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I don't know what kind of plant this is.

A few months ago it started to wilt. If I watered it it seemed to get worse, so I cut way back on watering. The past two weeks I didn't water at all, then I poured about 20oz on it, and a few days later it's looking terrible and developed these white clusters.

Is it salvageable? What should I have done months ago to reverse this process?

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Your plant appears to be a Cordyline fruticosa variety, commonly known as Ti plant or Hawaiian cordyline. It has a very heavy mealybug infestation all over - the very large white lumps just indicate its been there for a long time, but there are white dots and streaks all over it. Image of this type of plant here https://bloomboxclub.com/products/cordyline-rumba-cordyline-fruticosa-rumba

You can treat the plant, but it's not going to be a quick fix - touching each of the larger white lumps with a cotton bud dipped in isopropyl alcohol will kill those, but other treatments are required to clear the rest, see methods here https://homeguides.sfgate.com/control-mealybugs-potted-ti-plant-67099.html. Be sure to pay attention to where each leaf base joins the main stem of the plant when treating it; mealybug can hide in there.

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    Thanks so much! I think I'll try to treat it just as a learning experience. I'm not as concerned with keeping this specific plant alive as learning how to care for plants in general.
    – devth
    Dec 14, 2021 at 17:07
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    Then I would discard it and disinfect the entire area it was kept and not put any new plants in that location for a while to see if you can avoid any reinfections. They are very difficult bugs to get under control when started so any time you purchase or bring home a new plant you should inspect it carefully and keep an eye on it for a while.
    – flowerbug
    Jan 5, 2022 at 1:07

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