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Dieffenbachia Care Guide for Beginners

Dieffenbachia Care Guide for Beginners
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Dieffenbachia plants are very common sights in many homes. These houseplants look great and they’re going to be good options for many people.

Perhaps you’re thinking about getting one of these plants soon. Or you might have even received a dieffenbachia plant as a gift recently.

You want to do your best to learn everything that you can about this plant. This will make caring for the plant so much simpler overall.

Continue reading to learn everything that you need to know about dieffenbachia plant care. This will allow you to keep these plants healthy in your home so you can enjoy them for as long as possible.

Are Dieffenbachia Easy to Care For?

Yes, dieffenbachia plants are decidedly easy to care for. This is one of the reasons why they’ve become ubiquitous houseplants.

You can put these plants in your home to add a touch of green to any area. These plants have a very aesthetically appealing tropical look.

They don’t require a lot of maintenance when compared to similar houseplants. On average, it shouldn’t take you much more than five or so minutes per week to care for these plants.

Since they’re low-effort plants, they’re great options for beginners. If you’ve never kept houseplants before, it’s a good idea to get a dieffenbachia plant as your first houseplant.

Keeping these plants alive will only require a modest amount of effort. They’re great for people who are less confident in their abilities to care for plants.

This doesn’t mean that they won’t appeal to people who have been caring for plants for years. They’re good houseplants for anyone who is looking for something nice.

Does Dieffenbachia Need Light?

One of the reasons why dieffenbachia plants are such good houseplants is that they don’t need a lot of light. It’s good to give these plants light, but they can survive in full shade.

If you have an office that only gets a bit of sunshine, it’s likely that a dieffenbachia plant will be a good fit for you. This plant is tolerant of full shade and doesn’t need bright sunlight to stay alive.

Of course, the plant will do better if you give it optimal sunlight. Even so, it’s good to know that you can keep these plants in offices that don’t get a lot of sun.

In an office environment, dieffenbachia plants can adapt to fluorescent lighting. It just takes the plant a bit of time to adjust.

Dieffenbachia plants absolutely do need light to be able to survive. They just aren’t as picky about light requirements as many other houseplants that you can purchase.

Dieffenbachia Lighting Requirements

What are the lighting requirements for these plants? You’ve learned that they can adapt to fluorescent lighting, but what’s the ideal situation for these plants look like?

You’ll find that this plant thrives in bright ambient light. If you can put it in a spot where it will receive bright light that isn’t too harsh, it’ll grow to be a very healthy and strong houseplant.

Diffused sunlight or partial shade will be much better than direct sunlight. Sadly, direct sunlight is too harsh for these houseplants.

When dieffenbachia plants are exposed to direct sunlight it’s common for them to get scorched. The leaves will wind up turning brown and the plant will not look very good at all if you’re not careful.

Be mindful of this and find a spot in your home or office where it can receive partial shade or diffused sunlight. Doing so will protect the plant while also giving it the energy that it needs to keep growing.

These plants grow best when they have access to bright light. It will tolerate full shade, but the plant likely won’t grow as well as it would if you placed it in bright and indirect sunlight.

Best Soil for Dieffenbachia

Planting dieffenbachia plants in the right soil is imperative. These might be easy plants to care for, but it’s still best to use recommended soil when you want to get the best results.

It’s best to plant these plants in soil that has great drainage. Doing so will make it less likely that you’ll water the plants too much.

It might be a good idea to add some perlite or sand to the soil for drainage purposes. You can make a well-draining potting mix for these plants that will do the job right.

The soil should be fertile so it’ll give the plant plenty of nutrients. Many enthusiasts say that using African violet potting mix is ideal for these plants.

You can easily get what you need from a department store or you can order it online. Using ideal soil will get the plant started out properly.

Dieffenbachia Temperature

What temperature is the best for these plants? You want to ensure that you keep these plants in an environment with an optimal temperature setting if you want them to grow as strongly as possible.

Ideally, you want the temperature to stay between 65 degrees Fahrenheit and 75 degrees Fahrenheit when caring for these plants. This is the best temperature range that will help the plants to grow and stay healthy.

As you can tell, this is a great temperature range for indoor plants. Most people live in temperature-controlled environments these days.

You likely keep your home somewhere around 72 degrees Fahrenheit on average. Just don’t allow your home to get too hot or too cold and everything will be fine.

It’s also wise to keep these plants away from drafty windows and vents. Exposure to cool temperatures can cause dieffenbachia plants a lot of harm.

Putting the plant too close to an air conditioning unit or a drafty window during the window will be a poor choice. Find a good spot in your home or office where the temperature will remain stable.

Dieffenbachia Pot Size

Choosing the right pot is another thing you’ll want to do. You want to ensure that the dieffenbachia plant has a pot with a proper drainage hole at the bottom.

The material of the pot doesn’t really matter that much. You can use a standard plastic pot or you could use a ceramic pot if you’d like to.

You should choose a pot that is large enough in diameter to comfortably fit the plant. Don’t use a pot that is far too large for the plant since that makes it easier to water the plant too much.

