Schefflera Species, False Aralia

Schefflera elegantissima

Family: Araliaceae
Genus: Schefflera (shef-LER-uh) (Info)
Species: elegantissima (el-ee-gan-TISS-ee-muh) (Info)
Synonym:Aralia elegantissima
Synonym:Dizygotheca elegantissima
Synonym:Dizygotheca faguetii
Synonym:Plerandra elegantissima
Synonym:Schefflera faguetii



Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade



Foliage Color:



30-40 ft. (9-12 m)

over 40 ft. (12 m)


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)


USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Where to Grow:

Can be grown as an annual

Suitable for growing in containers


Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:

Pale Yellow

Chartreuse (yellow-green)

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Fall/Early Winter

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

Seed Collecting:

Allow unblemished fruit to ripen; clean and dry seeds


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Centre, Alabama

Dover, Arkansas

Hayward, California

Irvine, California

Merced, California

Pasadena, California

Pleasant Hill, California

San Francisco, California

Upland, California

Bartow, Florida

Big Pine Key, Florida

Brandon, Florida

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Fort Myers, Florida

Marathon, Florida

Nokomis, Florida

Saint Cloud, Florida

Sugarloaf Shores, Florida

Summerland Key, Florida

Tampa, Florida

Tavernier, Florida

Winter Haven, Florida

Valdosta, Georgia

Gonzales, Louisiana

Cumberland, Maryland

Pepperell, Massachusetts

Broaddus, Texas

League City, Texas

Odessa, Texas

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Aug 19, 2016, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

This species has been commonly sold as a houseplant. It needs more humidity than most northern houses provide during the winter, and it's exacting in its soil moisture requirements, showing its displeasure with its culture by dropping its foliage. I've never been able to keep it alive for long. Nor has anyone I know.


On Aug 18, 2016, Ranhec from Pasadena, CA wrote:

Planted this in the back yard about 5 years ago and now it's about 11 ft tall. It's a beautiful small tree that had frilly leaves when it was younger but now they are broader and larger. Nice addition to the yard!


On Mar 7, 2016, Mrshane288 from North Manchester, IN wrote:

Picked this plant up about a year ago at a large box retailer. It was potted three individual plants to a 4" pot. I typically buy the clearanced plants so I can bring them back from the brink of death. These didn't stand out and had zero knowledge about them. However when looking at them I noticed they seemed to have what would eventually become a woody stem which led me to believe these might be a tree of some sort. One of the three in the planter was having more issues than the rest and sadly did not make it and had to be removed. However the other two maintained with only slight browning on the edge of the leaves.

Having repotted these and located them in a West facing window along with my other plants including a Croton, Pothos, and Rex Begonia to name a few. These see... read more


On Dec 2, 2015, kab1106 from Houston, TX wrote:

So I've had my false aralia for a few months now. I transplanted it to a bigger pot and the leaves on two of the stems began to wilt. I was watering regularly but not over watering. Any suggestions?


On Aug 14, 2015, skylerhenry from Pepperell, MA wrote:

I am in zone 5 Massachusetts. I purchased a 2' sad False Aralia Schefflera Elegantissima from Home Depot 3 years ago for $12. In 3 years time, it has become a massive 7' tall plant x 4' wide- almost to my ceiling. In the summer I keep it outside on my deck in dappled sun. In the winter it's under a grow light in a west window. I recently had it cut it back this summer because it was becoming so massive I would not be able to bring it in the house this Fall. I cut all the tall stocks (about 6 tall ones) back to around 5' tall. They have all putting forth massively full new growth areas and the tree will be nice and full again, while keeping the woody thick stems. I water it daily year 'round, and give it a systemic drench 2x a year to make sure it stays healthy and lush. I fertilize it 2x a... read more


On May 13, 2015, vossner from Richmond, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

It is interesting to me that this is one of the most commonly found plant for sale at big box stores, yet I know/hear of NO ONE that has grown it successfully for more than a few months, if at all. Personally, I've had zero success at growing it.


On May 13, 2015, Vestia from San Francisco, CA wrote:

Name change:
From Brittonia 2013 'A Revsion of Plerandra ... - Lowry, et al.
Plerandra elegantissima (Veitch ex Mast.) Lowry, G. M. Plunkett & Frodin, comb. nov.

I find this plant to be very susceptible to spider mites.


On Aug 2, 2012, Tom3156 from Hawthorne, NJ wrote:

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.


