Skip to Content

Dieffenbachia Reflector Care ― Your One-stop Guide

Dieffenbachia Reflector Care ― Your One-stop Guide

Sharing is caring!

Dieffenbachia reflector care is not difficult. They are popular houseplants, which is unsurprising given how easy it is to keep them alive. Here’s everything you need to know about caring for a Dieffenbachia reflector.  

Dieffenbachia Reflector Care

Dieffenbachia Reflector should be grown in a slightly acidic, well-draining potting soil with good moisture retention. Provide medium to bright sunlight and water. Only the top 1 to 2 inches of soil are dry. Maintain the temperature range of 65º to 75ºF (18 to 24ºC) and humidity at 60%



The Dumb Cane reflector thrives in soil with good drainage and moisture retention capabilities. On that note, regular garden soil doesn’t cut it. It’s too dense, and this impedes the free flow of water. The problem is that the plant begins to die if the water fails to reach its root system. 

If you must use this growing medium, consider amending it before planting your Dieffenbachia.

I like to mix in a little bit of perlite or coarse sand, which improves the soil’s retention and aeration. Usually, my potting mixture comprises:

  • 1 part humus or peat
  • 1 part perlite/ coarse sand
  • 1 part garden soil
  • 1 pinch of lime

Garden lime is great at improving the soil’s acidity. This plant thrives in slightly acidic soil, preferably with a pH between 6.1 and 6.5.

If your soil isn’t up to par, mixing in garden lime can help. This results in a healthier base, making it easy for the plant to access essential nutrients. 

Lastly, adding peat or humus improves the plant’s ability to absorb and retain nutrients in other parts of the soil.


Diffused sunlight or medium-to-bright sunlight is what this plant prefers to grow healthily. Does that mean that it can’t grow in low-lighting conditions? Not necessarily. But it will likely not produce that remarkable variegation on its foliage.

Besides, it requires plenty of light to keep growing vigorously. Place it in a dimly lit area, and its growth rate suffers. 

On the other hand, you don’t want to expose it to too much sunlight because this can scorch its leaves. To find that happy medium, I prefer to place my Dumb Cane on an east-facing windowsill. 

This is because east windows are exposed to the morning sun, by which time the rays aren’t too intense. West-facing windows receive full sun from the afternoon till evening, which can get quite intense in summer.

If you have to place your Reflector on a west-facing window, use a sheer curtain to soften the sun’s rays. 

Alternatively, please place it in a room that doesn’t receive sunlight, then set up a fluorescent lighting fixture. Ensure that your plant receives 12 to 18 hours of light each day. If you’ve placed yours on a windowsill, consider rotating it at different times during the day so that it’s exposed to the sun evenly. 


Regarding frequency, don’t water your Dieffenbachia reflector unless the top 1 to 2 inches of the soil have dried up. This way, you can water frequently enough to keep the soil moist but not waterlogged.

The latter can lead to root rot, one of the most common issues gardeners face. 

If you suspect your plant is overwatered, check the coloration on its leaves. If they’re beginning to turn a yellow color, there’s a good chance that your plant is sitting in soggy soil. 

Other than frequency, another factor that can lead to overwatering is your watering technique. When it’s time to water, give your plant a deep soak. 

Only stop watering when you see the excess water coming out through the pot’s drainage holes at the bottom. Then, please give it a couple of minutes to allow this water to drain completely. 

Watering this way ensures that Dieffenbachia’s roots stay hydrated long enough until the next watering session. If you water lightly but frequently, the water stays at the surface instead of penetrating the roots. This creates a damp environment where your plant can’t thrive. 

Apart from the leaves coloration, other signs that indicate you’re watering incorrectly include:

  • Shriveled leaves (effect of underwatering)
  • Fungal growth (the result of watering lightly but often)
  • White fuzzy mold growing on the soil’s surface (caused by poor drainage)


The optimum temperature range for Dieffenbachia Reflector is between 65º and 75ºF (18 to 24ºC). When it’s too cold, look for ways to keep your plant warm, as a temperature below 50ºF can kill it. 

Another thing we recommend is being mindful of where you position your dumb cane. Ideally, it shouldn’t be close to doors that are kept open or an AC unit. The cold air blasted through the AC’s air vents may keep you warm, but it may also harm your plant. 

