Variegation on crowded baby Dieffenbachia

Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)October 15, 2012

I got this baby plant earlier this spring and it's grown a lot but I'm wondering about the plain green leaves. Will those sections develop variegation or should I get rid of them out when I repot soon? I don't want those stems if they're not going to be variegated. When I try to give it more light, it just burns.

Why are the baby plants so crowded lately? There are at least 15 stems in this pot.

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greenlarry(UK 8/9)

Maybe if you split them and send them to England the mom plant will get more white ;)

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 3:41PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Ha! It's good to have such smart people around! Excellent.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 3:52PM
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greenlarry(UK 8/9)

But seriously splitting them and potting seperately may help. Just a thought!

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 3:57PM
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Wow you must have the right conditions, I just have no luck with them. You have some beauties growing there.
I wish we could send plants Larry, I dont think its legal.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 4:29PM
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greenlarry(UK 8/9)

See variegation and colour is expensive for a plant to produce, so if its too crowded or under stress in some way it will do things like abort fruit or lose variegation to save on resources.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 4:34PM
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There's a good chance it was started as a cutting and a hormone was applied to promote dense growth. The list of hormones they use in horticulture is quite amazing. When you're in the business it's important to produce stock fast and move it out quickly.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 9:09PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Thanks, Polly, but I can't take much credit, haven't had this one very long. It would actually have a lot more leaves if I didn't keep letting it get sunburned (and removing the burnt leaves.)

Expensive... guess this plant knows I'm kinda broke! Ha! I would send the plain ones to you, Larry, if legal and practical. Sorry! Hopefully EA will expand their offerings to your side of the pond soon.

Hormones, huh? That might help explain the tantrums, mood swings, and crying. Oh wait, we're still talking about the plant...

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 9:05AM
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Purple, I don't have Dieffs, 'since the incident w/my son,' but those I had before eventually lost variegation.
I think it has to do with humidity.

During summer, 'house was extremely humid,' new leaves were variegated, but as soon as the heat was turned on, 'another house/space heaters,' variegation waned. Leaves reverted to green.

The same happens w/Aglaonemas, 'depending on color.'

Be careful when handling Dieffs, Purple. Toni

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 12:40PM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

Hi Purple - what's EA?

There's no problem getting Dieffenbachia here. I saw some today in Homebase (like HD). They have a warning notice on the shelf. After all, the common name is 'dumb cane' because of the possibility of swelling in the mouth and throat if sap is ingested.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 1:12PM
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Hopeful, May I ask what happened with your son and the Diff?

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 1:37PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Hey, Toni. That humidity thing may be what happened to my Aglaonema which I swear used to be variegated. This little Dief's been outside since I got it earlier this year, so it's been in the mecca of humidity. Thanks for the warning!

Flora, that's Exotic Angel. It seems like if it wasn't for EA, there would be no house plants at a lot of our chain stores.

Forgot to ask before, does this plant have the potential to be one of the really big Diefs with big leaves if it lives that long, or is it a kind that will always be small with smaller leaves?

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 4:20PM
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Polly, pretty much what Flora described.
When my son was 2-3-yrs-old, he decided to take not one but two bites from the cane of a Dieff.

I was in the same room, but at a distance, so I didn't notice until he let out a piercing scream.
As soon as I figured out what happened, I called 911 and Poison Control Center. Of course, living in IL, it took time for them before they knew what Dieff was...after I gave them every name, botanical and common names, known to man.

The good news was that he screamed...but I was under strick orders to keep an eye on him, make sure he didn't acquire fever or break out w/rash..Thank GOD he didn't..but sap from the Deff cane burned his throat.

I tossed the plant that very day..

That is something I'll never forget. Son is older, but have to worry about pets now. :) Still, no more Dieffs.

Purple, I'm not certain, but I 'think,' your Dieff will be mid-sized.. Reminds me of Camille compacta.
There's so many different varieties, some are difficult disguishing.
Yours will do well, have a deep-green thumb.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 4:36PM
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WOW that must have been a terrifying experience. I was fortunate my kids never bothered my plants or my mothers when we were visiting her. They did get into other stuff though. I guess ya never know. My dogs have eaten ferns, spider plants. Anything that they think might be grass.
I am so happy for you that your son is OK. I believe it could have been much worse. Someone was looking out for him.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 5:59PM
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greenlarry(UK 8/9)

Glad the little one was ok! I had a Dieff years ago and at the time I knew it was poisonous but I thought it was cool- strychnine, amazing. But I had no kids back then. But now I have 2 I wouldnt have one, although these days its not the kids that would be the problem (theyre 8 and 6) its the cats!
The thought of my daughter finding her cat dead one day would be awful!

