Also known with the synonym Brassaia actinophylla, in nature it develops in some areas of Australia, where it reaches the dimensions of a big tree; in pot it usually keeps below the two or three metres of height; the leaves are subdivided in thin, medium green, oval and slightly pointed small leaves; the leaves have an opaque texture, and tend to develop hanging, folded downwards.
The tree produces large inflorescences, up to two metres long, with red flowers and berries of similar colour, which contain the fertile seeds. In most areas of the world’s mild climate, these flowers are grown as garden plants, where they develop multiple trunks and a very special crown. In Italy they could only be found in the garden in areas with warmer winters, on the coasts or on the larger islands.
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Known also as Heptapleurum arboriculum, this species of Schefflera is the one usually found in the Italian houses, as botanical species, or in the hybrid varieties with variegated leaves; it develops a bushy and messy shrub, characterized by erect stems, which start from several main trunks; as for all the skeletons, the leaves are palmate, they develop on long petioles, at which the oval leaflets develop forming a wide umbrella; the foliage is oval, of dark green colour, with a waxy appearance.
The flowers bloom in summer, but are hardly produced by the plants cultivated in pots. This species of Schefflera is native to Taiwan, and in Europe it is cultivated exclusively as an indoor plant.
Growing the Schefflera
Splinters are very common, especially because they require little care, and even if neglected hardly suffer irreparably; therefore, even a Schefflera grown with too much light, or too much water, hardly deforms, and is recoverable by simply changing the parameters of cultivation.
Besides this, they have a fairly rapid development, but in pot they tend to remain “dwarf”, or to develop much less than the specimens growing in the wild in full earth; therefore, we hardly find ourselves in front of specimens too big to be cultivated in apartment.
They are to be placed in rather capacious pots, with a good fresh soil, rich and very well drained, in way to avoid the water stagnations; every year, by the end of winter, we shall replace all the mould in the container, and, possibly, to place the plant in a bigger pot, where this is necessary.
They are to be placed in a very luminous zone, even if directly exposed to the sun rays, even if possibly, the plants, just bought in the nursery, are to be gradually moved to the sun, in order to avoid that the foliage is burnt by the warm rays; possibly, in summer it is advisable to keep the plant in half shade, where it does not receive the direct sunlight during the hottest hours of the day.
Likewise, as soon as the minimum temperatures are above 15-18°C, it is best to move the pot outside, in the garden or on the terrace, where the plant can enjoy a better aeration. Watering should be regular, from March to September, in order to avoid leaving the soil dry for long periods; every two weeks let’s add some fertilizer for green plants to the water; during the cold months let’s water only sporadically.
These plants are of tropical origin, therefore they do not like a dry climate, to see them always luxuriant, in winter and in the middle of summer it is advisable to spray the foliage frequently, in order to increase the ambient humidity.
LA SCHEFFLERA IN BREVE
Family, genus, species
Tipo di pianta
arbustiva, arborea o rampicante
Da vaso, da appartamento;
Altezza a maturità
Fino a 3 metre long
Velocità di crescita
Da normale a veloce
Temperature ideale nel periodo vegetativo
Molto luminosa, tollera ombra; no sole diretto
1/3 fibra vegetale, 1/3 bag, 1/3 sabbia; ben drenato
Fire 15 giorni, per piante verdi
Da drenato a leggermente umido
Talea about a margotta.
Propagate la scheffler
The scheffler in nature produces a backfire infinite of small piles, which are contending with their internal organs semi-full; non-state these pianos are not primarily fioriscano praticamente mai if they are coltivate in nature, not only are there problems trovring the semi-press of half-pressured rivenditors of semi- fortresses, especially in the form of various online negotiations on tropical pianos, rare or particularly small.
The seeds are small; to sow them let’s prepare a sowing bed with a compound made up of sand and peat chopped up, in equal parts, with which we will fill a tray provided with drainage holes for the water; let’s proceed watering the compound well, and then let’s place the seeds on the surface, covering them, if necessary, with a sprinkling of soil or with some vermiculite, which will keep them humid but will also let the light pass.
The sowing tray prepared in this way is to be kept at a minimum temperature of 15-18°C, and in a semi-shaded position; every day, let’s vaporize the surface, in order to keep the substratum always humid; the young seedlings will germinate within a few weeks.
In late spring, or in summer, we can also prepare cuttings, taking the tips of the branches, releasing them from the lower leaves and immersing them in a soil similar to that used for sowing; if we wish, we can first sprinkle the lower part of the cuttings with rooting hormone.
We suggest to try with small cuttings, but the splinters usually germinate well by cutting, so much that it is quite easy to produce already some fairly big specimens, taking cuttings formed by an internal branch of the plant, even 35-45 cm long.
Pests and diseases
In spring, the tender shoots are often colonized by aphids and ants; the damage caused by these insects could also be negligible, if it were not for the long run, the honeydew emitted by aphids, causes the proliferation of soot: greyish molds that disfigure the foliage, it is therefore important to eradicate aphids, even when we see only a few dozen, and before they invade the plant.
There are dozens of insecticides against aphids, even biological, to be used without problems at home, in any case, it is convenient to use these products when the plant is moved outdoors, in spring. I remember that it is generally advisable to wait at least a couple of weeks before repeating an insecticide treatment.