On Jun 20, 2012, wormfood from Lecanto, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

I'm reading one of my bonsai books, first time I've ever read not to use systemics on the Araliaceae family.


On Sep 23, 2010, jskyieeyes3 from Saint Cloud, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

bought a small mass planting dizygotheca e. from home depot almost 2 years ago. there were 4 of them in a 4 inch pot, and they were about 4-6 inches tall. i found this plant to be very beautiful and wanted to "give it a whirl." in almost 2 years, i've promoted it to a 6 inch pot and it's doubled in size! it has filled out very nicely, and loves the filtered morning sun it receives on my back porch. i plan to repot it again this year before the end of the growing season, and look forward to watching it's beauty continue to unfold before my eyes. it's very easy to care for, not nearly as finicky as true aralias. (i had an aralia "dinner plate" once, and it didn't last long) i'd say it's a good plant for beginners.. it was one of my starter plants, and almost 2 years later, it's still doing ... read more


On Jan 30, 2008, koipondgardener from Quincy, WA (Zone 7a) wrote:

I don't give this plant a negative experience because I dislike it. I actually love it but have had a terrible time growing it. In the past few years I have managed to kill about three of them but am able to grow other sort of finicky plants (violets, maidenhair ferns, etc) I like this plant but do not advise it for beginners.


On Mar 2, 2007, inexplicable1 from Brandon, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

I had no idea that this species is "false" but I love it! So nice to look at and feel. Looking foward to the many different ways that I can grow it.


On Dec 23, 2006, mike3k from Fort Lauderdale, FL (Zone 11) wrote:

I bought one about 1 ft. tall about two years ago and planted it in my garden. It's now almost 5 feet tall and looks beautiful.


On Aug 21, 2006, 44anne from Odessa, TX wrote:

I found this dizygotheca e. in a Target store, surprisingly.
Altho only a 4-inch pot to start, it has made a nice transition
to a 6" pot in the 8 months as a house plant. It lives in my
kitchen window, over the sink, thus enjoying humidity and
a bright but not direct west light exposure. So far it is not
dropping any lower leaves and is making new top growth.
I would not try it as an outdoor plant here, in West Texas,
as our summers are very dry and winters are zone 7. I like
the dark, exotic look of this plant and seldom find one in the
local plant sources. It does somewhat resemble marijuana
at a casual glance, which I find rather charming - ha.


On Aug 3, 2006, dp72 from Woodway, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

I am in zone 8a. I keep a pair of these on either side of the front door. They get very little direct sun, but bright light. When the temp is going to drop under 36 degrees, I set them in the garage, and when the weather warms up again (lows higher than 36) out they come again. They are now four years old and are beautiful. They require a good bit of water. If they wilt once, they never fully recover.


On Jul 23, 2006, kat1webb from Dover, AR wrote:

I am trying to grow False Aralia in a greenhouse environment in central Arkansas.
The plant is hanging on but not thriving.
I do believe the challange will be worth it when I find the right conditions. I used to have very good luck growing these as house plants in the San Juaquin Valley.


On Jul 19, 2006, BayAreaTropics from Hayward, CA wrote:

An easy to grow plant hardy to a zone 9b. It grows outdoors all over Sou Cal and protected,sheltered spots in the Bay Area. A fast grower once it is established. It needs plenty of water since it is shallow rooted and hates being moved or dug up.
EDIT:..Young plants had no trouble with the freeze of Jan 07. protection and still not a spot of damage. 9b plants for sure..


On Apr 2, 2006, chanticleer from Toronto, ON (Zone 5b) wrote:

Native to the New Hebrides, the false aralia makes an elegant houseplant; but it is nowadays an uncommon find in the high-volume stores. While it may be "false," this species shares the delicate fussiness of its "true" aralia cousins, and will promptly drop its lower leaves whenever its needs are ignored. It is probably most sensitive to temperature fluctuations, and shouldn't be left outside if temperatures will fall below 15 C (60 F). For the same reason, be sure to keep it away from cold drafts and window panes.

False aralias will also benefit from increased humidity in the form of a wet pebble tray on which it can sit. They have a fairly compact and columnar habit, not growing much wider than their container. Because they seldom branch, false aralias are always sold in c... read more


On Jul 12, 2005, ladyannne from Merced, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

This is aka dizygotheca elegantissima, also looks a bit like marijuana. We had one on our front porch when some police stopped by and my little white haired mother had a time explaining this was NOT what he thought it was. This is a standard houseplant here, wouldn't be without our Dizzy.