Dieffenbachia amoena, or Dumb Cane, is a plant widely used for interiorscapes and houseplants. The name Dumb Cane reflects the fact that the acrid sap will burn the mouth and numb the throat to the extent that it may even paralyze the vocal cords. The plant should not be used around small children who are likely to put things in their mouths. Plants may reach up to 6 feet (1.5 m) tall bearing dark green leaves with irregular zones of creamy white along the primary lateral veins. Leaves will reach 20 inches (47 cm) long by about half as wide. Petioles are 12 inches (30 cm) long and winged along about half of their length. They make a tough and durable houseplant that will withstand low light conditions.
Blooming Time: Plants may flower at any time of the year if conditions are favorable. The 5 inch (13 cm) long spathe is green and not very showy.
Culture: Dieffenbachia amoena need partial to full shade or high interior lighting and prefer a rich well-drained soil mix. In the greenhouse, we use a soil mix consisting of 2 parts of peat moss to 1 part loam to 1 part sand or perlite. The plants are kept moist at all times for optimum growth. They are fertilized every other month with a balanced fertilizer diluted to ½ the strength recommended on the label. Plants should be re-potted when the roots start to push the plant up out of its container.
Propagation: Dieffenbachia amoena is propagated from tip cuttings, air layering and from 2 to 3 inch (5-8 cm) stems laid sideways in moist sand.
Dieffenbachia amoena was featured as Plant of the Week January 16-22, 2004.
Guide to Past Plants-of-the-Week:
Cal's Plant of the Week was provided as a service by the University of Oklahoma Department of Microbiology & Plant Biology and specifically the late Cal Lemke, who used to be OU's botany greenhouse grower and an avid gardener at home as well. If the above links don't work, then try the overview site. You may also like to look at the thumbnail index. ©1998-2012 All rights reserved.