I started with a 3 foot many-twigged specimen but I think I overwatered it. It lost most leaves. I also moved it from a 8-inch pot to a 10-inch pot a month ago. I just pulled it out to see if the roots rotted. There are no new roots. The root ball is dense and compact. Air and light are good. At first the plant put out lots of new growth, then just started dropping leaves. Any clues or hints would be appreciated.
False aralia issues
Sounds like overwatering to me--that can certainly cause leaves to fall off and you said you think you overwatered it. So my money would be on that. Repotting can also cause some stress if you're rough with the roots when you're doing it so that could have contributed, but I would definitely watch the watering (since it's now in a larger pot and has lost a bunch of leaves, it won't need as much water as it did before when it was in the smaller pot and had all its leaves). The good news is if the roots weren't rotting yet and you aren't continuing to overwater it, it should recover.
Thank you for the encouragement. I was gentle during repotting, but was surprised by the density and dark color of the roots. I also pulled it out of the new pot after a month to see if there was any new roots, but there were not. It's still losing a leaf here and there, and there is no new growth. What kind of light should it be getting?
Don't worry about new growth yet (it won't put out new top growth until it settles into the new pot and recovers from the stress of transplanting, overwatering, etc. I'd also leave it alone rather than pulling it out to check on the roots. If you're growing it indoors, I'd give it bright light, if it's outdoors then probably some shade in the afternoon but it would probably like some morning sun. (note that if you currently have it in a shadier location than what I've suggested, I would leave it there until it recovers from its recent stress, and adjust it gradually to higher light levels when you do move it)
Again, many thanks for your attention to my little problem. I am leaving it alone, giving it good morning light, not overwatering, but did move it to a warmer location. It occurred to me that the troubles started when the office I'm in became cooler and dryer with the onset of warmer weather, (air conditioning). Perhaps temperature played a role in its demise? In any event, it's not dead, so I'm still hopeful.
If the AC vent is blowing directly on it that could cause problems, but cooler temperatures on their own shouldn't bother it unless you're getting down toward freezing :) Cooler temperatures can increase your chance of overwatering though since the plant won't go through water as quickly, and since your original symptoms sounded like overwatering it could be that's what the problem was--if it had been warmer and all of a sudden became cooler but you kept watering at the same frequency it could have been too much.