A classic plant that makes itself at home in many places, including corporate offices and cozy living rooms, schefflera is a low maintenance houseplant for anyone looking to add some green to their space. Plant breeders have brought new varieties to the market. If you haven’t perused the houseplant section of a local nursery lately, take time to check out the variegated scheffleras in all shapes and sizes.
Schefflera Care Must-Knows
Schefflera thrives in bright light. A sunny south- or west-facing window is an ideal location. Although it prefers high light, schefflera will also grow well in medium light—the process will just be slower. But slow-growth can be a benefit for houseplants confined to small spaces. Schefflera can spend the summer outdoors when temperatures reach about 45 degrees F. It can tolerate direct sunlight outdoors.
Wait to water schefflera until the surface of the potting mix dries out. It's tolerance of dry conditions is one of the factors that make it a favorite houseplant. Don't water schefflera until the surface of the potting soil is dry. Shortly after watering, discard any water that collected in the saucer underneath the plant to prevent the soil from becoming waterlogged.
Schefflera doesn't require fertilizer for good growth. If you would like your plant to grow faster you can fertilize it with an all-purpose houseplant fertilizer in spring and summer. Be sure to follow package directions for application rates.
Sometimes schefflera grows beyond the space available. These easy-to-grow plants put on many inches of new growth in a year; it is not unusual for plants to spend the summer outside on porches or patios to produce one to two feet of new growth. When a schefflera outgrows its interior space, you can prune it back. Clip plants back anytime of the year, reducing the stems by as much as two-thirds their height. The plant will regrow, producing a lush stand of new stems and leaves.
More Varieties of Schefflera
Schefflera arboricola is a bushy plant with smaller, thicker leaflets, 2 to 4 inches long. Like its larger cousin, leaflets radiate out from a central point, much like the spokes of an umbrella.
Schefflera elegantissima used to be classified as Dizygotheca elegantissima. It is indeed an elegant plant with its narrow, saw-tooth-edge green leaves and lean, upright plant form. Leaves emerge coppery red and mature to dark blackish green.
'Gold Capella' schefflera
Schefflera arbicola 'Gold Capella' has dark green leaves variegated with golden-yellow accents.
Schefflera actinophylla has large leaflets up to 10 inches long. Maintain their glossiness by washing or dusting them occasionally. The plant can grow into a large tree, but most often several are planted in one pot to provide a fuller, bushy effect. It is also sometimes listed as Brassaia actinophylla.
Green Gold dwarf schefflera
Schefflera arboricola 'Green Gold' has leaves splashed with a broad central band of gold.