When it comes to choosing a plant, many things to consider. Two popular houseplants are the dieffenbachia and the aglaonema. Though they may look similar, they have different requirements and benefits.
In this article, we will compare Dieffenbachia vs Aglaonema plants. We hope this will help you decide which plant works better in your home.
What are Dieffenbachia Plants?
Dieffenbachia plants are tropical perennials. Their large, colorful leaves make them a popular home plant.
There are over 24 species of dieffenbachia plants, with their common name being Dieffenbachia. One of the most popular cultivars is the ‘Tropic Snow’ dieffenbachia plant. This particular variety has green and white striped leaves and is extremely easy to grow.
What Are Aglaonema Plants?
Aglaonema plants are tropical perennials that, like dieffenbachia plants, have large colorful leaves. Many people confuse the two plants because their physical characteristics are very similar. Aglaonema means ‘beautiful first’ and is a fitting name for these popular plants.
There are also many species of aglaonema plant, the most common being the Chinese evergreen. Like dieffenbachia plants, they can be difficult to grow and should be kept in low light conditions.
Top Comparison of Dieffenbachia vs Aglaonema
There are many differences between the Dieffenbachia plant and the Aglaonema plant. Here are the main points to consider when deciding which plant is best for your home.
The biggest difference between dieffenbachia and aglaonema plants is the leaves. Dieffenbachia leaves are usually broad to oval with pointed tips. Aglaonema leaves are very similar but have rounded edges instead of pointed tips.
Aglaonema generally has darker green or maroon foliage, whereas Dieffenbachia has lighter green foliage. Dieffenbachia plants are also taller than aglaonema plants.
Dieffenbachia plants thrive in indirect light and can be kept in full sun when acclimated slowly over time. Aglaonema requires very little light to grow to do best in a shady location.
Dieffenbachia is a tropical plant, so it prefers temperatures between 60°F and 75°F. Aglaonema is a temperate plant that will do best in temperatures between 65–75°F.
Aglaonema requires very little water to grow, so you should water your plant once a week. In addition, it is best to thoroughly wet the potting soil and then let it dry out completely before watering again.
Dieffenbachia needs more frequent watering, but it is important not to over-water the plant because too much moisture will cause root rot. Dieffenbachia plants do best when watered every two weeks. However, if the soil feels dry to the touch, it is best to water more frequently in small amounts.
Aglaonema does not need very much fertilizer. You can fertilize your plant half strength every four months or so with general-purpose houseplant fertilizer.
Dieffenbachia plants require more frequent fertilizing. You should fertilize your plant every month or so with a balanced houseplant fertilizer.
Aglaonema requires well-draining soil, so it is best to use potting soil specifically designed for cacti and succulents.
Dieffenbachia does well in many types of soil, but it is important not to let the soil become soggy. A good rule of thumb is that dieffenbachia plants grow best when the top inch or so of potting soil is dry before watering again.
Aglaonema plants prefer to be grown in clay containers because they dry out faster than other pots. They also do well when their roots are slightly cramped, so using a pot that is not much bigger than the plant itself is important.
Dieffenbachia is best planted in sturdy plastic or ceramic containers with drainage holes at the bottom.
Dieffenbachia tends to grow faster than aglaonema and produce more leaves. Aglaonema has a slow growth rate, so it will take longer for your plant to fill out and become lush with foliage.
Aglaonema is not prone to moss or mold, so you will never have to worry about removing it from your plant. However, Dieffenbachia is very susceptible to developing a white powdery substance known as mealybugs on its foliage.
In addition, many types of Dieffenbachia develop leaf spots if they get too much water or fertilizer.
Both aglaonema and Dieffenbachia are poisonous plants, but they affect the body differently.
Aglaonema contains calcium oxalate crystals that cause skin irritation when touched, whereas Dieffenbachia contains raphides which can irritate the mouth, tongue, and throat if eaten. Other symptoms of ingesting Dieffenbachia include vomiting and diarrhea.
Overall, aglaonema has a more tropical look than Dieffenbachia because of its dark green leaves with maroon edges.
Dieffenbachia tends to have light green leaves with yellow, cream, and white variegation on the edges and tips.
Which Plant Has the Most Advantages and Disadvantages?
There are many benefits to having either of these plants in your home.
- Dieffenbachia thrives in bright, indirect sunlight and can improve your home’s decor.
