Sometimes sold as Schefflera elegantissima otAralia elegantissima, this is a graceful shrub with a slim, mottled stem from which grow palmlike, leathery serrated leaves about 3in/8cm long and V2in/13mm wide. An interesting feature of the plant is the manner in which the character of the leaves alters as they mature.
The young delicate filigree copper brown foliage changes to coarser dark green, almost black leaves, which are much more typical of the Araliaceae family to which the plant belongs.
False, or finger, aralias are beautiful enough to stand alone, but in the tropical islands of their native habitat, they grow with cordylines, crotons, cycas, and epipremnums, and indoors they can be used in a similar collection of tropical plants to add height and grace.
For the best effect, plant two or three to a pot. Flowers are not produced on pot specimens.
ORIGIN New Caledonia; Polynesia.
HEIGHT To 6ft/1.8m.
POTTING MIX Soil-based.
REPOTTING Move into a pot one size larger in spring, only when the roots have filled the pot.
PROPAGATION New plants can be raised from fresh seeds or stem cuttings in spring, but both operations are difficult for amateurs.
KEEPING PLANTS Dizygothecas do best in a warm sunroom and can last for 5 years or so. Prune in spring to improve the shape or promote bushiness.
DlZYGOTHECA ELEGANTISSIMA Araliaceae FALSE ARALIA PLANT CARE
- Bright light, but avoid direct sunlight.
- Year-round warmth, with a minimum winter temperature of 60°F/16°C.
- Thoroughly soak the potting mix with each watering, but allow it to almost dry out before rewatering. Improve humidity by standing the pot on damp pebbles and misting the plant each day.
- Apply a weak liquid fertilizer every 2 weeks between spring and autumn.
- Aphids and mealybugs may attack this plant; check for signs regularly.
- Falling leaves may mean that the plant is too dry at the roots. Water well and improve the humidity level.
- Drooping leaves are a sign of overwatering.