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A robust houseplant – the Schefflera

Got something better to do than remember to water your houseplants on schedule? The Schefflera will forgive you for everything and forget it.

If you’re like most busy homeowners, then you want house plants that require poor growing conditions and can take some neglect every now and then.

The Radiation Aralia, also known as Schefflera, provides something on this subject.

I live in a subtropical climate where temperatures rarely go below freezing at night, so for me Schefflera is also a good choice for outdoors. Or I can choose to move my plants outside in spring and bring them back when winter comes. I actually have two large Schefflera bushes that have happily grown in containers for years. I love the first one so much that after nine years I couldn’t resist buying another.

Romantic and elegant at the same time by Cynthia Lynn Photography

a sturdy houseplant stylish and elegant with candles

Schefflera is different from the other plants in that the leaves are arranged in groups; they can be colored or green. There is also a dwarf schefflera that is usually sold as a houseplant.

While the dwarf version is similar in height to the standard schefflera when grown indoors, there is a marked difference between the two in leaf size – the dwarf schefflera’s leaves are about half the size of the regular schefflera. Outdoors and in the ground, the regular Schefflera can reach 12.19 meters in height, compared to a maximum of 4.57 meters for the Dwarf Schefflera.

Note: Scheffleras can be tall and thin, so if you’re looking for something bushy, don’t be afraid to buy two plants and plant them together in a very large container.

Schefflera can be a shrub or a tree. I like them both, but you might be able to try the Schefflera in its tree shape. As you can see the tree is not dense like a ficus, for example, but since it lacks green it is because of its nature.

A little Schefflera makes a nice companion to this antique wooden box and abstract painting. While I’m personally not a fan of combining red and green, green plants go really well with shades of red in natural wood furniture, a wood floor, or even decorative accents. Red and green are complementary colors.

Nostalgic mood from J Rich Design

a sturdy houseplant wooden antique cabinet

The Schefflera in this cozy and tastefully furnished modern living room is just the right size to balance the lush greenery in the garden and to ensure a fresh departure from all brown tones in the room.

Large ornamental mirrors and subdued lighting from Urrutia Design

a sturdy houseplant round ornamental mirror

The Schefflera is a great little plant, it’s easy to care for and can be carried to the sink for watering. In a wood-floored house like this one, watering at the sink prevents damage to wood floors from overflow.

Simple bench and banisters made of aluminum from Logan’s Hammer Building & renovation

a sturdy houseplant simple staircase metal railing

A high Schefflera nicely fills the corner in this neutral-toned living room and blurs the line between inside and outside.

Rustic luxury in beige by Dayna Katlin Interiors

a sturdy houseplant luxury furniture large painting and fireplace

A large Schefflera, with its relaxed silhouette, adds a playful tropical touch to this traditional veranda.

Round, smooth shapes and pastel green accents from RLH Studio

a robust houseplant traditional stem with pastel green accents

A foyer is an ideal place for a large houseplant, and this Schefflera seems to thrive there.

Beautiful mirror cabinet with classic ornaments

a sturdy houseplant classic wooden cabinet at the entrance

How can you properly take care of the Schefflera:

  • Light: Brightly diffused sunlight, but as a houseplant Schefflera does not tolerate direct sunlight unless it is used to it. In many tropical and subtropical regions, Schefflera is a garden plant where direct sun is normal.
  • Temperature: approximately 35 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit (2 to 27 degrees Celsius). If your climate rarely goes below freezing, feel free to leave your Schefflera outdoors.
  • Water: Water thoroughly and allow the soil to dry between waterings. Overwatering can cause root rot, so drainage is a must. Ideally, you should place the plant on a stone saucer to avoid drainage. Leaves that turn black are very likely a sign of overhydration, while leaves that are beginning to wrinkle are a sign of insufficient water.
  • Soil: Use well-drained potting soil.
  • Feeding: fertilizer is not necessary.
  • Pruning: So if you prefer a bush, prune it to keep it compact in shape. Schefflera jumps back even after a radical pruning, so don’t be afraid to prune too much.
  • Pests: Schefflera are known to easily infect spider mites. If you do spot an infestation, the best option is to make a non-toxic, soapy water and moisten the plant at least once a week.

Further considerations:

  • Air Purification: It is known to be efficient at removing formaldehyde and benzene air toxins.
  • Notes: Scheffleras are poisonous to humans and animals if eaten. The leaves are not often fatal if swallowed, but they cause a burning sensation, swelling, difficulty swallowing, and in severe cases, difficulty breathing.
  • Natural habitat: Taiwan and Hainan Island, China.

A proud, easy-care houseplant 

a sturdy houseplant with a gold mirror in the background