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Ailing Schefflera ?...

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by Canadian CrabGrass on March 27, 2004 04:56 AM
I have a small umbrella plant ( Schefflera Arboricola or Heptapleurum Arboricola, depending on which book you read... ) that I lovingly raised from a cutting, rooted in water then planted in soil about a month ago. After a week of adjustment it began growing and putting out little umbrellas at a good pace.

This morning I accidently brushed against one of the new stems, and all the leaves fell off it! [Eek!] The plant itself seems fine - the older leaves ( the ones that were on the cutting when I got it ) are still healthy, and new umbrellas are still growing. I'm caring for this plant as so:

Grown under fluorescent light ( as are all my other plants ) it sits about 8" from the bulb and has 12 hours of light daily. However I read in one of my books that those plants need a few hours of sun every day, so on sunny days I put it somewhere where it gets afternoon sun ( 4-5 hours ).

Humidity: as much as I can manage, given the season, by having dishes of water among my plants. I used to spray it every day, then I stopped when I read that water on the leaves could damage them.

One thing I noticed about the fallen leaves was that they had a strange mottling about them - as if they had been bruised somehow and had developed rust stains. Those stains are inside the leaf and not something that can be removed - I tried, thinking that they might have been bugs.

Looking at my plant, I see that another "umbrella" has that same spotting pattern on the leaves, but none of the others have it. Did I damage the plant by spraying it or am I giving it too much sun, or did my poor plant contact some kind of weird disease ? Help !
by Jiffymouse on March 27, 2004 05:18 AM
hey crabby, that's a new one on me!! i'd say, if the plant is basically healthy, remove the affected leaves, and play the wait and see game. at least until someone comes through that might have a better answer for you. i'm waiting, curiosity has got me on this one [nutz]
by barbi on March 27, 2004 03:45 PM
I can remember when...spritzing the plants was the thang to do .. no more, my friend...the poor little thing got a sunburn..

It is better to set your plants on a bed of pebbles to create humidity needed for those tropicals.

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"To cultivate a garden and grow flowers from the sod is to go hand and hand with nature and walk very close to God.
Helen Steiner-Rice
by Canadian CrabGrass on March 27, 2004 04:58 PM
Update... the other "umbrella" that was affected with that strange freckle marking is starting to lose its leaves... whimper...

The good news ( if anything can be called good about the situation ) is that none of the other umbrellas have that marking, which makes me suspect that you are absolutely right, barbi, the leaves got burned - although I was always careful to wait until the plant was dry before putting it in the sun. Bummer...

At least the humidity level is getting better now that I can open the windows a bit so I'll stop with the spraying - and I take some comfort in the knowledge that by July, my house will feel like the Amazon rain forest [Big Grin]
by Jiffymouse on March 27, 2004 05:33 PM
crabby, they do get sunburned even if they are dry. i always have to "edge" my tropicals out side in the spring. i didn't even think about sunburn!
by Canadian CrabGrass on March 27, 2004 06:19 PM
Jiffymouse, considering that my balcony is the official party spot for each and every stray cat in the neighborhood, I don't DARE put any of my plants outside !

But my plant room is very bright ( large south window ) and when the sun shines it gets quite hot. I'm now wondering if I'm doing wrong by taking the schefflera from its shelf - with the constant, even fluorescent lighting - and shoving it in the sun... now I feel as if I should appologize to the poor thing... [nutz]

Would anyone know ( Will, help again? ) if scheffleras really do need that much sun in their life? The plant book I have has been wrong before...
by Jiffymouse on March 27, 2004 09:56 PM
crabby, scheffleras like a lot of light. but they will thrive with just good even florescent light. i wouldn't try to do the moving thing anymmore. i'd simplify my life as well as the plant's by letting it know what to expect, the same spot every day! especially if it gets good flouresent light and is growing well otherwise.
by Will Creed on March 28, 2004 04:32 AM
I agree with Jiffy. Plants like stability. Arboricolas do not like direct sunlight, but they thrive under fluorescents. Make life easier for both you and your plants!

Hard water can also cause leaf spotting. If yours is hard, switch to filtered, distilled or rainwater.

Scheffleras do not need high humidity at all. Nothing wrong with increasing the humidity for them, but they do fine in very low humidity. Misting is not an effective way to raise humidity anyway.
by Canadian CrabGrass on March 28, 2004 04:07 PM
Well, the quick reply box is back... [Embarrassed]

Thanks so much for the help, Jiffy and Will, my schefflera will now get stability over sunshine - hey, less problems for me ! I just hope it didn't suffer too much damage from my misplaced care.

Will, my water isn't hard so that's one thing good. You've often spoken against misting and I've been following your advice - I now spray the shelves rather than the plants themselves, and keep saucers of water among them.

Thank you so much for the help.
by Will Creed on March 29, 2004 02:33 AM
Just a note of clarification. I am not opposed to misting because it rarely does any harm. I just don't advicate doing it to raise the humidity because it is not effective.
by apples on March 29, 2004 05:03 AM
I'm a big fan of misting for the reason that 1, I do it alot!!! So that's probably why it helps, and 2, I have a small room and it's door is closed all day so the humidity stays in. My juniper bonsai I got for chirstmas was forsed to say inside and I can garentee you it helps it as you can fell the difference with your fingers. Arn't their quite a few rain forest type plants that folar feed to some degree also? I know bromilades do.

* * * *
The answers will come when needed. Otherwise, I'm guesing time will make me feel silly.
by Dawna on April 26, 2004 01:10 AM
I just bought my first Schefflera - Hawaiian and it is fairly good size, about 3 feet tall and quite bushy. I thought I could put it on my patio as it said bright/full OR filtered sunlight ideal. I saw a picture of a huge one outdoors. Mine would get full sun from morning until about 5 pm. What say? It also says to let it become moderately dry before watering and do not let it stand in excess water.

It is the sunlight I am now questioning in spite of seeing the picture of a fully grown one outside. Can one of you plant experts please tell me if it will live out there in a pot?

* * * *
Do one good deed a day and smile about it!
by Canadian CrabGrass on April 26, 2004 07:23 AM
Sorry about the lack of feedback everyone, started on spring cleaning and, well... you all know how those things are... [Big Grin]

After puzzling and wondering and searching for answers, I think I've hit on the one thing that is hurting my Scheffleras ( both of them are now plagued with dropping leaves! ) I think my house is too cold at night for them - we're at this dangerous season right now, warm during the day so I put the thermostat way down but still cold at night - one morning I woke up and checked the temperature and it was 60. I think this is what is affecting my pepperomia also.

I moved those affected plants to a warmer spot and they seem to be doing better already. One day I'm sure spring and warm weather will arrive - and then my rex begonias will be the one to wilt because it's too hot !
by Will Creed on April 27, 2004 04:22 AM

The Schefflera arboricola that you purchased was undoubtedly grown for indoor use. As such it has been adapted for reduced light by growing it in a shaded greenhouse. Those leaves will be severely damaged rather quickly if you put the plant outside in the direct sun. Indoor direct sun is fine because it is much less intense.

I recommend that you keep it inside near a sunny window. If you do move it outside, wait until night temps are above 55 degrees and keep it in a shaded spot.

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