Schefflera elegantissima
Common Name: false aralia
Type: Broadleaf evergreen
Family: Araliaceae
Native Range: New Caledonia
Zone: 10 to 12
Height: 25.00 to 50.00 feet
Spread: 10.00 to 15.00 feet
Bloom Time: Rarely flowers indoors
Bloom Description: Yellow-green
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Evergreen
Fruit: Showy

Culture

Winter hardy to USDA Zones 10-12. In St. Louis, it is easily grown is a houseplant in warm, humidified areas. Best grown in bright sunny locations with protection from hot afternoon sum. Tolerates some shade. Prune to control size. Water regularly but moderately during the growing season, with much reduced watering from fall to late winter. Plants may be taken to sheltered outdoor locations in summer.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Native to rainforests in New Caledonia where it grows as a shrub or small tree to 50’ tall. False aralia is widely grown in temperate climates as a much smaller ornamental houseplant. Indoors it is typically grown as a small juvenile plant (to 3’ tall) or as a mature plant (to 6-8’ tall). Juvenile plant leaves feature narrow (to 1/2” wide), toothed leaflets (to 3” long). Leaflets are glossy dark green above and coppery green below. Mature plants have much larger leaves that are less glossy with the leaflets broadening to 3” wide and increasing in length to as much as 9-12” long. Yellow-green flowers in umbels appear in fall and winter. Flowers give way to globose black fruit. Flowers and fruits rarely appear on indoor plants, however. Genus name honors 19th century German botanist, J. C. Scheffler. Synonymous with Aralia elegantissima and Dizygotheca elegantissima.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Watch for mealybugs, aphids, spider mites, thrips and scale.

Garden Uses

Low-maintenance indoor potted plant.