House Plant Identification – Oleander

(Question)

Hello, I have been trying to identify this house plant for a while now.  I’ve asked several people and no one has been able to help me.  It has been losing leaves for months now, it seems very unhappy.  I am wondering what, if anything, I can do to keep it healthy.  I am attaching a photo of a plant I grew from I cutting I took about 8 months ago.  The “parent” plant is far larger and barely has any leaves on it at all anymore.  Though, it does look to be growing some new leaves slowly.  We keep our house at 20 degrees, but the plant is situated near a drafty window.  It faces south.  Relative humidity is about 50%
Thank you so much for any help on this matter.  I love this plant!  I would like for it to survive and thrive.

 

(Answer)

The consensus of opinion among our team is that your plant is an oleander (Nerium oleander).  In its native habitat it does well with little water and in poor soil and full sun, but it can be overwintered inside in agreeable conditions.  Your temperature sounds fine, but it certainly needs to get as much sun as possible, stay out of cold drafts, and be well-drained.  Do your pots have holes in the bottom?  Water it sparingly in the winter, and move it outside to a protected but sunny spot in the summer.  Then with a little high-potassium fertilizer when it is putting out new leaves you may get some flowers to enjoy.  Be aware that all parts of this plant are poisonous if eaten so be sure to wear gloves when pruning or starting cuttings to keep the toxic sap off your hands.

Your picture shows some round brown spots on the stems which may be a scale insect.  If so, they are sucking sap from the plant which could also be a cause of leaf loss.  Check closely to see if the spots are part of the plant or can be scraped off.  If there are scale insects, repeated close spraying with insecticidal soap will help.

The drafty window and possible over-watering are your most likely culprits of leaf drop, so fix those things right away and then take it from there.