There is probably not a single bank office or a large public hall that decorates a flowerpot with Dieffenbachia, a plant with large, intricately colored leaves.
The poisonous juice of the plant is the cause of many superstitions and causes apprehension in suspicious people, but in general, poisonousness and infamy only add to this beautiful plant popularity.
Our article contains the information necessary for growing Dieffenbachia at home:
- what types and varieties of plants are grown in room culture;
- how to propagate dieffenbachia;
- how to care for her throughout the year;
- what problems you may encounter in the process of caring for dieffenbachia and how to eliminate them.
Planting and care of Dieffenbachia
- Flowering: ornamental foliage plant.
- Lighting: bright diffused light for variegated forms, light partial shade for a view with green leaves.
- Temperature: in summer - 20-30 ˚C, in winter - not lower than 15 ˚C.
- Watering: plentiful in the summer, moderate in the winter.
- Humidity: increased - 65%. Regular spraying of the leaves is recommended.
- Top dressing: once every three weeks during the period of active growth with lime-free mineral solutions in a concentration that is two times weaker than recommended.
- Rest period: from September to March.
- Transplant: from February to May, when the pot becomes crowded.
- Reproduction: apical and stem cuttings, air layers and, in rare cases, seeds.
- Pests: aphids, thrips, scale insects, spider mites, mealybugs.
- Diseases: bacteriosis, root rot, anthracnose, leaf spotting, fusarium, leaf bronze viruses and mosaics.
- Properties: plant juice is very toxic and can cause burns.
Read more about growing dieffenbachia below
Dieffenbachia plant (lat. Dieffenbachia) belongs to the genus of evergreens of the Aroid family, growing in the tropical zone of the American continent. The Dieffenbach flower was named by Heinrich Wilhelm Schott, an Austrian botanist, in honor of Josef Dieffenbach, the senior gardener of the botanical garden at the Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna. In nature, there are about 40 species of Dieffenbachia. Indoor Dieffenbachia is characterized by rapid growth - some species in five years can reach a height of two or more meters.
Dieffenbachia Flower Features
For all Dieffenbachia, a common feature is a thick, juicy stem bearing large, oval leaves. Dieffenbachia leaf is an amazing creation of nature, although breeders have made their contribution to the creation of many varieties and hybrids with different colors of leaves. The dieffenbachia growth point, as a rule, is at the top of the shoot, although there are species in which sleeping points are located at the base of the shoots, and therefore they are able to scrub. The inflorescence in representatives of this genus, like in other Aroid ones, is in the form of an ear, but Dieffenbachia rarely blooms at home. And the flowerers are not interested in the flowering of Dieffenbachia: the Dieffenbachia flowers attract the eye with the beauty of their large variegated leaves.
Dieffenbachia is a peculiar plant. Get acquainted with a number of features that distinguish Dieffenbachia indoor flower:
- Dieffenbachia is poisonous, so pruning and transplanting the plant must be carried out, observing safety measures;
- Dieffenbachia grows very quickly - under favorable conditions, it releases a new leaf weekly, but as its trunk grows in the lower part, it is exposed, the plant loses its decorativeness, and it has to be trimmed with subsequent rooting;
- Dieffenbachia does not tolerate a sharp cold snap and drafts and loves moisture very much;
- Dieffenbachia does not tolerate lime, so the water for irrigation and spraying must be settled or filtered. You can use rain or boiled water.
These not too attractive properties of Dieffenbachia nevertheless do not detract from its indisputable merits, the most important of which is beauty and impressiveness.
Home care for dieffenbachia
How to care for dieffenbachia
Dieffenbachia prefers bright diffused light without direct sunlight, and varieties with variegated leaves need more light than with plain green, otherwise their original color fades. The best place for this rather large plant is a meter or two from a brightly lit window. You can hold Dieffenbachia and not so close to the window, but then you will have to use additional artificial lighting. The temperature in summertime is preferred from 20 to 30 ºC, in winter - not lower than 15 ºC, and remember - no drafts, or Dieffenbachia will begin to lose leaves.
It is necessary to water Dieffenbachia in the warm season abundantly, but still the soil in the pot should not resemble liquid mud. In the cold season, watering, respectively, is reduced, but the earthen lump should not dry out even in winter. Dieffenbachia air humidity requires increased (65%), so spraying and washing the leaves is necessary, and the more often you do this, the better Dieffenbachia will feel.
And for watering, and for wiping, and for spraying, you can use only settled or boiled water. Sometimes, however, it is possible to arrange a plant if it is small in size, a cold shower, but at the same time water should not get into the ground.
Care for dieffenbachia involves seasonal top dressing. Fertilize dieffenbachia, like most other plants, in the spring-summer period, applying liquid mineral or organic fertilizers that do not contain lime, once a decade in half of the recommended dose. By the way, varieties of dieffenbachia with white leaves from nitrogen contained in complex fertilizers lose this varietal property, becoming greenish, therefore they are not fertilized with organics, and mineral fertilizing is applied once every 20 days.
