Leopard Lily (Dieffenbachia) is a popular houseplant in the U.S. It’s also commonly known as Dumb Cane due to its shape and the ability to cause speechlessness if eaten. Although native to the Caribbean and tropical South America, it thrives in various climates. It has large leaves that are usually green or variegated with white stripes or spots. Depending on the variety and growing conditions, it can grow anywhere from three to ten feet tall. The flowers are insignificant; this plant is usually grown for foliage display purposes only.
Dumb cane makes an excellent potted plant for indoor decorating because of its attractive leaf coloration. It comes in all shades of green with various markings of white or cream colors along the edges, giving it a tropical look.
- Leopard Lily Main Characteristics
- Leopard Lily Care
- Dieffenbachia Varieties
- Dieffenbachia Cultivars
- Propagating Leopard Lily
- Potting and Repotting Leopard Lily
- Common Pests
- Common Problems
- How to Grow Leopard Lilies (Video)
Leopard Lily Main Characteristics
|Common Name||Leopard Lily, Dumb Cane|
|Botanical Name||Dieffenbachia ssp.|
|Native Range||Central and South America|
|Common Cultivars||Dieffenbachia amoena,Dieffenbachia X bausei,Dieffenbachia Exotica (Arvida),Dieffenbachia maculata|
|USDA Hardiness Zones||10 to 12|
|Mature Size||Height: 3-10 feet; Spread: 2-3 feet|
|Bloom Time||Seasonal bloomer|
|Propagation methods||by root tip cutting, by stem cutting, by air layering|
|Sun||Part shade, Full shade|
|Soil||Good Drainage, Moist|
|Toxicity||Toxic (if ingested)|
Leopard Lily Care
This is a perennial houseplant with large green leaves and white markings. The difference in their leaf markings usually identifies different species. Although it can be grown outdoors in zones 10-12, it’s best served as a houseplant to liven up the inside of your house. These plants are popular because they do not require much care to stay healthy.
Light and Location
Remember that this is a tropical perennial that flourishes in bright, indirect light. It will tolerate lower light levels but will not grow as quickly. In the home, try to place it near a window to get some indirect sunlight. Depending on the region, they also like direct sunlight in the winter. If used as an indoor houseplant, place it near a windowsill that gets plenty of indirect or filtered sunlight.
This plant loves moisture. The easiest way to water your plant is to give it a good soaking with plenty of water to allow the soil to become moist. After a few days, you can water again if the soil becomes dry to the touch. If not, wait until it’s dry before watering. Afterward, to promote fast growth, be stick to the routine.
These plants need a warm, wet environment to thrive. The ideal temperature lies between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit (16–24°C). If the temperature falls below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, the plant is at a health risk.
This plant thrives in humid environments. The best range of humidity is above 60%. If the environment becomes too dry, plants may suffer from drought-related symptoms like leaf spots and discoloration.
Fertilize your plant every five with a balanced 20-20-20 fertilizer in the growing season. You can also use time-release fertilizer pellets to release nutrients slowly into the soil.
Make sure to water your plant well after applying fertilizer so the plant can uptake the nutrients. Fertilizer is essential during the spring and summer months when the plant enters its rapid growth phase. Conversely, you place it in the shade, it grows slowly and needs less feed.
The plant Calathea Roseopicta requires similar growing conditions. Consider pairing them together.
Dieffenbachia is a genus that serves as an umbrella term for many Dieffenbachia varieties. These are the most notable.
- Dieffenbachia malucata – (also known as D. seguine , D. picta) is one of the most popular species of this plant. It is more toxic than other varieties (though those are toxic too).
- D. amoena – Grows much more rapidly than other Dieffenbachia varieties. It has green leaves with white stripes perpendicular to the midrib.
- D. X bausei – Leaves are much lighter in color than other varieties. They have white and yellow spots.
Each of the Dieffenbachia varieties has its own cultivars. Some are more famous than others. Cultivars of Dieffenbachia malucata and D. amoena are the most widely distributed.
