Its time to call Dieffenbachia
By Allah Bakhsh and Mohsin Bashir
Dumb cane (Dieffenbachia amona) is permanent fleshy, evergreen and belongs to group of tropical plants. They are famous for their foliage beauty and their leaves are major source of attraction, bearing alternate pattern of white and yellow distinctive mosaic pattern with fine texture surface, this character make it more appealing. Dumb canes contain variegated glossy and fascinating leaves that enhance the aesthetic look and make conspicuous among rest of indoor plants. They contain erect and single stem that unwinds into several trunks as it matures. They can grow up to 2.5m tall in perfect condition. They produce unique flower consist of spadix surrounded by a hood like small, white-greenish leaf in a very spectacular appearance. It rarely flourishes when it is cultivated, only sometimes at the beginning of spring when the plant is well grown up. They are familiar one among few plants that possess eye catching position in interior landscape. They can successfully be grown in outdoor soil and in pots as well. They are good pot plants too, but also grow vigorously when they are not pot bound and being watered daily in hot summer months. Besides decorating the environment Dieffenbachia is an excellent ornamental plant with ability to take out volatile organic compounds, toxic chemicals, air pollutants and heavy metals from air, this function improve the indoor air quality. Dumb cane refers to the poisoning effect of raphides which can cause temporary inability to speak.
They are known as a low-light plant and does tolerate dim indoor conditions and ideally grown in bright, indirect sunlight but avoid placing them full sunlight, which could cause leaf burning. Dumb cane exhibiting high coloration with strong contrasting leaf markings when they are placed in medium to high light. They need filtered sunlight through a window is usually sufficient for its optimal growth. They grow happily at average home temperature of 62–80 °F (17–27 °C) and with a minimum temperature of 5 °C (41 °F), and they can be grown indoors in temperate regions. Dumb cane respond considerably well to hot temperatures and dry climates. Quality and quantity of irrigated water is indispensable as they show remarkable finesse when irrigated with water of pH 6.5-7.5. Irrigate when the soil surface begins to dry. For the best growth, keep the dumb cane plant’s top inch of soil moist at all times. This is one house plant which probably won’t mind a routine watering regime. It will tolerate extended periods of watering but heavy watering makes the leaves stiffen and begin to shrivel. Dumb cane enjoy warm and humid environment but cold may cause excessive leaf drop.
Dumb cane are not heavy feeder plant but needs fertilizer in optimum dose in active growth period, spring and summer. Potted dumb cane shows best growth when fertilized with 3:1:2 (N-P2O5-K2O) ratio at a rate of 1 kg of nitrogen per 1000 ft2 in every four to six weeks. Application of nitrogenous fertilizer in early growing phases exceeds the juvenile period and leads the plant to early maturity. The easiest way to propagate your dieffenbachia is by stem cuttings. Plant these small pieces of greenery in the right medium and they will produce roots and eventually an entirely new plant. This plant needs to have its root density checked annually in the spring. If the roots are becoming dense, re-pot into a size bigger pot. Reduce watering for a week before transplant. Although this plant will infrequently produce buds that are 5 inches long, they will only bloom in favorable conditions.It is widely cultivated as an ornamental, peculiarly as an indoor house plant, and has become naturalized in a few tropical islands. It is regarded as imperial house plant because of their shade tolerance ability.
Dumb cane is a phyto-chemically antimicrobial and antioxidant compound containing plant and possess active ingredients that induce anti-angiogenic effect potential for the treatment of cancer. Findings of the study claimed that and development can be possibly used in the formulation of anti-cancer drug to help forbid the disseminate effect of cancer cells in the human body. It is more eloquent and beneficial than its poisoning effect. The authors are associated with Institute of Horticultural Sciences, University of Agriculture Faisalabad, Pakistan.