Eventually, the plant will grow larger and you’ll have to repot it. You want to put these plants in a new pot when they start to become rootbound.

Choosing a new pot is easy. Simply put the plant in a pot that is two inches larger in diameter than the previous pot and things should be fine.

Dieffenbachia Fertilizer Needs

Fertilizing these plants will indeed be beneficial. Like most houseplants, this plant is going to appreciate a bit of fertilizer during the growing season.

You should fertilize the dieffenbachia plant once per month starting in the spring. Stop fertilizing the plant at the end of autumn.

Using an organic houseplant fertilizer will get you great results. Whenever you use fertilizer, it’s best to follow the instructions.

Generally, you’ll dilute the fertilizer to make sure that it isn’t too strong for the plant. Using too much fertilizer or using a fertilizer that is too powerful can be harmful to the plant.

The fertilizer will ensure that the plant has enough nutrients to keep growing fast. It’ll help it to look its best and the plant will continue to be healthy.

Dieffenbachia Humidity Level

These plants like it when there is a lot of moisture in the environment. If you keep them in dry places they aren’t going to do as well as they should.

More moisture is generally going to be better for these plants. It’s not too hard to raise the moisture in the room even when you’re keeping the plant in an office environment.

The humidity level should be around 60% for these plants. You can raise the humidity in the room by leaving out bowls of water.

Another option is to mist the plants regularly by spraying water in the room. Many people go this route when taking care of houseplants.

If you’d like things to be even simpler, you can buy a small humidifier for houseplants. This will allow you to keep the humidity level in the room steady for the sake of the plants.

Water Requirements

Of course, watering the plant is a major aspect of caring for it. If you don’t water the plant properly, it’s not going to survive.

These plants aren’t hard to water at all. You simply want to water the plant and then wait until the top two inches of the soil are dry to water it again.

Always touch the soil with your fingers to check the moisture level. If the soil is a bit moist, it’s not going to be time to water the plant just yet.

You don’t want to let the soil become bone dry, though. Doing this might cause the leaves of the plant to start wilting and they might even turn brown if you continue to neglect the plant.

Water it when the top two inches of soil have dried out a bit. So long as you’re checking the soil before watering the plant, it should be easy to avoid watering a dieffenbachia plant too much.

How to Care for a Dieffenbachia in Water

You might have heard that it’s possible to grow dieffenbachia plants in just water. This is indeed a viable propagation method that you can turn to.

Simply root the dieffenbachia plant directly in water. These aren’t plants that grow this way in the wild, but they can adapt well when you plant them in water.

Doing this causes the plants to grow water roots. These roots are capable of extracting oxygen from the water to help the plant survive.

These roots are far more fragile than soil roots. You’ll certainly need to be careful with them.

It’s said that these plants evolved to be able to do this just in case. This could be something the plants are capable of in case they have to deal with flooded environments for weeks or months.

In some ways, caring for these plants in the water will be easier than caring for them in soil. You don’t have to worry about watering them and root rot won’t be a concern any longer.

You can easily transplant the dieffenbachia plant to another potting medium if it outgrows the current container. Just gently put it in a larger container and then add the necessary amount of water.

It will be necessary to look after the plants more carefully. For instance, you have to change the water regularly so that algae won’t become a problem.

You also do this so that you can refresh the plant’s available oxygen content. It’ll be necessary to give the plant doses of nutrients, too.

Dieffenbachia plants that are grown in water won’t grow nearly as fast as plants that are grown in soil. They also won’t grow to be as big overall.

So long as you’re fine with this concession, it can be a good experience to care for these plants in water. Just be ready to put in a bit more maintenance time to keep the plants healthy.

Do Dieffenbachia Plants Purify the Air?

Are you looking for a houseplant that will purify the air in your home? Can a dieffenbachia get the job done?

Yes, this houseplant is going to be an excellent air purification option in your house. These types of indoor jobs do a good job cleaning the air and they make things a lot fresher overall.

This plant has been scientifically proven to reduce CO2 levels. Putting a few of these plants in your living room will really freshen the room up.

It’s also nice that they’re so easy to care for. This will be a simple and satisfying natural air purifier that your family will like.

If you want greater air purification, you can add more plants to your home. It’d be simple enough to care for multiple dieffenbachia houseplants if you’re so inclined.

How Fast Do Dieffenbachia Plants Grow?

These are rather fast-growing plants. If you give these plants optimal care and access to bright indirect sunlight, they’re going to grow a lot.

It’s said that these plants can grow as much as two feet in just one year. To achieve this, you’ll need to water the plant optimally and give it proper sunlight.

Fertilizing the plant once per month during its growing season will help, too. If you put in the effort, this is going to be a plant that will get quite large.

Over the years, you’ll have to put your plant in bigger pots several times. It’s important to do this if you want the plant to keep growing.

When the plant becomes rootbound in a pot that’s too small it’ll stifle its growth potential. Keep this in mind.

