Dieffenbachia reflector is a popular tropical houseplant known also for improving air quality indoors. With large showy leaves spotted with bold yellow patterns, it is easy to maintain and serves as a beautiful decorative piece as well.
In this detailed care guide, we give you the exact information you require to care for, grow and propagate this delightful tropical beauty.
If you are keen on including this attractive plant in your garden or home space, then keep reading to know more about it.
- What Is Dieffenbachia Reflector?
- Dieffenbachia Reflector Care
What Is Dieffenbachia Reflector?
The Dieffenbachia Reflector, called the dumb cane, is a stunning tropical house plant popular with large leaves, and yellow and green mosaic patterns. This is a rare plant that is native to Central and South America. It is perfect for beginner-level gardeners as it is easy to grow and maintain.
Dieffenbachia Reflector Care
Dieffenbachia is a sturdy plant and requires little or minimal care. In this section below we explain the care aspects and ideal environment the plant requires to grow and thrive. Read our fine tips and tricks to ensure the plant retains its glorious hues and patterns on its foliage.
– Water Requirements
The dumb cane ‘reflector’ plant does not require very frequent watering thus water only when the topsoil is noticeably dry. Keep the soil lightly moist and not soggy or waterlogged as overwatering the plant can be disastrous to its health and lead to root rot. Add in more only when the topsoil has dried up to one to two inches.
The plant will require more frequent watering during warmer months, or once every two or three days. During winter months when the plants stay dormant reduce watering to once in two weeks. Look out for droopy leaves which can be a clear-cut sign that the roots are thirsty and it indeed is time for watering.
– Light Requirements
The plant is happiest when it receives medium to bright diffused sunlight. However, to a large extent, it can tolerate low light conditions and survive, though it will not produce any beautiful variegations.
For vibrant and vigorous growth give it adequate light, taking care also not to over-expose it too. Excessive and direct sun heat and light can scorch the leaves and also slow their growth.
Additionally, you can use a garden sheet over it to protect it from the sun’s rays or group it with larger plants to diffuse direct light. Nonetheless, if you are growing the plant indoors, move it close to an east-facing window where it can receive ample morning sun that is not very intense.
You can also opt for an artificial grow light over the plant if adequate light is not available. On average dieffenbachia reflector, light requirements are of twelve hours of light every day also remember to rotate the plant regularly so that all sections receive light equally.
– Soil Requirements
The plant thrives well in acidic soil in a pH range of 6.1 to 6.5. The soil should be well-draining with an ability to retain moisture. So keep it light by mixing coarse sand with peat and perlite to ensure there is aeration. Additionally, you can also include a pinch of lime and humus to improve drainage.
Mixing garden lime also comes with the added advantage of improving the acid level in the dieffenbachia reflector soil, making it easier for the plant to receive nutrients. Also, ensure the pot or container has good drainage holes for easy flow out of water.
– Temperature Requirements
Dieffenbachia plants grow well in a temperature range between 65 degrees Fahrenheit to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Being tropical plants, a warm environment boosts growth and promotes variegation in the foliage. The plant seldom tolerates temperatures lower than its optimal level and will not survive below 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
Moreover, the plant is under stress if exposed to cold drafts, chilly winds, and even blasts of hot or cold air from air conditioners or room heaters. Thus, during winters move the plant indoors and grow them under artificial grow lights.
– Humidity Requirements
Being a tropical plant, dieffenbachia prefers an environment similar to its native, so it grows well when the humidity is relatively high. You will need to maintain humidity around it at 60 percent all through the year. If you are growing your plant in a dry zone, take adequate measures to improve the humidity by placing a tray filled with pebbles and water below the plant container.
Additionally, you could also group several plants around so that they could benefit from collective humidity. If you are growing your plant indoors, use a humidifier to increase moisture in the air.
– Fertilizing Requirements
The plant is a heavy feeder and requires regular over-the-top feed, especially during the growing seasons. Use a diluted portion of a well-balanced fertilizer once every four to six weeks. Mix two teaspoons in a gallon of water and apply to the plant to meet the nutritional needs of the plant.
Do not over-fertilize the plant, as this could lead to a build-up of excess salts in the soil. Also, abstain from fertilizing in the colder months when the plant is in a dormant state.
