Schefflera plant (lat. Shefflera), or umbrella tree, belongs to the largest genus in the family Araliaceae that counts around 200 species. Schefflera flower was named in honor of either the German botanist Christian Jakob Scheffler, who lived in the XVIII century, or the Polish scientist Johann Peter Ernst von Scheffler. In nature, the representatives of this genus are vines, shrubs or trees, reaching a height of 6.5 ft and growing in the tropics of Australia, Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands. Some garden forms of schefflera with variegated foliage are very popular. The gardeners have begun to grow schefflera at home quite recently. This is an exotic plant-relaxer that absorbs negative energy like a sponge, filling the air with oxygen and increasing its moisture content.
- 1. Audio article (coming soon)
- 2. Description of schefflera flower
- 3. Care for schefflera at home
- 4. Schefflera at home: propagation
- 5. Pests and diseases of schefflera
- 6. Schefflera: signs
- 7. Species and varieties of schefflera
Description of schefflera flower
Schefflera houseplant is an ornamental deciduous plant with palmatisected leaves with 4-12 lobes that are similar to the palm with fingers spread wide apart. The color of leaves is solid green or variegated with yellow or white spots and patches. The schefflera inflorescences are elongated, racemose, like tentacles, but it is unlikely that you will see its flowers as the plant blooms only in nature or in the botanical garden. Usually schefflera houseplant has the form of a tree, like waringin, or the form of a bush. The shoots of the plant are thin, so while growing it you should fasten its stem for additional support. Schefflera is quite undemanding, so it will be easy even for a beginner gardener to grow it, but it should be noted that the plant contains substances that irritate the skin and mucous membrane, so you should handle it with caution.
How to care for schefflera
Schefflera is a sun loving plant, so it is better to place it on the south, east or west window sill, but at the time of full sun the plant should be protected from direct rays by a light curtain. If you have an adult large schefflera, place it near the south window with the curtain. In the flat with an insufficient light, it is better not to grow variegated varieties, as they are more light-requiring than schefflera with green leaves. A lack of light makes variegated leaves one-colored. In summer schefflera prefers being outdoors in a light partial shade, protected from wind and drafts.
Humidity in the room where schefflera grows should be above average, and although the plant easily adapts to room conditions, a daily spraying with sedimented water will have a beneficial effect on it. When schefflera leaves are covered in dust, it is advisable to shower the plant or wipe the leaves with a damp sponge. In winter with heaters on, schefflera is placed on the tray with a wet expanded clay or gravel with the plant roots not touching the water. With regard to temperature, in summer schefflera feels good at the temperature that is usual for this time of the year. But in winter it prefers a temperature of 61-64 ºF, the lowest winter temperature for the plant is 54 ºF.
Schefflera is watered with a sedimented water trying to avoid drying out of the soil clod. However, you should also avoid too frequent and abundant watering that can lead to soil souring and root rot. The temperature of the water for schefflera irrigation should be of the room temperature or a few degrees warmer.
Very young plants should be repotted annually in spring, and adult plants need repotting only when the roots fill the pot that will happen in several years. A diameter of a new pot should be 2-2.4 inches wider than a diameter of a previous pot. Before transplanting of schefflera, place a thick layer of drainage in the pot that will prevent stagnation of water in the roots. Soil for schefflera should be light, fertile, permeable to water. Schefflera likes the soil mixture that consists of three parts of the compost soil, one part of fibrous peat and a part and a half of coarse sand, although all-purpose substrate and soil for palms will also be suitable for schefflera. The plant with the clod soil is gently transferred to the new pot with drainage layer, the required amount of soil mixture is added, the soil is lightly tamped. After transplanting the plant is watered.
Care for schefflera at home implies a mandatory fertilization of the soil in which it grows. Schefflera is fed two to three times a month from March to August by combined mineral fertilizers for ornamental deciduous plants in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions, alternating them with the powder of crushed eggshells in the amount of one tablespoon. In winter schefflera does not need any dressing.