How Long Will Dieffenbachia Plants Live?

Dieffenbachia plants will live for a very long time if you care for them properly. There isn’t a set time that the plant will die so long as you keep it in good shape and repot it when necessary.

You’ll have to repot the plant when the time is right. The plant will outgrow its current pot and you’ll have to put it in a larger one.

Refresh the plants as their leaves die off to keep them alive. Keep doing this and you’ll be enjoying this houseplant for many years.

Can Dieffenbachia Plants Live Outside?

Dieffenbachia plants can live outside, but only during certain times of the year. Earlier, you learned that these plants like temperatures that stay between 65 degrees Fahrenheit and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

If the temperatures get too cool outside, it’ll be very bad for the dieffenbachia plants. You’ll only want to keep them outdoors when the temperatures are mild.

It’s not even a good idea to keep these plants outside during the hottest days of the summer. It’s likely that they will wilt or experience scorching issues if you do so.

These plants are easier to take care of in an indoor environment. If you live in a specific part of the world where the temperatures are favorable, you might be able to keep these plants outdoors somewhat often.

Will a Dieffenbachia Plant Flower?

Dieffenbachia plants can flower, but they have a unique type of flower that you might not expect. These plants have a green spathe that looks like an unfolding leaf.

The plant also has an off-white spadix, but it’s hidden and not always easy to locate. So it doesn’t produce traditional blooms that you’ll recognize for their beauty.

For the most part, these plants are recognized for their lush greenery. They aren’t thought of as flowering plants even if they technically have flowers.

Some people wind up cutting the flowers off because they don’t think they look great. You don’t have to do this, though.

Are These Plants Toxic to Cats?

If you have cats you might want to be wary of these plants. You see, dieffenbachia plants are incredibly toxic to cats and can cause them harm.

Your feline companions might not always be smart enough to know which plants they shouldn’t nibble on. Some cats will chew on the leaves of these plants and they’ll wind up getting sick.

When cats chew on the leaves, it’ll cause them to experience significant oral pain. It’s known to cause a burning sensation and it’ll likely make your cat start to drool.

In some cases, the cat will experience swelling around its mouth. It could cause the cat to have a tough time breathing.

There have been situations where cats have been unable to swallow due to the swelling as well. It’s easy enough to see that you want to keep dieffenbachia plants out of the reach of cats.

Are These Plants Toxic to Dogs?

Yes, these plants are also toxic to dogs. If you have dogs, you’ll need to keep these plants up and out of their reach.

A dog that chews on these plants will experience the same troubling symptoms as cats. It causes mouth pain, burning sensations, and significant swelling.

Since you don’t want your loyal canine to go through such a harrowing experience, it’s best to put these houseplants somewhere safe. Of course, you don’t want your plants to get eaten by your pets under normal conditions either.

Try to find a spot where the pets won’t be able to reach the plants. You might put the plants on top of a shelf or on a table that is too high for the pets to reach.

If you don’t have a convenient spot for the plants, it might be best to avoid keeping these in your home. You certainly don’t want your pets to get hurt or die due to eating dieffenbachia leaves.

Dieffenbachia Plants Are Poisonous to People

It’s important to know that these plants are poisonous to people, too. Even if you don’t plan on chewing the leaves of these plants, it’s important to handle them with care.

Dieffenbachia plants contain calcium oxalate and this can cause people to experience discomfort when handling the plants. You should likely avoid direct contact with the plants as much as possible.

It probably isn’t going to harm you to briefly touch the plant, but it’ll be best to wash your hands thoroughly after this occurs. You could wear gloves when pruning or watering the plants just to be safe.

These plants can irritate your skin and it’ll be a problem if you handle them regularly. Take the right precautions and this won’t be a big deal at all.

Why Do Some People Call Dieffenbachia Plants “Dumb Cane Plants?”

Have you heard people referring to these plants as “dumb cane plants” in the past? That is indeed another name for these plants that has become popular.

There’s a reason why people started calling them dumb cane plants. It’s said that if you chew on a piece of the stem from this plant that it will render you speechless.

The speechlessness is temporary, but it’s enough to have given this plant the “dumb cane” nickname. It renders you temporarily dumb if you decide to chew on its stem.

Of course, there’s no reason why anyone would do this in modern times. You certainly don’t want to chew on this plant nor do you want to consume any part of the plant.

Nichol

Friday 11th of November 2022

Please help. I have a beautiful diffenbachia. But it's leaves are turning brown at the tips. I thought I was watering it too much so I stopped. It's still turning brown.

Lisa

Monday 14th of November 2022

Hi Nichol, It can be difficult to figure out the cause when leaves are changing colors. There are 3 main things that would be likely to cause the browning of your dieffenbachia leaves. 1. Over-watering 2. Too much direct sunlight 3. Over-fertilizing

Even though you cut back on watering, you might want to check and make sure that the water has properly drained out of the soil and that it hasn't become water logged. If that's not the case, then I would definitely consider light or fertilizer issues.

Happy Planting! Lisa