How to transplant dieffenbachia
Dieffenbachia is transplanted as the roots fill the pot space, sometimes you have to do this twice a year, and the best time for this procedure is from February to May. The pot is selected a couple of centimeters in diameter larger than the old one, a decent layer of drainage is laid in it and the dieffenbachia is poured into a new pot with an earthen lump, but cleared of adhering fragments of the old drainage. Then add the required amount of fresh weakly acid friable substrate, consisting of two parts of leaf soil, one part of peat, one part of crushed sphagnum and half of river sand.
How to trim dieffenbachia
Sometimes you have to remove the damaged Dieffenbachia leaves that cats like to eat, in addition, if the plant grows too fast, you also need to take some measures. In such cases, trimming dieffenbachia is used.
First of all, blot the damaged sheet with a napkin so that when pruning, the poisonous juice does not splash into your eyes, then with a clean knife or blade treated with alcohol to disinfect, cut off the sheet or part of the trunk. The places of cuts need to be blotted again with a napkin that absorbs the juice, and treated with crushed charcoal. Pruning should be carried out with gloves, and the remaining parts of the plant can be used for reproduction.
Dieffenbachia - harm or benefit?
If Dieffenbachia juice gets on the mucous membrane or skin, it will cause burning, redness, swelling and temporary numbness, as with local anesthesia. And if, God forbid, he finds himself in the stomach, then there will almost certainly be excessive salivation, vomiting and paralysis of the vocal cords, so Dieffenbach should be at home out of the reach of children. If trouble has occurred, rinse your mouth with plenty of water immediately, take activated charcoal and consult your doctor just in case.
In the homeland of the plant, it is considered a weed, it is mercilessly destroyed, making sure that its remains do not get into livestock feed. Poison was made from it for rodents and insects and used as rods to punish slaves who suffered a week after execution. However, indoor Dieffenbachia is far less toxic than their wild-growing sisters.
On the other hand, Dieffenbachia undoubtedly benefits: NASA data indicate that this plant, along with ficuses and dracenes, cleans the air of toxins such as formaldehyde, trichloroethane, xylene and benzene. Therefore, at home, the best place for Dieffenbachia is your kitchen.
Propagation of Dieffenbachia
Propagation of dieffenbachia by apical cuttings
This is the easiest way to dispose of an old plant with a bare trunk. How to root dieffenbachia? Cut off the top, wetting poisonous juice on the cut, is placed in water, moss, wet sand or a mixture of sand and peat for rooting. The main thing is to regularly spray the stalk, protect it from direct sunlight and keep it in moderate heat (21-24 ºC). If you root the stalk in water, then let the roots grow to 2-3 cm, and then plant it in a substrate for dieffenbachia in a permanent pot.
Propagation of Dieffenbachia by stem cuttings
Cut the remainder of the plant, that is, the bare trunk sticking out of the pot, into parts with at least one knot in the middle, leaving only a stump of no more than 10 cm in the pot. Dry the cuttings for a day or two, lay horizontally on a moist mixture of peat with sand, buds up, cover film and keep at a temperature of about 25 ºC.
When the parts are rooted, transplant them to a permanent place in the usual substrate for dieffenbachia. A stump will also come in handy: leave it in a pot, continue to water moderately, and after a while a new shoot will appear from the top node. Wait until 2-3 sheets appear on it, then cut and plant in the soil for rooting. How many nodes remain on the stump, so many new shoots will develop on it.
Propagation of dieffenbachia by cuttings is a quick and fairly easy process. But how else can Dieffenbachia be propagated? As well as ficus - air layers. It is necessary to make an incision on the stem, cover it with wet moss, wrap the moss with a dark plastic film and tightly fix it with tape, tape or thread above and below the incision. When the roots grow under the film, part of the stem along with the roots and the film is cut, the film is carefully removed, and the layers are planted in the substrate with moss.
Seed propagation of Dieffenbachia is used only by professionals for breeding new varieties. Dieffenbachia bush also propagates by dividing the bush.
Pests and diseases of dieffenbachia
Insects and diseases of dieffenbachia
Of the insects, dieffenbachia is most often affected by a spider mite, scab, aphid, thrips and mealybugs. Methods of dealing with them are the mechanical removal of pests with a wet sponge dipped in a soap solution, followed by washing off the soap with plenty of water. In case of severe infection, treatment with an actellic or karbofos solution is used in a proportion of 15 drops per liter of water.
Sometimes dieffenbachia is ill with bacteriosis, which is manifested in the appearance on the leaves of watery areas with clear boundaries. Unfortunately, this ailment has a bacterial nature, it is incurable. It can destroy an adult plant and root rot, which first affects the underground part of the plant, and then the ground rot. As soon as you notice areas with a light gray coating, take immediate action: reduce watering, replace the substrate, and treat with systemic fungicide.
Dieffenbachia turns yellow
Very often amateur gardeners ask why Dieffenbachia leaves turn yellow. To begin with, if you followed all the rules for caring for a plant, you would not have to find out why Dieffenbachia turns yellow, since proper care makes the plant invulnerable to diseases and pests. But in life, anything happens, so let's clarify this issue.
