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House Plant Woes

I bought the attached house plant some 8 months ago. It appears to be four plants with their steps twisted together to form one with several 'heads' of leaves at the top. It is about 5 ft tall. At first it grew very well so much so that I had to trim the new foliage back. It tries to put up new shoots out of the stems at the base. For the past month leaves have been turning yellow and falling at an alarming rate even though it has new growth top and bottom. Does anyone recognise it from the photo and can anyone advise on what I am doing wrong. I have recommenced feeding it in desparation. It is not water logged, it is not pot bound and I am keeping the compost moist. Help!!!



It looks like a heptapleurum which is a tropical rainforest plant so unless you can give it high humidity, chances of keeping it fo going are slim. These are produced in vast quantities in Dutch and Belgian greenhouses, so are cheap, and are not acclimated to indoor conditions, so should be regarded rather like cut flowers- which I agree, is a shame. For a houseplant with big green leaves and tough, try a ficus, an aspidistra or a fatsia.

18 Nov, 2007


i agree with Heather, i am also a florist, so would advise your best bet is to keep well away from central heating if you want to give it a go, this could be the cause of the problem. if you say it was doing well up until recently that would make sense, as during the summer months you don't need your heating on and central heating makes the air very dry. if you have space in your bathroom you may find it will do quite well there. if not you could try misting the leaves with rain water at least once a day - but keep well away from radiators!

19 Nov, 2007


I agree with Heather this plant appears to be heptapleurum, also known as Schefflera and'or Umbrella plant. The transition to hot dry temps of the house would also contribute to spider mites and what you describe makes me think that might also be at issue here. I live in Canada and grow my Shefflera 5 feet away from a west facing window. My friend has hers in a North facing window so we know they can tolerate low light levels. I add no extra humidity to the air but I do have a house full of plants and think they contribute some. I think I'd remove yellow and yellowing foliage. Take it to the shower (if its too large for the kitchen sink) and spray wash it especially the underside of the leaves. You could add a little dishwashing liquid to a spray bottle (1 part soap to 30/40 parts water) spray all over -under and over leaves and top layer of soil, wait 10-15 minutes and rinse in shower or sink. The great thing about this plant is that its pretty sturdy and should bounce back for you. I let mine get just about bone dry before watering it well during the winter and it summers on an enclosed sunporch. I'm trying to keep mine from growing too quickly (as I meantioned lots of houseplants requires lots of indoor real estate). Hope this helps. Bon chance.

20 Nov, 2007

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