Like many of our plants, the Diffenbachia is tropical. I’m not sure which part of the tropics, but one surprising aspect is that it’s quite happy in the shade. It does make sense when you think about it, since it would presumably be growing in the shade of larger plants in its natural habitat.

This is our modest specimen and I really think it’s gorgeous. They tell me it never flowers when grown indoors, but that doesn’t bother me since I’m in love with this plant for its lush leaves! Dieffenbachias grow to about one meter, and ours is smaller than that, although not that small — you can imagine it getting to a meter before too long.

One astonishing thing is that this plant keeps growing despite the short solstice days of Britain. I’ve mentioned it several times but it never seizes to amaze me that a tropical plant can do this well so far north. We do help it by keeping the temperature at 12+ degrees… but you might still think a denizen of the Equator would be a bit unhappy. Not so: Here’s the latest new leaf.

Leaves appear at the middle which seems to be a popular way for tropical plants to grow: Ensete, Monstera, and Spathiphyllum are the same, to mention three other species from our conservatory. The leaves on the outside die away as the plant grows and fresh new growth appears at the centre.

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