The dieffenbachia plant is a small genus in the araceae family and aroideae subfamily. These tropical plants are best known for their unique foliage which consists of variegated, oblong leaves and fleshy stems. In color, their apexed leaves are medium green with either yellow or cream centers – depending upon the species – and deep green outlines. Their flowers – which are made up of a spadix that is well concealed by a green spathe – are highly subtle, and often go unnoticed. Dieffenbachia, which is native to South America, grows its best in rich, thoroughly moistened soil, and can thrive in low sunlight.
Originally it was a greenhouse plant but the recent scientific advances helped evolve new varieties that are easy to keep indoors. This plant is very popular worldwide mainly due to its easy care and for its impressive foliage. Its stems look like canes that can reach a height of 1 m or more. Its large leaves are oval in shape with sharp edges or in other varieties long and narrow. The base of each leaf is wrapped around the stem. The differences between varieties are, apart from the shape of leaves, in the second color of the leaves, in tones that vary from pale white to vivid yellow.
We must stress that all parts of the plant contain an enzyme that is extremely poisonous for little children or pets. If any part of the plant is consumed, this enzyme causes swelling of the pharynx and the tongue to a point where it can obstruct airways and lead to death. Place these plants at spots where kids and pets cannot reach, e.g. on top of a table or shelf or even better on a window-sill. If there is no way to keep the plant away from your "hungry" roommates, avoid getting a dieffenbachia or if you already have one think about handing it over to a friend.
Light: The Dieffenbachia prefers a moderate dose of filtered light. It will not do well with full exposure to direct sunlight.
Water Habits: The Dieffenbachia will grow best when watered thoroughly and then allowed to dry between waterings. Water the soil until it becomes very dark, but not to the point that the water is no longer being soaked by the soil. Potting the plant to allow for proper drainage will help guard against over watering.
Temperature: Ideal Temperature for Dieffenbachia: 70-80°F (21-27°C) Min: 45°F (7°C)
Did You Know ?
Dieffenbachia is among the most popular ornamental plants sold in the United States for the fact that they are one of the most durable indoor plants available. The plant can strive off filtered sunlight which makes it a plant that can survive and still look good with some abuse. The Dieffenbachia is also good for filling the container by sending out suckers.