– Pruning Requirements
The dumb cane plant grows to a height of thirty to thirty-six inches in height and thirty-six inches in width. Therefore, what you may do is regular pruning needs to be done to ensure it maintains a proper structure and form and also to encourage new growth of foliage.
Always sterilize your gardening tools before you snip plant sections to prevent the spread of bacterial or fungal diseases. Also, keep the plant away from pets and children as dieffenbachia reflector toxicity can affect their digestion and cause swelling if consumed.
Propagate Dieffenbachia easily by using stem cuttings or air layering from a mother plant. You don’t have to be a professional gardener to achieve success, with just a few tools you can propagate a healthy new plant.
In this below section we give you the details on when and how you can create a new offset that is healthy and vibrant. So instead of looking for dieffenbachia reflectors for sale, you can grow your own.
– Right Season to Propagate
The warmer months of spring and summer are the ideal months for propagating the plant. With the warmth of the season and the sun at its best, you can utilize it to your advantage to boost the growth of new offsets.
Summer and spring are the growth months in the lifecycle of the plant when the plant gains strength and the roots are easily able to establish themselves in the soil.
From fall to winter, the plant remains dormant thus propagation will be much slower and the rate of success will be low. So begin your process of propagation in the early months of spring and see the new offsets develop healthy and thriving.
– Tools Required
Keep the below-mentioned tools at hand before you begin the process. It will make your task at hand simpler. Make sure that you have a pair of sterile garden pruners or sharp shear, sterilize them using rubbing alcohol.
Additionally, you must have a container or pot filled with peat or perlite-based light soil. It is essential to have hormone rooting powder, and lastly. Make sure you have a plastic sheet or transparent container with holes for ventilation, so that after planting, the roots of the plant don’t feel accumulated with water, and the excess water is drained.
– Propagation Using Stem Cuttings
In comparison to seeds, stem cuttings are faster in delivering healthy offsets. Dieffenbachias have a moderate growth rate thus and stem cuttings are an easy way to generate offsets. Do you consider the dieffenbachia reflector rare? Then here is how you can propagate it in your very own home.
You may want to begin by sterilizing your garden pruner with a diluted solution of isopropyl alcohol before you begin, in order to avoid any type of plant infection and harm to the plant. Afterwhich, place a gentle small cut on a stem section of the mother plant, towards the top.
Now, dip the end of the cut section in hormone rooting powder, the reason why the root powder is important is that it will promote faster rooting and growth. Let this callous for a day and then plant it directly in the soil or growing medium.
Cover the section with a plastic sheet with tiny holes to increase humidity around the plant. However, remove it within a week so that there is no excess humidity that may tend to hamper the health of the plant. Place this in diffused yet bright light taking care of the plant’s ideal temperature and water requirements.
Lastly, in a few weeks, the cut section will develop roots of its own. At this stage, you can consider transplanting it into another container if required.
– Propagation Using Air Layering
Air layering is an equally easy method to propagate dieffenbachia plants but is usually used when the mother plant is large. Here are the details on how you can go about this procedure with precision.
You may want to begin by picking a healthy mother plant and identify a stem section that bears a healthy leaf bud. Make a slit of about two inches on this stem section and insert a toothpick or thin stick into the cut separating it from the main stem.
Dab the two cut ends with rooting powder using the same toothpick and place a handful of moist sphagnum moss over the cut section, securing it with a string. Cover this tied moss area with a plastic sheet ensuring that there are no air pockets within. Secure firmly with tape.
Within a few weeks, you will notice that roots would have emerged at the cut portion. At this stage remove the plastic sheet and cut the rooted section from the parent plant and transplant it into a fresh potting medium. This will over the next few days develop into a healthy dieffenbachia offset.
Much as it is an easy-to-grow plant, dieffenbachia comes with its share of problems too. But these are challenges that can be easily tackled with the right care. Here are the most common problems faced by the problems and some quick solutions to fix them.
– Brown Spots on Leaves
Brown spots on leaves are caused by the fungal diseases of Colletotrichum gloeosporioides fungus. These spots spread all over the foliage and are either oval or round. Fungal diseases are caused due to an improper watering schedule. Water the plant only when the top soil is dry by at least an inch.
