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Broad Mites Might Be The Problem With Your Schefflera

Ask The Plant Expert:Schefflera With Board Mites

Hello, Through unfortunate circumstances I have become the keeper of 2 Schefflera plants. One is a pretty good sized ‘bush’ and the other is much smaller.

They both came from a florist and looked extraordinary 5 days ago. The problem started surfacing the day we brought them home, the leaves started wilting, turning a dark greenish-brown and then falling off. On the smaller plant some of the leaves actually look shriveled and dried (mostly the smaller newer growth). There are a few leaves that have spots on them.

I’m having a hard time telling if they are dry, the soil seems to be deep in the pot and it seems to just be the vine/stem in the soil. Because of this they have been watered thoroughly and drained before putting them back in their decorative pots. They are both in a brightly lit room, the smaller one has been placed near a great vent so I just moved it today.

The larger one is in the same room but not near a vent. They were shipped to a visitation and then put in the car for a few hours before coming home with me – the temp that day was in the single digits. When I first noticed these symptoms it reminded me of what lettuce looks like when it gets frozen then thawed, I thought the extreme temps did something to some of the branches so I trimmed quite a bit of the sickly looking leaves/stems from them. Regardless of doing that they are rapidly losing life. They are holding a sentimental value right now for me and I would really love to keep them happy but not sure how to fix the problem.


Plant Expert Reply:

Wow. It does look like your plants are having a bit of trouble, but I think your plants are still in fairly good condition.

Exposure to cold temperatures may have caused some of the problems you are seeing. But from a glance, I would say the plants could have a broad mite problem. Broad mites will often cause new leaves to cup downward and pucker, as well as cause leaves to be stunted with serrated margins. You will need a magnifying glass to identify the mites. If your plant does have mites, I recommend removing all damaged leaves and stems and treating with a miticide. Your local garden center should have one that will work.

The sticky substance could also indicate an aphid problem. If you have aphids, you should be able to see them without a magnifying glass. Look at the underneath side of the leaves. If aphids are a problem, you will need to treat with an insecticide.

I am not sure what you mean when you say ” I’m having a hard time telling if they are dry, the soil seems to be deep in the pot and it seems to just be the vine/stem in the soil. Because of this they have been watered thoroughly and drained before putting them back in their decorative pots.”

If you can give me a little more information or a picture of the soil, I think I can help you avoid water stress issues.

At the bottom of our Dwarf Schefflera page you can find a list of care instruction that might help.

I hope this information is helpful.


Jamie Jamison Adams

Caring for a Six Trunk Norfolk Island Pine

Norfolk Island PineAsk The Plant Expert:Just bought a Norfolk Island Pine…actually six trunks…three feet high for Christmas. Read your YouTube article and wish to thank you. Would you mind telling me if I can or should separate the clump of six, or will they need to remain together? Can the plant(s) be safely re-potted as you usually re-pot plants, or is there something special I need to know? I live in Austin, Texas in an apartment with a nice patio where it should do well until summer, at which time it will need to come inside.

Thank you, Georgia Willis

Plant Expert Reply:


How very unusual. I haven’t seen one with six trunks. Whether you have three or six trunks, the recommendation would be the same, do not try to separate the trunks. If the plant seems happy in the current container leave it alone. However, you will need to make sure that the container allows for proper drainage. If you need to re-pot the plant, choose a container with a good drain hole that is 1 1/2 times larger than the current pot. Fill the pot with a general purpose houseplant potting soil so that the top of the current rootball is about 1/2″ to 3/4″ from the top of the new container. Do not add soil to the top of the rootball; simply fill in around the sides, then water thoroughly. For more care instruction, you can check out our Northfolk Island Pine page.

Hope this information was helpful.

Jamie Jamison Adams

Please Help Identify This Purple Flower

Ask The Plant Expert: What is the name of this plant? Thanks Brian5 Petal Purple Flower

Plant Expert Reply:


Sorry for the delay in my reply. It took me a little while to determine which member of the Gentianaceae family this flower is. I believe it is what they call a Texas Bluebonnet (Eustoma exaltatum). Other contenders would be Texas Star (Sabatia campestris) or Sea rose (Orphium fruitescens)

Hope this information helps.

What do you think readers, is this the right identification?

What is this July Blooming Pink Flower from a Bulb?

TrgridiaAsk the Expert: Do you know the name of this flower?

A friend gave me a bulb to be frozen and planted in spring. It blooms once a year in July and then dries out.

Thank you,


Plant Expert reply: The plant you submitted to the Bloomin Blog for identification seems to be a type of Tigridia. It is sometimes referred to as tiger flower or shell flower. I think yours is a Tigridia pavonia. The blooms only last for a single day. They are in the Iridaceae family and are native to Mexico and Guatemala. I hope this information helps. Please let me know if I can help with anything else.

Have A Good Day,


Reply From Nora: Thank you very, very much. It is great to be able to contact you and learn so much!! Every so often I learn about the indigenous plants in my country and it feels great!

Greetings from Mexico,


What is this Plant with Red Leaves and Flower?


Ask The Plant Expert: What is this plant called?
Can anyone tell me what this tree or shrub is called?


Plant Expert Reply:

This plant is a type of Sumac. There are 250 species in this genus (Rhus). I am not sure exactly which of those can claim this particular plant. Some of the species in this genus can be poisonous like Rhus toxicodendron (Poison Ivy) or Rhus vernix (Poison Sumac) while others are used as a cooking spice. You might want to take a leaf to your local garden center or extension service to make a positive id.

