Poisonous indoor dieffenbachia flower

Bright and attractive dieffenbachia with luxurious striped leaves native to South America. It belongs to evergreen shrubs, therefore, even in winter, even in the conditions of Russian apartments, its leaves retain a juicy color and are pleasing to the eye. They can only fade slightly, but still remain very cheerful. Dieffenbachia blooms extremely rarely in the conditions of an apartment, besides, its flowers do not represent any aesthetic value – they are very inconspicuous compared to the leaves.

In nature, this plant can grow up to two meters, in an apartment it can also reach almost two meters in height, if the top is not cut in time. With timely pruning, dieffenbachia will be lush and bushy. If the leaves are not cut, then the plant turns almost into a tree.

Despite its beauty, dieffenbachia is quite rare in our apartments, because almost mystical power is attributed to this plant. Tatyana Zhashkova, chairman of the Moscow Flower Growers club, a collector of ornamental flowering plants, told us about the features of this plant.

  • January 31, 2019
  • Houseplants
  • Marina Olenyuk

This spectacular flower is often used as a decoration for office premises. It is found in government offices, offices and even schools. There is an opinion that dieffenbachia is a poisonous beauty. In this regard, a rather chic specimen can be sentenced to eternal expulsion from the apartment, even if, until the moment of truth, the hostess loved and cherished the plant very much. Is it worth it to get rid of it? Is the dieffenbachia plant poisonous or is it just rumors that have no basis? Right now, you will learn some facts related to the benefits and harms of keeping a decorative leaf beauty in your home.

folk speculation

Often plants can acquire, guided only by signs about them. A living tree – to improve the financial side of life, geranium – from the evil eye, but the “heroine” of our article was immediately unlucky in this sense. Still not knowing whether Dieffenbachia is poisonous or not, already unpleasant properties were attributed to her. The poor thing was called the flower of celibacy, giving her the ability to get rid of the owner in the room where she is. And if an unmarried lady decides to bring this flower into her apartment, tempted by its lovely wide leaves, then she will not find a soul mate forever and ever. Dieffenbachia is a poisonous “friend”, according to popular superstition, in no time she will make a divorcee out of her mistress, or worse, a widow. Fearfully? But if you turn on prudence, then you can remember more than one happy family in which there is the above-named plant.

Superstitious people are very wary of the flowering of Dieffenbachia. As soon as she released the arrow, the owner of the house loses his male power, they think. Some go further and reinforce the horror story with the fact that if a couple has got this flower and it suddenly releases an ear, then the unfortunate will not have children until they evict an innocent plant from the apartment.

Another legend is also associated with the flowering of Dieffenbachia. It is generally accepted that it occurs if a nervous situation reigns in the room. Frequent quarrels and scandals allegedly contribute to the appearance of a cob flower. But these rumors have no scientific basis and are only a popular assumption. A sane person understands that any plant blooms when this is facilitated by external factors similar to conditions in the wild.


The photos of poisonous Dieffenbachia and its description given in the article will help you understand in general terms what kind of flower it is and why many, despite assumptions about toxicity, still contain a beauty and love her very much.

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The plant belongs to the natives of the tropics of South America. More than forty species have been described by botanists to date. The assortment offered in flower shops makes it possible to acquire several different options. All dieffenbachia are characterized by rapid development and growth. The beauty is in no hurry to bloom, and it’s not very reasonable to expect gorgeous buds from her: all the beauty is in the leaves. The flower is an ear with a light green covering leaf.

Buy or not?

Not everyone knows if dieffenbachia is a poisonous home plant or not. Seduced by the beauty of its juicy wide leaves, the flower is brought into the house. What are the consequences of such a thoughtless action? Experts help to find out what is the danger of keeping the plant.

Why dieffenbachia is dangerous for everyone

You need to beware, first of all, the juice of the plant. In conditions of rapid growth, the stem is able to break, and an ignorant person will notice milky juice on its broken sections. Carefully! This liquid is the factor due to which dieffenbachia can often go to the trash. Milk is very aggressive in relation to human skin: it causes burns. In no case should you touch damaged succulent leaves.

For allergy sufferers and asthmatics

People who have asthma or are prone to allergic reactions of their body should immediately refuse to keep a chic specimen in their apartments. For them, dieffenbachia is poisonous even without direct contact with the flower itself. A sensitive organism is capable of reacting with anaphylactic shock, and this is fatal.

