In this dumb cane care article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about caring for this beautiful, eye-catching plant.
Dieffenbachia Seguine or the dumb cane plant, is native to the Caribbean; however, nowadays, it’s commonly seen in homes and offices all over the world.
With its huge patterned leaves, it can create an impressive statement in a large room or hallway entrance.
The green, oval shaped foliage, features splashes of cream or light green in the center, depending on its variety.
Interestingly, a fully grown dumb cane outdoors, can reach a height up to 10 feet and have leaves 20 inches in length!
But, this rarely happens when it’s kept indoors as a decorative plant, normally growing to half this size (5 feet high x 3 feet wide). It’s ideal for areas that have partial shade or filtered sun.
This plant is good for beginner gardeners too, because it’s relatively easy to grow and quite resilient.
It requires no special conditions in terms of the basics like water and light. Indeed, when given the proper care, it will bring a happy and healthy glow in any type of indoor space.
Moreover, it’s an awesome pick for those who want to breathe a cleaner air indoors as the plant produces oxygen and thus, cleans the air for you and your loved ones.
Unfortunately, if you have pets and small children, it’s best to place it where it will be out of their reach or choose another plant, as it’s toxic when ingested, according to the ASPCA!
The ‘dumb’ in the name dumb cane comes from the fact that when chewing a piece of its stem, the sap of the plant can cause swelling and inflammation of the tongue and throat, making it difficult to speak.
How to Care for Dumb Cane
This plant will do best if you place it where it will get plenty of indirect or filtered sun light.
Although it’s a sturdy plant which is able to withstand shade, this will definitely slow down its growth.
If you happen to notice this, give it some more light and see it thrive again.
Most dumb canes will do just fine if they’re growing in an indoor area with a temperature range between 60 and 75 degrees F.
Avoid placing it where there’s draft or in an area where temperature fluctuations are common.
Watering Dumb Cane
In the active growing season (spring to autumn), make sure you’re watering dumb cane regularly, keeping the soil moist.
Water it over the sink- pour water gently until you notice it coming out of the drainage holes. Wait for the surplus water to get out before you put it back to its place.
When you notice that the top 1 inch of soil has become dry, repeat the watering.
In the wintertime, when the plant will slow down its growth, it will need less watering.
Don’t be tempted to give the soil more water until the top layer is dry.
Like a lot of other houseplants, dumb canes need soil (potting mix) which is able to retain some water, yet one that drains fast and it’s well-aerated.
Plant in a container that fits the root ball avoiding too much excess soil that when retaining water, could damage the roots.
Using fertilizer for dumb cane is recommendable during the growing season. Use a liquid fertilizer for houseplants every 3 to 4 weeks, from spring to autumn.
Make sure you dilute it according to the instructions. Another option is to use a slow-release fertilizer.
Avoid using too much fertilizer to prevent leaf burn and don’t bother feeding in winter.
As dumb cane grows, it will need to be repotted, probably every 2-3 years. When it’s time, ie the plant has become root bound, do it right after the end of winter, before the growing season starts.
Opt for a pot which is a bit bigger than the current one and always use fresh soil.
How to Propagate Dumb Cane
Dumb cane can be propagated in two ways, i.e. through air layering and stem cuts.
You can do it in any time of the year. To propagate it using the air layering method, cut the plant around half way through its stem, around one foot down from the top of the plant.
And, place a toothpick or some other thin object into the stem to keep the soil mixture stead.
Now, wrap a wet moss around the open part and secure it using plastic or rubber bands. When roots form, cut the new plant off below the roots and pot it in soil.
If you decide to do it directly from stem cuts, it’s important to do it only if they have a section where new leaves and stems grow on.
Cut this stem and put it horizontally in soil and bury 50 percent of it. Give it a lot of moisture and humidity to ensure it roots properly. You can increase humidity using a pebble tray and with regular misting. This can take between 2 and 4 weeks.
Best Dumb Cane Varieties
Dumb Cane Camille
This dumb cane variety can grow up to 24 inches in height and has long, oval leaves with a beautiful lush green color and light green spots.
It also features an impressive deep-cream color variegation that fills the middle of each leaf.
Dumb Cane Amoena or Tropic Snow
This plant grows quite tall; it can reach up to 6 inches in height.
Its leaves are strongly variegated with silver, green, and cream. Many consider it to be one of the coolest-looking dumb canes.
Dumb Cane Hilo
This variety is unique for its lime-green variegation combined with the dark green color of the base. The only white is on the plant’s veins.
Usually, it grows up to 4 feet in height and between 1 and 2 inches in width.
Although it usually doesn’t require pruning, some owners may decide to trim it up a bit to get a certain shape or size that’s fitting for your space.
To do it properly and lower its height, cut off the top horizontally using sterilized scissors or knife. And, always water them after pruning.
To ensure your dumb cane looks healthy and fresh, always cut off any leaves that seem damaged and unhealthy.
Always make sure that you wear gloves when handling dumb cane due to its toxicity.
Trouble Shooting- Common Dumb Cane Care Issues
Problem: yellow leaves & spots
Cause: Roots have reduced aeration.
Solution: If you’ve had your dumb cane for some time, repot it using fresh soil and inspect for any rotten roots.
Problem: browned bottom leaves
Cause: A normal thing with dumb cane.
Solution: Cut them off to keep the plant tidy and clean.
Problem: leaves seem bleached with a webby-like substance on the underside
Cause: Spider mites.
Solution: Spray the plant using insecticidal soap spray or neem oil. Avoid chemicals!
I do hope that you’ve found this dumb cane care guide interesting and informative.
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