Dieffenbachia seguine

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Dieffenbachia seguine (Jacq.) Schott


Life form: perennial
Usage: ornamental plant

Exposure: half shade   10

Moisture: moist

Soil: sandy loam - Soil: gritty loam

Arrangement: alternate
Leaves: evergreen

Shape: ovate

Division: simple


Shape: spathe
Fruit: berry

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Inflorescence: solitary

Petals: not specified
Habit: not specified

Growth form: not specified



Dieffenbachia seguine, commonly known as Mother-in-Law Plant, Dumb Cane, is a succulent perennial.


Dieffenbachia seguine was already described and the name validly published by Nicolaus Joseph von Jacquin. It was Heinrich Wilhelm Schott, however, who reclassified it into todays valid botanical systematics .


Dieffenbachia seguine is the type species of the genus Dieffenbachia which contains approximately 56 to 188 species and belongs to the family of the Araceae (Arum Family).


Dieffenbachia seguine - habitus
Dieffenbachia seguine - leaves


The perennials reach heights of 1 to 3 metres. The plants reach a width of 1 to 1.5 metres.


Dieffenbachia seguine is evergreen. The green, simple leaves are alternate. They are ovate, entire and petiolate. The surface of the leaves is glabrous. They turn an attractive yellow in autumn.

Flowers and Fruits

Dieffenbachia seguine produces solitary white spathae. The plants are dioecious.

The perennials carry ornamental berries.

Root System


Dieffenbachia seguine is native to the West Indies.


The perennials prefer a half-shady situation on moist soil. The substrate should be sandy-loamy or gritty-loamy soil. They tolerate temperatures only above at least 1°C (USDA zone 10).

Tolerance of special soil conditions

  • none: drought


The ornamental value of Dieffenbachia seguine lies especially in the ornamental leaves. Suited as container plant and as indoor plant.

Maintenance and Propagation

The plants usually require only a moderate amount of maintenance.



Dieffenbachia seguine is toxic.

Aeskulap  Please read the health issues note

Pests and Diseases

Honeydew, galls and distorted leaves are a sign for an infestation with aphids. Use an insecticide or control biologically , e.g. with parasitic wasps or predators such as Aphidoletes aphidimyza.

Distorted, discoloured or dead leaves and flowers are a sign of a bacterial infection. Generously cut out affected parts. Improve hygiene and control insects that may spread the infection.

Cankers indicate an infection with fireblight. Generously remove affected parts and destroy them.

Leaf blotches are a sign of a fungal or bacterial infection. Bacterial spots are rather angular and yellow-rimmed while fungal spots usually are rather rounded with an area of fruiting bodies. Destroy affected parts, additionaly apply fungizide it is is a fungal infection.

Waxy fibres and honeydew on leaves and shoots indicate an infestation with mealybugs. Apply insecticide or control biologically with predatory ladybirds.

Fine webs on the plants indicate an infestation with red spider mites. These sap-sucking insects mainly appear under glass and can be controlled either with insecticide or biologically with parasitic mites.

Sudden wilting and pale green discolouration indicate a fungal infection (phytophthora). Remove infected plants. Avoid by improving drainage and over-fertilization.

Scale insects that sit on the undersides of the leaves and excrete honeydew can be controlled with insecticide or biologically with parasitic wasps.

Disfigured and discoloured leaves and flowers indicate a viral infection. Remove affected plants and control insects that may spread the disease.


  • Walter Erhardt, Erich Götz, Nils Bödeker, Siegmund Seybold: Der große Zander. Eugen Ulmer KG, Stuttgart 2008, ISBN 978-3-8001-5406-7. (Ger.)
  • Christoper Brickell (Editor-in-chief): RHS A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants. Third edition. Dorling Kindersley, London 2003, ISBN 0-7513-3738-2.

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