The Schefflera arboricola is an unusual houseplant whose distinctive beauty has unfortunately been forgotten in recent years. Fast-growing, robust and easy to care for – these attributes make the tropical plant interesting not only for beginners. Smokers also benefit from the perennial ornamental plant’s ability to filter nicotine and other pollutants from the air and thus contribute to a healthy indoor climate. Various varieties are available in stores, Scheffleras with white-leaved leaves are particularly popular.

Location and soil conditions

Schefflera plant

As a tropical plant, the Schefflera needs a warm, bright location. However, the ray aralia can only tolerate blazing sunlight to a limited extent, as it grows in the tropical climes in the diffuse light of large giants of the jungle.

There are no special requirements for the plant substrate:

  • The soil must be permeable and rich in humus – normal potting soil is well suited.
  • For better drainage of excess water, the Schefflera needs a drainage made of gravel or potsherds, which are attached directly to the bottom of the planter.

Radiant aralia are heat-loving plants. Temperatures below 10 ° C damage the tropical plants, which is why permanent cultivation in the open air is not possible.

Tip: In the hot summer months, the Schefflera is also suitable as an eye-catcher for the balcony or your own terrace. The container plant prefers partially shaded places.


For the optimal growth of the Schefflera, there are a few things to consider when it comes to the water supply:

  • Moderate watering – refilling is only carried out when the top substrate layer is completely dry.
  • Use stale, low-lime water.
  • The watering rhythm depends on the room temperature and the plant soil.
  • Significantly reduce the water supply and quantity in the cold winter months.


The nutrients in the substrate of potted plants are limited. For this reason, the Schefflera arboricola needs a regular supply of fertilizer in the main growing season.

  • Between March and September, the plant must be given regular liquid fertilizers every two weeks. This is – according to the enclosed instructions – added directly to the irrigation water.
  • Fertilizer sticks for house plants are also suitable for the tropical plant.

In the cold season the plant needs little or no supply of minerals. It is fertilized every four weeks, depending on whether the ray aralia hibernates in a bright, warm room. In cooler temperatures and in an environment with little light, however, no fertilization is allowed. Because the plant stops growing and the risk of over-fertilization increases.


The propagation of the ray aralia is uncomplicated by shoot tips and leaf cuttings. In order to promote fast and strong root formation, this measure is recommended in warm spring, before the plant begins to sprout.

  • Separate a 10 to 15 centimeter long shoot from the mother plant.
  • Remove the lower leaves – which are in contact with water – and bevel the cut edge slightly.
  • Place the cuttings in a container with low-lime water.
  • A bright location and temperatures between 19 – 23 ° C are ideal for rapid root formation.
  • The first fine roots appear after about 1 – 3 months. The plant must immediately be transferred to a plant container with humus-rich soil.
  • If shoot cuttings are placed in the plant substrate immediately after cutting, this must be adequately supplied with moisture over a longer period of time. Avoid waterlogging at all costs, because the young plants can already be damaged by too much water.


The lush Schefflera grow into stately trees in their original home. Due to their demands, however, it is impossible to cultivate them in the open air in our latitudes and to give their growth a free hand. For this reason, in order to limit the size of the tropical plants kept in the room and winter garden, plant containers that are too large should not be chosen.

  • Repotting takes place in the warm spring.
  • The new flower pot may only be slightly larger than the one previously used.
  • Prepare a drainage at the bottom of the pot. Use potsherds or coarse pebbles and fill with earth. This prevents waterlogging.
  • When moving the Schefflera, carefully and carefully remove the old substrate.
  • In the new planter, cover the root ball with humus-rich soil and carefully press it down.

Depending on the chosen location, the plant must be cut back regularly from a certain height. If you want to promote the compact growth of the ray aralia, only replace the top layer of soil every year instead of repotting the entire plant.


Schefflera arboricola is purely an indoor plant and is only allowed to spend a few weeks on the terrace or balcony, even in midsummer. At temperatures below 10 ° C, the tropical plant reacts by shedding its leaves. Even special fleeces and a warming layer of compost do not protect the radiated aralia from withering.

  • The plant also needs a bright, warm location in winter.
  • Cool rooms up to a minimum temperature of 15 ° C are also tolerated.
  • Water little in the cold season and also reduce or stop the supply of fertilizer.
  • Leaves may be shed during hibernation.
Tip: if variegated arial varieties take on a dark green color, this indicates a lack of light.

To cut

As a rule, houseplants are rarely cut – but the situation is different with the Schefflera arboricola. Because without a strong pruning, the plant tends to shoot up enormously.

