How to Care for a Dieffenbachia Plant


Dieffenbachia is one of the most popular houseplants today, and for good reason: it's easy to care for. The dieffenbachia, also called dumbcane, is a fast-growing tropical plant that can reach 6 feet tall. The leaves are striking, in variegated patterns of green, white and yellow.

Step 1

Provide your dieffenbachia a spot in your home that receives filtered sunlight or light shade. The dieffenbachia can tolerate direct sun in the winter.

Step 2

Water the dieffenbachia when the first 2 inches of soil is dry. Do not allow the pot to sit in water. Mist daily to provide humidity.

Step 3

Fertilize your plant once a month from March to September. An all-purpose houseplant food, diluted to half the recommended strength, will be sufficient.

Step 4

The dieffenbachia will, as it grows, lose the lower leaves, exposing the cane of the tree. If you prefer a bushier plant, lop off the top of the plant.

Tips and Warnings

  • The sap of the dieffenbachia contains oxalic acid, a poison to humans and animals. If the leaves or any part of the plant is ingested, call the National Poison Control Center at (800) 222-1222 or 911 immediately.

Things You'll Need

  • Water
  • Fertilizer, all-purpose, for houseplants


  • National Institutes of Health
  • Clemson University Extension

Who Can Help

  • Encyclopedia of Houseplants
Keywords: dumbcane, dieffenbachia, growing houseplants

About this Author

Victoria Hunter, a former broadcaster and real estate agent, has provided audio and written services to both small businesses and large corporations. Hunter is a freelance writer specializing in the real estate industry. She devotes her spare time to her other passions: gardening and cooking. Hunter holds a Bachelor of Arts in English/creative writing.