You may remember that one of the goals I set for myself is to keep a houseplant alive. Today I bought my first houseplant and have named it Kafka. 

I wanted to go with Alejandro, but the boyfriend insisted it looked like a German plant.  How something leafy and green can resemble any sort of nationality is beyond me, but there was no way I was going to name it Herman.  We settled on Kafka.

It was purchased at Meijer for under $20 and seems to have a several battle scars from its journey beginning in Homestead, Florida.  Some of the leaves have patches of sadness -- some discolored tips that are yellow, some brown dead spots, some rips.  I accidentally ripped part of a leaf off when rolling up the window ... oops.

After returning home I Google-d and found some rather disheartening information.

Dieffenbachia is a moderately easy to care for houseplant that likes humidity and sunlight.  Otherwise known as dumb cane, their stems are green, their leaves are white and yellow, and they can grow up to 5 feet tall.   So far, so good.  I continued reading and learned that they are called 'dumb cane' because your throat will swell and you will lose your speech if you eat their foliage.  You are supposed to use protective gloves when working with the plant just in case sap gets onto your fingers and eventually ends up in your mouth.


How did I manage to pick a poisonous plant for my first green thumb project?  I know why -- I thought it was cute.  I looked at its large spotted leaves and thought it would coordinate well with the living room.  I also saw the rips and browning leave patches and immediately felt sorry for it.  What can I say?  I'm a sucker for the underdog.

Dieffenbachias are to be kept away from children and pets; I don't have the former (THANK YOU JESUS) but the latter is left unsupervised five days a week while I go to work.  Kafka is already pretty large and I had every intention of leaving it on the floor, in front of the window to soak up the spring sunlight.  It now lives next to my desk on top of the filing cabinet.

So far I've ripped a leaf in the car and watered its dry soil.  Three hours into ownership and Kafka is still alive and well.  I'd like to write more but these rubber gloves are hot and difficult to type with.  Wish Kafka good luck.

Approx. height: 20" -- that's a little over one and a half feet
Largest leaf length: 14" x 6"
Smallest leaf length: 5 1/4" x 2 1/3"