Identify My Plant that is Losing leaves

My husband received this plant when his brother died. I am clueless on what this plant is. I’m pulling dead leaves off the plant weekly. I dont want to disappoint my husband and the plant die that would just add to his heart break. Please tell me what this plant is and how to keep it alive. Thanks Judy

Dear Dawn,

Your plant is a dieffenbachia. Here are some care tips:

Dieffenbachia plants require medium to high light. Direct sun burns the leaves and too much bright light causes the vibrant leaf color to fade. When an indoor dieffenbachia does not get enough light, the new leaves are small and far apart on the stem. Water well and then allow the top 2″-3″ of soil to dry out before watering again. Dieffenbachia plants do best when watered on a regular schedule. Fertilize only when the plant is actively producing new leaves. Most dieffenbachia should be fed every two weeks in the summer and once a month in the spring and fall. Never feed in the winter. Excess plant food causes browning around the edges of the leaves.

All parts of a Dieffenbachia are extremely poisonous which is how they earned the nickname “dumb cane plant”and should be kept away from pets and children. Read more about common houseplants that are poisonous in Don’t Feed Me To Your Cat! A Guide to Poisonous Houseplants.

Where are the dead leaves? Are they yellow or brown?

You can read all my care tips in the Popular Houseplant section of the website. The picture is of a different variety, but the care is the same.