- Dieffenbachia Camille
- Dieffenbachia Tropic snow
- Dieffenbachia Reflector
- Dieffenbachia Camouflage
Propagating Leopard Lily
There are three ways to propagate these plants.
One way is by taking stem cuttings. Pick a healthy stem with four or five leaves, cut off the bottom of the stem, strip off all but two leaves, dip in rooting hormone before planting.
The second option is by dividing the clump. The best time is when the plant is not in bloom. Cut the clump into several pieces using a sharp knife, ensuring each has at least one root. Replant each in a new pot.
The third option is by air layering. It’s a great way to propagate a large Dieffenbachia or to save a plant that is not blooming. Choose a healthy stem, make a small cut in the stem and slip a piece of moist sphagnum moss over it. Wrap the moss with some plastic wrap and seal with tape. Make sure the moss stays moist. After several weeks, you will see roots form on the moss. Cut off the rooted section of the stem and plant in moist perlite.
Potting and Repotting Leopard Lily
When you’re potting a Dieffenbachia, it’s essential to use a container at least 10-inches deep. In addition, the soil should be well-drained. It needs a pot with adequate drainage without being too dry. They grow in various soil types, including peat moss and perlite.
Check the pot for overflowing roots every year; if the plant is rootbound, it’s time to move to a new container. To repot your plant, begin by removing any dried-out or dying leaves from the plant using pruning shears. Then take the plant out of its current pot and remove as much old root material as possible from around the roots with a sharp knife or garden clippers. Place your plant at the bottom and fill gaps between roots with more soil until you have used all of it. Tamp lightly to settle the soil around roots.
This plant is toxic if ingested by humans or pets. Keep your dogs and cats away from the plant at all times. If the sap is ingested, it may render the victim mute for several weeks due to numbing of vocal cords and throat.
The sap is highly irritating to the skin and should be washed thoroughly with exposure. Wear gloves when handling this plant.
The plant is susceptible to a mealybug infestation. Mealybugs are tiny, sap-sucking insects that can cause significant damage to plants. They can be challenging to control, but there are a few methods that you can use to get rid of them.
The best way to prevent a mealybugs infestation is to inspect the plant for early signs regularly. If you notice any, treat immediately with rubbing alcohol.
Does your Dieffenbachia have yellow leaves?
Most likely a result of lower than recommended temperatures or a dry spell. Make sure the room these plants are in is warm enough. And check the humidity level.
Does it have pale Leaves?
Leaving the plant out in the sun usually results in this outcome. Immediately move your plant somewhere shady with filtered sunlight. The leaves should become healthy again after a while.
Are the leaves dropping?
If the room is too cold or under the effect of droughts, this can happen. Check the environmental conditions and increase the temperature. If possible, move it to a temperature-regulated room until the leaves go back to normal.
Are there brown edges on the leaves?
Leaf edges can go brown for a few reasons.
- Underwatering: Water until the compost feels moist to the touch. But don’t let it get soggy.
- Dry and cold air: Increase the humidity level around the plant. A pebble-filled tray of water would do the trick. And increase the temperature.
- Too much fertilizer: Refer to the fertilizer guide to plan out your feeding for the future. The plant should go back to normal after a few sessions.
How to Grow Leopard Lilies (Video)
How to care for a Dumb cane plant?
Keep the soil moist but not wet. And water regularly. Place it in partial shade with high humidity and temperatures around 16–24°C year-round for the best results. Oh, and keep an eye out for mealybugs on the foliage.
How to propagate Dumb cane?
It propagates best by stem cuttings taken from the mother plant. The best time to propagate is late winter or early spring; when new growth starts. Propagation by root tip cuttings and air layering also works.
Why is my Dumb cane turning yellow?
If the plant turns yellow, it could signify cold temperatures or drought. Make sure the plant is in a warm spot with enough humidity. The ideal temperature range is 65-75°F (16–24°C).
How often to water Dumb cane?
You should make sure to keep your Dumbcane watered regularly but not too often. A good practice is waiting for the top layer of soil to dry out before watering again. Of course, this depends on the type of soiling mix you’re using.