- Dieffenbachia works as a great air purifier and will help filter out pollutants such as benzene and formaldehyde from the environment.
- Aglaonema is much denser than dieffenbachia and can therefore help filter out more air pollutants.
- Aglaonema also absorbs carbon dioxide and gives off nearly four times more oxygen than dieffenbachia throughout the day, making it a great choice if you have pets or children in your home who spend a lot of time near the plant.
Here are some disadvantageous of each plant:
- Dieffenbachia is toxic, so it should be kept away from pets and children. If eaten, it can cause vomiting and diarrhea.
- It requires a well-draining potting mix that dries completely between watering. It does not fare well if left in a soggy pot.
- It is more susceptible to developing leaf spots.
- Like dieffenbachia, aglaonema is toxic. It can cause irritation to the skin and mouth if ingested.
- Aglaonema has a tendency to drop its leaves if it gets too much water or fertilizer (just like dieffenbachia), so it needs to be kept in a well-draining potting mix.
Which Plant Is Better for Your Home?
Both dieffenbachia and aglaonema are great additions to your home, but knowing which plant will work best in your environment is important.
Aglaonema does best in a shady location and suffers indirect light, whereas dieffenbachia prefers indirect or full sun.
Dieffenbachia also requires more frequent watering than aglaonema, so if you forget to water your plants often, the dieffenbachia may be a better choice for you. As long as you know which conditions your plant prefers, either one will work well in your home.
Which Plant Is More Toxic?
Both plants are toxic, but there is evidence suggesting that aglaonema is more harmful than dieffenbachia.
Both aglaonema and dieffenbachia contain calcium oxalate crystals. When these crystals come in contact with the skin, they irritate the mucous membranes of the mouth, tongue, or throat. If you were to ingest either plant by eating or drinking, it could cause vomiting and diarrhea.
However, research suggests that aglaonema is more harmful because it contains a neurotoxin called a-terthienyl. This toxin can cause swelling and numbness in the mouth if ingested.
Tips On How to Keep Your Houseplant Healthy
No matter which plant you choose, dieffenbachia or aglaonema, it is important to remember that houseplants are living organisms. They need light, water, soil nutrients, and the correct potting mix in order to survive. Keep your plant healthy by following these tips:
- Make sure your plant has plenty of indirect sunlight.
- Keep your plant’s soil moist but not soggy.
- The current consensus is that dieffenbachia and aglaonema prefer soil that is on the acidic side, so it may be a good idea to add some peat moss or sphagnum to your plant’s potting mix.
- If you want to fertilize your plant, make sure you use an all-purpose fertilizer. Do not use plant food, as this can cause your plant to drop its leaves.
- Most dieffenbachia and aglaonema are grown in 4 to 10-inch pots. If you have a larger plant, it may be time to repot into something bigger.
- If you have a dieffenbachia, the tips of the leaves may turn brown and burn if it gets too cold.
- If you have a leaf spot problem, try removing the affected leaves. If your plant is indoors, this can be done by removing them with pruning shears.
- If overwatered or planted in low-light conditions, Dieffenbachia can develop spindly stalks with small white flowers.
Here are some common questions about Dieffenbachia and Aglaonema:
How Do I Care for A Dieffenbachia?
Ans: A Dieffenbachia plant needs a consistent amount of moisture with some moisture, but not too much. If your plants are in low light conditions, it is okay to let them dry out a little bit more. You should aim to water when the top one-two inches of soil are dry.
How Often Should I Water My Dieffenbachia?
Ans: When the soil is dry about an inch down in the pot, it’s time to water.
How Often Should I Water My Aglaonema?
Ans: You should water it after the top few inches of soil are dry, usually every two weeks, though some variations may occur due to environmental factors like light, temperature, and season.
How Do I Care for A Pothos Plant?
Ans: They prefer moist soil, indirect sunlight, plenty of water, but proper drainage. It is best to fertilize with quarter strength all-purpose fertilizer once a month in the spring/summer/early fall and once every six weeks in the winter.
Aglaonema and Dieffenbachia are both great plants to have in your home, but it is important to know which one will work best in your environment. Aglaonema does well in shady locations, while Dieffenbachia prefers indirect or full sun.
Dieffenbachia also requires more frequent watering than aglaonema, so if you forget to water your plants often, the Dieffenbachia may be a better choice for you. As long as you know which conditions your plant prefers, either one will work well in your home.