Dieffenbachia is one of the easiest indoor plants to grow. It is also among the most common houseplants because it is perfect for beginners and has distinctive leaf patterns.
It is a tropical plant with lush leaves marked in cream, yellow, or white shades. On larger types of Dieffenbachia, individual leaves can be more than a foot long. As Dieffenbachia grows and ages, its lower leaves may fall off to reveal a thick, bamboo-like stem.
The botanical name for dieffenbachia is Dieffenbachia spp. Dieffenbachia plants are part of the Araceae, or aroid, family.
A common name for dieffenbachia plants is “dumb cane.” It got this name from the effects of the toxins in the plant. Sometimes the swelling of the mouth from the poisonous plant can be so severe that the victim cannot speak. Another common name for dieffenbachias is “leopard lily.”
Dieffenbachias are perennial herbaceous plants. These types of plants do not have wood parts. Instead of wood parts, they have flexible, green stems. Their above-ground parts usually die into the ground each year. Perennials are different from annuals because when they die in the winter, they enter a dormant period and will come back to life in the spring.
Dieffenbachia is native to the tropics of South America, Mexico, and the West Indies. The genus Dieffenbachia was named after Herr Joseph Dieffenbach, the head gardener and administrator at the Royal Palace Gardens Schönbrunn, Vienna during the 1830s.
Dieffenbachia is easily identified by its large, green, and uniquely patterned leaves. Various cultivars are available; most have variegated white and green, cream and green, or all-green leaves. The shadings can be speckled, splotched, or striped. Each plant features leaves that are a green-yellow near the vein and turn a dark green toward the edge of the leaf.
The plant occasionally bears calla-type flowers but rarely flowers when raised as a houseplant. Dieffenbachia flowers have a unique structure containing a spathe and spadix. The flower is beige and off-white with no fragrance. The bloom is often compared to a peace lily.
Types Of Dieffenbachia
There are 24 different types of dieffenbachia species. Dieffenbachia seguine is the most popular type of Dieffenbachia sold in stores. Dieffenbachia maculata is another popular type of Dieffenbachia used as a houseplant. Other commonly used types of Dieffenbachia for indoor plants are listed below:
Camilla (aka Camille)
The light colors on dieffenbachia leaves make it a good option for brightening dim corners. This plant adds color even though it might not flower. Since it grows upright, it looks nice in a floor pot placed along an empty wall or near a large piece of furniture.