Can You Identify These 5 Mystery Plants?

Ask the Plant Expert:

5 Mystery Plantshi there,

I inherited these plants from a neighbor who was getting rid of them and I’d love to know what they are so I can make them a bit healthier.   I looked on your nice identification page, but couldn’t find information on all of them. (Sorry for the bad lighting in the pictures – I can take better photos, if you need.)

I don’t have a green thumb, so please bear with me for some basic questions: I’m assuming they haven’t really ever been repotted – is it okay to just buy a big bag and use the same kind of soil on all of them?  My apartment gets sun, but not a lot, especially in the winter (I live in Berlin), so any ideas you have about which of these should  be in the absolute sunniest places, would be appreciated.  Some last more specific questions:

Mystery plant #1: is tall and completely awkward – any thoughts on how to stabilize it a bit? Mystery plant #2: When I repot this one, should I just weed out that network of old stalks in there? The probably-Dracaena-plant: The leaves look horrible on this one.  I’m not watering it too much, I think – maybe it’s somehow getting too much light? Jade: see the little guy popping up in the corner of the pot?  Is it cool to repot that into its own little pot? Kids gotta leave the house sometime :)

Sorry for so many questions!  Thanks for the help! -Mason

Plant Expert Reply:


Mystery Plant #1 looks like a Schefflera (Brassia Actinophylla) commonly called octopus plant or umbrella tree. The only way to stabilize this plant would be to double the size of the container when you repot it. However, do not bury it any deeper than it is in the current pot. If you go to the Flower Shop Network Schefflera page and scroll down to the care information, you will find light and water instruction for this plant.

Mystery Plant #2 looks like an Aglaomena commonly called Chinese Evergreen, but with the condition of the plant it is  very difficult to be sure I am correct. When you repot this plant definitely cut out any dead or damaged foliage.  If you go to the Flower Shop Network Aglaomena page and scroll down to the care information, you will find light and water instruction for this plant.

Mystery Plant #3 looks like a type of Ficus, but again the condition of the plant makes it difficult to positively identify the plant.

Mystery Plant #4 does appear to be a Dracaena fragrans.

Mystery plant #5 is a Crassula ovate commonly called jade.  You can remove the baby and pot it in its own container.


Hope this information is helpful.






What is this Plant with Leaves Shaped Like an Arrow?

Nephthytis - Arrowhead PlantAsk the Expert: What kind of plant is this

My mother has this plant and we need to know how to take care of it Grizzley

Plant Expert Reply:


The plant seems to be a type of Nephthytis (Syngonium). This plant is commonly called an Arrowhead plant because of the shape of the leaves. I find it to be a fairly easy plant to grow. Here is a link to our care page for Green Nephthytis, it has some more information on the plant.

Green Nephthytis Plant Care

Hope this information is helpful.

What is This Small Ground Cover With Yellow Flowers

Ground COverAsk the Expert:

Please take a look at the small ground cover plant observed in a clear, non-active ag field. It has tiny yellow flowers.

Now, are the dense clustered green and scattered individuals the same?


Plant Expert Reply:


It could be a type of Lysimachia nemorum sometimes referred to as Yellow pimpernel. I can’t see what the yellow flowers look like. Here is a link to what I think it is. Tell me if it looks like your plant.


Identify this Plant Grown from a Seed Found in Palm Springs CA.

Ask The Expert: 

I have attached two pictures of the plant I would like to identify.  The seed or pit was picked up while walking in Palm Springs, CA.  We do not recall what type of plant it came from.  We planted it in a small pot, it sprouted quickly, but have no idea what to do with it next.  Can you help identify this please. Thank you LaVonne

plant-seed-plams springs plant-from-seed-Palm-springsAsk

Plant Expert Reply: I think it is some type of palm, but at this stage I can’t really tell. Maybe someone on the blog will be able to give us a more definitive id.

How to Tell the Difference Between an English Holly and an American Holly

Ask the Expert: “How can i tell the difference between American holly and English holly? The leaves appear the same” – Katrina S.

Plant expert Reply:

It is very difficult to tell American Hollies (Ilex opaca) from English Hollies (Ilex aquifolium). Every resource on hollies will tell you that English Hollies have glossier leaves. Well that is all well and good if you have them side by side, but glossy is a very subjective attribute. For example in the pictures above, I can’t really tell the difference in the glossiness of the leaves.  According to the American Horticulture Society, their leaf description is very similar.  English Holly leaf – Elliptic or ovate, glossy, dark green leaves with entire, wavy, spine-toothed, or spiney margins.  American Holly leaf – oblong-elliptic, spine-toothed or entire, leathery matte, dark green leaves.

Ilexopacacreated by Jane Shelby Richardson at Duke University

Ilex Opaca – American Holly

For me the best way to tell them apart is by the older leaves. The American holly leaves tend to have a dark appearance and a more matte finish. The new leaves will always have a glossy look similar to the English Hollies. I have to be honest, even with this little trick, I have missed the mark a few times.  The nice thing about these two types of hollies is that they can be used interchangeably.  So unless you are trying to match a replacement shrub you can use which ever one is available.

However, if you are trying to match existing shrubs, the best thing to do is take a small stem with leaves to your local garden center. With your sample they should be able to determine which type you have.


Ilex aquifolium – English Holly

Ilex opaca picture came from Wiki Commons user Dcrjsr ( Jane Shelby Richardson at Duke University)

Ilex aqufolium pitcure came from Wiki Commons user Quartl