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Thursday, March 23, 2006

How to Care for Dumbcane

Dieffenbachias do best in bright indirect light (north or east window). Keep temperatures above 55 degrees (they will tolerate 50 degrees.) The ideal temperatures are 70 to 80 degrees during the day and 60 to 65 at night. The soil should be allowed to become moderately dry between waterings, but then the plant should receive a thorough drenching. Established plants should be fed with every two or three weeks during the spring and summer with any all purpose house-plant fertilizer diluted to one half strength. Root bound plants may be re potted at any season, using any good commercial potting soil. The leaves should be cleaned occasionally with a damp sponge to prevent the pores from being clogged with dust.

As the plants get larger, the lower leaves naturally wither and die, creating the 'cane', but this allows the plants energy to be diverted to the production of new top leaves. If the plant becomes to tall and leggy, it may be cut back to any height and the cut portions used for propagation.

The sap of the Dieffenbachia is extremely poisonous. Even a small amount in the mouth can cause the tongue to swell to the point that it will close your throat and cause suffocation. Wash your hands thoroughly after you have in contact with the sap!


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