    Bookmark   October 17, 2012 at 5:14AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

That is scary!! You'd think the poison control would be more ready to deal with such a common plant. It would be a good idea to put a warning label on these plants. Thanks for sharing your story, Toni. Everyone with kids or pets in the house should know about the dangers of this plant.

I always admire those really big Diefs when I see them for sale but no way I'm spending over $20 on a plant.

I was poking around under the leaves yesterday and it looks like there's only 2-3 stems in there, the rest of the tops are branches. I snapped one of the bigger ones off and it had 2 roots attached. Interesting.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2012 at 9:20AM
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greenlarry(UK 8/9)

Its not just Dieffs tho. In fact most plants we buy arent good to eat or contain poisons. Euphorbias contain either an irritant or a deadly toxin (including Poinsettia), and there are many more examples.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2012 at 9:25AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

You're so right. This plant seems especially dangerous within reach of kids, along with the Euphs you mentioned.

Most plants are toxic by means of ingesting a significant quantity. Plants that can cause pain and/or contact dermatitis are so much more likely to actually cause a problem. Getting a rash from breaking off a leaf or what happened to Toni's son from just putting a leaf in his mouth is a more significant and likely risk, IMO. I mean, you'd probably notice your kid was munching a plant before they made a meal of it. I hope. I'd be more worried about them eating the soil on most plants, especially if fertilizer was recently added. Hardly any plants are lethal from eating a very small amount. Pets, I don't know, they can be so small, and that's one reason I don't have them inside, prefer plants and can't stand hairy furniture. So not really gauging plant dangers in regard to critters with this, just kids.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2012 at 11:42AM
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Polly, yes, it was extremely terrifying. Something I'd never want to go through again or happen to anyone else.

The thought of what could have happened....

Take your eyes off a child for 10 seconds..
Polly, the strange thing is, son/Michael never once bothered plants..ever..Why he chose to bite a plant, especially a Dieff, is something I cannot or never will figure out.

At the time I only had 75 or so plants, that dropped to 74 after that episode.

Larry, thank you. Yep, I'd be worried about cats, dogs, birds, etc, too. Reptiles eat greens, but don't know if they'd sense a toxic plant or not.

I agree. Not a good idea for a child finding their pet gone. A horrible thought. Heck, I'm an adult and can't bear finding one of my pets have gone to pet heaven.

According to numerous online sites, more than half my plants are poisonous. I have many Euphorbias. Nowadays, the only worry are birds and sons iguana. Although 'Iggy' stays upstairs..Plants are upstairs, too. Mostly Hoyas..and I've heard they're toxic.

Purple, I've mentioned what happened, warning people in the threads where Dieffs were discussed, but it's been a while.

And yep I agree with you. There SHOULD be warning labels on plants that are toxic, but the chance of that happening is nil. Sales people are in it for the money, they'd fear sales would drop.

When I worked at Rentokil and Home Depot, before a customer purchased a Dieff, I always asked if they had children/pets, and explained it was poisonous.
Against regulations, but I didn't care. of course the warning was in low tones, whispers.. :)

I too like large Dieffs. The Dieff son bit on was big. Got it as a baby, it grew into a tree..trunk was 4-5". Dieff stood 4-5'.

Large Dieffs look really nice in a roomy, brightly lighted spot.

When you said you snapped one of the bigger ones off, do you mean you pulled it out or broke a trunk? Toni

    Bookmark   October 17, 2012 at 1:00PM
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greenlarry(UK 8/9)

The other problem when you have rugrats is plants with bright red berries. A common one is Solanum. Had a few of those in my time but not when I had toddlers. Its funny but most plants in the solanum family are poisonous, yet the family contains tomato and potato! Mind you potato fruits are poisonous too!

    Bookmark   October 17, 2012 at 1:44PM
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