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Help! Is My House Plant A Plant Or TREE??

Ask The Plant Expert:

I received this plant a few years ago.  It’s now twice as tall as it is in the picture (hitting my ceiling).  Can you please tell me what kind of plant/tree it is and if I can get a new start from it?  Thanks! -Shannon


Flower Shop Network Plant Expert Reply:


It looks like a type of Dieffenbachia, most likely a Dieffenbachia picta or Dieffenbachia seguine. These types of dieffenbachia can grow to a height of 10ft.

They can be propagated several different ways:

  1. Root tip cuttings
  2. Stem cuttings
  3. Tip cuttings

I recommend stem cutting or tip cutting as your method of propagation. To do this you will need the following:

  1. Sharp knife
  2. Rooting hormone (I like the powder kind – you should be able to purchase it at your local garden center and nursery)
  3. Potting soil (you can simply stick the cutting in your current pot, but I like to place my cutting in a new pot with fresh potting soil.)

To take a tip cutting, go about three or four inches from the tip end and cut the plant right below a joint. Dip the cut end into the rooting hormone and place in the potting soil about an inch deep. Keep the soil moist, but not soggy. Roots should appear in the next couple of weeks. New shoots should also appear on the parent plant where the tip was removed.

As for stems cuttings, you will cut the stems in section 4 to 5 inches long and dip the bottom- end that has been cut in rooting hormone and place in potting soil and care for it the same way as a tip cutting.

Hope this information was helpful. Please let me know if I can help with anything else.

What Are The Gray Spots On My Dieffenbachia?

Ask the Expert: dieffenbachia problems
tiny round silver spots on top of leaves what is causing it???

Flower Shop Network
Plant Expert Reply:

In the first photo, you can see the gray spots that are appearing on several of the dieffenbachia leaves. Exposing dieffenbachia leaves to direct sunlight can cause issues like gray spots. Which is what it looks like to me.

In the second photo, I noticed that the leaf is wilted and may indicate that the plant is under water-stress. Under watering a dieffenbachia can cause wilting and make the plant more susceptible to light stress issues. It appear that the dieffenbachia is in a dish garden with other plants which may not be compatible in regards to light and water. I recommend removing the dumb cane (dieffenbachia) from the dish garden in to its own pot.

Place the newly potted dumb cane in a partial light or filter light and create a humid environment for the plant. Mist the plant every couple of days with lukewarm water. Once a week check the soil and water as need. Soil should be moist to the touch but the plant should not be soggy.

Keep an eye on the spots. They will not go away. Watch for any spreading of the spots. Although the spots seem to be caused by over-exposure to direct light, one of the fungal or bacterial diseases that effect Dieffenbachia could be an underlying cause. Although must fungal or bacterial issue have a reddish/brown center with a yellow halo or a different type of lesion.

Read the Caring For Dieffenbachia for more information about light, water and the pests and disease that effect dumb cane.

This plant care question was brought to you by local Salem Florists. Not in Salem OR? Use Flower Shop Network to find a real local florist near you.

Be Smart. Choose Dumb Cane.

This particular “dumb” decision is the smartest decision you’ll ever make. Not surprisingly, I have a dumb cane story (“dumb” story for short).

Dumb Cane (Dieffenbachia picta)

Dumb Cane (Dieffenbachia picta)

My grandma is all about houseplants. She’s 82 now and has been keeping houseplants growing in her home as long as I can remember. She’s pretty good at it but age is starting to creep up on her. That’s the nice way of saying that she’s bound to her motorized scooter and can’t really care for plants herself anymore. Since she’s only an hour away at any given time, my mother, sister and I usually rotate turns going over there to visit and to water her houseplants.

I was around 18 when she had hip replacement surgery and I stayed with her for a week to help out. She was so funny! All I remember was receiving instructions on how to do everything. If I decided to water the plants, I had to be shown how it was done 70 years ago. If I was dusting the furniture, I needed to know how it was done 50 years ago and why the 50 year old furniture still looks good. She’s a hoot and a headache all at the same time.

I’d never seen houseplant leaves polished the way Gram did it. A military spit shine would’ve left something to be desire compared to this woman’s plant care skills. She has Dieffenbachia all over her house so the first thing I remembered when I saw Dumb Cane plants in the photo gallery was the image of her bending over from her then hand-powered wheelchair to show me how experts care for Dumb Cane.

