Dieffenbachia plants come in many shapes, colors, and sizes. So, whether you want a low-maintenance houseplant or a large, lush centerpiece in your garden, this is the plant for you!
Dieffenbachias have a sub-set of several cultivars or varieties. These varieties vary in their rarity, but they are each as beautiful as the next.
There are a number of Dieffenbachia varieties or cultivars. The most common cultivars are Camille, Carina, Compacta, Delilah, Exotica, Honeydew, Mary, Rebecca, Sarah, Snow, Sparkles, Star Bright, Tiki, Triumph, Tropic Marianne, and Tropic Snow. Each one has a distinct look and leaf pattern.
We’ve put together a simple guide on the Dieffenbachia plant’s background, varieties, flowering abilities, plant care, and even common problems that Dieffenbachia houseplants may face.
So, if you want to know more about Dieffenbachia cultivars, or even about this gorgeous plant in general, then look no further.
Dieffenbachia is a tropical plant natively found in the West Indies, Mexico, and South America. These gorgeous plants flourish in bright, indirect sunlight, and several varieties or cultivars are often grown as houseplants.
These plants can also easily adjust to growing under artificial light, making them a fantastic indoor plant to brighten up your home or office and bring life into any room.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), if these plants are grown outdoors, they grow best in hardiness zones 10 – 12, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
A Dieffenbachia plant can live for up to ten years with proper care. These plants are fast-growing and will generally reach maturity after 2 – 3 years of being planted.
Depending on the variety, Dieffenbachias can grow between 1 and 10 feet tall. Generally, varieties kept as houseplants will grow between 2 – 3 feet tall and have a spread or width of 2 feet. Outdoor cultivars will grow between 6 to 10 feet tall and can have a spread of up to 5 feet.
Dieffenbachia is also commonly known as Leopard Lily and Mother-In-Law’s Tongue. But one of the most well-known names for this plant species is Dumb Cane. Dieffenbachia is known as Dumb Cane due to its toxicity and the numbing effects it can have on the mouth.
While it has low toxicity levels, it should be kept out of reach of plants and curious pets to avoid poisoning. For the same reason, you should always wear protective gloves and keep your eyes covered when handling your plant.
Types of Dieffenbachias
Dieffenbachias are gorgeous tropical plants that have become extremely popular as houseplants because of their basic care. Plant enthusiasts and avid gardeners are crazy about this plant because of its many varieties or cultivars with a unique aesthetic.
There are several Dieffenbachia varieties, but only some are commonly cultivated and sold as indoor plants. The most well-known types of Dieffenbachias include the Camille, Honeydew, Tiki, and Tropic Snow, among others.
There are also some varieties you may not have heard of as well. Rare beauties like the Sparkles, Star Bright, Exotica, Mary, and Rebecca are usually harder to come by.
We have put together a small list of some of the most easily identifiable Dieffenbachia cultivars, each with a brief description of their unique look.
1 – Dieffenbachia ‘Camille’
The Dieffenbachia ‘Camille’ is also known as the Dumb Cane ‘Camille’ or Leopard Lily ‘Camille.’ This variety is most commonly grown and sold as a houseplant. It has become a popular variety among plant lovers.
The ‘Camille’ has oval-shaped leaves that are cream or light yellow. The edges of the leaves are usually bordered in a deep, emerald green.
2 – Dieffenbachia ‘Carina’
Dieffenbachia or Dumb Cane ‘Carina’ is a much larger cultivar or variety of the Dieffenbachia plant. These plants are more commonly grown outdoors due to their size but can be kept indoors in a large, open area.
The ‘Carina’ has lush green leaves that are patterned with speckles. These speckles are usually lighter green, but the plant can also produce splotches of a much darker green over the leaves.
3 – Dieffenbachia ‘Compacta’
The Dieffenbachia ‘Compacta’ is a much smaller variety of this plant. These plants get their name from their compact size, making them great for keeping indoors as a house or office plant. They are also fantastic for filtering and producing cleaner air when indoors.
The ‘Compacta’ has light yellow leaves spotted with medium green around the edges.
