Dieffenbachia is a straight-bore tree-like plant with variegated large elongated oval leaves. Plant juice is poisonous. Dieffenbachia in nature can grow up to 3 m, but gradually the lower part of the trunk is exposed and the plant loses its decorative appeal. At home, Dieffenbachia grows on average about 1.5-1.8 m, rarely blooms. In fact, the systematics of Dieffenbach is too complicated, and even a professional will cause difficulty, due to the variability of species, obtaining interspecific hybrids and various varieties. It should also be noted that many types of Dieffenbachia require quite frequent updates - on average after three years, if they are grown in an apartment. Since after this time they usually grow to the ceiling. Then the top of the plant is cut and rooted, and what is left is either thrown away or left for reproduction.
Dieffenbachia is widespread in the southern states of the United States, widely distributed on the tropical Pacific islands (Cook Islands, Micronesia, Hawaii, Fiji, Tahiti, Palau, Samoa, etc.), and in some regions the plant behaves as invasively as a weed.
Types of Dieffenbachia
- Dieffenbachia Seguin Dieffenbachia seguine - a plant with a thick fleshy, succulent stem and wide lobed leaves. On average, the length of a leaf in an adult is 40-50 cm and about 15 cm wide, somewhat narrowed at the end. Leaf plates have a pronounced venation, about 9-15 lateral veins. In the original species, the leaves are pure green or with a small motley pattern. On the basis of it, many hybrids and varieties were developed that differ in size and shape of the leaf - more elongated lanceolate or wide, as well as the pattern on the leaves (large or small stripes, spots, marbling). Synonyms: Dieffenbachia spotted (painted) Dieffenbachia maculata, Dieffenbachia painted Dieffenbachia picta.
- Dieffenbachia Bause Dieffenbachia x bausei - with oval yellowish-green leaves about 30-35 cm long. Marble leaf pattern with white dots. The name does not have an official status, some naturalists believe that this is a form of Dieffenbachia Seguin.
- Dieffenbachia Oersted Dieffenbachia oerstedii - with oval-pointed or elongated-heart-shaped leaves about 30-35 cm long. The leaf is pure green, the central vein stands out, contrasting in color - light green. Sometimes bright spots come across. This species is native to Costa Rica and Guatemala.
You may be surprised, but sometimes Dieffenbachia grows well at home without any care other than watering. There are cases when strong Dieffenbach trees with good leaves, without spots or chlorosis, grow for many years without transplanting or top dressing. For such unpretentiousness, Dieffenbachia is loved to use in the landscaping of the hotel lobby, recreation of kindergartens and hospitals. But not all grades of Dieffenbachia seguin (painted) are unpretentious in their care - some are quite capricious, require very good lighting and high-quality water for irrigation.
Dieffenbachia is thermophilic, the optimum temperature is 22-24 ° C. In winter, slightly lower - about 18 ° C, at least 16 ° C. At temperatures below 10 ° C, plants rot and die. It does not tolerate drafts. But they grow well in the fresh air - on the balcony or in the garden, if you place the pots in light partial shade and in a place protected from the wind. Of all the species, Dieffenbachia maculata is the most unpretentious to temperature fluctuations.
For questions on growing Dieffenbachia, see our FAQ on plants.
In summer, Dieffenbachia requires a shade, in winter, good lighting. In a too dark place, the leaves become smaller, and the plant loses its decorative appeal. It will grow well under the protection of a tulle curtain near the east or west window. Dieffenbachia varieties with light leaves, white large specks, for example, the Star Bright variety, like very good illumination, with some direct light in the morning or evening. Small plants grow ideally on the east windowsill or northwest. But when the bushes outgrow, do not fit on the windowsill, they have to be placed in the room. And here you need to focus on the behavior of the plant - if the dieffenbachia stem (trunk) grows strictly vertically, everything is in order, there is enough light. The only thing needed is to rotate the pot 180 degrees approximately once a month so that the crown has an even shape.
If the trunk of your Dieffenbachia does not grow strictly vertically, but tilts, even slightly, towards the window - this is a sure sign of a lack of light. In this case, it is not enough to rotate the pot with different sides, you need to arrange additional lighting. Use LED or fluorescent lamps, preferably elongated, ribbons, or ordinary candles or balls, but at different heights.
