Houseplant Losing Leaves

I received a lovely plant from my parents when I started a new job almost two years ago. The container it came in said it was a Pleomele Anita. In the last six months to a year, it seems to be declining. The leaves are yellowed and some are dropping. Also it looks like it might have powdery mildew? Or spider mites? I included a picture. The plant sits in my office window. The window is tinted, but it does get some morning sun. I water it when it’s dry. Is there anything I can do to save my plant?

Hi Sarah,

The dracaena Anita, also known as the Anita cane or the Anita plant, is a cultivar of the dracaena reflexa or pleomele (Dracaena reflexa “Anita”). This is a cane plant and it is normal for the bottom leaves to turn yellow and drop off as long as you are getting new growth at the top of the plant. The powdery mildew may indicate that the plant does have a plant pest called a “scale.” Take the plant out of any bright light and spray the entire plant with the “Green Solution,” my non-toxic recipe for treating plant insects and diseases without using toxic chemicals. This is a mixture of water, alcohol, biodegradable liquid soap, and mineral oil. Make a solution using 8oz. water & 8oz. alcohol, add two tablespoons of biodegradable soap and two tablespoons of mineral oil. Spray all areas of the plant.  Never use this spray on a plant that’s sitting in the sun or one with very dry soil. Check the plant leaves and stems for little brown hard lumps that would indicate “scale.”  If you find any scale, scrape it off with a children’s toothbrush. You can see a picture of what scale looks like in the Glossary of the website. You can also read more about the “Green Solution” in the Glossary. There have been cases of cats experiencing tremors after nibbling on this plant. See colorful pictures and get more information about poisonous houseplants in Don’t Feed Me To Your Cat! A Guide to Poisonous Houseplants.

Dark green Dracaena Pleomele "Anita"
Dracaena Pleomele “Anita”