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DIEFFENBACHIA

Image of Dieffenbachia

Gerald L. Klingaman

Family

Araceae

Botanical Name

DIEFFENBACHIA

Plant Common Name

Dieffenbachia, Dumbcane

General Description

Native to tropical America, this frost-sensitive tender perennial is commonly grown as a houseplant. Its large, waxy, green leaves are mottled with blotches of white, cream or yellow. As its lower leaves are shed its stem becomes more evident. All parts of this plant are poisonous if eaten and its sap may cause skin irritation.

Dumbcane should be given bright light, but never direct sunlight (unless right at morning or dusk). A rich, moist and well-drained soil is perfect. Do not overwater this plant in the cooler winter months, either indoors or out. Higher humidity in the summer helps keep leaves their finest and prevents leaf curling and brown edges. Snails and slugs may find dumbcane leaves especially tasty.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    12 - 15

  • Sunset Zone

    H1, H2, 24

  • Plant Type

    Tender Perennial

  • Sun Exposure

    Partial Shade, Full Shade

  • Height

    3'-10' / 0.9m - 3.0m

  • Width

    2'-3' / 0.6m - 0.9m

  • Bloom Time

    Late Spring, Early Summer, Summer

  • Native To

    Central America, Brazil

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Drought

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Upright/Erect

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Insignificant

  • Flower Color

    White

  • Fruit Color

    Red

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    White, Yellow, Green, Light Green, Light Yellow, Ivory

  • Foliage Color (Spring) Modifier

    Variegated, Spotted/Mottled

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    White, Green, Light Green, Light Yellow, Ivory

  • Foliage Color (Summer) Modifier

    Variegated, Spotted/Mottled

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    White, Yellow, Green, Light Green, Light Yellow, Ivory

  • Foliage Color (Fall) Modifier

    Variegated, Spotted/Mottled

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    White, Yellow, Green, Light Green, Light Yellow, Ivory

  • Foliage Color (Winter) Modifier

    Variegated, SpottedMottled

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    Yes

  • Showy Fruit

    Yes

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Bold

  • Foliage Sheen

    Glossy

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Bedding Plant, Container, Feature Plant, Houseplant, Tropical

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    No