Looking for an interesting plant to add to your indoor garden? Dieffenbachia may be just what you are looking for! This fascinating plant has a long history of being used as both a medicinal herb and an ornamental plant.
Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of Dieffenbachia, and find out why this plant is so popular among indoor gardeners.
What Is Dieffenbachia?
Dieffenbachia is a genus of tropical flowering plants that includes about 30 species. The most popular Dieffenbachia species is Dieffenbachia amoena, which is also known as the dumb cane plant.
Dieffenbachia amoena is native to Central and South America, where it grows in moist, shady forests. This plant gets its common name from the fact that chewing on the leaves can cause temporary paralysis of the tongue and mouth, making it difficult to speak.
The Dieffenbachia genus is named after Joseph Dieffenbach, a 19th-century botanist who was a favorite gardener at the Botanical Gardens in Vienna.
Where Does Dieffenbachia Come From?
Dieffenbachia is a tropical plant, which means it thrives in warm climates. Dieffenbachia amoena can be grown outdoors in USDA zones 11 and 12, but most of the other species in the genus are best suited for indoor growing, as direct sunlight and drastic fluctuations in temperature will cause the plant’s foliage to shrivel and die.
What’s the Best Climate for Dieffenbachia?
Dieffenbachia plants prefer warm, humid climates and thrive in temperatures between 60 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. If you live in a climate that is too cold for Dieffenbachia, don’t worry – this plant can also be successfully grown as a houseplant.
Just make sure to place it in an area of your home that receives bright, indirect sunlight, and stays relatively warm throughout the year.
How to Care for Dieffenbachia
One of the reasons Dieffenbachia is so popular among indoor gardeners is because it is relatively easy to care for. These plants are not particularly fussy about soil type, but they do prefer well-draining soil that is high in organic matter.
When it comes to watering, Dieffenbachia should be kept moist, but not soggy.
Allow the top inch or two of soil to dry out between waterings, and be sure to empty any excess water from the plant’s saucer after watering. Dieffenbachia plants should be fertilized monthly during the growing season (spring and summer), and just watered regularly during the fall and winter.
Whether you are looking for a low-maintenance house plant or an interesting addition to your indoor garden, Dieffenbachia is a great choice.
Benefits of Dieffenbachia
1 – It’s a Large Foliage Plant
One of the reasons Dieffenbachia is so popular among indoor gardeners is its large, lush leaves. These plants can grow up to six feet tall and four feet wide, making them a great choice for filling empty spaces in your home.
2 – It’s a Versatile Plant
Dieffenbachia amoena is native to Central and South America, but can be successfully grown in a wide range of climates. This plant does well indoors or outdoors in USDA zones 11 and 12, and can also be grown as a houseplant in colder climates.
Dieffenbachia amoena is tolerant of both sun and shade, making it an ideal choice for indoor gardens that receive either direct or indirect sunlight.
3 – It’s Easy to Care for
Dieffenbachia plants are not particularly fussy about soil type or watering schedule, making them one of the easiest plants to care for. They only need to be watered when the top inch or two of soil has dried out.
You don’t need to fertilize monthly during the spring and summer, but if you do, make sure to use a balanced fertilizer. If you’re the neglectful type, Dieffenbachia won’t notice.
They’re capable of thriving even when watered less often than your other plants.
4 – Dieffenbachia Purifies the Air
Another benefit of Dieffenbachia is that it helps purify the air in your home. According to a study conducted by NASA, Dieffenbachia is one of the plants that helps remove harmful toxins, such as formaldehyde and benzene, from the air.
So not only will Dieffenbachia make your home look beautiful, it will also help keep you healthy by keeping the quality of the air inside your home in check.
5 – Dieffenbachia Absorbs Lots of CO2
Speaking of keeping the air in your home clean, we should also mention that Dieffenbachia is one of the best CO2-absorbing indoor plants you can find. In fact, in a recent study, Dumb Cane went up against six other indoor plants and proved itself to be the most CO2-absorbing among the group!
