Native to Central and South American rainforests from Costa Rica to Peru, Brazil, Panama, and the West Indies, Dieffenbachias are renowned in the plant world for having spectacular foliage.
In the wild, full-sized dieffenbachias can reach heights of 7’ or more. They tend to stay slightly smaller in the houseplant trade, typically topping out around 4’-5’ and nearly as wide. The smaller size doesn’t make the plant any less impactful, though. In fact, dwarf dieffenbachias such as ‘Camille’ are among the most striking and sought after plants in the genus even though they’re rarely much more than a foot or two in height.
The Dieffenbachia Family - beautiful tropical plants for indoors and outdoors
A staple in nurseries and garden centers everywhere, dieffenbachias stun the viewer with huge, showy leaves—up to 2’ long and 1’ wide in full-sized species—marked by deep, emerald green on the edges and beautifully random patterns of light cream and yellow in the center.
While the exact form may change from one variety to another—for example, some are dwarf forms, or have more or less variegation—one thing is universal in every dieffenbachia: They are NEVER dull.
They are, however, toxic. So resist the temptation to take a bite out of them, lest you learn how the plant got its common name, “Dumb Cane” (hint: It has nothing to do with the plant’s intelligence and everything to do with the fact that you may not be able to talk for a week or two).
It's like having your own tropical plant nursery…
Wild and exotic as they look, dieffenbachias have easy care requirements. They’re most at home in medium indirect light, but many varieties can tolerate bright indirect, or even fluorescent lights. They prefer the same temperature range as most people, 65F-80F, need little fertilizer, and have basic watering needs: Just give them a drink whenever the top inch of soil goes dry, and they’re happy. They’re also a snap to propagate, which is a great way to rejuvenate your existing plant or give a loved one their new favorite gift.