Children and dieffenbachia

If the child is healthy and does not have the problems described above, keeping this plant in the apartment is considered acceptable. However, it is worth taking security measures. Place the flower where the baby can never reach. Older children need to be explained in detail why the plant cannot be touched, broken and tasted.

For pets

Having learned whether dieffenbachia is poisonous to people, we will analyze the situation with pets. Cats are very persistent in their desires, and if she decides to try this plant, you can be sure that these cunning animals will get their way. When you are at home, you can drive away annoying gourmets, but what happens when they are left alone? To avoid trouble, it is better to keep animals and dieffenbachia in different rooms. Where the dangerous beauty will live, there is no place for curious four-legged ones.

However, you should not fall into despair now, having discovered that that chic flower that has been living with you for quite a decent time is nothing more than a poisonous dieffenbachia. And at the same time, your beloved cat lives with you in one rather modest living space. If he still hasn’t touched the flower, then most likely he won’t.

Dogs can also taste dieffenbachia, so it’s worth taking precautions. The same goes for parrots. They can pinch off a piece of juicy greens. For parrots, such a meal is very likely to be the last.

Take action early

What should I do if a drop of milky liquid gets on the skin of an adult who is not allergic? Rinse the area as quickly as possible with plenty of warm water. You may be lucky and your body will not respond violently to casual contact. In no case do not allow the juice to come into contact with the mucous membranes. Eyes, nose, lips are very sensitive! After contact with the eyes, the juice can cause blindness. In the other two cases, too, do not expect anything favorable.

If you feel dizzy or have headaches, call your doctor immediately. Difficulty breathing after contact with the plant or when close to it, confusion, difficulty with speech, fainting – these are reasons to call the ambulance service.

With animals, in case they tasted the beauty, you need to do the same – urgently show it to a specialist. In the veterinary clinic, the doctor will provide the necessary assistance to your curious pet: wash the stomach and prescribe further treatment

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Dieffenbachia benefits

Despite all the danger factors of the plant for people and animals, it is still loved and grown in apartments and other premises. This happens for some reason. First of all – the beauty of dieffenbachia. Patterned bright leaves attract many flower growers. In addition to aesthetic pleasure, there is another good reason for cultivating a plant at home. The fact is that Dieffenbachia is an excellent indoor air purifier. Where there is at least one copy of the plant, breathing is much easier. And here’s why it happens:

  • The presence of dieffenbachia indoors reduces the level of formaldehyde in the environment. In addition to it, the plant also absorbs a lot of dangerous fumes.
  • There are much fewer pathogenic microbes in the air of the room where the beauty is located. Its phytoncidal properties are very valuable.
  • The plant moisturizes the air in the room well. Due to this, microscopic dust particles become heavier and a person inhales them less.

An interesting feature of dieffenbachia

The plant is able to “cry”. Transparent drops sometimes appear on the tips of dieffenbachia, falling from the leaves especially intensely before rain. Other aroids have the same property, including philodendron and monstera. Sometimes a plant can “cry” after heavy watering. If you notice this, dry the soil and avoid frequent waterlogging. This can harm the plant: it will rot. Waterlogging is most dangerous during autumn and winter.

Summing up

As it becomes clear from our article, dieffenbachia is poisonous, but it will only harm if it is neglected. If you do not chew the plant and work with it, protecting your hands with gloves, horrors will not happen. But the benefits of the flower are greatly diminished. Excellent cleansing properties should not be overlooked. It is quite acceptable to keep it in office and industrial premises, in residential apartments and houses. It is enough just to stop communication between your child and the plant and to distinguish between the joint stay of animals with him.

Probably, many of us are familiar with this plant firsthand. The maintenance of this plant at home is often associated with a number of various false judgments and assumptions regarding its harm or harmlessness to humans. So how harmful is dieffenbachia and is it safe to keep at home?

Dieffenbachia, main features and characteristics

Dieffenbachia is a plant belonging to the aroid family. Her homeland is the South American continent. The most correct would be to attribute dieffenbachia to perennial evergreen shrubs.

The name of this shrub comes from the name of the German botanist J.F. Dieffenbach . The plant has a fairly high growth rate and can reach two meters, however, when kept at home, it rarely reaches such a height.

