The Plant: A striking foliage plant, its large leaves variously marked with gold and green with a darker green midrib and margin. Why should it have the common name ‘Dumb Cane’?
The Dieffenbachia is a poisonous plant and apparently the sap, if it gets in your mouth, can make you unable to speak for some time! It swells the sensory organs in the mouth
Its needs: The Dumb Cane prefers light shade, and to be grown in a potting mix rich in organic matter, and well-draining. Warmth and humidity essential.
Care: Water weekly and feed every 3-4 weeks once new growth has become firm. Reduce watering in winter. Protect from winter chill. Mist spray the leaves in summer, and wipe carefully with a damp cloth if dusty. Use a cane to support the plant as it grows taller. If Dieffenbachia becomes over tall or too straggly cut back main stem and re-pot the 'cutting' in sandy mix. This is best done whilst wearing rubber gloves to avoid contact with the sap. Watch for scale insect pest and red spider mite.
Good for: The Dumb Cane makes an excellent, showy foliage plant, an ideal stand-alone feature. Do not place it within reach of children and warn adults regarding its poisonous sap, (picking up the odd fallen leaf could result in unintentional contact with the sap).