The Q&A Archives: Tupidanthus And Black Ant Looking Pest

Question: I have a tropical looking plant, with the given name tupidanthus. I am unable to find any info. on this plant. Could I have been given the wrong name. It also has black ant looking pest what are they, and how do I handle them. Gardening is going to be my new adventure so any help you could give this amature would be appreciated.

Answer: Tupidanthus calyptratus is an evergreen shrub or small tree with either single or multiple trunks. It is better known Schefflera. Schefflera are easy to grow. Provide average household warmth with a minimum of 55F in winter. Try to avoid temperatures over 70F year 'round. Give the plant bright light, away from direct sunshine, and water liberally from spring to autumn. Water sparingly in winter. Mist leaves frequently during the growing season. Feed monthly during the growing season with a diluted solution of liquid fertilizer. The plant will lose its lower leaves (that's another reason it's called Umbrella Tree), but will continue to develop a tall main stem until it reaches 6'-8' in height, and will continue to produce new leaflets towards the top of the stem. To disguise the bare lower stem, you might want to plant one or two young Scheffleras in the same pot with the taller one.

I'm not sure what the pests might be. Try washing them off with a strong stream of water and see if that doesn't do the trick.

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