Gold Dieffenbachia (Dieffenbachia seguine)

Dieffenbachia, Dumbcane, Gold Dieffenbachia, Spotted Dumbcane, Variable Dieffenbachia

Dieffenbachia is also known as Dumb Cane or Leopard Lily plant. It is native to tropical America and the West Indies and is a member of the Araceae (Arum) family. This genus includes more than 50 species of tropical plants and is popular as houseplants because of their tolerance to shade and easy maintenance. Dieffenbachia is perfect for busy people or beginners who may not have much experience with plants.

I. Appearance and Characteristics 

Dieffenbachia seguine, also known as dumbcane, or tuftroot, is a species of Dieffenbachia native to the tropical Americas—from southern Mexico, through Central America, to northern South America and Brazil. It is also native to several Caribbean islands, including Puerto Rico.

Dieffenbachia Seguine, also known as ‘dumb cane’, is a perennial herb with a long lifespan that can reach heights upto 1.5 meters. The stem is erect, with the base typically slouched, branchless, cylindrical, and tinted with scarred leaves. The stalk is elongated, extensively grooved, and has leaves concentrated near the apex. The bottom half of the stalk forms a cover surrounding the stem. The leaves are rectangular to broadly lance-shaped, 20–40 cm long, and 10–20 cm wide. 

II. How to Grow and Care


Dieffenbachia plants are popular indoor plants largely because they do well in shady conditions, but these plants do appreciate bright light during the winter months. During the growing season, the plant prefers dappled shade or indirect light. The plant will favor the side facing the light, so periodically rotate the plant to keep its growth balanced.


Dieffenbachia plants thrive best in temperatures between 18-29°C, so keeping them in a room with an average home temperature is perfect. However, they don’t like sudden temperature changes. It can disrupt their metabolic and growth processes, leading to stress and potential damage. So keep them away from open windows/doors and heating elements.

They are pretty tolerant and can handle lower temperatures for a short period, with a minimum of around 10°C. Still, temperatures lower than that may cause some damage to the plant.


Dieffenbachia enjoys humid environments with an optimal humidity range between 60-70%. Although it can handle humidity levels as low as 40%, it may start to show signs of stress, like brown leaf edges or wilting. A relatively humid atmosphere results in vigorous growth, as the large leaves can dry out in a warm room. To increase humidity levels around the plant, mist it regularly, place a humidifier near it or place it on a tray filled with pebbles and water. Additionally, grouping plants together helps them to maintain higher humidity levels. 


During the growing season, dieffenbachias like regular moisture and do not want to dry out. A large dieffenbachia might need to be watered twice a week. In the winter, you can cut back on the water. At the same time, it’s important not to overwater a dieffenbachia, which can cause rot problems. Make sure the top of the soil is fully dried out before watering.


Dumb Cane plants prefer a well-draining potting soil that is slightly acidic, pH between 6.0-6.5. A mix of peat moss, perlite, and vermiculite is a good option. Avoid too compact soil that doesn’t drain well.


For best results, feed regularly (every four to six weeks) with a balanced, diluted fertilizer, such as a 20-20-20. For the amount to use, follow product label instructions. However, some growers swear by a routine of using a weak diluted fertilizer at every watering.

Planting Instructions

If you live in a warm climate, plant dieffenbachia outdoors in your shade garden where it can enjoy a little dappled light. Plant outdoors in the early spring and water twice a week until the end of summer and early fall. If you are planting more than one dieffenbachia in a garden, give them plenty of space (a few feet between each) as the plant can grow tall and a few feet wide. 

When planting indoors, consider placing the dieffenbachia plant in a naturally humid area, like a bathroom or kitchen, where it will thrive. If you place the plant in a dry area of your home, consider misting it or putting it on a rock tray filled with water that will naturally evaporate and create humidity around the plant.


A dieffenbachia plant usually requires pruning when it’s too tall and there seem to be few leaves on the lower part of the stem. With a sterilized, sharp cutting tool, prune the plant down to size from the top to trigger new growth.


Though you can grow dieffenbachia from seed, it is challenging, requires pollination, and is best left to commercial propagators. There are three better and easier ways to propagate a dieffenbachia plant.

