Friday, 21 August 2009
It been some time since I put any gardening posts up – today seems to be a good day as any day; so here tis.
Schefflera or commonly known as Umbrella plant, is a genus in the flowering plant family Araliaceae. The plants can be trees, shrubs or lianas (climbing vines), growing 1-30 m tall.
Several species are grown in pots as houseplants, most commonly Schefflera actinophylla (Umbrella Tree) and Schefflera arboricola (Dwarf Umbrella Tree). Numerous cultivars have been selected for various characters, most popularly for its variegation or purple foliage. Schefflera arboricola is native to Taiwan and Hainan and is popular as an indoor bonsai.
My Umbrella Tree (pictured above) is 8 years old. I have not “bonsaied” it in the true sense….all I have done is keep it pot bound. Every few years, I change the soil in the pot but I do not transfer the plant to a larger pot. This stunts its growth.
The plant prefers higher light if possible, but can adapt to a wide variety of light levels. My plant is positioned about 5 m from the window.
Being a tropical plant it likes moisture, but avoid letting the plant sit in water after watering so be sure to allow proper drainage. It likes to be moist but not wet. Allow the soil to dry in between watering; however do not allow it to stay dry for long periods of time. If the foliage begins to drop and turn black in color, you are over watering or do not have proper drainage in place. If the foliage tips begin to curl or wrinkle, you are probably under watering the plant.
Do not be afraid to prune your Schefflera back into shape if it gets out of control. This is one houseplant who will bounce back better than ever after a nice complete pruning.
The Schefflera is prone to spider mites. To prevent spider mites, give the plant a misting of diluted soapy water once a week. If spider mites are present, try the soapy water misting twice a day. If this does not work, visit your local garden center for a safe pesticide alternative.
The Schefflera is toxic if consumed.