How To Take Care of a Dumb Cane Plant

how to take care of a dumb cane plant

Dumb Cane – it’s a weird name, but it points to an essential part of this plant. It also has the common name of Dieffenbachia (deef-en-BOK-ee-uh) and can come in many varieties. Some will provide lush green foliage, while others will combine variegation of darker and lighter greens. Here are some tips and more to consider when taking care of this plant!


Some Different Variations of a Dumb Cane

Check out Balcony Garden Web for a great breakdown of all the different variations of this plant.


  • Camouflage
  • Carina
  • Mary
  • Seguine
  • Snow
  • Sparkle
  • Tropical Snow
  • Tropical Tiki
  • White Etna


How Much Sunlight Does a Dumb Cane Plant Need?

how much sunlight does a dumb cane plant need

Dieffenbachia plants don’t need a lot of bright light. It is best to provide low light filtered through coverings like curtains for most of the day. The plant’s leaves are apt to get a sunburn, especially the younger, tender ones if it is too direct. Dumb Canes will tend to favor the side of getting more light, so make sure to give it regular rotations to keep it growing straight.


What Temperature Works Best for a Dumb Cane Plant?

High humidity and warm temperatures are vital parts of the environment. Therefore, keeping the area around 60% humidity at 60-80 degrees Fahrenheit will help the plant thrive. You can use a humidifier or other methods to make sure your plant has enough humidity too. However, be careful about leaving the humidifier on for too long, as that can cause mold or root rot issues.


Do Dumb Canes Enjoy Humidity?

This tropical houseplant originated in the West Indies, the Caribbean, and the Amazon forests of South America. This plant thrives in warm and humid conditions. Consider adding this plant to your bathroom with a shower since that room tends to be more humid than other parts of a home.


How Often Do You Water a Dumb Cane Plant?

Dumb cane plants enjoy regular watering about twice a week during the summer and once during the winter. Misting the plant is a good idea since the plant enjoys humid conditions. Consider using pebbles in the pot to create additional humidity when watering the plant.


What Size Do Dumb Canes Get to Typically?

what size do dumb canes get typically

This plant can naturally grow upwards of 10 feet tall with 20-inch leaves. When you make it an indoor plant, however, it won’t exceed 5 feet. Overall, this makes it a good plant that won’t overgrow if grown indoors correctly.


What Soil Works Best for this Plant?

Potting soil with good drainage works best for a dumb cane plant.


Do They Like Coffee Grounds?

do dumb cane plants enjoy coffee grounds

Dumb canes enjoy acidic soil, so adding coffee grounds to the plant is an excellent option via moderation. The soil PH should be in the six range, which means slightly acidic. Check out the coffee ground for plants guide to learn more about this practice.


What are Some Common Bugs?

Bleached leaves with a webby substance will be a sign of a problem. Bleached leaves are an indication of spider mites. When your plant is growing, it is best to avoid using chemicals to solve the infestation, worsening the problem. A simple insecticidal soap or neem oil will prove sufficient.


What about Brown Spots on the Leaves?

In the case of brown spots, it can often just be the natural process of your plant as the leaves only live to be about a year old. Here, you will want to snip them off to keep the plant looking tidy.


How to Propagate a Dumb Cane Plant?

Cane Cuttings is the easier of the two propagating methods. First, prepare a tray with a few inches of moist sand, cut a 6-8 inch section from the Cane of a healthy plant, and plant it into the sand so it’s partly covered. For a few months, keep the sand moist, and the Cane should produce a new plant. You can continue repotting when it becomes 2 inches in height.


Air Layering is a longer process. Choose a spot on the central Cane 6 inches below the lower leaves where you’d like to see new growth and create an upward diagonal cut. Insert a toothpick sideways to keep it open, apply rooting hormone, and wrap moistened sphagnum moss around the amount. With twine and a wrap of plastic above and below the wrap, cover the moss.


After several months you should notice root formation. When this happens, remove the plastic, cut below the new root growth, and replant the Cane into a unique pot. Make sure you cut the remaining stem a few inches above the soil line and add fresh soil on top of it to promote new growth.


What Are the Side Effects of this Plant?

The stalk and the leaves secrete a sap with moderate toxicity that contains calcium oxalate. If ingested, it can cause burns to the mouth, numb the throat, and has the potential to cause a temporary loss of speech, hence the name.


How Do You Make a Dumb Cane Bushier?

If it’s not receiving enough light, it will start to shed some leaves and grow tall and awkward. If this is so, move the plant to a lighter area, and it should grow to look healthier.


How to Fix Yellow Leaves

Yellow leaves on a dumb cane plant can represent overwatering, underwatering, or lack of nutrients in the soil. To diagnose this, first, check the moisture of the ground. If it is way too dry, you should try adding some water and change your routine. However, if the soil is way too moist, let it dry itself out for a week and return to watering it in an adjusted way.


If the watering routine doesn’t cause the problem with yellowing leaves, give your Dieffenbachia a high nitrogen houseplant fertilizer. Typically, you will want to do this twice a month at half strength. You can also add some coffee grounds to the mix if you have not done so already.


Another problem with the foliage may be that they are beginning to droop. If it’s drooping, that means that your Dumb Cane is getting too much light. Filter the light and move the plant away from the source to a more appropriate location.


How Do you Take Care of an Overwatered Dumb Cane Plant?

Though this plant is from tropical origins, overwatering is one of the most common problems when caring for a Dumb Cane. You will notice brown leaves and a soft discolored stem. When the plant has too much water, you need to let the soil dry out and continue watering after about a week.


To prevent overwatering, make sure you use well-draining potting soil in a pot with drainage holes. Then, when the top inch of the earth has dried, you can give it a light watering.


How Long Does a Dumb Cane Last?

how long does a dumb cane last

This perennial comes back year after year. It will give you consistent growth for 2-3 seasons as it grows about 2 feet in a year. However, this constant growth means that you will have to give your plant more room to grow before every growing season.


When Should You Repot this Plant?

Several signs of stress can indicate the need to repot this plant. These signs can range from the roots poking from the soil’s surface, crowding and falling leaves. If you need to repot this plant, put it in a container no more than 2 inches bigger in diameter with fresh potting soil.


Conclusion: How to Take Care of a Dumb Cane Plant

This tall tropical plant can become the next centerpiece, adding dark greens to your home. Though essential things to note, this plant is known for its relatively easy growing process. As a result, it can be an excellent start for beginners.


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