How to Grow Dieffenbachia

These popular houseplants give a lush, tropical look to any room, and come in many varieties. Learn how to grow dieffenbachia right here!

  • Give the plant lots of indirect light or grow outside in speckled shady areas of zones 11 and 12.

Dieffenbachia is an easy houseplant to grow and adds a lush, tropical look to the room. This plant's common name is "dumbcane," and for good reason: The sap of the plant can cause numbness when touched and interfere with the ability to speak if it gets near your mouth, causing you to temporarily become mute, or "dumb." Be sure to wear gloves when handling the plant, and keep it away from children and pets.

There are a variety of cultivars available, most with variegated white and green, cream and green, or all-green leaves that can be speckled, splotched, or loosely striped. Primarily grown for foliage, dieffenbachia rarely flowers, but when it does, the bloom looks a bit like a peace lily.

Here's how to grow dieffenbachia.

Where to Grow Dieffenbachia

Dieffenbachia is a tropical plant that grows well indoors in lots of indirect light. It can tolerate low light, but its growth will slow dramatically. Given more light, it will quickly begin to grow again. Gardeners living in zones 11 and 12 can grow dieffenbachia outdoors in partial shade, where it makes a great landscape plant.

How to Plant Dieffenbachia

Select a container that is no more than 1/3 wider in diameter than the plant's original pot or root ball. Fill the bottom 1/3 of the container with Miracle-Gro® Indoor Potting Mix, which is lightweight and formulated to be less prone to gnats (a common problem with houseplants), as it contains no compost or bark for the gnats to shelter in. The mix also contains coconut coir to help it re-wet easily. Place the plant in the container so that the top of the root ball is about an inch below the top of the container, so you can water the plant without the water running over the pot. Fill in around the root ball with more potting mix. Thoroughly water the plant and let it drain before putting it in its chosen spot.

How to Water Dieffenbachia

Dieffenbachia grows best with soil that's not overly moist. Hold off on watering the plant until the top 2 inches of soil are dry, then water thoroughly at the base of the plant. Droopy leaves are usually a sign that the plant needs to be watered.

How to Feed Dieffenbachia

A month after planting, begin giving dieffenbachia a boost of nutrition once a week with Miracle-Gro® Indoor Plant Food, following label directions. Apply directly to the soil, then water as normal. Use 1 pump for small pots and 2 pumps for larger pots (over 6 inches in diameter).


How to Prune Dieffenbachia

As dieffenbachia grows, it tends to shed the lower leaves on its stem, which might not be the look you're going for. If this is an issue or the plant is simply too tall for your taste, use a sharp pair of pruners to cut it back to the desired height and it will soon begin to sprout new leaves.


How to Grow More Dieffenbachia

The best way to grow more dieffenbachia plants is to take stem cuttings (this is called "propagating"). Cut off the growing tip of the plant but leave the top two leaves. Dip the cut end in Miracle-Gro® FastRoot1® Dry Powder Rooting Hormone and stick it 1 to 2 inches down in a small container filled with moist Miracle-Gro® Indoor Potting Mix. Hold off on watering until the new plant has begun to grow roots.

How to Grow Dieffenbachia: Recap

Ready to start growing dieffenbachia? Click on any of the product links above for more information, to purchase the product online, or to find a retailer near you.