During winter, move your plant to the warmest part of your home. If you can’t find one, consider investing in grow lights to offer warmth. 


Like most Dieffenbachia plant species, the Reflector thrives in a highly humid setting. Aim to maintain a humidity level of at least 60% throughout the year. 

Buy a humidifier or place your houseplants nearby for spaces with low humidity. The water that transpired from their leaves helps to keep the atmosphere humid. 

Another trick I learned for improving humidity entails placing the dumb cane in a bathroom. This lets you transform this space into a jungle-like spa while providing the plant with the necessary humidity. 


The Dieffenbachia plant species is regarded as a heavy feeder. However, going overboard with the application can lead to fertilizer burn. 

Once the plant’s roots have absorbed essential nutrients from the soil, the excess salts are transported to the tips of the leaves alongside the water. Through the process of transpiration, the plant loses this water in the form of water vapor. 

But since the excess salts cannot be evaporated, they build up on the leaf’s surface- a factor that can result in leaf burn. 

To prevent this, ensure you fertilize just once every 4 to 6 weeks during its active growth stage. If its growth starts slowing down or stops, which typically occurs when it enters dormancy, do away with fertilizing. 

Another point you should remember is the kind of fertilizer you use. A well-balanced fertilizer tailored for foliage plants would be a great option. And remember to dilute the fertilizer before application. Mixing two teaspoons of fertilizer with a gallon of water is a good ratio. 



Based on my experience, propagating the Dieffenbachia Reflector is best done using cuttings instead of starting it from seed. 

It gives me a splendid opportunity to clone my current plant so the resulting creation possesses the same traits. Follow these steps to propagate your dumb cane: 

  • Start by sterilizing the knife you’ll use to get cutting. Next, cut a portion of the stem, preferably from the top of the plant, so it can root faster.
  • Although this is not mandatory, I dust my cutting with a quality rooting hormone. This stimulates faster growth. 
  • Next, allow your cutting to dry for at least 24 hours before putting it in a suitable growing medium. You can choose your rooting medium from several options, such as peat, perlite, sphagnum moss, and vermiculite.
  • Alternatively, you can use a sterilized potting mixture. Here, the cutting may take longer to root but will also be less susceptible to pests and diseases. 



One factor that many homeowners consider before choosing houseplants is how big they grow. In the case of the Dieffenbachia Reflector, expect it to grow to a height of 30 to 36 inches and spread by the same margin of 36 inches. 

If it grows too tall, you can always prune it to encourage new growth and help it maintain a compact structure. 



If you’ve been growing your dumb cane in a container, there will come a time when you’ll need to transplant it into a bigger container. Thankfully, this process is a cinch. All you need to do is pick a slightly bigger pot, fill it with a suitable rooting medium, and gently transfer your plant.

Common Problems with Dieffenbachia Reflector

For the most part, the Dieffenbachia Reflector is very easy to care for. But this doesn’t mean you cannot encounter a few problems while growing it. 

As such, you should arm yourself with the right knowledge so that you’re prepared to tackle any issue that you face. Here’s a rundown of the most common problems and their respective solutions:

Fungal diseases

Anthracnose is an umbrella term used for fungal diseases that attack Dieffenbachia plants. 

The greatest culprit is the Colletotrichum gloeosporioides fungus, which can be identified through the brown spots on this plant’s leaves. 

The brown spots can spread extensively, reaching up to 2 inches in diameter. They may either be circular or oval. There should also be some tiny black dots in the brown spots. 

Another fungal problem that’s particularly common among Dieffenbachia Reflector plants is the Myrothecium roridum leaf spot. This one leads to the formation of oval-shaped, dark brown to black spots on the tips of the leaves. 

The primary cause of fungal issues is improper watering. Whether you’ve planted your dumb cane in a container or the garden, water at the soil level instead of using a sprinkler or mister. This way, you don’t end up watering excessively.

If your plant already shows signs, prune the affected areas and dispose of them. You may also want to cut back on the nitrogen you’re applying and look for an organic pesticide tailored for dumb canes. 

