Let’s be honest: sometimes, those impulsive plant purchases happen to the best of us. Me? I wandered past the gorgeous greenery in the home improvement store and was immediately drawn to a leafy beauty with stunning variegated patterns.

“Oh, that’s pretty,” I thought, tossing it into my cart. It wasn’t until I arrived home and began looking into proper care that I was taken aback. This wasn’t just any houseplant; it was a Dieffenbachia, also known as a Dumb Cane!

Dieffenbachia, with its lush foliage, is a popular houseplant choice. But what I didn’t know was that it comes with a warning label – literally and figuratively. This tropical plant contains calcium oxalate crystals, which act as a defense mechanism.

If ingested, they can cause numbing and swelling of the mouth and throat and even temporary inability to speak (hence the nickname “Dumb Cane”). Let’s just say that a quick Google search made me rethink where I was going to place this beauty! I decided the best place for it would be on the top shelf of my plant stand, up high, so my dog would be safe.

Caring for a Dieffenbachia

Light: Dieffenbachia prefers bright, indirect light. Avoid direct sunlight, which can scorch the leaves.

Water: Water your Dieffenbachia when the top inch of soil dries out. Overwatering is a common killer, so err on the side of underwatering.

Soil: Use a well-draining potting mix. A mixture of potting soil, perlite, and orchid bark can provide good drainage.

Humidity: Dieffenbachia enjoys moderate humidity. You can increase humidity around the plant by grouping it with other plants or using a pebble tray.

Important Safety Tip

When pruning or repotting your Dieffenbachia, wear gloves! The sap can irritate your skin, and if it accidentally gets in your mouth, you might experience that temporary loss of speech.

Speaking of repotting, since I knew I’d eventually want to give my new plant a bigger home, I went ahead and did it right away – gloves and all! The process was simple and the Dieffenbachia seems happy in its new pot.

So far, so good!

Despite the initial scare, I’m thoroughly enjoying my new Dieffenbachia. The beautiful foliage adds a touch of the tropics to my living room, and with a bit of research and care, I’m confident it will thrive for years to come.

Lesson Learned

While those impulse plant purchases can be fun, it’s always a good idea to do a little research on a plant’s specific needs before you bring it home. A little knowledge can go a long way in keeping both you and your new leafy friend happy and healthy!

I’m linking up this month with these AMAZING Blog Hop/Link-Up party hostesses!

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  1. Hi Paula, wow, such interesting plants we have in this world. For me, I occasionally come home with a new baby succulent of some sort lol! I’m always telling myself that I don’t need more, but they are so interesting. Good to find you out here again. I am trying to get back into blogging again and finding my favourites.
    God bless, Tracy

    1. I’m so happy you’re here. I bookmarked your new site so I can easily find you.

  2. I have a plant that looks very similar to that… I wonder if it is in fact the same because I knew NONE of those things about it and have repotted it a time or two (thankfully without any incidents).

    1. I was shocked to learn about it too. So it’s up on the top shelf of my plant stand up out of reach from my dog.

  3. Hi Paula, I had one years ago, but I have to say, not a pretty as that one! Thanks for sharing with us at WTJR, I sure appreciate it.

  4. Wow! I’ve honestly never thought of looking into the hazards of which plants I buy, but I will now! I know there are some obvious ones that I stay away from, but this would not have been one of them. Thanks for the info.!

    1. I’m the same way Debbie. I’m going to be reading about plants before I buy now too.

  5. Wow, really??? That’s a little scary! I, too, tend to be drawn to houseplants in the store–reading the little tags before purchase is kind of a big deal, I guess. 🙂 Visiting from Senior Salon Pit Stop.

    1. I know I was scared after I started reading about it. It seems to be doing well on the top shelf of my stand. I keep everything up out of my dogs reach.

  6. 🙂 And thanks for sharing this post with us at the Will Blog for Comments #40 linkup. Hope to see you at #41, too. Have a great week.

  7. Paula, sometimes I have a green thumb and other times not so much. I’ve done the best with a couple of great big asparagus ferns which have been around for a decade. But I’ve also been known to watch helplessly at a new plant fading away within a week or two of its arrival into our home.

    Go figure, right?!

    1. This spring and summer has been my very first go around with indoor plants. So far so good. I usually kill everything. Lol.

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