It can be very difficult to determine the difference between Dieffenbachia and the Chinese Evergreen. They’re similar in numerous ways because they have oblong leave with distinct patterns and different shades of green.
However, there are several differences between the two. Just remember that you’ll have to look closely to spot the differences.
The main differences are the Chinese Evergreen plants have a pink or silverish-gray coloration. At full maturity, Chinese Evergreens are smaller than Dieffenbachias.
They also do not have as many lateral veins. While the Dieffenbachias may have up to 30 veins, the Chinese Evergreens only have 5 to 8 on each leaf.
More about the differences will be found in the guide below.
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The biggest difference between these two plants are the veins. You can likely tell the difference by counting the lateral veins on the leaves.
In general, you’ll find between 20 and 30 lateral veins on the Dieffenbachias or the Dumb Cane. When looking at the leaves of the Chinese Evergreen or the Aglaonema, you’ll find between 5 and 8 veins.
You can easily count the number of veins on the plant to determine which species you’re dealing with. If there are more than 8 veins, you’re likely dealing with a Dieffenbachia plant.
If there are eight or fewer veins, it is likely a Chinese Evergreen. Ultimately, this is one of the key differences between the two plants.
2. Different Colors
Both plants are popular because of their variegation. The majority of species will have their leaves covered with striking dashes and dots.
In terms of color, they’re usually deep green or greenish-white. Typically, the foliage will be brighter near the center while it is darker closer to the edges. It looks like someone dropped a bucket of paint in the middle of the leave. The way to spot the difference is to look for the leave with a silver or gray color. If you find a silver or gray hue matched with the green, you’re likely dealing with a Chinese Evergreen.
Some varieties of the Dieffenbachia feature this color, but they’re not common. You can also find many Chinese Evergreen plants that have a pink tint.
As for the Dieffenbachias, you will find that they tend to be brighter and more vivid with a tint of lime green or yellow.
If you’re having difficulty determining the difference between these plants, you should try looking at their heights. Ultimately, this could be the easiest way to identify the type of plant you have.
The only issue with this method is that you’ll have to wait for the plants to mature. Otherwise, they might be the same size. Remember that the height of the plant depends on the variety.
Dieffenbachias can sometimes grow up to 3 feet, but other species can reach 10 feet in height.
Regardless, you can use this to determine what you’re dealing with because Chinese Evergreens are always shorter. Again, if you’re dealing with young plants, you won’t be able to use this to identify the type.
You’ll need to wait until the plants reach maturity. If the plant is four feet or taller, you can guarantee that you’re dealing with a Dieffenbachia plant. Chinese Evergreen plants do not get this tall.
However, there is one exception to the rule. You might have Dieffenbachia compacta plants. As the name implies, this type of plant is compact. As a result, the plant doesn’t grow as tall as others in this group.
It usually stays around two feet high. Plus, there are several Aglaonema varieties that can reach taller heights.
For instance, the Emerald Star and BJ Freeman can sometimes reach heights of four feet. Regardless, if the plant is tall and skinny, it is likely going to be a Dieffenbachia.
If it is short and compact, you likely have a Chinese Evergreen.
Before going any further, you should take the time to look at the veins. Thankfully, this is an easier way to determine which plant you’re dealing with.
All you have to do is count the veins branching out from the central portion of the leaf.
You’ll find more distinct veins while others are difficult to spot. Still, it is wise to count the veins on the leaves because this can help you determine which plant it is.
Take your time and count the veins. It can be slightly complicated because some of the veins will be difficult to spot.
After all, you’re going to have major and minor veins.
Nevertheless, the difference should be easily visible because the Dieffenbachia plant has a lot more veins than the Chinese Evergreen. It is common for Dieffenbachia plants to have between 20 to 30 veins in total. As for a Chinese Evergreen, it is usually only going to have 5 to 8. If you see a lot of veins, you’re likely dealing with a Dieffenbachia plant.
5. Ingestion Risks
Finally, you’ll find that there is one difference that you cannot ignore. It is pertinent to keep your pets away from both, but you’ll have to pay particularly close attention to Dieffenbachias because they’re more harmful when ingested.
These plants try to protect themselves using aroids. Their tissues contain sharp crystals that release calcium oxalate. When consumed, they can lead to numerous problems.
Despite this, you’ll want to stay away from Dieffenbachias because they’re far more dangerous.
If someone chews on the leaves of a Dieffenbachia leave, they will develop swelling and open sores. They’re far worse than the others.
While these plants are similar, they have a few key differences. If you’re precise and have a keen eye, you should be able to spot the differences without much trouble.
Take your time and start by counting the number of veins on the leaves. If that doesn’t work, you can wait for the plants to mature.
Once they’ve matured, you’ll have no trouble finding out which one is taller.
Typically, the taller plant will be the Dieffenbachia. You can also try using the color of the plant to figure out which one you have.