Dieffenbachia: how and when to water it
Irrigation and constant humidity are very important for the care and proper growth of dieffenbachia since, it should be remembered, this is a plant native to the wetlands of Central America. In the hottest periods, therefore in spring and summer, the plant must be watered frequently taking care to avoid stagnation of water in the saucer because they can cause the withering of the leaves and, in extreme cases, the roots could rot; It is also advisable to periodically spray the water directly on the leaves, trying to use rainwater or limestone-free water to prevent the foliage from being stained once the water has evaporated. At other times of the year it is sufficient to keep the soil moist and recreate an environment that is as similar as possible to the original one. A useful stratagem for this purpose is to place expanded clay in the saucer, then place the plant on it. The clay is then wetted so that evaporation creates the favorable microclimate.
Care and cultivation of dieffenbachia
Dieffenbachia is very present in our homes because it combines the aesthetic pleasantness with the extreme simplicity of care. It is however good practice to work this plant with gloves due to the presence, in all its parts, of calcium oxalate crystal cells, toxic and very irritating. It must be transplanted when the pot is unable to contain the roots anyway and at the most every 2-3 years, at the beginning of spring, using a slightly acid pH soil composed of peat and beech leaves. The soil must be well compressed after repotting and watered abundantly, then carefully draining all the excess water. Adding shards of earthenware to the bottom of the pot facilitates runoff and preserves the plant in good health. During the periods when it is not necessary to transfer it, it is good to remove the first 3-5 cm of soil, replacing it with fresh new soil, always in the early spring. Cleaning the leaves from time to time with a damp cloth will result in a more beautiful and healthier plant. It is not necessary to prune dieffenbachia: just remove the dry leaves, not only for aesthetic reasons but also to prevent them from becoming a vehicle of parasitic diseases.
Dieffenbachia needs constant fertilization throughout the year to promote the development of the leaves already present and the abundant growth of new leaves. It should therefore be fertilized once every 15 days, from the beginning of spring to all summer; during the cooler periods, on the other hand, fertigation can be progressively reduced to one every 30-60 days during the winter. Liquid fertilizers are recommended for green plants, rich in nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, possibly in the proportions of 4 parts of nitrogen per 3 of potassium and 1 of phosphorus. However, it is good to avoid too nitrogenous fertilizers that can make the tissues too soft and therefore very sensitive to bacteria and fungi. In addition to spraying the soil it is possible to periodically nebulize the liquid solution directly on the leaves so as to combine the effect of the fertilizer with that of vaporization.
Dieffenbachia: Exposure, diseases and related remedies
Dieffenbachia requires constant temperature and humidity and is therefore to be considered a houseplant. It loves high temperatures, between 20 and 30 ° C and in any case never lower than 15 ° C and badly withstand temperature changes. For this reason it must be positioned away from heat sources, such as radiators, and air currents. He loves light but not direct sunlight that could burn it; a dark environment, on the other hand, causes the loss of the bright green color and of the typical streaks, up to the yellowing and the fall of the leaves. The perfect location is therefore next to a window with curtains that filter the light. This plant is often attacked by scale insects that are placed on the underside of the leaf that cause it to fall; they are fought with specific insecticides ready to use or, if the plant is small, by removing them with a wad of cotton wool soaked in alcohol. If the leaves turn yellow, curl up and become dusty we are in the presence of red spider mite, a very harmful mite to be eliminated also with the use of a specific insecticide or physically, using a wet and soapy cotton pad and then rinsing thoroughly.