Plant of the Month

Scheffelera

Schefflera is a member of the Aralia family and is named for the eighteenth century botanist, A. Scheffler. Two of the more popular varieties of Schefflera are S. actinophylla is the large leafed Umbrella Plant, and S. arboricola is the smaller, bushy dwarf Schefflera. In this section, "Schefflera" will refer to the larger plant and "Arboricola" will refer to the dwarf plant.

The Schefflera plant is usually multi-stemmed with large, dark green leaves. The Schefflera is columnar, usually with a single vertical stem, and has larger leaves.

S. arboricola is used as a bush, a tree, and as a braided trunk tree. Also, Arboricola is more tolerant of low light than Schefflera. There are several varieties of Arboricola, including green, variegated, and gold.

Maintenance Tips:

To achieve the best color, fertilize with a balanced fertilizer regularly. Schefflera tend to droop slightly when they are warm, even with good moisture, so resist the temptation to water.

When S. arboricola is too dry, the foliage turns somewhat grayish, and the older leaves turn yellow and drop.

When pruning, always make the cut slightly above a node. The new growth will emerge from that node. Underwatering and not pruning leads to a thin, leggy plant.

If the older leaves of Schefflera show dark purple to black veins with chlorosis in between, the plant has become stunted. They turn pale when the potting medium temperature is too cool.

Leafminers can be detected by the circular raised pattern on the leaves. A Neem Oil drench may help as long as the miners are still within the leaf tissue. Aphids will attack new foliage.