Dieffenbachia no Dummy

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Brought inside

They call Dieffenbachias Dumb Canes, which I guess is because they are relatively easy to grow, I’m not sure, but when I spotted one this summer, I grabbed it for the large coarse foliage, and the green color that is more like a limey green.  The foliage is speckled in different patterns of darker green.  I divided it immediately into three plants and put them into container garden combinations.

Yet, now as our temperatures start to cool between 45 and 50 during the evenings, I decided it is time to move my now large Dieffenbachia plants from their container gardens into smaller pots to keep as houseplants.

Lifting the plant carefully with roots and soil attached, I repotted it into new fresh soilless mix specifically for containerized plants, and placed it inside.

Last nite, it rained.  And its cool outside today.  But as a result of moving this one inside, I can see it already perking up.  It prefers the warmth.  It still could be “okay” outside, but better to be safe than sorry and risk it getting stressed.  This ultimately leads to damaged leaves, so I’m starting now.

Another bonus, this tender perennial can be increased by cuttings.  There is an air layer technique that is relatively easy to do.  I will discuss this in my upcoming class on October 13th, Saturday, on how to overwinter tropicals.  It is just another way to save money and multiply your plant investment.

Dieffenbachia (also referred to as Leopard lily) is frost tender, so it needs about 59 degrees F to perform well.  It should be grown in fertile, well-drained soils in sun to partial shade.  Some references will indicate partial-shade, but mine performed just as well in sun providing they were adequately watered.  They seemed to handle both conditions.

Now is a good time to move in these types of houseplant candidates, before they get too cold and wet from autumn rainfalls happening right now – and definitely before our first frost upcoming in October.

But bottom line, if you ask me, there is no reason to call this plant a dummy.  This is a rather beautiful foliage plant, wonderful as a specimen or in container garden designs with other plants, and its large tropical like showy foliage with speckled patterns offer color without flowers, plus starting with one plant leads to the potential of propagating even more.  I did not see one insect or disease on this plant all summer.

For those of you in CT, nearby my home town of Broad Brook, if you wish to learn more about how to store tropical plants or frost tender types like Dieffenbachia, now is the time to register for my upcoming class on October 13th, Saturday.  I am sending out pre-instructions with details to registered attendees today.  Just click on DIY and How-To Classes on this blog or email me at cathy.testa@aol.com if interested in participating at this hands-on class.  And …keep your eye out for the dummies out there – sometimes they are much smarter than you think!

Cathy T

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3 thoughts on “Dieffenbachia no Dummy

    • Always good to know the side of caution with plant potential dangerous to pets, as I have 3 cats at home. Sometimes I think plants should come with warning labels! Thanks for the tip Michelle and Diana.

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  1. It’s called dumbcane because there’s something (oxalic acid?) that would cause your tongue to swell to the point that you couldn’t talk. Eat more and it would kill you, maybe.

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