Tropic Snow Dieffenbachia
Tropic Snow Dieffenbachia
Tropic Snow Dieffenbachia
Tropic Snow Dieffenbachia
Tropic Snow Dieffenbachia
Tropic Snow Dieffenbachia
Tropic Snow Dieffenbachia

Tropic Snow Dieffenbachia


Tropic Snow Dieffenbachia (Dieffenbachia Seguine ‘Tropic Snow’)

If you’ve ever seen Dieffenbachia Seguine ‘Tropic Snow’, there’s a very strong chance you remember it—even if you can’t recall the name. The very definition of a “foliage plant”, this beautiful rainforest native has some of the most striking and impressive leaves you’re ever likely to find.

For starters, these leaves are huge. Wide, glossy ovals up to 24” long and 12” across, which arc gracefully off of meaty canes. But even more than the size, it’s the unique color variation that makes this plant unforgettable. Each leaf’s base color is a vibrant emerald green on the outside (and up the middle vein), but the centers are splashed with completely random splatterings of light, whitish green. It’s as if the artist Jackson Pollock ran out of canvas and just started painting dieffenbachias instead. Oh yeah, this is not a plant you forget easily.   

If you’ve ever eaten a dieffenbachia, we absolutely guarantee you’d remember it. The whole plant is toxic, especially the milky white sap. On the skin, it can cause irritation, but in the mouth it can cause pain, vomiting, and so much swelling you might not be able to speak for a week or more (hence the genus’ common name, “Dumb Cane”). We have more details in our Expert Advice section, but the quick version is this: Do NOT mistake this plant for a salad.

While you’re at it, also resist the temptation to mistake this plant for one that is difficult to care for. Dieffenbachias look fancy, but they’re easy to maintain. They’re not finicky with light or water, enjoy the same indoor temperatures as people, and generally just get along.

Most folks call this plant “Dumb Cane” because of the “do not eat” thing—but we call it that because adding this beauty to your collection really is a no-brainer.

Characteristics and traits of a Tropic Snow Dieffenbachia (Dieffenbachia Seguine ‘Tropic Snow’)

  • Scientific Name: Dieffenbachia Seguine var ‘Tropic Snow’ or Dieffenbachia Amoena var ‘Tropic Snow’
  • Genus: Dieffenbachia
  • Family: Araceae
  • Common Name: Tropic Snow Dieffenbachia, Dumb Cane, Charming Dieffenbachia
  • Indoor: Year-round in temperatures above 60F
  • Outdoor Zones: 10-12
  • Type: Perennial, Propagated via topshoots, stem shoots, air layering, or suckering
  • Mature Height: 4’-5’
  • Mature Width: 4’-5’
  • Plant Height when Shipped: XXXXXX
  • Growth Rate: Medium
  • Flower: Single central spathe of light green with thick white spadix
  • Foliage: Broad oval leaves up 20” long and 10” wide. Bright emerald green with mottled yellow-green centers.

Plant Care and Advice for Tropic Snow Dieffenbachia (Dieffenbachia Seguine ‘Tropic Snow’)

