Answer: Dieffenbachia, or corn plant, is a popular houseplant. Because these are tropical plants, they require a warm, humid environment to succeed. Daytime temperatures of 75 - 85 degrees F, and nightime temperatures of 65 degrees F (no lower) are ideal. If temperatures are too cold or the plant is subjected to cold drafts such as from air conditioners, the leaves will either develop brown edges, turn completely brown and drop, or the lower leaves will turn yellow and wilt. Extreme or fluctuating temperatures can kill some delicate varieties. Along with warm temperatures, a high level of humidity should be maintained. If the air is too dry, the young leaves will often fall. Place damp peat moss around the pot, use pebble trays, or set basins of water near heat registers to increase humidity levels around the plant. Mist the leaves in the morning hours of each day if humidity levels are very low. Watering can be a touchy subject with this plant. While the plant is actively growing, keep the soil moist to moderately dry. The media must never be soggy wet, as overwatering will cause the lower leaves to drop. In winter, or the dormant period, the plant will need to be watered more sparingly, especially if room temperatures are on the cool side. The plant is very susceptible to crown and stem rot disease when a combination of overwatering and low temperatures co-exist. To complicate matters, if the soil is allowed to dry out, the leaves will also develop brown edges. The best advice I can give is to water your plant thoroughly and then allow the top half inch of soil to dry out between waterings. You might try using distilled or bottled water. Some dieffenbachias are sensitive to the fluoride or chlorine in tap water, which can also cause tip burn. Good luck with your corn plant!
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