Dieffenbachia is distinguished by rather beautiful leaves, which have a peculiar “spotted” color. The shrub rather quickly begins to produce new leaves and shed those that are located in its lower part. This property significantly degrades the appearance . In order to prevent this from happening, it is necessary to update the plant in a timely manner by cutting off the top. The top itself can be rooted. If this is not done, Dieffenbachia will begin to lean and the trunk may take a horizontal position

The flowering of the shrub is rare, and the flowers themselves are not of particular decorative importance. But with a favorable set of circumstances, the appearance of large “flowers of the cob” is quite real. The point of appearance of new leaves is located at the top of the plant.

House maintenance

Is it possible to keep this flower at home and grow it? Dieffenbachia does not tolerate drafts and temperature changes quite well. It is important to pay attention to this nuance when transplanting a plant or airing a room in the cold season. In a certain period , it is necessary to give the plant an opportunity to rest , during which watering and feeding are reduced. As a rule, it is autumn-winter.

In the rest of the time, you can safely transplant a flower (usually a plant needs it once every 2 or 4 years, as it grows). Drainage (expanded clay or small pebbles) is placed in the bottom of the dieffenbachia container. It will not be superfluous from time to time to loosen the soil and feed the plant with mineral fertilizers.

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Problems and diseases

Due to improper care, the plant may experience certain problems. Such as yellowed leaves, the appearance of spots on them, the appearance of parasites .

In order to avoid this, it is important to water the plant in a timely manner, ensure the optimal temperature regime in the room, and arrange pest control if necessary.

Dieffenbachia reproduction

A flower can reproduce in a variety of ways.

  • Cutting propagation . The parts cut from the plant are either rooted in the ground (can be watered with a growth enhancer) or placed in an aquatic/humid environment (water container, wet moss).
  • seed reproduction . This method is possible only if there are flowers on the plant. Female flowers have a distinctive feature in the form of a partially closed flower part. To carry out the pollination of a flower, it is necessary to take pollen from the male inflorescence with a brush and distribute it along the half-closed part of the female flower (after making an incision on it, at the end – the incision must be sealed).
  • Reproduction by the stem part of the plant . Usually the stem is divided into several parts, approximately 10–12 cm each, the cut is processed with coal chips or sulfur. Then the stem is placed in a vessel with soil. If everything went well, the rudiments of leaves will appear on the stem.

Dieffenbachia: benefit and harm

Dieffenbachia has a large number of species, but the most common for home maintenance are only a few hybrids of this shrub. What does the flower bring benefit or harm , can it be kept at home? In fact, this shrub has a number of useful features that distinguish it from many other plants.

  • In those rooms in which Dieffenbachia is located, the chemical composition of the surrounding air is significantly improved;
  • Shrubs have an impact on the amount of dust, which is important, for example, for people suffering from allergic diseases;
  • It is known that dieffenbachia is characterized by the presence of phytoncides, which equally have bactericidal properties. They are able to reduce the overall quantitative characteristics of microbes such as, for example, staphylococcus aureus.

About the safety of home keeping dieffenbachia

Along with the beneficial features of dieffenbachia for humans, one cannot discard the fact that there are also properties that can cause some harm when keeping a shrub at home.

Dieffenbachia, the harm of which lies in the content of a number of substances in its juice, can cause allergic reactions. This usually happens when dieffenbachia juice comes into direct contact with the skin . Therefore, it is very important to take certain precautions when caring for a shrub. And do not allow the juice of the plant to get on the mucous membranes or skin.

It is also worth paying attention to the fact that the plant is out of reach for small children and pets (cats have been observed to show some interest in this plant). Still, you should not place this plant in preschool institutions and centers.


From the features and properties of dieffenbachia we have considered, we can come to certain conclusions about its safety (benefit and harm to humans).

Subject to simple precautions, during transplantation, cutting stems and leaves (use of protective gloves, washing hands after finishing work with the plant), prevent children from contact with the plant , dieffenbachia will not be any different from other plants in the house.

Thus, finding a dieffenbachia flower in the house is not only not dangerous, but will also bring positive properties to the microclimate of the room. Also, this shrub with “marble leaves” will wonderfully complement and decorate your interior.

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