Dieffenbachia is one of the easiest indoor houseplants to grow and one of the the easiest to find. From care tips to popular varieties, here's everything you need to know.
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Dieffenbachia is a popular houseplant due to its exciting foliage variegation, showy stature, and ease of care. "Like many of its houseplant cousins, dieffenbachia is an easy-care houseplant and easy to find," says a Plants.com expert. "Yet probably the biggest reason for its popularity is its showy leaves."

The tropical plant​ features pointed ovate leaves in various combinations of green, cream, and white variegation. The dieffenbachia genus includes over a hundred beautiful perennials. Here are the dieffenbachia varieties you'll see at your local nursery, plus nine popular cultivars and basic toxicity facts and care tips for keeping your plants looking their best.

Dieffenbachia Varieties

Although there are many varieties of dieffenbachia, only a few are sold commercially. When shopping for dieffenbachia, they will fall into one of these three varieties.

Dieffenbachia seguine candida
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Dieffenbachia Seguine

Dieffenbachia seguine is the most popular variety sold in stores. It can grow up to 10 feet tall and typically features clusters of large ovate leaves with green margins splotched with yellow or cream color.

Dieffenbachia maculata
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Dieffenbachia Maculata

Dieffenbachia maculata features elliptic-oblong leaves blotched with cream and main lateral veins.

Dieffenbachia amoena
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Dieffenbachia Amoena

Dieffenbachia amoena are a larger variety that feature heights up to 6-feet and 20-inch leaves.

Popular Dieffenbachia Cultivars

There are also many dieffenbachia cultivars, or varieties that have been produced in cultivation by selective breeding. Here are some of the most popular types of dieffenbachia and what they look like:

  • Dieffenbachia 'Camille' is one of the most popular dieffenbachias featuring ivory-yellow leaves edged in rich, dark green.
  • Dieffenbachia 'Mary' is excellent for beginners because it's a faster-growing variety with light green leaves splashed with dark and creamy green.
  • Dieffenbachia 'Snow' is a large-growing variety that can grow up to 6 feet tall and features dark green leaves variegated with silvery-green and creamy-white speckles.
  • Dieffenbachia 'Sparkles' offers light green leaves speckled with dark green and white.
  • Dieffenbachia 'Reflector' features deep green leaves are dotted with lime green and yellow spots. It also has a distinctive whitish-green central leaf vein.
  • Dieffenbachia 'Camouflage' gets its name from its randomly patterned dark green spots of varying shapes and sizes on pale jade leaves.
  • Dieffenbachia 'Rebecca' is a compact variety that features bright yellow-green leaves variegated with mid-green edges.
  • Dieffenbachia 'Carina' features large, lush foliage in a vibrant medium green color, with variegated splotches in dark and light tones.
  • Dieffenbachia 'Honeydew' has striking golden-yellow foliage edged in a vibrant green.

Is Dieffenbachia Toxic?

Dieffenbachia is commonly known as "dumb cane." It obtained this nickname because one of the side effects the plant causes is loss of speech if swallowed. If ingested, it will numb the throat and vocal cords, causing drooling, swelling, or speech loss until the poison wears off. The sap can also irritate the skin.

Thankfully, dieffenbachia isn't severely toxic to people. But according to the ASPCA, dieffenbachia is toxic to both cats and dogs with oral irritation being the most common side effect when it's ingested. To be on the safe side, keep dieffenbachia out of reach from small children and animals.

How to Care for Dieffenbachia

No matter the cultivar, growing dieffenbachia is relatively the same. In its natural habitat, dieffenbachia can reach 10 feet, with leaves 20 inches long. Indoors, the plants usually grow to 3 to 5 feet tall, depending on the cultivar. Consider these growing tips to help keep your dieffenbachia thriving.

Light

Most dieffenbachia varieties do best in bright, indirect light. Because the foliage has variegation, they will need to receive enough light to keep it. "Keep it in a west, east, or south-facing window," says Plants.com. "But dieffenbachia can tolerate low-light spots and can do well in filtered light as well." However, if your dieffenbachia stays in a low-light environment, its leaves will revert to all green.

Soil and Water

Plant dieffenbachia in a well-draining soil mix. They like consistently moist but not soggy soil. To make sure you are keeping the soil moisture level just right, check the soil to make sure it is dry an inch down before watering. When you do water, make sure you add enough water until it runs out of the bottom of the container. Overwatering and keeping the plant in a container or soil that does not drain well can lead to root rot.

Feeding

Dieffenbachia does not require much when it comes to feeding. Plants.com recommends feeding dieffenbachia with an all-purpose houseplant fertilizer once per season. Fertilizing dieffenbachia encourages it to grow more and faster.

Humidity

"The most common error with dieffenbachia is not providing enough humidity," says the experts at Plants.com. Most tropical houseplants like humidity, and dieffenbachia is no different. "If the air is too dry, you'll notice brown tips or edges on the leaves," says Plants.com. Thankfully, increasing humidity is an easy fix. You can place your dieffenbachia in a sunny bathroom or create a mini humidifier by setting the pot on a pebble-filled tray or saucer and filled with water. The water will evaporate to provide enough moisture.

Propagation

Increasing your dieffenbachia collection is easy! You can propagate the plant in one of in three ways:

  • Division. As the plant grows, it will send up offsets (baby plants) around the base of the plant. When you repot it in the spring, separate the offsets from the parent plant. Use a clean, sharp knife to slice the offset off the main plant, making sure it has roots attached. Then, plant it into another pot.
  • Cutting. This propagation method is the most popular way to create new plants. It's also an excellent method for saving leggy dieffenbachias. Cut off a stem section with at least one node. Place the cutting in water and wait for roots to emerge. Once they appear, plant the cutting in soil.
  • Layering. Lay a cutting or a leggy part of the plant horizontally in damp potting soil. Nodes along the stems will eventually take root, and new leaves will gradually sprout. Once a new plant has successfully sprouted, cut away that section and plant in a separate pot.

Pests That Love Dieffenbachia

Dieffenbachia is susceptible to most classic houseplant pests, including mealybugs, spider mites, and aphids. The best way to prevent an infestation is to inspect the foliage weekly. Once you spot a culprit, treat the plant immediately to avoid spreading to parts of the plant.