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Acer's Florist & Garden Center
Edition 16.06 Acer's Florist & Garden Center February 12, 2016

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Dieffenbachia, also known as dumb cane, is a fairly hearty houseplant that has beautiful foliage.Dieffenbachia will grow well with a variety of lighting conditions, and can take some serious neglect and keep coming back.

Dieffenbachia is somewhat temperamental when it comes to watering. It likes a good soak, followed by a dry period. If it stays too wet, you will see yellowing of the leaves, browning along the edges, or rotting of the canes. Yellowing and browning can generally be fixed by letting the plant properly dry out before watering again, but rot is irreversible. Conversely, if the plant goes too long without water or if the room it is in is too dry, it can be susceptible to mites and the leaves may dry up.

Dieffenbachia tends to look best in a smaller bushy form. Keeping it in a small-ish pot will keep it this way, around 2' tall. Repotting should be done infrequently, as a larger pot will allow it to grow MUCH larger, up to 10-12' tall. Use a good potting soil in your pot, not garden soil.

Dieffenbachia can bounce back from most forgetfulness, but if your neglect goes a little too far, īt has a "nuclear option." You can cut the plant down to just canes, and it will generally grow back just like it was before. Try to learn from your previous mistakes, monitoring moisture before you water to ensure proper hydration and prevent rot.

While trimming the plant back, save some of the canes for replanting. Propagation can be acheived by slicing off sections of the cane (about 2-3" long) and planting them about half-way into the soil. Keep the soil moist and you will see leaves growing in a matter of a couple weeks.

Take into consideration that dieffenbachia is poisonous to ingest. Even getting sap on the skin can cause burning and reddening of the skin. Keep out of reach of pets and children.

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Garden Primer

What's the difference between chewing, rasping and sucking insects?


The mouthparts of insects have adapted over time to suit the feeding style of each type of insect. Mouth parts differ from insect to insect, so the damage that they cause is useful in the classification and identification of the pest. Differentiating the type of insect damage will help you determine how to control the pest.

A chewing insect is any insect that has teeth. Most winged chewing insects (such as beetles, caterpillars and grasshoppers) feed only on leaf tissue, working from the leaf edge towards the center and eventually to the leaf stem. Crawling chewing insects, such as cutworms, will also eat roots and even stems of small plants.

Rasping insects (such as mites, snails, slugs and thrips) actually scrape off the surface of the leaves as sandpaper would. They suck up the fluids from the top layer of cells until all the green tissue has been consumed, leaving only the skeleton behind.

Sucking insects (such as aphids and whiteflies) have slender mouth parts with which they pierce leaves and stems to suck out plant fluids. Large populations can cause curling, yellowing and distortion of leaves, as well as stunting of shoots. Most sucking insects also produce large quantities of a sticky substance known as honeydew, which often turns black with the growth of a sooty mold fungus.

If you're not sure what type of insect is attacking your plant, just bring in a sample and one of our nursery experts will recommend a remedy to help your plant.

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