There are around 30 varieties of Dieffenbachia and they are named after Joseph Dieffenbach, who was the head gardener at the Botanical Gardens in Vienna in the 1800s. These plants are also known as ‘dumb cane’ as the sap is poisonous and can cause temporary speech loss.
Dieffenbachia are evergreen plants and their leaves are broad and pointed, with various combinations of green and white. They can grow to over a metre and half but Dieffenbachia houseplants do not tend to reach such proportions.
Dieffenbachia are originally from the Americas and the West Indies. They typically grow in warmer climates and therefore temperatures of 10 degrees Celsius or below can kill these plants. Light is also important for Dieffenbachia particularly during the winter. In summer they prefer indirect light.
Dieffenbachia will grow all year round and are popular houseplants for this reason, although they do take some care and you have to be aware of their poisonous sap if living with children or animals.
Dieffenbachia are members of the Araceae Family. They all have green and white patterned leaves. There are around twelve varieties, including Dieffenbachia Picta and Dieffenbachia Amoena.
The two most important considerations when growing Dieffenbachia are temperature and light. Light needs to be fairly constant. You also need to give thought to humidity levels. Putting pebbles under the plant can help with this, as can frequent misting. The plants need frequent watering and in the summer months they should be watered regularly and the earth should not dry out. In winter you don’t need to water as regularly. Don’t let the plant sit in water though.
Did You Know?
Slaves were allegedly made to eat Dieffenbachia as a form of punishment.