also mist the leaves every day or so, as this plant thrives in humidity. As the plant grows, it will naturally shed its lower leaves, and take on a tall, cane-like appearance.

  • Location: Keep in medium to bright indirect sunlight indoors.
  • Temperature: This plant does best in a warmer climate of 60 to 80 degrees.
  • Water: Allow soil to dry out between waterings. Water thoroughly whenever soil is dry in a sink to ensure saturation.
  • Fertilizer: For optimal results, add a balanced and diluted fertilizer to the soil at least twice a month during the growing season, from March through October.

Transplanting Tips

When handling this plant, it is important to wear gloves and possibly even eye protection, as its sap can cause skin irritation and even a temporary loss of speech. Taking cuttings of plant from the root or stem, and keep them moist, but not wet, until you're ready to transplant. The rooting process can take anywhere from 2 to 4 weeks.