6 – It Doesn’t Need Much Light
Direct sunlight is actually bad for Dieffenbachias, so they don’t need to be placed in an area that receives a lot of sunlight. Dieffenbachias are native to tropical forests, where the ground is almost always moist, and the sun rarely breaks through a thick tropical canopy.
A few hours of indirect sunlight each day is all this plant needs to thrive. If anything, it will just remind your plant of its tropical roots!
7 – It’s Perfect for Neglectful Gardeners
If you are the type of gardener who likes to let their plants go weeks without watering, Dieffenbachia is the perfect plant for you! These plants can tolerate dry soil and even periods of drought without any problems.
So if you’re forgetful or just plain lazy, Dieffenbachia is the perfect houseplant for you.
8 – They Create a Tropical Look
Dieffenbachias are a great way to add a touch of the tropics to your home. With their large leaves and lush growth, these plants can really transform an indoor space.
Turn a cold and bland guest room into a tropical escape for friends and family with just a plant or two. A bright flash of green from Dieffenbachia is a great way to bring any room to life, whether you’re in the mountains, the desert, or next to the beach.
8 – Helps Rooms Stay Cool During the Summer
Dieffenbachias can also help keep your home cool during the summer months. These plants release a lot of water vapor into the air, which can help to lower the temperature in a room.
So if you’re looking for a way to stay cool this summer, consider adding a Dieffenbachia plant or two to your indoor garden.
The more Dieffenbachias present in a single room, the greater the effect it will have on the temperature. Start out with a couple of plants, and increase from three to four for optimal results.
9 – They’re Used Medicinally
Despite their notoriety for being poisonous, Dieffenbachias have actually been used medicinally for centuries. In fact, the plant’s toxicity is what gives it its medicinal properties. Dieffenbachias have been used to treat a variety of conditions, including tumors, warts, and even snake bites!
So if you’re ever in need of a natural remedy, don’t forget that Dieffenbachia may be able to help, but make sure you learn which parts of the plant work, and how to use them in specific instances. Otherwise, you might just end up poisoning yourself!
10 – They Can Grow in Water
If you’re not the type of person who likes to have a lot of plants in your home, or if you don’t have enough space for them, Dieffenbachia can also be grown in water.
All you need is a small pot or container, some fresh water, and an inch or two of Dieffenbachia stem cut from the plant. Put everything together in a sunny spot and wait for your new aquatic plant to grow!
11 – They Make Great Gifts
Dieffenbachias also make great gifts for plant lovers! If you know someone who loves houseplants, or is looking to start a collection, Dieffenbachia is the perfect plant to give them.
With their easy care requirements and tropical look, these plants are sure to be a hit with anyone who receives them. If you’re looking for an extra special gift, consider giving them a potted Dieffenbachia that they can keep in their home year-round.
Things to Keep in Mind
They Can Be Poisonous
Although Dieffenbachias have many benefits, it’s important to remember that they can also be poisonous. All parts of the plant are toxic if ingested, and contact with the sap can cause skin irritation.
If you have small children or pets, it’s best to keep them away from Dieffenbachias, or at least make sure they are out of reach.
They’re Not Perfect for Everyone
Dieffenbachias can be a great addition to any indoor garden, but they’re not perfect for everyone. Some people prefer more color, or less commonly found houseplants.
Dieffenbachias are also not the best choice for people who suffer from migraines, as the bright colors and patterns on their leaves can trigger headaches in some people. So if you think Dieffenbachia might not be right for you, there are plenty of other houseplants to choose from!
If you’re interested in adding a Dieffenbachia to your indoor garden, make sure you do some research first. These plants can be poisonous, so it’s important to learn about them before you bring one into your home.
Talk to other plant enthusiasts, read articles and books, and visit your local nursery to get all the information you need. Once you’ve decided that Dieffenbachia is the right plant for you, then go ahead and add one to your collection! You won’t regret it.
Growing up with a mom who filled her home (inside and out) with all sorts of plants, Lisa got her start in gardening at a young age. Living now on her own with a home and yard full of plants (including an indoor greenhouse), she shares all the gardening tips she’s gained over the years.