4 – Dieffenbachia ‘Delilah’
Dieffenbachia ‘Delilah’ is one of the biggest Dieffenbachia cultivars. Known as Dumb Cane ‘Delilah,’ these plants have strikingly light leaves with a dark green border. The leaves are also usually spotted in the same dark green.
Because of its size, the ‘Delilah’ is often grown outdoors.
5 – Dieffenbachia ‘Exotica’
Dumb Cane or Dieffenbachia ‘Exotica’ is usually much taller than other varieties of Dieffenbachia and tends to grow straight up. Their width or spread is usually much more compact than different varieties.
The ‘Exotica’ has off-white leaves with thick bordered edges of dark green, giving them a distinctly tropical look.
6 – Dieffenbachia ‘Honeydew’
The Dieffenbachia ‘Honeydew’ is given its name because of its bright leaves that are generally golden or bright yellow. The leaves have a thin border of green around the edges, giving this variety a unique look that can brighten up most spaces.
This variety is one of the larger Dieffenbachia cultivars, making them a popular outdoor variety of the plant.
7 – Dieffenbachia ‘Mary’
This variety is noted for its growth patterns. The Dieffenbachia ‘Mary’ usually grows much faster than any other cultivars.
The ‘Mary’ has light green or lime-colored leaves enhanced by dark green washes over the leaves.
8 – Dieffenbachia ‘Rebecca’
If you want a smaller variety of Dieffenbachia to keep as a houseplant, the ‘Rebecca’ is a great choice. This cultivar is much smaller than most of its relatives and can be kept indoors in smaller spaces.
This Dieffenbachia variety has vivid yellow leaves variegated with a muted green color.
9 – Dieffenbachia ‘Sarah’
The Dieffenbachia ‘Sarah’ has an unusual look, with deep green leaves that are mixed with white. The center of the leaves is usually light yellow or cream. There are also patterns of speckled green throughout the leaves.
10 – Dieffenbachia ‘Snow’
This variety of Dieffenbachia is another example of a large-growing cultivar. It is usually kept outdoors.
The Dieffenbachia ‘Snow’ gets its name from the small spots of white that are sporadically produced on its leaves which have the appearance of snowflakes. It has very dark green leaves that are lightly variegated with a white or silver streak.
11 – Dieffenbachia ‘Sparkles’
This smaller Dieffenbachia cultivar is small enough to be kept inside your home. It can give your space a more refined and unique look. Like its relative, the Dieffenbachia ‘Snow’, the Dieffenbachia ‘Snow’ is named after its appearance.
This cultivar has lime-green leaves that are generally patterned with white and green speckles.
12 – Dieffenbachia ‘Star Bright’
Similar to the Dieffenbachia ‘Honeydew,’ this cultivar has brightly colored leaves with a golden hue. The Dieffenbachia ‘Star Bright’ has slender, narrow, bright yellow leaves. Its leaves may sometimes have small washes of dark green coloring as well.
13 – Dieffenbachia ‘Tiki’
This fun Dieffenbachia is named after the plant’s tropical roots. The ‘Tiki’ has one of the most interesting leaf shapes out of all the other Dieffenbachia varieties.
The leaves have a ruffled appearance and are much more textured along the edges. The shape of the leaves can sometimes be compared to a wave-like texture.
The ‘Tiki’ has medium green leaves that are heavily speckled with white, cream, light green, and even gray spots.
14 – Dieffenbachia ‘Triumph’
The ‘Triumph’ also has a striking feature to its leaves. This Dieffenbachia variety is one of the only cultivars with a bright-colored vein that runs through the center of the leaves.
The vein is usually silver or white, and compliments the light, muted green color of the leaves themselves.
15 – Dieffenbachia ‘Tropic Marianne’
In another reference to the Dieffenbachia’s tropical roots, the ‘Tropical Marianne’ has a lighter leaf color than some of its relatives. The color is akin to a muted or pastel yellow mixed with streaks of darker yellow tinges. The leaves are also usually variegated with a darker green or green-yellow color.
16 – Dieffenbachia ‘Tropic Snow’
Much like its relative, the ‘Tropic Marianne,’ this cultivar has a pastel yellow leaf. However, the ‘Tropic Snow’ has earned its name thanks to its unique color pattern.