First of all, in such cases, the suspicion falls on a violation of the temperature regime: either the room is too cold, or the plant was standing in a draft. A possible cause is also watering the plant with too hard water or lack of nutrients in the soil. In dieffenbachia, the leaves also turn yellow due to damage by root rot.
Often our readers also ask why Dieffenbachia dries. If the lower leaves dry, turn yellow and fall, then this is a natural process, which, unfortunately, cannot be prevented, and if the trunk is very bare, then it is time to rejuvenate Dieffenbachia by means of cuttings. But if young leaves dry, then the fault is most likely due to insufficient watering for a long time, cold air or drafts.
Dieffenbachia will fade
If the leaves are down and the substrate is dry, then you rarely water the plant, but if the substrate is wet and the leaves are down, check the roots for rot. If it is found, clean the roots of the earth, remove the rotten areas with a sharp sterile instrument, treat the wounds with crushed coal or ground cinnamon, and transplant dieffenbachia into a new soil. We will have to reconsider the mode of hydration of the plant in the direction of reducing the amount of moisture or the frequency of watering.
Types and varieties of Dieffenbachia
The most common species in the culture are spotted Dieffenbachia (Dieffenbachia maculata) and variegated , or colored (Dieffenbachia picta) - plants with a large succulent stem and elongated oval leaf plates with obvious venation, reaching a width of 12 cm, and up to half a meter in length. Their bright green leaves are streaked with white spots and stripes. They differ among themselves in that the dieffenbachia mottled grows up to two meters in height, and the dieffenbachia spotted does not exceed a meter, but its leaves are slightly larger in size and they are more pointed at the apex. It was Dieffenbachia that was spotted and became the basis for most varieties and hybrids bred by breeders. Here are some of the most popular varieties of Dieffenbachia spotted in the culture:
- variety "Vesuvio" - an elegant medium-sized plant with narrow, delicate white leaves and green specks on white petioles;
- Dieffenbachia "Camilla" - one of the most hardy bushy varieties, which is why it has earned popularity among amateurs. Lanceolate creamy white leaves are circled around the edge with a light green rim. Young leaves have a greenish tint;
- Dieffenbachia "Kompakta" - a neat dense bush with green leaves with light specks along the central vein.
View of Dieffenbachia Leopold (Dieffenbachia leopoldii)
A short plant native to Costa Rica with a short and thick stem, pale green with purple spots, short petioles and dark green elliptical leaves up to 35 cm long with a pronounced central vein of white color.
Dieffenbachia is lovely or sweet (Dieffenbachia amoena)
Flower lovers like it with its unpretentiousness and excellent adaptability to home conditions, because it tolerates dry air and the proximity of heating appliances better than other types. In addition, its decorative qualities are beyond any criticism: a height of one and a half meters, large dark green oval leaves up to 60 cm long with white stripes along all the veins.
Which amateurs often confuse with spotted dieffenbachia, have wider - up to 16 cm - leaves with fewer lateral veins than spotted dieffenbachia. This species also produced many varieties and hybrids, for example, Tropic Snow - a cultivar that never goes out of fashion with the correct pattern on leaves formed by yellow spots, while the central vein and the edges of the leaves remain dark green.
Dieffenbachia Oersted (Dieffenbachia oerstedii)
View with plain green leaves of a heart-shaped or pointed shape with a distinct bright central vein. The length of the leaves is 30-35 cm. The most famous hybrid of this species is the Green Magic, a dense bush of small size with an unusual color of leaves: they are dark bluish-green in color with a white central vein. There is a form with small light specks on a leaf plate.
Dieffenbachia magnificent (Dieffenbachia magnifica)
The view is light green in color with white dots on the leaves and petioles.
Dieffenbachia macrophylla (Dieffenbachia macrophylla)
The only species with monotonously green leaves and veins, the shape of the leaf plate is ovate, the middle vein is thickened. This species grows to a height of one meter.
Dieffenbachia Bauman (Dieffenbachia bowmannii)
A species with the largest among Dieffenbach leaves up to 70 cm long, dark green in color with small light specks.
It has yellowish-green leaves up to 35 cm long with a marble pattern of dark green and white spots.
Dieffenbachia - signs
People who are used to looking for an explanation of their problems and troubles by planetary standing, horoscopes, and some kind of mystical laws often ask what the esoteric sense of the threat of the appearance of Dieffenbachia in the house is. With this question, it is better to turn to a fortuneteller, psychic or astrologer, but there are a couple who will take about Dieffenbachia, which many know about. So, for those who do not accept these: they say that Dieffenbachia, along with hibiscus, is the strongest “husband”. That in families growing this flower in their home, children are not born, because men lose the ability to conceive. And generally lose the ability to be men.
I could refute these stories by many examples, but it is unlikely that people who believe in signs will listen to me. They also say that one cannot keep Dieffenbachia in the bedroom, because it absorbs oxygen. To this I can answer that such nonsense contradicts the law of photosynthesis and common sense. In addition, if you are looking for a bad sign or bad omen in everything, you attract problems, misfortunes, and other negatives. Dieffenbachia is just a beautiful plant, and that is how you need to relate to it. Pay attention to cats: they gladly eat the leaves of Dieffenbachia, because for them it is just an anthelmintic.