Description:There are several varieties of Dumbcane with different veining and verigation in the leaves. The leaves can range from dark green to a lighter green with white, off-white and sometimes even yellowish verigations on the leaves.
The plants leaves are ovate with pointed tips and grow on stalks that can actually grow up to 8′ or more. If left unpruned the plant will grow to resemble a palm tree.
Dumbcane’s prefer a medium to bright lighting source, but can do well even in low light conditions. An area that gets bright, but filtered light is the ideal location.
The best way to water Dumbcane is too completely drench the soil and let it get moderately dry before rewatering. This method can only be used if you have a pot with a hole in the bottom so that excess water can properly drain. Let dry between waterings, but never allow Dumbcane to get bone dry for long periods of time.
Dumbcane needs soil that will retain water, but also drain well. If general potting soil seems to pack tightly, add some Perlite or sand and a little peat moss for aeration.
To mix your own soil add 1 part moist humus or peat, 1 part garden soil and 1 part Perlite or coarse sand. Add a light dusting of lime to the mix and use a pot that has a hole in the bottom.
You should fertilize Dumbcane at least every two weeks. Use a good quality plant food that is lime free. Don’t fertilize during the winter months when the plants growth rate is slowed.
Propagation can be done through air layering, suckers and stem cuttings at any time of the year. Propagating should be done with a mixture of Perlite and moist peat.
To air layer, cut the plant about half way through the stem with a sharp knife approximately one foot down from plant top. Place a toothpick or other thin object into the stem to hold soil mixture in place.
Wrap some wet moss around the open cut and secure with plastic and rubber bands or strings. Once the roots have formed, cut the new plant off below the roots and pot.
Dumbcane is considered one of the deadliest house plants. The sap from the plant contains calcium oxalate crystals. Ingestion can cause the mouth and throat to burn and swell. In severe cases the swelling can block airways resulting in suffocation.
Ingesting the plant can cause an inability to speak, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive salivation and head shaking. Immediate medical attention is recommended.
Common Name: Dumbcane, Dumbplant, Leopard Lily, Spotted Dumbcane, Zebra Plant
Latin Name: Dieffenbachia seguine
Plant Type: Perennial
Origin: North and South America
Blooming Time: Mid-spring
Humidity: Moderate to High
Temperature: 60- 85 *F
Color: Green, white, off-white
Insects and Diseases: Mealy bugs, aphids, scale, whitefly, spider mites
Written by Connie Corder for HouseplantsForYou.com, Copyright 2008 All Rights Reserved