The Dieffenbachia is a well-loved house plant that is known for its large tropical leaves. Its leaves are elliptical and large and can grow up to 12 inches long.
It can grow up to 6 feet high and 3 feet wide, making it a desirable plant for homes and offices alike. It is native to Mexico, the West Indies, and Argentina. It is a relatively easy plant to care for which makes them an optimal choice for a houseplant.
Why are the leaves on my Dieffenbachia turning yellow?
There can be a few reasons for yellowing leaves on a Dieffenbachia. The most common error Dieffenbachia owners make is to over-or underwater it. Too much sunlight can also be the culprit as can a cold climate. There can also be issues with a nutrient deficiency or root system challenges that will cause yellowing leaves. The other thing to consider is if the plant is infested with pests or not.
Over or under watering
Sometimes if a Dieffenbachia is over or underwatered its leaves will turn yellow and droop. This is an easy fix and usually an easy to spot issue.
If the soil is soaked or not draining, there is a good chance the plant has been overwatered. Let the soil dry out before watering it again. When you water your Dieffenbachia, check the soil first.
If the soil is dry to your first knuckle, then it is time to water. Any wetter than that and you will be overwatering.
If the leaves droop and turn yellow and the soil is dry, then you are likely under-watering it.
When the soil is dry to your first knuckle, water it from the top until water pours through the draining holes in the bottom. This will ensure the plant is getting the appropriate amount of water.
What is the best planting system for a Dieffenbachia to prevent yellowing leaves?
A Dieffenbachia needs to have a well-draining pot to live in to prevent its roots from sitting in too much water. It is a good idea to plant it in a well-draining soil with perlite to prevent root rot.
Dieffenbachias are also very susceptible to being root-bound. They have a complex root system and when it gets too compressed, the plant will suffer.
If the roots get too tight, the plant will not be able to receive the proper nutrients from its water and soil and will prevent the water from draining properly. If the roots are coming out of the draining holes, it is time to transplant the Dieffenbachia.
1. Too Much Sunlight
Dieffenbachias thrive in partially shady and indirect light. The do well in an East facing window or a window that does not get much direct light. Too much direct sunlight can turn the leaves yellow and cause problems. They are native to jungle like environments where they are blocked from direct sunlight by the other plants. They need several hours of indirect sunlight a day. Make sure your plant is away from the window if you don’t have a screen or something to shield it from the sun.
2. Cold Climate
If your Dieffenbachia is too cold, it will likely get yellow leaves that droop. Dieffenbachias like the temperature to be between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit (18 – 24 degrees Celsisus).
They should also not be near vents that blow cool air or fans as this can also cause plant distress.
3. Nutrient Deficiencies
Dieffenbachia need to get proper nutrients or their leaves will turn yellow and the plant will ultimately die.
As I mentioned above, they will have a hard time with that if they are root bound or underwatered. They also need nutrient-dense soil and regular fertilizer to keep them healthy.
They thrive in a 1:1:1 mixture of soil, peat moss, and perlite although can do well in just straight peat moss also.
What type of fertilizer should I use for a Dieffenbachia?
I use a complete fertilizer such as 20:20:20 every 4 to 6 weeks during the summer months. In the winter when the plant is dormant,
I fertilize every 8 to 10 weeks. I also use ground eggshells in my dieffenbachia soil as a yearly treat for them. Using eggshells too often can throw the soil’s pH balance off so I make sure to only do it once every 12 months.
4. Pest Infestation
Most indoor plants are susceptible to pests during their lives. Mites or aphids are the most common pest that live in Dieffenbachias although I have found mealybugs as well.
If your plant gets infested, the leaves will turn yellow and the plant will look as though it is in distress.
To determine if the plant is infested, check the underside of the leaves for a webby material. This is a sure sign that the plant has spider mites.
If there is a cottony mass on the stems or leaves, you have a mealybug infestation. Aphids can be seen on the plant’s large leaves.
In order to get rid of pests, I use a mixture of insecticidal soap and water. Another option for dealing with a pest infestation is to rub the leaves with neem oil. To get rid of the webs from a mite infestation, a cotton swab doused in alcohol will do the trick.
Dieffenbachias are ornamental and easy to care for. They will stay green and healthy if you follow the steps above. I have listed the 4 most common reasons why the leaves of a dieffenbachia turn yellow.
Identifying the root cause is crucial to counter yellowing as nobody likes a plant with yellow leaves when they are supposed to look green or any other color apart from yellow.
Happy indoor gardening!
Marcel runs the place around here. He has a deep passion for houseplants & gardening and is constantly on the lookout for yet another special plant to add to his arsenal of houseplants, succulents & cacti.
Marcel is also the founder of Iseli International Commerce, a sole proprietorship company that publishes a variety of websites and online magazines.