This attractive foliage plant has the common name of Dumb Cane. It is a warm greenhouse plant, needing a temperature of 16 to 2°C. (60 to 70°F.) from April to September and 13 to 16°C. (55 to 60°F.) from October to March. It makes a splendid house plant where the required temperature can be maintained. A moist atmosphere is appreciated and a warm, even temperature essential. Fluctuations in temperature soon have their effect on the foliage.

Dieffenbachias eventually grow several feet tall and have stems of substantial thickness. The leaves are large and, in the varieties usually grown, spotted to a greater or lesser degree in white.

The kinds usually grown are forms of Dieffenbachia picta. Another handsome species is D. amoena with large, shapely, heavily marked leaves.

The common name I mentioned earlier has a story attached to it which is worth telling. The plant contains an acrid sap which is poisonous and must on no account be brought near the mouth or eyes. If it does contact the mouth, it may cause choking and an inability to speak -hence the name Dumb Cane. However, since dieffenbachias smell so unpleasant when they are cut, it is very unlikely that this would happen.


Dieffenbachias can be increased quite readily by rooting pieces of stem 2 to 3 in. long containing at least one bud. These should be dried off for a couple of days after cutting and then be placed in sand which is kept warm and moist. Watch for signs of sprouting and pot singly when sufficient roots have been formed.

01. March 2012 by Dave Pinkney
Categories: Featured Articles, Greenhouse Gardening, Plants & Trees | Tags: , | Comments Off on Dieffenbachia


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