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Hawaiian Schefflera Tree

Gardening Reference » Gardening in 2005
by dhaliscak on August 14, 2005 08:20 PM
I have a Hawaiian Schefflera which was apparently started as several plants, which they twisted the stalks to form a tree so that the foilage is at the top of these long twisted stalks. It is about 5 feet tall from the top of the soil to the top of the tree and the top is very full. Anyway, one of the stalks died awhile back, but the other two are doing very well. I cut back the dead branch which has left a void in one part of the tree which I place toward the wall, otherwise the foilage is very full. The plant gets alot of sun and is otherwise doing very well. Too well. I have some branches that are growing way out of control from the other branches and the tree is loosing it's shape. How do I prune this tree or should I? It looks fabulous except for this one branch which has grown a little out of control from the others. I think it's because the tree sits in a corner with windows flanking it on both sides. The one window gets more sun than the other window and the branch closest to the window with a lot of sun is growing faster than the other side of the tree. Also, anyway I can get growth to occur toward the area the had that dead branch to help make it a more fuller tree?

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by Will Creed on August 14, 2005 11:10 PM
Hi D.,

Your Hawaiian Schefflera is a Schefflera arboricola and it was grown as a braided standard tree form. Now you know how to talk about it with official lingo! LOL!

I am a bit disturbed that one of the braided stems has already died back. Hard to know the cause, but pay very close attention to your watering, allowing the top quarter of the soil to dry out in between waterings. I hope you did not repot your Scheff.

It is definitely cool to prune back branches that are growing outside the canopy. In fact pruning is the only way to maintain its shape. Any stem can be cut back at any time and at any point along the stem. That gives you lots of latitude. Just understand that new growth will emerge just below where you make the cut, so it is best to cut lower than you think so there is room for the new growth to come in. In other words, cut it back below the canopy.

Growth tends to be in the direction of the primary light source. If you want to fill in any empty space, then that space should face the light source.

If you want to e-mail a photo to me at, I might be able to provide some additional insights.
by msgvb on August 15, 2005 12:24 AM
I have a run of the mill basic 4-stalk green schefflera (trinette the pot sticker said).

I can't seem to find much on their care.
how much to water, how much light, what kind of soil, etc.

why shouldn't you repot them?

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msg ::novice houseplant taker-care-of-er:: - msgvb
by Cricket on August 15, 2005 01:19 AM
Hi Msgvb,

Scheffleras like lots of bright indirect light for most of the day with a few hours of direct sun; right in front of an east or north facing window is best. Their delicate root systems don't like to be disturbed and do best when quite potbound; repot only when the soil dries out within a day or two of a thorough watering. Using a sterile soiless potting mix goes a long way in pest prevention and saves endless grief (learned that the hard way! [Embarrassed] ) Fertilize sparingly at half-strength and only when it is growing actively. Watch for spider mites (dust-like particles on the undersides of leaves), Scale insects (brown, slightly raised, freckle-sized bumps on leaves and stems or sticky residue under the plant), and mealybug (white cotton-like substance on the leaves and stems). Water according to Will's instruction in the above post.

If this is unclear or if you have any additional questions, contact Will Creed. [Big Grin] (Where do you think I got this information? [lala] )
by dhaliscak on August 17, 2005 07:10 PM
I bought the plant back in May 2002. The year following, I repotted it. Soon after that, the one branch died. Maybe I did something to the root when I repotted it. It has been in the same pot ever since and it is a pretty big pot, so I don't think I will ever have to repot it. Maybe just add some new soil every so often. I do fertilizer it w/ miricle grow several times over the summer. The first two years, I had a terrible time getting rid of mealy bugs and I still have an occasional problem with spider mites. I tried the sprays but have been using a systemic insect control by Bonide and it has worked the best at keeping it bug free.

Thanks for the information and I will try to prune it. I will also turn the side which is less dense toward the sun more to see if I can spawn some growth.


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by Will Creed on August 18, 2005 05:06 AM

If it is in a big pot, not only will it not need to be repotted, but there is also no need to add soil to it.


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