Plant Question #2

Mobile, AL(Zone 8b)

This week I was in Houston,TX and purchased this Schefflera Tree from a huge garden center. I checked and it appears Houston is Zone 9a. My home is in Zone 8b.

I would be grateful for some advice on care. I have a good looking Schefflera Arbicola, but I wonder if I should do anything different. When I got it, it was in a pot much too small and the rootball was bursting out. When I got it home I potted up while leaving the roots intact. I placed it a north facing window in a room that gets filtered sunlight from both north and east facing windows.

It is very dusty and I plan to spend Saturday going over each leaf and cleaning off the dust. That will be quite the job as its a pretty good size. The trunk is about 3 foot tall and the tallest branches are over my head and I am 5'2.

Is it variegated or are some of the leaves yellow for some other reason? Overall in my opinion it looks healthy or at least healthy enough to save..

Please help... Thanks

Thumbnail by GreenThumbSuker Thumbnail by GreenThumbSuker
Portage, WI(Zone 5a)

Does look like a Varigeated version. I'd hose it off outside if I could. Again, check for spider mites.

Mobile, AL(Zone 8b)

Thank you gasrocks for your comments on both plants. Hose it off outside...Great idea, Why didn't I think of that? :)

I checked both plants for signs of spider mites.. I don't see anything.

Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

I would also check your watering--I think the yellowing leaves that you're seeing could be a symptom of overwatering rather than variegation.

Bay City, MI(Zone 6a)

Judging by the close-up picture, it doesn't look to be a variegated plant. I agree with the probability this plant in mite infested, so you should look into that. The blotchy appearance of the leaves is the indicator that makes mites suspect. Neither is the yellowing of the leaves normal. That can be caused by a number of issues, but over/under-watering and a significant decrease in light intensity or duration can also cause the yellowing as a precursor to shedding.


Mobile, AL(Zone 8b)

Great info.. Now I want to be sure you know that I "just" bought this plant and moved it into my house yesterday.

Therefore, I guess the real question is what should I do to get it back to good health? I am going to free it of all that dust tomorrow. Should I remove all the yellowed leaves.

I have not been able to find any evidence of spider mites. It has ALOT of dust on it, and when I got it it was growing out of its container. By that, I mean the container was splitting open on the side and I could see the rootball (or a very large piece of root)...

I would love to make it happy... Is there hope?

This message was edited Nov 9, 2012 4:47 PM

Bay City, MI(Zone 6a)

Yes, there's hope. Scheffs are very resilient and will gladly bounce back if you can provide the cultural conditions they like. I would pot up slightly in size to help you avoid over-watering, and get a full repot on the schedule for early summer (mid-June).

This: should provide a lot of info that will help you understand the kind of cultural conditions a huge % of houseplants prefer, scheffs among them. If you have more questions, just ask.

See a couple of mine below.


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Mobile, AL(Zone 8b)

Thank you Al..

I have already completed a "slight" repot. It was bursting out of it's pot. I went only up the the very next pot size. It is prob not as big as this plant would be happy with in June, but I was trying to be careful to disturb the rootball as little as possible (is that correct procedure?)--In June I will put in a more appropriate container.

I am off to familiarize myself with the info you directed me to.. Thanks again

Bay City, MI(Zone 6a)

Ecclesiastes 3:1 tells us: To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven, and that is very true with plants. Your plant really doesn't want to be potted up, it wants to be repotted, which includes bare-rooting and root pruning. The tight knot of roots in the original root mass of your plant will forever limit your plants potential, unless you correct the problem. When you read the thread I linked you to, pay special attention to the part about repotting vs potting up. However, as a temporal fix, potting up is the right thing to do. In your situation, "To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven" applied, means it's better to offer a little relief now and wait for the plant to regain vitality as the days become longer than nights and the plant has recovered so it can tolerate the stress of a repotting. Repotting is better done in the month or two prior to your houseplants' period of most robust growth - so around Father's Day.

Read the info & let me know what you think ..... or ask any questions you have.


Mobile, AL(Zone 8b)


However, Even though I potted up, ever so slightly, this pot is still probably too small. I say that only because, unless I secure it, the plant will topple over and hit the floor.The plant is much to large for the container to support. I was just afraid to go to a larger pot that might be more stable, at this time. I don't want to do anymore than absolutely necessary to get us through until the summer months.

The span of the plant from left to right is 3 1/2 feet, and the container I "potted up" to is a 10 in pot. :(

Should I consider a pot the same size and place it inside a heavier container for support. What do you suggest?

If there is something that should/could be done differently or better, with this situation, please please feel free to tell me. I would be most gracious.

Poughkeepsie, NY(Zone 6a)

That Bonsai is AWESOME Al!

Halifax, MA(Zone 6a)

I love that Bonsai, too! Scheffs are a plant I have not tried before. I have a growing selection of indoor plants which usually move outdoors for the summer. My sister would prefer that I not bring anymore home.


Bay City, MI(Zone 6a)

There are no such things as indoor plants ;-) - only outdoor plants that tolerate indoor conditions to varying degrees. That's why they get so happy when you treat them to a summer vacation in the yard or on the deck .....

Too bad about your sis - when are you making her move?


Halifax, MA(Zone 6a)

LOL! Sometimes I wish I could (not really). She's just not a much of a pant fan as I am. I'm bringing some of my plants to the office for the winter. The lighting is good, and I'm the one who takes care of the plant there.


Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

Quote from tommyr2006 :
That Bonsai is AWESOME Al!


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