  • Grown In: Inside: all zones year round, Outside: zones 10-12
  • Light Requirements: Bright (better) to medium-low indirect light. No more than 2 hours direct sunlight a day.
  • Water Requirements: Drench and dry. Water deeply, let drain, and don’t water again until the top 1” of soil is dry.
  • Drought Tolerance: Good
  • Temperature: Prefers 65-80F indoors and outdoors. Can survive cooler or slightly warmer conditions, but will grow much more slowly.     
  • Air Purification: Removes pollutants including formaldehyde, xylene, and toluene
  • Toxicity: Calcium oxalate in sap and tissue can cause oral irritation, drooling, difficulty swallowing, and vomiting in people and pets.
  • Fertilizer: General liquid at ½ strength once per month during spring and summer
  • Container Friendly: Requires good drainage.
  • Planting: Tropic Snow Dieffenbachia prefer soil that holds a fair bit of moisture, but still drains well. African violet mix is a good choice, or you can make your own blend. One easy option is to combine one part perlite with two parts peat moss. Another possible mix is one part peat moss, one part perlite or sand, and one part garden soil.When repotting a Dieffenbachia, be sure to use a pot that has a drainage hole. Soggy, swampy soil is bad news for this species. The actual repotting process is straightforward, though you may choose to offer some sort of support to keep the plant from toppling over before its roots reset in the soil
  • Plant Care: Tropic Snow Dieffenbachias prefer bright indirect light, but can get by with medium, sometimes even medium-low light. They can handle a bit of direct sunlight, perhaps 2 hours per day, but watch carefully to make sure the leaves do not begin to scorch. The best method for watering your Tropic Snow Dieffenbachia is the “drench and dry” method. Give the plant a good, deep drink, then let it drain so the soil isn’t soggy (this is vital) and allow the top 1-2” to dry before watering again. Also, being native to the tropics, dieffenbachias respond well to a little added humidity. Light misting, a room humidifier, or a drainage tray filled with a thick layer of pebbles and a thinner layer of water are all excellent ways to improve humidity around the plant. Like most species of dumb cane, Tropic Snow Dieffenbachia appreciates being fed during the growing season. Feed a quality liquid fertilizer at half strength once or twice a month during spring and summer to keep the plant healthy and the foliage bright and bold. Note though that if the leaf tips start getting curly and crunchy, that’s a sign to throttle back (and maybe flush the plant with water to clear away any built-up fertilizer). On occasion, a dieffenbachia can drop too many of its lower leaves, making it look like a wannabe palm tree. If this happens, it’s easy to prune the too-tall stalk and propagate a new plant—or plants—to replace it (details in Expert Advice, below).
  • Expert Advice: Dieffenbachia Seguine ‘Tropic Snow’ is tolerant of a wide range of lighting conditions, including artificial grow lights. However, if the leaves begin to look pale or washed out, try giving the plant a bit less light and see if the color returns. Alternately, if the leaves become overly green, with notably shrunken variegation, the plant may benefit from a bit more light. If the leaves of Dieffenbachia Seguine ‘Tropic Snow’ begin to turn yellow and drop, there are multiple possible causes. The first of which is … it’s a healthy plant. Like most plants, Dieffenbachia Seguine ‘Tropic Snow’ sometimes drops older leaves as it grows. So if it’s only the lower leaves yellowing, this is probably no cause for alarm. If you’re losing more than just old leaves, start by checking to see if the soil is waterlogged, or the opposite: too dry (Note: dry, brown tips are another sign of a parched plant). Next, examine the location for cold drafts, or cold air in general. Don’t let the word “snow” in its name fool you, this plant likes it 65F or above (and 75F if you’ve got it). Finally, try to recall the last time you repotted or fertilized the plant, as it could just need a little more nitrogen. If the yellow on the leaves is patchy instead of even, it could be a sign that the plant is suffering from a bacterial or fungal infection, including Xanthomonas Leaf Spot, Anthracnose Leaf Spot, and several more. These can be difficult to treat, so the best tactic is simply prevention by never letting the plant sit in overly wet soil. Scale, mealybugs, spider mites and aphids have been known to infest Dieffenbachia occasionally. They can be treated with neem oil, insecticidal soap, or (when caught early) dabbed-on rubbing alcohol or vigorous rinsing with water. Dieffenbachia Seguine ‘Tropic Snow’ is easy to propagate via topshoots, suckering, or stem shoots, especially in the spring. Topshoots are what you might typically call a stem cutting (but which we’ll call topshoots to differentiate from stem shoots, which are different). You simply lop off the upper portion of the plant, strip away all but a few leaves, and place the cutting in either a small pot (after a dip in rooting hormone, preferably) or a glass of water. Suckering requires the plant to be sending off smaller, “sucker” stems from its base. If that’s happening, you can simply disconnect and replant the suckers. For stem shoots, you start with a chunk of bare stem with no leaves, but with leaf “eyes”—small round nodules along the stem. Lay the stem horizontally in moist soil so that the eye faces upward and the soil comes about half way up the stem, like a half-buried fallen log. Keep the soil moist and (if possible) the air humid, possibly by putting a plastic bag or bottle over the pot. Roots should begin to form in 2-4 weeks. Finally, dieffenbachias can also be propagated via air layering, but the methods outlined above are much less complicated. Whatever propagation method you choose, use a clean, sterile knife to minimize the chances of bacterial infection (Dieffenbachias are vulnerable). Be warned that the sap and tissue of a Dieffenbachia Seguine ‘Tropic Snow’ can cause significant irritation to the skin, and especially to the lips, mouth, and tongue. In fact, the plant’s common name, Dumb Cane, comes from the fact that it can cause so much swelling that the would-be eater loses the ability to talk for up to two weeks. Gloves are advised when propagating or pruning this plant. If a reaction does occur, the best solution is to clean the area with soap (if on the skin) or with cold water or milk (if in or around the mouth). If the tongue or throat becomes swollen enough to impede swallowing or breathing—which is highly unlikely unless one has actually eaten the plant—go to the emergency room.