House Plants/"false aralia"
Thanks for your time!
I purchased a false aralia, picture attached, that I believe is doing fine. I want to double check, though, as it has lost some leaves since I got it it. I had one of these previously and my former roommate left the AC vent blowing on it nearly constantly while I was away and caused it to die a slow, sticky leaf-dropping death, so I am determined this plant be as healthy as possible. So, I am hoping you can give me some quick, basic answers:
1) In the picture the tree is closest to a west-facing window (about 2 feet away) and gets modest filtered direct sun from that, and to the left in the picture is south facing bank of windows, which are probably about 10 feet away. Is this a healthy spot for the aralia? (the AC next to it will never be turned on, has been disabled). I noticed a few brown tips but no real brown edges that would suggest it is getting burnt.
2) I rotate my other houseplants a quarter turn each week when I water them to encourage even growth. I understand aralia's do not like to be moved. Do you think it best not to twist them a quarter turn each week?
3) I water once per week with 1/8th normal dosage of Miracle Grow, since I understand they may not be as healthy with a typical fertilizer dosages. I ensured there were plenty of drainage holes and ceramic so the holes stay draining and water evenly until water comes out the base. Does this seem like a good approach?
Thanks so much! Love this plant and want it to thrive!
It is unlikely that your other Schefflera elegantissima died because of the AC. If the leaves were sticky, that is a sure sign of a scale insect or mealybug infestation. This plant is susceptible to both of those plant pests and also to spider mites. That is one reason that this is difficult plant.
The light you have is a bit too strong, as it needs protection from the direct rays of the sun. I suggest you move it back to about 5-6 feet away from the west window that gets lots of direct afternoon sun.
There is no problem with rotating your plant as you described. The movement it does not like is re-location, but it is fine with rotation.
Fertilizer is not very important. The dilution rate you indicated is fine as long as the plant is healthy and growing well. If the growth slows or the plant starts to ail, then stop fertilizing altogether.
Proper potting and watering are the most critical and difficult things to manage. I am not clear if you repotted, but I suspect that you did. If so, that will make things more difficult for you. It is best if the roots remain undisturbed in their plastic nursery pot, which can then be inserted inside of a more decorative planter. Using large pots and added soil increases the risk of root rot very substantially. If you did repot, please let me know the details so I can advise you accordingly.
When properly potted, it is best to water your Elegantissima thoroughly when the top 2 inches of rootball are dry.
I have written articles on fertilizing and repotting that I will email for free to you (or anyone else) who emails a request to me at wcreed@HorticulturalHelp.com.
Please let me know if any of this is unclear or if you have any additional questions.
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Will Creed, Interior Landscaper
Horticultural Help, NYC
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