How to care for: Dieffenbachia (Dumb cane)
The Dieffenbachia is an excellent choice for beginners since it is straightforward to grow and take care of. This plant has broad, lush leaves that are a combination of green, yellow, and white. Adding the Dieffenbachia to your space will instantly give it a tropical feel. Additionally, this plant grows quickly too.
Water once a week
How do you take care of a Dieffenbachia?
The Alocasia likes to be placed in a spot with lots of light. Not all species tolerate bright light well. It is best to place the plant in medium bright light. The Alocasia prefers a spot next to a window on the west or east. A spot near the south is of course also possible. Make sure that the plant is at least 2 metres away from the window. A spot near the north probably has too little light.
If an Alocasia gets too little sunlight, the plant will grow long stems. With its long stems the plant hopes to reach the sunlight. This can be crucial for the plant. Because of the long stems the leaves can become too heavy and break off.
Therefore, don’t forget to turn the Alocasia! The plant grows towards the sun. If you do not rotate the plant will only get full on one side and that is what you want to prevent.
It is important to always keep the soil of the Dieffenbachia slightly moist. You can check this with your finger in the soil. Never let the Diefffenbachia dry out. Not even in winter! It is best to water the Dieffenbachia once a week all year round. In the winter it may be a smaller amount. When watering the Dieffenbachia plant, one thing to keep in mind is not to overwater it. Overwatering can ruin leaves of the Dieffenbachia, causing them to become limp or developing root rot.
The Dieffenbachia doesn't use a lot of energy. However, the plant can enjoy some extra nutrients. You can provide these nutrients some plant nutrition every 2 week. We recommend to divide the strength of the plant nutrition in half. After autumn and in winter it is better not to give extra nutrients. In the autumn, plant nutrition can actually be harmful for the Dieffenbachia!
Repotting the Dieffenbachia isn't necessary every year. The plant is a slow grower. We recommend repotting the Dieffenbachia immediately after purchase. Repotting the plant every 2 year gives enough nutrients and more room for root growth. The airier soil is also very good for the water flowing through. The best period to repot is spring.
The Dieffenbachia is a light air-purifying plant. This is mainly due to the large leaves of Dieffenbachia. The large leaf surface gives the plant extra stomata. Dieffenbachia plants use stomata to convert CO2 into oxygen during the day. And that is always good. For you and your home.
Is the Dieffenbachia toxic?
The Dieffenbachia is toxic, and this toxicity is in the juice of this plant. Interestingly, it gets its name because chewing it can cause swelling in the vocal cords and make it hard to speak.
Diseases and peculiarities
If the air is too dry, the Dieffenbachia can suffer from mealy bugs. To prevent mealy bugs, it is best to use the plant sprayer once a week. Mealy bugs are an infection on plants. You can recognise the infection by infected leaves and a kind of cobwebs. If you have come across mealy bugs, it is best to place the plant outside. Wind and moisture from outside will quickly keep the mealy bugs away.
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Frequently asked questions about the Dieffenbachia
Why does my Dieffenbachia get yellow leaves?
If the Dieffenbachia develops yellow leaves, this is usually due to too much light. However, it is also possible that the Dieffenbachia is suffering from root rot. If the stem of the plant feels soft, then this, in combination with yellow leaves, could be root rot. In this case, reduce the watering.
How large can a Dieffenbachia get?
Dieffenbachias are compact and often small plants. A Dieffenbachia can grow to a maximum of 180 cm, but you will need to be patient.
Can you propagate a Dieffenbachia?
Yes, you certainly can. Check out our tips on how to propagate the Dieffenbachia.