Click on any photo for a larger view.

Interesting Facts

Dieffenbachia should not be ingested, as major discomfort could ensue. Upon contact, sap from Dieffenbachia may irritate the skin.  People with more averse reactions to the plant's toxicity can have their tongues swell up and fill their mouths if they attempt to eat the plant, which is why the plants in this genus are also called Mother-In-Law's Tongue.

Add to My Plants
Giant Dumbcane   (Dieffenbachia spp.)

Mother-In-Law's Tongue

Dieffenbachia are noted for their patterned leaves. They are popular as houseplants because of their tolerance to shade. The leaves of this plant have needle shaped cells that attach to the mouth ad throat if swallowed and can cause suffocation.

Share     Add

Plant Types: Interior Plant, Perennial, Shrub
Light: Shade to Partial Sun
Height: 4 feet to 6 feet
Width: 1 foot to 3 feet
Zones: 14a to 15b
Bloom Color: Green
Bloom Seasons: Early summer, Mid summer, Late summer
Leaf Color: Green, Variegated, Yellow
Special Features: All or parts of this plant are poisonous, Attractive foliage, Not North American native
Shape: Upright or erect
Fertilizer: Miracle-Gro® Liquid All Purpose Houseplant Food
Want to know where Giant Dumbcane will thrive in your house or garden? The EasyBloom Plant Sensor will give you a plant's-eye view of your environment to measure soil, sunlight, temperature and humidity. Watch a Video >
Learn More >
Buy EasyBloom >
Plant Care

Propagate by rooting tip cuttings in spring or summer. Can also conduct air layering.

Plant Growth:

Striking variegated evergreen foliage. In the tropical south they will grow year round outside, but in other zones they're indoor foliage plants. Grows to 3-6 feet, depending on species. Leaves usually around 1 foot long. Dieffenbachia does best in partial shade, or bright filtered light, and high humidity. Grows best as a border plant.

In areas where Dieffenbachia is not growing hardy, raise plants indoors as houseplants or in a warm greenhouse. A warm greenhouse has a minimum temperature of 55°F (13°C). During the day, temperatures should be set to 55-64°F (13-18°C) or above, and at night, the temperature should be at 55°F (13°C).


Flowers resemble odd, narrow Calla Lilies, borne sporadically throughout the year.

Soil and Irrigation:

Moderate water when soil feels dry. It cannot withstand constant over watering, but will recover from underfeeding/under watering. Does best in well draining soils. Indoors, use a soil-based potting mix.


Implement a balanced liquid fertilizer monthly during growth.


Pruning is not usually necessary. If growing in containers, make sure to pot on, or move plant from one container to a larger one with fresh soil, each spring to provide room for new growth.


Mealybugs, scale insects, aphids, and spider mites. Other problems include stem and root rot, soft rot, bacterial blight, and fungal spot.