If your plant is showing signs of a fungal disease prune the diseased sections and dispose of them immediately. Scale back on the watering and consider transplanting into fresh potting soil.
– Bacterial Infections
Bacterial infections such as Pseudomonas cichorii, Xanthomonas dieffenbachiae and Erwinia chrysanthemi cause blight and small watery leaf spots. They make the plant weak and the stems go limp. The plant loses its attractive variegation as well.
Bacterial infections thrive when there is excess moisture or humidity in the environment around the plant. Thus, to tackle it, maintain the humidity of the plant at 60 percent. Do not over mist the plant and ensure there is enough ventilation to regulate the air around it.
Pests such as aphids, mealybugs and spider mites infect the plant making them go weak and limp. They occur in clusters and are commonly found laying eggs on the underside of leaves.
As soon as you spot an infestation, the first thing to do is to isolate the plant to reduce an infestation to nearby plants. Treat the plant with a soapy solution or diluted alcohol by spraying directly over it.
For severe infestations use a systemic insecticide or a natural solution such as neem oil mixed with a gallon of water. Repeat spraying the solution on the plant for at least a week or until all of the pests are eliminated.
– Yellowing Foliage
Find the leaves of the plant turning yellow? The reason could be due to environmental issues such as lack of sunlight, extreme temperatures, low humidity levels, underwatering or overwatering. Check each of these aspects as per our care section and you should be able to easily fix the problem.
Additionally, your dieffenbachia plant’s leaves may turn yellow if there is a lack of nutrients. The plant is a heavy feeder so a well-balanced fertilizer helps it to thrive well, especially when added in the growing seasons. Fertilize the plant once every four weeks, and you should soon see the plant regaining its glory.
– Curled Leaves with Brown Edges
If you find the leaves curling inwards with the edges brown, it could be due to excessive use of fertilizer on the plant. Apply fertilizer during the growing season and restrict it to once every two weeks. Avoid fertilizing in the cold months as the plant seldom requires it in the dormant state and the excess fertilizer results in salt build-up in the soil.
– Droopy Leaves
The plant may have droopy leaves if it has been under water. Thirsty roots kick in a stress condition to the plant and the result is always droopy leaves. Never let the plant go completely dry and always keep the soil moist at least by an inch from the top. Additionally, droopy leaves may also occur if there isn’t adequate light or heat to the plant.
– Foul-Smelling Mushy Roots
If you find your plant emitting a foul smell accompanied by swollen and mushy stems and roots, it could be due to root rot. Root rot occurs when there is excess water in the soil that prevents oxygen from penetrating the roots.
The roots develop fungal infections as well, turning blackish-brown in color. Root rot also results in stunted or slow growth as the roots are unable to absorb nutrients from the soil in the condition.
If you suspect root rot, gently remove the plant from the soil and inspect the blackened sections. Gently snip them away and repot the plant in fresh potting mix. Water just to keep the soil slightly moist.
– Plant Drops Leaves Excessively
Under watering the plant also causes the plant to drop its leaves excessively. Work towards keeping the soil slightly damp at all times. Keep the humidity at the ideal level and if you sense the air around to be arid, mist the plant or use a pebble tray with water below the pot to kick in moisture in the air.
After having read this detailed guide on care and propagation of dieffenbachia ‘reflector’, you can now include these delights in your home or office space. Let us summarize our discussion with these points:
- This dieffenbachia is an attractive plant with patterned variegation of green and yellow on its leaves and is considered to purify the air. The plant grows well in moderately hot and high humid climates.
- The plant is low in maintenance and coupled with its good looks is a much sought-after option for indoor décor.
- You can propagate this plant via stem cuttings or air layering. It is also possible to propagate through seeds however this process is slow and may often not be met with much success.
- Caring for the plant is easy and even novice gardeners can maintain it. All you need to do is provide it with the ideal environment to make it thrive and grow healthy.
- The plant requires just the right amount of water, not too much or not too less. Monitor the watering schedule right and most of the problems faced by the plant can be tackled.
After reading this complete one-stop guide you will surely want to grow and nature this attractive plant. So wait no longer, and just bring these beauties into your life; you will not regret it!
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