Caring for the Schefflera – everything you need to know about the radiant macaw

The radiate aralia, as Schefflera arboricola is also called, has radiating leaves. The name ‘ lacquer plant ‘ is justified by the natural shine of the green leaves. The robust indoor plant is easy to care for, decorative, durable and promotes the indoor climate.

With the ability to filter pollutants such as nicotine from the air, the plant is an asset to any room. The plants grow well and at the same time ensure good air. As a houseplant, the radiant aralie is sometimes offered with a moss stem, and there are also multi-stemmed forms and little stems. Large specimens can simply be cut off and the shoot tips used as cuttings for propagation.

Worth knowing Location Care Watering Fertilizing Pruning Repotting Species Pests & Diseases FAQ

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Things to know about Schefflera

Botanical name: Schefflera arboricola
Other names: ray macaw, lacquer leaf, small ray macaw
Use: houseplant, interior greening, room air improver, conservatory plant
Origin: Taiwan
Flower: green, yellow, rare, in summer
Leaf: green, yellow-green variegated, upright, on older ones Plants slightly drooping, naturally shiny leaves
Special features:In its homeland, the Schefflera can become a tree up to 40 meters high. The plant grows up to 2.50 m high indoors. A bright place without direct sunlight is important when caring for the Schefflera. Houseplants prefer a warm location all year round. Contact with the plant sap can cause skin irritation

In which location does the Schefflera arboricola feel most comfortable?

Radiant aralia prefers a warm, semi-shady and bright location in the house all year round, but should be protected from direct sunlight. Basically, varieties with green leaves tolerate darker locations better than varieties with yellow-green leaves. In summer, the green plants can also stand outdoors after slow acclimatization. A place that is protected from rain and in the shade is ideal. If the temperatures drop below 10 degrees Celsius during the night, you should move the house inside. Staying outdoors in summer often promotes the vitality of houseplants.

Pro tip: dry heating air is tolerated, drafts are not. The result is increased leaf fall.

How do I properly care for my radiate aralia?

Schefflera arboricola require little care and are therefore ideal for people who don’t have much time or don’t have a green thumb. The plants are also predestined for interior greening and climate improvement in offices and business premises. Needs-based watering with a watering can and regular fertilization are important when it comes to care. The soil should never dry out completely, but it should also never be waterlogged. Small plants can be showered with lukewarm water once or twice a year. If the popular indoor plants are too big and unwieldy for this, wiping the leaves with a damp cloth will help. This will remove the dust andsupport a good development of the plant.

How do I water my Schefflera arboricola correctly?

Radiant aralia only need moderate watering. It is important that the substrate dries between the individual watering processes and that there is never waterlogging. You can dive smaller specimens once a week. To do this, place the schefflera in a bucket filled with water and submerge the houseplant until no more air bubbles rise. The advantage of the immersion method is that the root ball is completely soaked and the green plant is cared for in the best possible way. Larger plants are watered weekly, checked after 15 minutes and excess water is poured off.

Our gardening tip: water with care. Ray’s Aralia likes a dry period rather than constant excess water. Make sure that when watering, the soil is wet and not poured over the leaf.

How do I fertilize my radiate aralia?

Regular application of fertilizer is necessary for growth and the formation of new shoots. Plants only grow and are vital if sufficient nutrients are available. A green plant fertilizer is suitable for fertilizing Schefflera. In addition to the necessary nutrients, this also contains other growth and vital substances. Fertilize weekly during the growing season from April to October, and once a month during winter. The use of liquid fertilizer in the irrigation water has proven to be best. Fertilizing with fertilizer sticks is easy to handle. With this convenient long-term fertilization, your Schefflera is supplied with all the necessary nutrients, minerals and trace elements for 3 months. Schefflera in hydroponics receive special hydroponic fertilizer.

How do I prune my schefflera?

Rayed aralia grow well in a bright place and after a few years are usually so large that pruning is necessary. The genus tolerates pruning and sprout well after pruning. Prune in spring if possible and use sharp pruning shears. The shortening can be done at any height. In addition to length regulation, pruning promotes the formation of new shoots and compact growth. After cutting, the tropical plant usually becomes bushier and branches out more. The cut off head parts of the radiate aralie are ideal cuttings and with a bit of luck propagation can take place. You can also cut old, unsightly leaves regularly.

Our gardening tip: If possible, wear gloves when cutting, as skin contact can cause irritation. Note that the plants are poisonous.

How do I repot my radiate aria?

In addition to watering and fertilizing, caring for radiant aralia includes transplanting at intervals of 2 to 3 years. Usually after this time the soil is used up and completely rooted. With new substrate and a larger pot, houseplants grow better and new leaves are formed. The best time to repot is early spring. Use good quality green plant soil for repotting. The composition of this is optimally tailored to the needs of the Schefflera. Make sure the potting soil has a pH of 6 to 6.5 and the peat-sand mixture has good drainage properties. Use a pot 3 to 5 cm larger than this

What other species of radiant aralia are there?

In addition to the small-leaved schefflera (Schefflera arboricola), there are a large number of species and varieties. The main trades are:

Large-leaved schefflera (Schefflera actinophylla)

Narrow-leaved schefflera (Schefflera elegantissima)

The care of all species is identical, as are the requirements for location, light and soil moisture. They are differentiated by the color of the leaves, leaf position and growth height.

Which pests and diseases can the radiate aralie get?

Basically, the houseplants are robust and have hardly any infestation by diseases and pests. Brown leaves are often a result of waterlogging. The following problems can occur:

spider mites

The affected leaves have silvery dots on the upper side and webs are visible on the underside of the leaves. It is usually sufficient to spray the plants with water and treat them with plant strengtheners. These organic active agents contain natural plant extracts that contribute to the vitalization of the plant. When the humidity is high, spider mites are less common.

scale insects

There are brown, slightly curved knobs, especially in the leaf axils. The scale insects are safely hidden under these protective shields and are therefore difficult to combat. As soon as you discover the infestation, you should wipe off the scale insects or cut back the plant. The pests can be controlled biologically with oil-based agents. It is important that the application is carried out several times.


The wool-like structure is mainly found on the underside of the leaf and in the leaf axils. The lice excrete a sticky sap that can lead to sooty mold. In the case of an initial infestation, you should remove as many infested areas as possible. Further treatment is analogous to that of scale insects.

FAQ — Frequently Asked Questions

How can Schefflera be propagated?

Propagation takes place by head cuttings. Cut just above the leaf axil. The shoot tips can be easily cut off and within a few weeks the plant parts have quickly formed new roots. Place the cuttings as warm, bright and out of direct sunlight as possible. Cultivation sets with a cover and special cultivation substrate are ideal. Even if you don’t cut your houseplant, propagation through shoot tips is still possible. The aralia plants take root particularly quickly in spring.

Can schefflera be grown hydroponically?

The classic green plants can be kept as hydro plants without any problems. It is important that the water level indicator is always at the minimum. Too much water damages the plant.

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