Dieffenbachia Care Questions

Hi! My dieffenbachia has 2 flowers. I found your site while researching whether or not I could cut the flowers off. From everything I’ve read, I’m ready to follow your advice and cut these unremarkable flowers off so the beautiful leaves can prosper. (Plus the smell of the flowers is driving me crazy.) But I’m new to plant care and I have no idea how or where to make the necessary cuts. Can you advise me?

Hi Nia,

Follow the “stem” of what you are called the “flower” as far down as possible and cut it off there.

They are not really flowers, but are a spathe and a spadix. The outer portion is the spathe and looks a little like a folded leaf. The spadix is the erect white piece  growing in the middle of the spathe. The male flowers are at the top of the spadix and the female flowers at the bottom. In nature, these flowers are pollinated by insects.
All parts of a dieffenbachia are extremely poisonous which is how they earned the nickname “dumb cane plant”and should be kept away from pets and children. Read more about common houseplants that are poisonousPlants are a great addition to homes and offices, but it’s important to know whether your plants are dangerous to children, pets, or even adults. Some plants contain chemicals such as oxalates, solanine, glycosides, or alkaloid lycorine that may cause vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, swelling and redness of the mouth, throat, and lips, and trouble breathing. Touching parts of certain plants, especially the sap, may cause various skin irritations. The weight and age of the human or pet involved, and the part and amount of plant eaten determine how severe the reaction to the toxins will be. Although plants may be listed as non-toxic, they can still cause individual allergic reactions. If there is any question after a houseplant has been ingested or touched, immediately call the Poison Control Center 1-800-222-1222.  More poisonous houseplant information and pictures of common plants that are dangerous to children and pets can be found in my book Don’t Feed Me to Your Cat: A Guide to Poisonous Houseplants in Don’t Feed Me To Your Cat! A Guide to poisonous houseplantsIn her new book, Don’t Feed Me to Your Cat!, plant care professional Judy Feldstein shares information about twenty-five common houseplants, each with various levels of toxicity, and the possible consequences if your pet or child snacks on them..

You can read all my care tips for a dieffenbachia in the Popular Houseplant section of the website.