This variety sport leaves that are edged with a rich, emerald green. As the leaf moves into the center, its color becomes much lighter and is almost white. This gives the appearance of snow falling onto lush, green tropical plants.
Is Dieffenbachia a Flowering Plant?
If you keep your Dieffenbachia plant indoors, you may never see your plant bloom. However, when these plants are grown in a garden or studied in their native regions, they can flower.
Dieffenbachia flowers are unique and interesting and often resemble the flowers of an Anthurium or Monstera. These flowers are made up of spathes and a spadix. It’s important to note that not every variety can flower. Still, well-known varieties like the Dieffenbachia ‘Camille’ can produce flowers with no scent or fragrance.
The spathe of the flower resembles a folded or cupped leaf, and the spadix often protrudes directly from the middle of the spathe. The spadix is a long, cylindrical structure that is usually white, yellow, or light green in color.
Male flowers bloom towards the tip of the plant, while female flowers bloom near the plant’s base. The flowers also have the ability to bear fruit, which often resembles a small berry.
Dieffenbachia Plant Care
Dieffenbachia plants are great for beginner plant owners. They also work well for people who love plants but who don’t necessarily have the time to care for them, like office workers.
These plants have low care needs and can withstand a bit of neglect before they show signs of distress.
All in all, these hardy plants need very little attention to flourish and look absolutely beautiful inside your home or office. We have put together a simplified guide on caring for your Dieffenbachia, which can be applied to almost every variety or cultivar that can be kept as a houseplant.
Dieffenbachia Light Requirements
Dieffenbachias enjoy a lot of shade. Because of its tropical origins, this plant can continue to grow in shady or low-light conditions.
However, if they are in a low-light environment for too long, their growth may begin to slow down. During the colder months and the winter, Dieffenbachias will need more light.
During the plant’s growing season, between early spring and late fall, your Dieffenbachia will need bright, indirect light. These plants are fantastic as indoor house or office plants, though, because they can easily accustom themselves to grow under artificial light.
When you keep your Dieffenbachia plant indoors, it’s important to rotate your plant or move it around your home. The reason for moving or rotating the plant is because Dieffenbachias tend to grow toward their light source.
So, if only one side of the plant is receiving light, the plant flourishes on that side and becomes unbalanced.
You will need to be careful not to place your Dieffenbachia in direct sunlight. These plants have thin leaves that are sometimes quite light in color. Because of these factors, they are more likely to burn or fade in direct light.
Dieffenbachia Water Requirements
Dieffenbachias flourish in moist conditions that replicate their natural tropical environment.
That means that your Dieffenbachia plant will need regular watering. Your plant may become ill or show signs of watering problems if they are exposed to dry soil conditions.
You will need to water your Dieffenbachia around once to twice a week during its growing season. Its growing season will start in early spring and lasts until the end of fall.
Smaller Dieffenbachias will only need to be watered once, while larger varieties will need to be watered twice.
If you’re unsure about how often to give your plant water, you can check the top inch of its potting soil. If this topsoil has become dry, you should water your plant.
But if the soil still feels damp to the touch, it’s best to leave your plant to soak up the water levels it needs.
While Dieffenbachias can withstand a small amount of overwatering, it should never be done in excess. Overwatering can cause your plant to contract root rot and other possible problems.
It’s important to remember that your Dieffenbachia plant should never be left underwatered, as this plant does not respond well to dry conditions.
Dieffenbachia Temperature Requirements
Dieffenbachia plants are native to tropical areas. If these plants are grown outdoors, they thrive in hardiness zones 10 – 12 and can withstand a lot of indirect heat if they are kept partially shaded by other plants or trees. So it should come as no surprise that these lush plants prefer warmer environments.
If you keep your Dieffenbachia indoors, they should be kept at around 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit to help them grow and flourish.
Temperatures below 55 degrees Fahrenheit should typically be avoided. This can stunt their growth and cause them to wither and lose their leaves.
Similarly, your Dieffenbachia plant should be placed in an area of your home or office that isn’t exposed to cool drafts of cold air.