To divide by root division:

  • During repotting in the spring, divide offsets, leaving some roots intact.
  • If you take this route, make sure not to damage the root systems of the parent plant in the process, and use a sterilized tool to avoid spreading disease.
  • Plant each offset in a pot filled with fast-draining potting mix and water well.

To propagate a stump:

In older, leggy dieffenbachias, cut off the top of the plant.

Dip the cut end in a rooting hormone.

Plant in a pot with a fast-draining potting mix. New leaves will sprout from the stump.

Once new leaves appear, remove the older leaves.

To propagate with cane cuttings:

  • Pieces of the cane can be sprouted by laying them horizontally in damp potting soil.
  • As the pieces take root, leaves will gradually sprout.
  • Plant each rooted piece in its own pot filled with fresh potting mix.

Potting and Repotting 

Dieffenbachias often need annual replanting. Watch out for signs of stress on the plant, such as roots poking out from the soil surface, crowding, or falling leaves, which could signal that the plant needs repotting. To repot, simply lift the plant as a whole, knock away any old soil and dead material from the roots, and place it in a larger container with some added fresh soil. After repotting a dieffenbachia, give it some time to adjust to its new setting. Wear gloves to avoid contact with the sap.


Bring a potted dieffenbachia plant indoors during cooler months and keep it in a bright spot where the temperature will stay above 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Water the plant once a week as it won’t need as much water as in the summertime.

Pests and Diseases

  • Common Pests 

Dieffenbachia plants are largely trouble-free, but like many indoor plants, they can be susceptible to spider mites, especially indoor plants that are placed in dry air. These pests can be treated with a horticultural oil along with added humidity.

  • Common Diseases

You will be able to tell a lot about your dieffenbachia by the state of its leaves. Watch for certain colorations on the leaves to let you know what to do to amend conditions.

Leaves Turning Yellow

Overwatering or underwatering your plant can turn the leaves yellow. Often, they will also fall off the plant. Check the soil by sticking a finger into the soil up to the first knuckle. If it’s wet, hold off on watering for a week or so. You may have to go a little deeper to see if the soil is too dry, which means you need to add water to the plant. Cut off the yellow leaves regardless of the reason.

Leaves could also turn yellow because the plant is lacking nutrients, such as nitrogen. Though this can be tough to diagnose, it won’t hurt to use a plant fertilizer to see if will bring your plant back to health.

Drooping Leaves

Dieffenbachia prefers partial shade. If your plant droops, it may mean it’s getting too much sunlight. Move the plant to a spot with indirect sunlight. However, if it’s not getting enough light, the leaves may turn yellow and droop. Move it to an area with a bit more light to alleviate this problem.

The plant may droop because it is cold or near a draft. Keep your plant in a consistently warm area that’s between 65 degrees to 75 degrees.

III. Uses and Benefits 

There are no known traditional medical practices in the Philippines. The bitter and deadly juice in dumb cane gives it its common name because it numbs the tongue.

  • Leaf of Dieffenbachia is used as a gargle for angina in Brazil, and root tincture is used to treat gout and vaginal itching.
  • The West Indies and Caribbean islanders use Dieffenbachia seguine to temporarily sterilise males for 24 to 48 hours.
  • Stems are used in French Guiana to treat leishmaniasis ulcers. The Amerindians used it as a curare component.
  • West Indians use this plant as an arrow poison.
  • Used by Brazilian Indians as arrow poison or to sanitize foes by food administration.
  • Additionally, poisoning by Dieffenbachia has been seen in chew-all dogs.
  • Seguine is a well-liked decorative plant, particularly the varieties with colored leaves. In tropical America, the sap is applied topically to cure gout and rheumatism as well as a counterirritant for snakebites. Additionally, warts and tumors are treated with it. The seed oil is used on wounds, burns, and inflammation.

Gold Dieffenbachia (Dieffenbachia seguine) Details

Common name Dieffenbachia, Dumbcane, Gold Dieffenbachia, Spotted Dumbcane, Variable Dieffenbachia
Botanical name Dieffenbachia seguine
Plant type Herbaceous Perennial
Height 3 ft. 0 in. - 8 ft. 0 in.
Width 3 ft. 0 in. - 8 ft. 0 in.
Sunlight Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
Leaf color Gold/Yellow