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May 21, 2020 1:47 PM CST
Ohio
Hi, My name is Francine and I have a question about a plant that is rather large so in the summer I would like to put it outdoors. However, I did that many years ago and when I brought it in I was bombarded with bugs and I had to re pot the plant and discard the soil. How can I prevent that from happening or should I not set it outside? Also, we received this plant when it was a lot smaller and I don't know what type of plant it is and whether or not it can be planted outdoors. I am in Ohio so our Winters get extremely cold.

Thanks so much,
Francine

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May 21, 2020 2:08 PM CST
Name: Lynda Horn
Arkansas (Zone 7b)
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Welcome! your plant is a shefflera, or umbrella tree. It is a house plant, and will not survive your winter outdoors. It would do well outside for the summer. I'm not sure what kinds of insects that got into it to where you had to re pot it, but that's not usually what happens. It's far more normal for the plant to be harboring insects on the leaves. Houseplants outside for the summers need the same inspection and care as for garden plants. Folks that have both regularly inspect for insects, and it they are detected, they treat the plant or hand remove the bugs,. It is recommended to give houseplants a good look over before bringing inside for the winter. Also a good idea to gently hose off the foliage. You still might bring in some unwanted guests, it happens from time to time. I had a friend who brought in a tree frog on a large plant one year. She did not know it was there until it started singing!
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May 21, 2020 3:20 PM CST
Name: Lin Vosbury
Sebastian, Florida (Zone 10a)

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Hi Caddymom, Welcome from me too!

I agree, you plant is a variety of Dwarf Umbrella Tree (Heptapleurum arboricola) It's spindly growth habit is likely due to lack of sufficient light. They are used as landscape plants here in Florida and are very popular as indoor houseplants too.

As gardenfish mentioned, whenever you move a plant outside, there's a chance that insects or other critters will take up residence. During hurricane season a couple of years ago, I moved a couple of small plants from the screen room into the house and a tiny tree frog hopped out of one of them which was no big deal, it was easy to catch and release ... but I'm leery about moving plants into the house if they've been outside for any length of time because many years ago, I brought in a large Weeping Fig tree from the patio, thinking it would look great in the corner of our bedroom and when I got up early the next morning, I stepped on a black snake!! Blinking My husband was in the kitchen at the other end of the house and heard me screaming and thought I was having a nightmare. He managed to collect the snake and take it out to the wooded area behind the house and I had him move the tree back outside too! I did have trouble sleeping for a few nights afterwards, thinking that snake may have brought it's family along and they were hiding in a corner of the closet or under the bed! Green Grin!
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May 21, 2020 6:58 PM CST
Name: Sally
central Maryland (Zone 7b)
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You can prune that back to control the size.
Plant it and they will come.
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May 22, 2020 8:54 AM CST
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Prof. plant consultant & educator
I agree with Sally. Moving it outside will just promote even more growth and a "bigger" problem when you have to move it back inside in the fall - along with the critters!

It is best kept indoors year-round as a houseplant. Any of the stems can be pruned back to give the plant the overall size and shape that you prefer. Pruning does no harm but is the best way to keep the plant manageable. New growth will emerge on the pruned stems starting where you make the pruning cuts.

If you keep it inside, keep it close to a moderately sunny window where it gets mostly indirect sun all day with a few hours of direct sun. Good indoor light will keep ity frtom getting spindly new growth.
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Avatar for Caddymom
May 22, 2020 2:18 PM CST
Ohio
Thanks so much everyone for the information. I am going to take your advice and Prune it and I'm going to leave it Indoors because I certainly don't want to come in contact with any type of critters when bringing it back indoors! You guys scared me with the snakes and frogs..lol
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