Skip to Content

Aglaonema vs Dieffenbachia (Confusion Solved!)

Both species are members of the large plant family known as Aroideae. The Aglaonema is considered to be related to the Dieffenbachia.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise because their profiles are practically identical.

However, there are also subtle differences that can help you identify a specific plant variety.

CriterionAglaonemaDieffenbachia
SizeCan grow up to 2-3 feet (70-100 cm)Often reaches a height of 6.5 feet ( 2m)
Growth typeMore like a bushThe mature plant is shaped like a tree
Leaf growthGrow on separate stemsGrow on trunk
BloomIt is typical for aglaonemas to bloom before producing red fruits.Do not flower regularly when indoors.
The number of speciesFrom 20 to 50. Furthermore, breeding experts have created a large number of hybrids that are shuffled like a deck of cards. Species, varieties, and variations are still debated today.Counts from 30 to 40 (according to various sources)
PropagationBy cuttings, seeds, division of rhizomes, aerial shoots.Apical or stem cuttings, air layering.

Leaf Color

The leaves are all different shapes. I own one of each. My dieffenbachia had large, rounded leaves, whereas my Red Aglaonema has thinner, more pointy leaves.

The main difference between Dieffenbachia and Aglaonema is leaf color and appearance. 

Dieffenbachia has leaves that are perfectly symmetrical and painted a bright green color. Along the margins of the leaves is a variegated pattern with strokes and dots of a yellowish tint, creating a striped appearance. 

Aglaonema isn’t known for its beautiful flowers, but its leathery green leaves, expressive veins, and contrasting stripes make it a standout.

Height and Structure

Aglaonema Prestige

Aglaonema is a member of the aroid family and is classified as an ornamental houseplant. It is native to the tropical forests of Southeast Asia.

The word “aglaonema” originates from the Greek words “aglaos,” which means “bright” and “nema” (carving).

The genus contains 21 species of perennial herbaceous plants that grow from 15 to 70 cm tall, depending on the species and cultivar, and have a thick, short fleshy erect stem that can reach up to 1 m in height.

There is a shrub variety called Dieffenbachia compacta. Compact and short, the shrub only grows to 1.5-2 feet (50-65 cm) and has flexible stems.

The leaves have a lanceolate shape with an elongated point at the end.

They have a color similar to lettuce, with a lighter middle and spots of a darker green all around it. The edges of the leaves have the same coloring as the rest of the leaves.

Dieffenbachia Reflector is a “Spotted” vibrant variety. It has a medium-sized, compact bush.

Growth Rate

Dieffenbachia

Originally from South America, Dieffenbachia is a perennial herbaceous plant that grows in moist soil.

Because of its astounding growth rate, which can reach up to 15 inches (40 cm) per year, it can get a height of 3 feet (1 meter) even when grown in domestic conditions.

As a result, Dieffenbachia has a long life expectancy, but it requires regular care and maintenance.

The maximum height of a potted aglaonema is between 2.5-3 feet  (80 and 90 cm), and its width can reach up to 1.6 feet (50 cm).

The rate of growth is highly variable between different varieties, and the type and the growing conditions will determine the plant’s final size.

Stem

Aglaonema is a green plant that belongs to the group of ornamental and deciduous plants.

It is a herbaceous semi-shrub that can grow in partial shade and has a fleshy, straight stem at its base. The branch becomes increasingly flat as it rises to the top.

Dieffenbachia has a thickened and green stem, and it is woody at the base. The stem is upright when it is young, but it eventually leans over.

Flower

Dieffenbachia Flower

The Dieffenbachia blooms under the right conditions and cares when grown at home. April-May marks the start of the flowering season.

A long flower stalk begins with a bud appearing in the leaf’s axil. The coverlet will then be open for another two to three days.

Afterward, the inflorescence begins to dry out and wither away. At the same time, it doesn’t fall by itself and must be removed.

At home, the Aglaonema only occasionally produces blooms. The plant’s variegated leaves are what give it its stunning appearance.

Aglaonema Flower

Unfortunately, the flowers of the Aglaonema are not particularly appealing.

In the axils of the upper leaves, greenish-yellow cobs wrapped in a pale veil appear from February through November.

There could be anywhere between one and three of them. The cobs can be either a thick, short mace or a thin, long cylinder depending on the variety.

To promote the growth of new leaves, flower growers will occasionally sacrifice cutting off the inflorescences of the plant.

If this is not done, it is possible to wait for the appearance of scarlet (less frequently white) berries with a single seed inside.

Varieties

It’s hard to pick just one type of Aglaonema because they have a wide range of leaf colors and patterns, including white, bright red, and almost black.

It also helps clean the air in your apartment, which is a bonus. There are over 40 different types of Dieffenbachia that have been identified.

It’s a shrub with strikingly patterned leaves. They differ primarily in color.

Care Requirements

It is a leafy ornamental plant. Varieties with variegated leaves require a substantial amount of bright, diffused light.

Types with green leaves are particularly suited to growing in partial shade.

Summer temperatures range from 68-86 °F (20-`30 °C), and winter temperatures should not fall below 59 °F (15 °C).

Water is needed sparingly in the winter and copiously during the summer. It’s essential to have a high humidity level (about 65 percent ).

Plant Aglaonema in well-drained soil. Always keep the soil moist in the summer. In the winter, you should wait a few days between watering it.

This will prevent the spread of fungal diseases. The plant’s container is placed in a darkened area, protected from direct sunlight. Ideally, the lighting will be even and diffused.