  • The best time to prune is late autumn or early spring.
  • With a sharp pair of scissors, the shoots are cut to the desired height directly above an “eye” or leaf.
  • The separated parts of the plant are suitable as cuttings.

A regular and radical cut of the ray aralia ensures a bushy shoot and a more compact growth.

schefflera plant care

Tips on care and cultivation

  • Scheffleras are very susceptible to drafts.
  • Spray the leaves of the plant regularly with lime-free water and wipe with a damp cloth.
  • In rooms with little light, radiation aralia tend to “de-energize”. Here, weak shoots shoot up enormously. Lower the ambient temperature or choose a lighter location.
  • If all the needs of the plant are met, it ideally tends to produce flowers and seeds.
  • Support the Schefflera arboricola with a bamboo stick for straight growth.

Possible maintenance errors

Even with robust plants like the Schefflera, improper or incorrect care can cause damage.

The leaves of the ray aralia fall off:

  • At temperatures below 10 ° C, the plant tends to shed its leaves.
  • The soil is too moist, Scheffleras only need small amounts of water.
  •  Was the tropical houseplant placed in seramis without soil? This substrate stores large amounts of moisture and is therefore unsuitable for radiation products.

Multicolored leaves turn dark green:

  • This process indicates a location that is too dark. But even in a lighter place, already discolored leaves of the ray aralia no longer take on their original pattern. This only appears again on newly emerging leaves.

The Schefflera shows yellow discoloration:

  • The plant was probably supplied with too much nutrients. Stop fertilizing immediately. If the discoloration has progressed too far, move the houseplant to fresh soil.

Brown spots on shoot tips and leaves:

  • Often an indication that the Schefflera arboricola needs water. Water the plant using an immersion bath. To do this, the entire plant pot is immersed in a water container and only removed again as soon as no more air bubbles rise to the surface.
  • If the plant is watered regularly, the spots can also indicate a lack of nutrients. Conventional liquid fertilizer is administered to the jet aralia via the irrigation water.

The shoots of the houseplant turn black, and a putrid smell penetrates the earth:

  • These signs indicate root rot, which is caused by waterlogging. Depending on the severity of the same, the entire plant must be disposed of.
  • If the root rot is still in the early stages, the Schefflera should be converted into a dry plant substrate immediately.
  • Do not remove roots that are already rotting so as not to unnecessarily burden the plant.
  • Commercially available agents are mostly ineffective against root rot.

schefflera plant Diseases and pests

Diseases and pests

Discoloration on the leaves and shoot tips of the plant is not always the result of improper care. Because the Schefflera arboricola is susceptible to harmful insects and fungal diseases.


The fringed-winged birds, also known as “thunderbirds”, spend their entire life cycle on plants and feed on the nutrient-rich cell sap of the leaves. In garden plants, thrips also act as pollinators, but an overpopulation of the approximately 1 – 3 millimeter large insects leads to damage to the host plant. The plant reacts first with discoloration, at an advanced stage the leaves and shoots die off. An infestation must be combated immediately, as the pests can also transmit viral diseases to the plants through their sting.

  • Fringed winged birds quickly develop resistance to insecticides. Therefore treat the Schefflera consistently with chemical agents for some time after the infestation.
  • The use of natural predators such as lacewing larvae and predatory mites is hardly possible in your own four walls.
  • Nettle stock and repeated showering with soft soap have proven to be effective.
  • In addition to biological control, set up blue adhesive boards in the immediate vicinity. This attracts the adult animals.
  • Increase the humidity – thrips prefer a dry climate.

Spider mites
A light green to milky white discoloration on the leaves of the ray aralia is the typical damage pattern for spider mites. To rule out a deficiency in the plant, it is sufficient to spray the plant with a water atomizer. The fine webs of the damaged arachnids become visible, which occur particularly in the vicinity of the plant substrate. The common spider mite loves dry heat, which is why it is most often found during the heating season. Useful tips to get rid of the harmful insects:

  • Toxin-free preparations – for example based on rapeseed oil – are well suited for combating spider mites.
  • If the arachnid population is still low, the plant can be hosed down with a hard jet of water in the bathtub. Then wrap the upper part of the Schefflera completely in a transparent film and thus increase the humidity enormously. Remove the film only after a few days and repeat the process several times if necessary.
  • As a preventive measure, do not place the Schefflera directly next to heaters and regularly spray the leaves with a water atomizer.

The robust and fast-growing plant is particularly interesting for hobby gardeners, as it recovers relatively quickly from any mistakes in care. The ray aralia impressively proves that not all tropical plants are complex and time-consuming keeping conditions. Schefflera are among those plants that can positively influence the indoor climate by filtering polluting and harmful substances from the air.

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