li would be foolish and incorrect to class all the dieflenbachias as middle-of-the-road in respect of care and attention, but Dieffen-bachia exotica slips easily into this range. It is compact, colourfully variegated and not too difficult to care for provided the required cultural conditions are not neglected. In a nutshell these mean a temperature that does not drop below 16°C (60°F), a moist atmosphere and fairly heavy shading. However, this plant will withstand some fluctuating temperatures: the same cannot be said for the more difficult species and varieties mentioned on page 87. Watering needs to be heavier in the summer and the plants should be fed regularly then.

For the modern home the compactness of the plant is one of its most appealing features. An improvement on D. exotica is D. exotica Perfection, which has the pleasing habit of producing quantities of young plants at the base of the parent stem. Besides giving the plant a fuller and more decorative appearance these also provide an excellent source of material from which

When the plants attain a height of some 30 in (75 cm) it is usual for them to produce typical arum-like flowers with spathe and spadix. As these are not especially attractive it is often best to remove them as they open. The entire stalk of the flower should be removed since there is a tendency for any pieces that are left to rot and in time affect the main stem of the plant.

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