Bacterial infections

Three main types of bacteria can attack your Reflector, namely:

  • Xanthomonas dieffenbachiae
  • Erwinia chrysanthemi
  • Pseudomonas cichorii

All three cause leaf spots and blight, which can wreak havoc on your dumb cane’s leaves and stems.

These bacteria create tiny, watery-looking spots, which change the color of the foliage as they increase and spread. Ultimately, your Reflector loses the beautiful variegation on its leaves. 

The first place where you’ll likely notice these spots is on the leaves’ surfaces and margins. But these spots can grow big enough to the point they start merging. 

One factor that creates a habitable environment for these bacteria to attack and spread is high humidity. So be sure to maintain this at the recommended level of 60%.

Another thing that I’d recommend, especially if you’re growing your dumb cane in a container, is to use a sterilized growing medium. This way, you’re certain that the potting soil doesn’t harbor ant pests or diseases. 


Your Dieffenbachia reflector is also susceptible to pests, such as aphids, spider mites and mealybugs. 

If the infestation is in its early stages, wiping the insects down with a cotton swab dipped in alcohol should do the trick. Alternatively, try washing the plant’s leaves in water to knock off the pests. You may have to do this a couple of times for it to work. 

However, if the infestation is severe, your best option is to use a systemic insecticide. What this means is that the pesticide is absorbed very easily by the plant, allowing it to move around in its tissues and kill the underlying bugs. 

If chemical insecticides aren’t your cup of tea, you can opt for natural pest-control solutions. One that I found to be particularly effective is neem oil

Mix about two tablespoons of neem oil with a gallon of water, then spray on its foliage every 1 to 2 weeks. Continue with this practice until you eliminate all pests. 

Tips to Keep your Dieffenbachia Reflector Problem-Free

For the best outcome, follow these hacks when growing your Dieffenbachia Reflector:

  • Expose the plant to plenty of indirect sunlight. If you’re growing it outdoors, position it in a partially-shaded spot.
  • Plant your Reflector in a suitable potting mix; should be rich, well-draining but also be able to retain moisture for a reasonable amount of time.
  • Only water when the top few inches of the soil are dry to the touch.
  • Feed every 4 to 6 weeks to enhance growth.

Dieffenbachia Reflector Plant Profile

The Dieffenbachia Reflector is a houseplant with an intriguing background. 

It was given this name by Heinrich Wilhelm Schott, who named it so to pay tribute to Joseph Dieffenbach. Dieffenbach had served as the head gardener of the Botanical Gardens in Vienna between 1796 and 1863. 

While Dieffenbachia Reflector is the more popular name, the cultivar also goes by “dumb cane”. It gets this name from its sap, which, if ingested, causes inflammation in the mouth, leaving the victim unable to speak or “dumb.”

The Dumb Cane Reflector is classified in the Araceae family. The Araceae family constitutes plants with flowers produced on a distinct inflorescence called a spadix.

This cultivar has stunning, lush-green leaves with a mixture of lime green and yellow-to-cream spots. These contrast beautifully with the central leaf vein, a very pale shade of light green.


Dieffenbachia reflector is toxic to cats and dogs and humans. Dieffenbachia is not a pet-friendly option.


If you’re looking for a houseplant that won’t be too difficult to keep alive, the Dieffenbachia Reflector is an excellent choice. It has stunning foliage comprising light to dark leaves about 12 inches long. 

Apart from the fact that it’s aesthetically appealing, the Dieffenbachia reflector doesn’t require much maintenance. You only need to pick suitable potting soil and a well-lit spot. Next, water and fertilize as needed, and you’re good to go!

Frequently Asked Questions about Dieffenbachia Reflector 

What’s the best way to ensure my Dieffenbachia Reflector grows evenly?

This plant species is known to produce a lot of new growth quickly. 

You’ll need to rotate your plant occasionally as it tends to grow toward the light source. This way, it doesn’t become bare on one side and full of growth on the other. 

Is Dieffenbachia Reflector poisonous?

Unfortunately, all sections of the dumb cane are considered toxic. Like its close cousin, the Philodendron, it contains calcium oxalate crystals, which are small needle-like structures.

If the plant is not handled carefully or ends up being ingested, the oxalates can lead to toxicity. In severe oral exposures, the victim may experience pain, inflammation, excessive drooling, and speech impairment.