Patterns in the Dieffenbachia Plant

December 27, 2022



Photographer: Menashe Davidson 

Summary Author: Menashe Davidson   

In our apartment-garden, located in the city Rishon-LeZion, Israel, we grow in containers about 100 species of plants. Annuals and perennials, low plants, bushes, climbers and trees. Most of them flowering ornamentals, for the beauty of their seasonal bloom. But the most prominent plant, all the yearlong and not just seasonal, is the Dieffenbachia seguine plant, known as dumb cane from the family Araceae. The focal point of a dieffenbachia is the beautiful patterns of the foliage, which are variegated, all year long if properly cultivated.

Variegation is the appearance of differently colored zones pf a plants’ leaves. Dieffenbachia leaves, are generally large and ovate, have irregular areas of splotches with lighter green, yellow or even cream color. In the first picture we already see the patterns appear on the eternal juvenile leaf of the vegetative bud. It then maintains this same appearance regardless of the plants’ age (second picture).

The variegation is caused by mutations that affect chlorophyll production. This is 'built' into the plant DNA. Note that in some portions of the leaf tissues there’s a lack of chlorophyll pigments. The purpose of variegation is still a matter of debate. Regardless, gardeners enjoy harnessing the pattern traits that produce the most desirable, eye-catching plants.


Rishon-LeZion, Israel Coordinates: 31.9730, 34.7925

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