The schefflere also withstand cultivation conditions not entirely similar to those found in nature, without suffering damage, but it happens that our schefflera suddenly begins to lose much of the foliage, in these cases means that the climate or watering are actually becoming too different from those that the plant likes.
It is therefore convenient, before thinking about insects or diseases of some kind, try to slightly change the cultivation practices: you decrease (or increase) the frequency of watering, you decrease (or increase) the amount of light received by the plant, you provide (or suspend) the fertilizer. Usually, within a couple of weeks the plant tends to recover on its own.
A typical characteristic of the skeletons are the large leaves, which have a dull upper page, which is waxy to the touch; on the microscopic roughnesses covering the leaves, dust, atmospheric dust and grease are deposited, so much so that periodically it is necessary to clean up the foliage, or the plant is no longer able to carry out the gaseous exchanges with the outside, and besides this, with the passing of the months, the leaves tend to become increasingly ugly.
For this reason, besides cleaning every 3-5 months the leaves with a damp cloth, if possible in spring, it is advisable to take a real shower to the whole plant, using the garden spray, or even letting the spring rains hit the leaves.
It is a tolerant plant: in fact, it tolerates poorly-lit positions well, reacting only with a slowdown in growth. To have lush specimens, however, you should have a very bright exposure, near a window to the south or west. We underline that the direct sun can cause burns on the foliar lamina: it is therefore good, especially in summer, to shield the glasses with light curtains.
Of course, during the summer it is possible to move the pot outside, in a position that respects the previous recommendations.
IL CALENDARIO DELLA SCHEFFLERA
End of winter
From June to September
Margot from aerial root
All year round
Also absent; winter
The Schefflera comes from the rainforests of Asia and Oceania. It therefore requires a warm-temperate and humid climate. The minimum temperature it tolerates is 10-12°C, but it risks a foliar drop. In order to obtain a good growth, in all seasons, it will be better to keep between 16 and 22°C. It is also essential to keep the ambient humidity high. Especially in winter (due to the effect of the radiators on) the air in our apartments becomes very dry.
We help our plants with vaporization or using humidifiers. These practices can however be useful all year round, reminding us that the humidity rate must increase proportionally with the temperatures.
Substrate and repotting of the Schefflera
Schefflere do not need to be postponed annually. Usually it is sufficient to intervene at the end of winter, every other year, increasing the diameter of the container by 2-4 cm. The ideal compound must be sub-acidic and rich, but it must guarantee us an excellent drainage. We can obtain a good product by mixing fibrous soil (such as that for soil orchids), peat or leaf soil and coarse sand, in equal parts. We also take particular care of the draining layer on the bottom.
Let’s give water only when the soil is dry for at least 2/3 of its depth and always avoid the use of saucers. Very important are the foliar vaporization. Every two weeks it is advisable to clean the leaves with a damp cloth. For all purposes we always use demineralized water or water with little limescale. We avoid the use of leaf polishers which, in the long run, create deleterious layers on the leaf plate.
If the plant is in a poorly heated room in winter, we irrigate sporadically, just to prevent the ground bread from drying out completely; slightly darkening the room may help to induce a slight resting period.
It is only necessary when temperatures are constantly between 16 and 25°C. Let’s also avoid using it in the year following the repotting, because the plant will already be nourished by the new substratum. We suggest to intervene every 15 days giving a balanced fertilizer for green plants. In any case, they are also suitable for use with granular or soluble products to be used through foliar vaporization.
It’s not strictly necessary. However, it may be interesting to give the specimen, especially if young, a more shrubby habit by cutting the top of the stems and stimulating their branching. It can be done in the same way when it exceeds 1 m in height, even cutting very low (especially if it appears bare at the base). Let’s act preferably in autumn.
Species and varieties of Schefflera
The genus includes about 150 species and 900 varieties.
It is by far the most common species in our homes. It is particularly appreciated for its beautiful wide leaves, formed by a variable number of leaves: 3 in the very young individuals that in time will become 5 and finally 7. They are very glossy and bright green. It has a fast growth and can reach a total height of 2 meters. It also exists in many cultivars, especially for the different coloring of the foliage.
In particular, we point out “variegated” which has a few totally white leaves, and “Dalton” which is instead sprayed with lighter green and yellow.
It is one of the most impressive in cultivation since it can reach 3 meters in height, although, usually, it is wider than high. It has leaves divided into seven leaves, all of which grow directly on the main stem. Here are some interesting cultivars:
-• Charlotte With foliage sprayed with lighter green and white foliage
-• Melancholy ivory foliage
-• Shredder variegated white and cream foliage
-• Gold Capella foliage with green and yellow strings
-• Geisha Girl dark green leaves, more rounded than in the species
-• Renate whose leaflets have the apex engraved
Very elegant Schefflera
Also known as false aralia or very elegant Dizygotheca. It has very particular foliage and a wide range of colors: bronze, dark green or even green with red stripes. The individual leaves appear finely carved and stand on different stems. Each leaf is divided into ten or so elongated, narrow leaves. The whole has a very light and elegant appearance, hence the scientific name of the plant.