Schefflera in winter
During a dormant period schefflera is placed in a bright room with a temperature not higher than 61-64 ºF, where it will stay until spring. In winter schefflera does not require such a frequent and abundant moisturizing as in summer, but watering principle is the same: it needs watering as topsoil in the pot gets dry. And keep in mind that in winter schefflera does need fertilizing.
How to propagate scheffleraу
At home schefflera is propagated by seeds, aerial roots and cuttings. The simplest way of reproduction is through cuttings. Besides indoor schefflera does not bloom and, therefore, does not produce seeds.
Propagation of schefflera through cuttings
In order to propagate schefflera through cuttings, you need to cut the most developed semi-woody shoots with two internodes by a sharp knife, and process them with a stimulant of growth: keep them in a solution of heteroauxin for 6-8 hours, and directly before planting, process them with a root stimulant. Schefflera cuttings are planted in the pots filled with a mixture of peat and sand in equal parts, covered with a transparent cover and kept at a temperature around 72 ºF with a bright diffused light. From time to time the soil is moistened by a spray diffuser and the cover is removed for a while to ventilate the cuttings. When shoots take root, they are kept at a temperature of 64-68 ºF, and when the roots fill the entire pot, they are transplanted into larger pot and kept at a temperature of 57-61 ºF until they become fully rooted.
Propagation of schefflera by seeds
Schefflera seeds are sown in January or February in a disinfected mixture of peat and sand in equal parts or in a sterile substrate of leaf soil, turf and sand. Seeds need pre-sowing treatment: they are soaked in a solution of a growth stimulant. Seeds are sown to a depth that is equal to the tripled size of a seed grain, then soil is watered, covered with a foil and put in a warm place with a temperature around 68-75 ºF. From time to time, the foil is removed for a short period of time for airing and moistening the substrate. If you have the opportunity, arrange a heating as this will accelerate the germination of shoots. When seedlings have 2-3 true leaves, they are pricked out into individual containers with a diameter of 2.7-3.5 inches and kept at a temperature of 57-61 ° F. If the development is normal, by autumn the seedlings are transplanted into pots 4-5 inches in diametre and the substrate should consist of turf, leaf soil and sand in a ratio of 2:1:1.
Propagation of sсhefflera by aerial roots
Large plants are propagated by aerial roots. In order to do this, schefflera stem is cut vertically, the place of incision is wrapped with a wet sphagnum moss that is moistened with a nutritious solution of 0.03 oz of complex fertilizer dissolved in 35 fl oz of water or with a phytohormone, and this part of the stem with moss is wrapped with polyethylene. Moss should be wet all the time, so you have to remove or lift up the cover from time to time. After a while, roots are formed at the place of the cut on the stem, and in two months after their appearance, the entire upper part of the stem that is under these new roots is cut off and transplanted into a separate pot. The lower part is cut off almost up to the root and remaining stump should be kept watered. It is quite possible that it will give young shoots.
Schefflera sheds the leaves
If care is improper or insufficient, schefflera can be attacked by scales, red spider mites and thrips. As a result of the vital activity of these insects, the plant loses its ornamental beauty: schefflera leaves turn yellow, the growth slows down, and eventually it dies. To avoid the death of the plant caused by insects, inspect schefflera regularly, and when the first pests appear, remove them from the plant by a cloth or cotton swab soaked in soapy water. If they have already infested the plant, treat schefflera with a solution of melathion or pirimiphos-methyl (15-20 drops per 35 fl oz of water), only make sure that the chemicals do not get into the soil. With a very bad pest damage, the treatment must be repeated in two weeks.
Yellow spots appear on schefflera because of too bright light. Take the plant away from the windowsill or curtain a window to protect it from direct sunlight.
Schefflera sheds the leaves
There are no pests on the plant, but still schefflera sheds the leaves. Why does schefflera shed the leaves? The reason of the falling leaves can be the conditions that are uncomfortable for the plant. For example, the room temperature is below 57 or above 86 ºF for a long time. Or constant over-watering causes schefflera roots rotting. How to save schefflera in this case? It is necessary to take it out of the pot, gently remove the rotten areas of the roots, then immerse the schefflera roots into a solution of a growth stimulant, then treat them with a fungicide or sprinkle with crushed charcoal, transplant them into a fresh moist substrate and cover the plant with a transparent plastic bag, removing it for a while for ventilation and soil moistening. The plastic bag can be removed once and for all in 5-7 days.
