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How to Care for a Dieffenbachia Plant

By Bridget Kelly ; Updated September 21, 2017

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.

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

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.

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

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.


Things You Will Need

  • Water
  • Fertilizer, all-purpose, for houseplants


  • If you cut the top off your dieffenbachia plant, you can root it in a pot filled with sand.


  • 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.

About the Author


Based in the American Southwest, Bridget Kelly has been writing about gardening and real estate since 2005. Her articles have appeared at Trulia.com, SFGate.com, GardenGuides.com, RE/MAX.com, MarketLeader.com, RealEstate.com, USAToday.com and in "Chicago Agent" magazine, to name a few. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English with a concentration in creative writing.