The Q&A Archives: Dieffenbachia

Question: We have a pot of Dieffenbachia that has been with us for about a year and started to have some problems.

1) Developing Vertical Lines on leaves
2) Getting brown from outside in and curling edges and drying out

What seems to be the problem? Please help!
Thank you!

Answer: The only disease problem associated with dieffenbachia is root rot, caused by over-watering. It is normal for the lower leaves to curl and die; as the plant matures, it will shed some of the older leaves in favor of new, young foliage. If the newer leaves are also exhibiting this problem, you may be over-watering, the plant is in a draft (from air conditioning vents), or the indoor air is too dry. Move the plant to a more protected place if necessary, and increase humidity by misting the plant each morning. The only other possibility is an insect problem. While insects aren't a constant problem, they do occasionally get mealy bugs and spider mites. Mealy bugs can be removed with a cotton swab dipped into rubbing alcohol and spider mites should be treated by spraying with insecticidal soap or pyrethrins.

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