She gently rubbed the leaves of her dumb cane with the ease of a bomb deactivator but none of the steadiness. She mixed up some concoction of soap and water that I’m sure was repeated to me but it just seemed like soap and water. She washed the leaves and turned to me with a phrase I’m trying to forget but can’t. It was too funny. Her brow was furrowed and a bit sweaty. Her hair was mussed from the day’s chores. She looked at me with as deadpan an expression as she could’ve had and said “that’s why I’ve had this plant since 1991.” Knowing my grandmother, she was probably right. I still couldn’t stop laughing, probably to keep from crying.

I’ve loved Dumb Cane since that day. One look and I’ll always remember my Grammie.

What do you think of when you look at dumb cane houseplants? Did you receive one as a gift? Ever given one as a gift? Let us hear your Dumb Cane comments below!

Dumb Cane’s Growth Has Stalled

Hi Jamie,

I have a dumb cane that was given to me.  I sat it in water to root.  Once it rooted I potted it.  The plant has not grown and still have the same 9 leaves as it did when I started.  Where did I go wrong and how can I correct it?

Thank you

Sharon in Chicago

Is This Palm Tree Looking Plant Poisonous?

Ask the Expert: What is my plant and is it poisonous?

It looks like a tiny palm tree with various stems.
It is a house plant. Janelle

Parlor Palm

Chinese Evergreen chinese evergreen

Dumbcane Dumbcane

Schefflera schefflera

Dieffenbachia (Photo From Berneckers) photo from Bernecker’s Nursery

Interesting Tropical Plants or Unidentified Weeds

Ask the Expert: can someone identify these?

i need to find information on these plants no one at the park could tell me so i thought you guys could! ive seen them around but people just identify them as tropicals Jess

Unidentifiable Plant number 1 Unidentified Plant Number 2

Unidentified Plant Number 3 Unidentified Plant Number 4


Just off the top of my head I would say:

plant 1 is some kind of Dieffenbachia

plant 2 is some kind of Dracaena

plant 3 is some kind of Rhapis – miniature fan plam

plant 4 is some kind of spathipyllum

Are these plants in an atrium setting – they don’t seem to be in a natural planting which is making the identification a little difficult.  Depending on the situation, my identification of each plant could change.

Houseplants Chase Away the Winter Blues

Peace Lily Spathiphyllum ClevelandiiIt’s easy to keep the growing season going year ’round with the addition of houseplants to your living environment. Not only do they add a sense of life and beauty to a room but houseplants are also beneficial for improving indoor air quality.

Many of the most popular houseplants that we grow are members of the Aroid family, a large class of tropical plants that are acclimated to growing in the dense shade of the world’s rain forests, and this makes them ideally suited to the low light conditions found in most homes and offices. These include:

  • Philodenrons
  • Dieffenbachias
  • Peace Lilies (spathiphyllum)
  • Chinese Evergreens (aglaomena)

As houseplants, each of these species will thrive in indirect light, so long as they are not over watered. Of course, keeping the leaves dusted will allow your plants to utilize the maximum amount of available light.

Houseplant Care

Tree PhilodendronFor the most part, Aroids prefer a potting medium that is kept evenly, but lightly moist, without ever staying too wet or getting too dry. Either of these conditions can result in the death of the plant’s delicate root hairs which absorb water and nutrients from the soil. Remember that a houseplant which is growing in low light will grow more slowly and use less water than one which is situated in a brighter location. A good way to determine when a houseplant needs water is to insert your finger an inch or two into the soil. If the soil is dry as far down as your finger reaches, then it’s time to water again. It’s better to err on the side of dryness rather than keeping the soil too wet, but of course the soil should never be allowed to get so dry that the plant wilts.

Fertilizing Houseplants

Most houseplants will benefit from monthly feedings during the brighter days of the growing season, spring through fall. Use any standard houseplant fertilizer at approximately one-half the recommended strength. This dilution rate will prevent the buildup of salts in the soil, which can be detrimental to a plant’s health. Now is a good time to repot your houseplants into fresh soil, which should be done every couple of years at the beginning of the spring growing cycle.

Houseplant Benefits

Studies have shown that houseplants, particularly aroids, can improve the quality of indoor air by removing carbon dioxide and replenishing the oxygen. Thus, functioning as natural air purifiers as well as room beautifiers, houseplants have earned a vital place in our homes.

Visit or call your local florist today for a wide selection of these interior-enhancing beauties!