They shouldn’t be placed directly underneath or near an air conditioning unit if they are indoors. This can also cause your plant to freeze and stunt its overall growth.
Dieffenbachia Humidity Requirements
Tropical environments are naturally high in humidity. Because of this, Dieffenbachias enjoy moderate to high humidity levels in their immediate surroundings.
You can help to recreate their natural environment by spraying their leaves often or placing them near other neighboring plants.
Plants that enjoy high humidity levels – like the Dieffenbachia – also respond positively to having a humidifier in their environment. Humidifiers can help you regulate the humidity around your plant and encourage growth in your Dieffenbachia.
Dieffenbachia Soil Requirements
Dieffenbachias need textured and aerated soil that has good drainage. This will stop the plant from being exposed to too much dampness.
However, the soil should also be able to retain a small amount of moisture, as Dieffenbachia plants are prone to disease and other problems when they are left in dry conditions.
You can use a diluted houseplant fertilizer during your plant’s growing season to enrich the soil and provide your Dieffenbachia with additional nutrients it needs to reach its full growth potential. Every four weeks, this should be done to avoid overlogging the soil with salt and killing your plant.
It’s essential to remember that you will need to stop fertilizing your plant during its dormancy period. The dormancy period is usually over the course of the winter months.
Your Dieffenbachia will not grow during this time, and so the nutrients will begin to build up and can potentially harm your plant.
Dieffenbachia Plant Problems
In addition to plant care, maintaining your Dieffenbachia plant requires a keen eye when problems arise. These problems can affect any variety or cultivar of Dieffenbachia and are particularly common in varieties that are kept as house or office plants.
Because these plants are so easy to take care of, their problems are largely limited to pests, leaf discoloration, and droopy leaves.
Because Dieffenbachia plants prefer damp soil, warm environments, and high humidity levels, these plants are particularly susceptible to pests.
You will need to inspect your plant once every two weeks – particularly during the growing season – for pests such as mealybugs, spider mites, scale, and whiteflies.
Suppose you notice that your plant is plagued with any of these pests. In that case, you should take immediate action to avoid your plant becoming diseased or having its growth impeded.
Dieffenbachia Leaves Changing Color
Every Dieffenbachia variety has its own unique leaf color and pattern. Unlike other plants, having your Dieffenbachia’s leaves turn yellow is not always cause for concern. In fact, that may even be the natural color of your cultivar’s leaves!
You should watch for any other discoloration that is not normal, though, as this can indicate other problems with your plant. Your plant may have discolored leaves that are drooping and falling off due to over or underwatering.
You can check your plant’s soil moisture levels to determine whether your plant is lacking water or if the soil seems soggy. You will need to rectify either of these problems by holding off on watering if the soil is soggy or giving your plant water more frequently if the soil is too dry.
Additionally, your Dieffenbachia may have discolored leaves due to a lack of nutrients or because it is in direct sunlight. Brown and burnt leaves usually indicate that your plant is getting too much sun.
Dieffenbachia Leaves Are Drooping
Dieffenbachia thrives in the shade. If your plant is drooping, it may be receiving too much light. In this case, you should move your Dieffenbachia into an area of your home or office where it can receive bright, indirect light or filtered sunlight to avoid scorching the leaves.
Your plant may also be drooping because it has been exposed to colder temperatures. Suppose your Dieffenbachia is situated beneath an air conditioning unit or in the way of a through draft. In that case, you may want to move it to a different location.
If you notice your Dieffenbachia is drooping and has discolored leaves, this may be a sign of over or underwatering your plant.
There are several varieties of Dieffenbachia plants, each with a unique leaf pattern. Larger varieties can grow up to 10 feet tall, so they are best when grown outdoors. Compact varieties such as the ‘Compacta’ are great for keeping in your home. But, if you love the exotic look of Dieffenbachias, then you’re in luck.
Dieffenbachias are beautiful tropical plants that require low levels of care. These plants are fantastic for beginner gardeners, as a lush houseplant, or as a decorative feature to brighten up your office.
Whatever your choice, there is a stunning Dieffenbachia cultivar that will suit your taste.
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.