Sometimes schefflera sheds the leaves, especially variegated varieties of the plant, due to insufficient light.
Schefflera turns black
The readers often complain that schefflera has black leaves, beginning with the tips. Usually it is caused by a low humidity in the room or by an insufficient watering. Fix these deficiencies in care, and gradually the plant will regain its shape.
Schefflera is accused of energy vampirism and there is a grain of truth in that. Schefflera does absorb energy, but only negative, so do not panic, but, on the contrary, try to be near it, especially if you are anxious or sad. Schefflera clears negative energy, brings a sense of harmony, promotes peace in the family. For schefflera the best place in the house is the bedroom. This is the place where you relax when sleeping, and schefflera absorbs all anxiety and fatigue while heartening and pacifying you. The plant can be placed in the office or next to the desk of a student, as esotericism says that the plant promotes learning process.
Also they say that it is possible to predict the future with the help of schefflera. For example, things that have objective reasons are believed to be superstitions. For example:
- if schefflera has dark leaves, this is a sign that there is a lot of negative energy in the room;
- if the schefflera sheds the leaves, this is a warning that someone living in the house will get sick, or there will be a financial crisis and a loss of a large amount of money;
- if the plant leaves fold, it means that there will be a quarrel with one of the family member or colleagues at work, depending on where the plant is located;
- if schefflera has ceased its development without an apparent reason, this is an omen of future failures;
- an unexpected intensive growth of schefflera means that there will be a newborn baby in the house.
There is a belief that schefflera in the office attracts clients and good business partners that will consequently increase your income. By the way, this plant is the most helpful to people born under the fire signs of the zodiac – Aries, Lions and Sagittarius.
Eight-leaf schefflera (Schefflera octophylla)
is a very spectacular species with an unusual arrangement of leaves: 8-10 elongated-lanceolate shiny leathery leaves with a pointed tip, 12-16 inches long and about 4 inches wide, located on drooping cream petioles. Young leaves are olive green, and as they get older they get lighter with veins even lighter than the leaf blade. The underside of the leaves is dull with pale-green hue.
Seven-finger schefflera (Schefflera digitata)
or aralia schefflera (Aralia schefflera) is native to New Zealand. This tree is from 10 to 26 ft in height, with palm-shaped leaves, 6 to 14 inches long, dissected into 7 to 10 lobes. The lobes are lanceolate, thin, parchment-like, oblong-pointed, 2.3 to 3 inches in length, 1.5 to 2.4 inches in width. Old lobes have serrated edges, young lobes are pinnate or unevenly lobate. Petioles are cylindrical, from 2.7 to 8 inches long. Small flowers are collected in 4-8 umbellate inflorescences.
Dwarf umbrella tree (Schefflera arboricola)
is a tree with an erect branching stem. Young shoots of this species are green, old branches are light brown. Unlike other species, this species has compound odd-pinnate leaves up to 7.8 inches long. This species has several varieties:
- Gold Capella is a variety that looks like a palm. Its leaves are green with small yellow spots;
- Amate is a variety that does not require bright lighting and it is the most resistant to pests and diseases. Its leaves are bright green.
Queensland umbrella tree (Schefflera actinophylla)
or octopus tree is the most widespread species in culture with a powerful erect gray-brown trunk thickened at the base. Palmately compound leaves consisting of 7 ovate lobes with a slightly wavy edge are located on very long red-brown petioles. Parent species have bright green, shiny leaves. Some parts are so wide in the middle that their edges overlap each other. The veins are lighter than the leaf blade. This species has many varieties:
- Green Gold is a schefflera with variegated golden-yellow leaves;
- Nova is a variety with olive-yellow oak-like leaves.