Plant ID forum: Help identifying tree and advice on care...

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Oct 14, 2016 3:45 PM CST

New Member

So, like the fool I am, I could not resist this tree at a flower shop clearance sale. The card in it indicated it is a "pothos," but it doesn't look like pothos I see online. I believe it may be a schefflera tree. What do you think? Anyone have any advice for keeping this bad boy healthy? The pot is so tiny for its size. I've put it in a place where I can easily mist it. It gets south and west light from two windows. Any advice is appreciated - I'd hate to kill it after it made it to this grand stature! Forgive the mess in the photo!
Thumb of 2016-10-14/SusanL/7998b7

Name: Lin
Florida (Zone 9b)
Region: United States of America Morning Glories Region: Florida Houseplants Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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Oct 14, 2016 4:09 PM CST
Hi SusanL, Welcome!
Your tree looks like Umbrella Tree (Schefflera actinophylla) to me.
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Name: Hetty
Sunny Naples, Florida (Zone 10a)
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Oct 14, 2016 4:18 PM CST
I agree on Schefflera.
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
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Oct 14, 2016 7:52 PM CST
Hi and welcome, Susan Welcome! It looks like a Schefflera to me, too. These plants grow into 20ft. trees here in FL and they grow in the full sun. So other than a bigger pot so it doesn't fall over all the time, I'd say you need to make sure it gets as much light as you can manage.

Are the windows behind it in the picture the light source you mention? They're pretty small and kind of low ie the plant won't get light from above so it will get leggy and lean a lot. How far south are you? Will you be able to put the plant outside in the summer? If you can, you might want to prune it in the spring so it can get shorter and bushier for the winter months when it's indoors.

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Name: Laurie Basler
Western Washington (Zone 7b)
Houseplants Region: Pacific Northwest Sedums Orchids
Oct 14, 2016 8:22 PM CST
What mess??? We just see plants here!

I have a plant like yours and live in Washington State. I agree, it will appreciate more light.

I let the pot get quite dry, using a dowel poked all the way down to check for dryness. When dry, I water liberally. If the soil stays wet a long time, between waterings, you will want to change the soil. If that does not make sense, let me know. Good luck and what a Nice find.

Welcome to the forum, You will love it here.

Laurie B
Name: Will Creed
Professional interior landscaper
Oct 15, 2016 7:14 AM CST
Hi Susan,

Your new acquisition has been properly identified here and so has its need for better light. It should be within a couple of feet of a large completely uncovered window. The artificial lights can't be relied on for adequate light.

You can keep it in its existing pot, but I suggest re-positioning it slightly so the main stems are upright rather than leaning. That should keep it from falling over. If you keep it in its existing pot, you don't have to be concerned about over watering it unless it has no drain hole in the bottom. Fertilize it monthly if you keep it in that pot because the soil is old and may be somewhat depleted of nutrients.

You can repot, but only onto a pot that is no more than two inches wider and deeper. Don't replace the existing soil and add new potting mix only to the bottom and sides of the root system - not on top.

You don't need to mist it as that has almost no benefit. However, you should consider pruning it because it appears to be quite large for its new space and may soon be up against the ceiling.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC

Oct 17, 2016 9:16 AM CST

New Member

Hi, Thanks for your thoughts. Yes, those are the windows and I am in Pennsylvania, so not very far south! I have four spotlights in that room that I just outfitted with grow lights. They can be directed, so I was thinking of moving the tree to the center of those lights and hitting it all winter. Right now, they are above the tree, but if it keeps growing, this could be a problem. I can put it outside from probably April through September or early October. I'm wondering how much humidity the tree needs. When our heat comes on, things really dry out.
Right now, it is fairly bound by the small pot. I'm thinking spring might be a better time to change out the pot, especially because he just had a big move and I don't expect too much growth over the winter months. Any thoughts?
Thanks for your reply! I appreciate it.

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