This article is about how herbaceous plants are a great starter plant for those who are just getting started with gardening. They’re low maintenance and don’t need soil to grow, which makes them perfect for those looking to keep their plants alive in the winter months when it’s too cold and wet outside.
Dieffenbachia and Aglaonema are examples of easy-to-care-for houseplants, which make great plants for first-time indoor gardeners.
What Are Herbaceous Plants?
Herbaceous plants are a type of plant that does not have a woody stem. This means that the stem of the plant is soft and flexible, and dies back each winter.
Herbaceous plants can be annuals, biennials, or perennials, depending on how long they live. They often make excellent sources of food, but not when talking about dieffenbachia and aglaonema — these are toxic! But we’ll talk more about that later.
Herbaceous plants all have a vascular system that helps to transport water from the roots, and into the rest of the plant. Many herbaceous plants can be identified by simply recognizing specific patterns in these vascular systems, which will also be covered more later.
Why Are Herbaceous Plants Good Starter Plants?
Herbaceous plants are a great starter plant for indoor gardeners because many are low maintenance, requiring less light and water on a regular basis. So, if you’re the forgetful type, one of these might be a good place to start.
This also makes them perfect for those looking to keep their plants alive in the winter months when it’s too cold and wet outside. Just keep it in a sunny spot where it stays relatively warm.
They also tend to be smaller in size, which is ideal for those who are just starting out with indoor gardening.
What Is Dieffenbachia?
Dieffenbachia is a genus of herbaceous perennial plants. The common name for members of this genus is “dumb cane,” due to the fact that dumb canes (members of the dieffenbachia genus) contain insoluble calcium oxalate crystals in all parts of the plant.
These crystals can cause an intense burning sensation in the mouth and throat if ingested. They can also cause skin irritation. So keep your kiddos away from these plants!
Dieffenbachia features clusters of large oval-shaped leaves with splotches of light yellow or cream color.
What Are Some Other Names for Dieffenbachia?
In addition to dumb cane, some other common names for dieffenbachia plants include tropic snow, giant dieffenbachia, and diefenbach lily.
What Is Aglaonema?
Aglaonema is a genus of plants in the family Araceae. The name “Aglaonema” comes from the Greek words “Aglaos,” meaning “bright” or “splendid,” and “Nema,” meaning “thread.” So essentially, it means “bright thread,” which refers to the brightly colored veins of the leaves.
Aglaonema features dark green leaves with silver veins running throughout. Although green is most common, you can also find leaves edged with red or purple. Their leaves also feature similar light yellow or cream-colored splotches to that of the dieffenbachia.
What Are Some Other Names for Aglaonema?
Some other common names for aglaonema are, “Chinese evergreen,” and “Philippine evergreen.” It gets these names from its region of origin and evergreen leaves.
How to Tell the Difference Between Aglaonema and Dieffenbachia
If you’re not sure whether you have a dieffenbachia or Aglaonema, it’s easy to tell the difference. Dieffenbachia leaves are large and oval-shaped, with splotches of light yellow or cream running throughout. Aglaonema leaves, on the other hand, are smaller and more elongated, with silver veins running throughout.
The leaves of the dieffenbachia tend to have brighter colors near the inside of the leaf, with darker green around the borders. Aglaonema tends to feature more diverse patterns and color schemes, including pinks, red tinges, and lighter greens.
If you’re still unsure of what you have, take an even closer look at the plants. The leaves of the Aglaonema will only have five to eight lateral veins in the leaves, whereas dieffenbachias will have much more — somewhere around 20 to 30.
What Are the Benefits of Growing Dieffenbachias?
In addition to being a great starter plant, dieffenbachias offer a few other benefits as well. They are easy to care for, meaning you don’t have to water them daily and they don’t require direct sunlight (it’s actually bad for them).
This makes them ideal for those looking to keep their plants alive in the winter months. Dieffenbachias are also relatively small in size, making them perfect for those who are just starting out with indoor gardening.
What Are the Benefits of Growing Aglaonemas?
Aglaonema offers a few key benefits over dieffenbachia. The most notable benefit is that they can handle even more negligence. Aglaonemas are much more forgiving when you neglect to water them, and they require little light — much like the dieffenbachia.
Is Aglaonema a Type of Dieffenbachia?
Some people might consider Aglaonema to be a type of dieffenbachia. However, the two genera are actually different genus.
Both plants belong to the same family, which is known as Araceae or aroids. This is why they look similar, and have similar methods of care.
Which Plant Is Taller?
Generally, dieffenbachia plants are taller than Aglaonema plants. The former usually grows taller due to its long, bamboo-like stem. These can grow up to 10 feet tall in some regions, but grow to at least three feet on average.
The aglaonema tends to grow more like a bush, growing in width and density more so than height. Although there are some aglaonema plants that do grow tall, they are not as common as the dieffenbachia.
How Often Should You Water Dieffenbachias and Aglaonemas?
Dieffenbachias should be watered when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch. Aglaonemas, on the other hand, only need to be watered every 7 to 10 days.
This is because they use water more efficiently than the dieffenbachia. However, if the leaves start to droop or turn yellow, then it may be time to water them again.
Both plants should not be watered too often, as this will rot the roots. Overwatering can also cause the leaves to droop and turn yellow, so make sure you find a watering schedule that works, and stick to it.
How to Choose Between the Two
So which one should you choose? If you’re looking for a low-maintenance plant that doesn’t require a lot of sunlight or water, you could go either way and reap the benefits of having a low-maintenance plant.
Although both plants are poisonous, dieffenbachias are more toxic than Algaonemas. So if you have kids or overly curious pets, you may want to go with the latter. Poisoning from either plant is possible, but poisoning from dieffenbachias is typically worse.
Ultimately, it may come down to appearance and personal preference.
Dieffenbachias and Aglaonemas are both great starter plants for those who are new to indoor gardening. Dieffenbachias have brighter colors near the inside of the leaf, while Aglaonemas tend to have more diverse patterns and color schemes.
Aglaonemas are also much more forgiving when you neglect to water them, making them a good choice for those who are forgetful or busy. Dieffenbachias should be watered when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch, whereas aglaonemas only need to be watered every 7 to 10 days.
Ultimately, it may come down to appearance and personal preference when choosing between these two plants.
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.