Medium from spring to late summer. What does this mean - Dieffenbachia, especially large, has a large leaf mass and huge evaporation of water. Those. she needs a lot of moisture. But at the same time, the root system in Dieffenbachia is not too powerful, when compared with other plants, for example, ficuses. With excessive watering, the roots easily rot. Therefore, you need to water a lot, but the soil should dry out no longer than 3 days. If the earth in the pot dries longer, it means that the soil is too moisture-resistant, you must add baking powder (more on this below). In winter, at home, it is usually warm all winter and watering may be no different from summer. If Dieffenbachia is not at home, but, for example, on a heated balcony or conservatory, where it is cooler, watering is significantly reduced. The general rule of watering in spring and summer is that by the next watering the land should dry in the upper third of the pot. In winter, dry out almost completely.
For watering Dieffenbachia, it is advisable to use soft water, like many aroid ones, it does not tolerate chlorine and fluorine in water. Watering with hard water when salinization of the soil occurs, the appearance of a salt crust on the surface of the soil often leads to tissue necrosis - browning of the ends and edges of the leaves.
In the period from May to August, fertilizing with complex fertilizer, every two weeks. From September to February, Dieffenbachia is not fed. With a lack of nutrients, the trunk below is exposed much faster, but this fact is not an indicator of nutritional deficiency - gradual loss of lower leaves is characteristic of dieffenbachia.
Dieffenbachia loves very humid air, but at home it adapts to air humidity of about 35-45%. From May to October, you can not spray, except for the hottest days. But you need to wipe or wash the leaves for hygienic purposes - wash off the dust. But with the start of the heating season, additional care is required: it is necessary to isolate dieffenbachia from the dry hot air of the batteries in any way - rearrange it from the window, or cover the battery with a damp towel, turn on the humidifier. If the pot is on the windowsill, make sure that the leaves of Dieffenbachia do not hang over its edge and that they do not get a direct stream of hot dry air.
How to transplant dieffenbachia
Dieffenbachia is transplanted annually in spring - the best time for a transplant is at the end of April. Previously, it was believed that nutrient soil from a mixture of turf (4 parts), leaf (1 part), peat soil (1 part) and sand (1 part), a slightly acidic reaction was believed to be suitable for growing Dieffenbachia. But with the experience of growing it came to understand that Dieffenbachia is best grown in the soil, in composition close to the one on which they grow in nature:
- light turf land and peat (1: 1),
- light turf land, peat and vermiculite (1: 1: 1).
That is, the soil for Dieffenbachia must have good water-holding ability and at the same time it is good to pass and quickly evaporate water. Can be planted in universal soil from a store (e.g. Terra Vita). The problem is that all these soils quickly give out all the nutrients to a powerful plant and annual transplantation is a necessity. Many dieffenbachia, especially varietal, grow slowly. All growth is mainly in the spring and early summer. Some are pretty fast, adding 50 cm in height over the year. Therefore, they can be experienced twice, the first time in late February, the second in July.
Due to the fact that these aroid ones grow quite large, the transplantation is difficult, it is difficult to pull out an entire "tree" from a pot or tub. In this case, we can advise you to replace the top layer of the earth - remove as much soil as it can be freely removed without damaging the roots. It would be nice to add some charcoal to the soil. Be sure to put drainage from expanded clay or pieces of foam plastic at the bottom of the pot.
Reproduction of Dieffenbachia
Breeding Dieffenbachia - in the section Popular indoor plants
To increase the collection of tropical beauties, you can trim the trunk by 5-7 cm, which are rooted during soil heating at 30 ° C. This is more convenient to do in February and March, when a bowl with light peat soil (it must be sterilized in the microwave) must be put on the battery. And so that it’s not dark to the roots, send a light bulb (fluorescent with an ordinary base) to the wiring. Rooting occurs within 1.5 months. Pieces of the trunk need to be cut off from healthy shoots that do not decay, sprinkle the slices with crushed charcoal, maintain the soil in a constantly moist, but not wet state, and do not need to cover the bag.
Some species of Dieffenbachia produce daughter shoots that cut and root. There are varieties having a bush form, such as, for example, Dieffenbachia variety Vesuvius, they can be propagated by dividing the bush. But the most common method of propagation is with apical cuttings, it is also used when the trunk is barely exposed from below, and it is necessary to rejuvenate the plant.
The cut off top of the shoot can be rooted in water (with the addition of activated carbon) or in vermiculite. It is important for the stalk to cut off the largest lower leaves in order to reduce the evaporation surface of the stalk. Cuttings root better in spring - at the beginning of summer. Put it in a warm place, not lower than 22 ° C, cover from direct sunlight. Change the water as it gets dirty (once every two days). After the roots grow at least 5 cm, they can be planted. It is advisable that the planting of the rooted does not occur on hot days (no higher than 26 ° C). For the first two weeks, the pot should be placed in a transparent bag, which should not be tied, but simply straightened up. The plant must be watered. Top dressing should be started no earlier than after 1.5 months.