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Caring For A Plant After The Funeral

Ask the Expert: What do I do to save my Schefflera? My schefflera is dying, I got it at my mother’s funeral in January, It’s done great until this week. I lifted up the inside pot to reveal, 3 inches of standing water, and something that I think is root rot? It’s leaves are all drooping. Can I save it? what should I do? I’ve been trying to drain the water off, and get the soil to dry, but it hasn’t yet. Any help is greatly appreciated. April
Plant Expert Reply:
Although you’ve had your plant for a few months, I suspect it is a result of a common problem that occurs with most funeral plants. Florist usually wrap funeral plants with a colorful water proof page and attach a bow. Why? because it makes a prettier presentation. This water proof paper doesn’t allow water to escape which for a funeral home vistition this is great. However, not so good for the plant in the long run. When you receive a plant from a funeral service remove the decorative wrapping. This will allow the plant to drain off excess water. Check the plant. Does it need to be repotted? If so, repot the plant.

In your case, your Schefflera was not able to drain excess water from the roots. Remove any wrapping that was around the plant or outer pot. Check the root and snip off any rotted roots and you might want to repot the plant. Dampen the soil so that it is moist but not soggy. Then give the plant sometime to recover. Be sure to keep the soil evenly moist. It might take a while but the plant should recover. Good Luck and keep me posted.

Your Plant Clipping Is A Schefflera



Ask the Expert: I would like to know what kind of plant this is. this clipping was given to me and I’m not sure how to care for it or ever what kind of plant it is.  Jimmy


What you have is a Schefflera actinophylla (sny Brassaia actinophylla).  This plant has many common names: octopus tree, Australian ivy plam, Queensland umbrella, umbrella plant.

It makes a good houseplant.  This plant can become quite large and may out-grow the typical home environment.  However, this Schefflera won’t reach extreme heights fro some time.  In the mean time, it will make a nice addition to your home.  It will need a room with lots of light and the soil will need to be kept moist to the touch. You might want to read our Caring For Schefflera page (the plant care will be towards the bottom of the page).

Good luck with your new plant and keep me posted.

Why Is My Schefflera Losing Leaves

Ask the Expert: re ny brassia actinophylla
have had indoors for the winter season and it has nearly lost all its leaves. what am i doing wrong. do not want to loose this lovely plant . have had almost five years. help me. Debbie


Let’s examine the reasons that a green schefflera (Brassia actinophylla) loses leaves.

Extreme temperature changes. If the plant is used to one temperature an there is a sudden shift in temperature, it will lose its leaves. Is the plant in the path of an air vent? If so, move it where it will stay warm but not exposed to hot or cold air.

Insufficient light. If the plant isn’t getting enough light the leaves will turn yellow and drop off. Make sure the plant is in bright light. However, directly in front of a window can cause a burning issue with the leaves.

Water issues. If the plant is too wet or too dry the leaves will drop off. Does the soil feel dry or have you let it get dry? If this is the case, water the plant and make sure you keep it moderately moist. If it is too wet, make should it has proper drainage and don’t water till it is slightly dry.

Pathogens. If the plant has an issue with insects the leaves could drop off. Check the fallen leaves for signs of insects or sticky substances. You might need a magnifying glass to see the insects. If this is the problem you will need an insecticide.

Once you determine what is wrong, you can easily correct it. I have seen these plants drop all of their leaves and make a full recovery. The most important thing is to watch for new growth. If the plant is forming new growth, you should be ok.

We have a plant care page for Schefflera. It might have some information that will be helpful. You will have to scroll down the page to see the care information.

Good luck and please keep me posted.

10 Houseplants Poisonous To Dogs, Cats, or Children

Ask the Expert: what are the names of plants and flowers that are poisonous.
I work as a floral designer and I am asked all the time what plants and flowers are poison to animals and humans. Kelly



First I want to clarify the difference between “poisonous as in deadly” and “poisonous as an irritant”. Many plants listed as poisonous are not deadly or really toxic, but rather cause an irritation to the mouth, stomach, skin or respiratory system. Why is this important? Because the classification of plants being poisonous is matter of interpretation and myths. For example, poinsettias are considered poisonous which is not all together true. There is no documented case where someone has died from ingesting a poinsettia. Secondly, the amount one a would have to ingest in order to accumulate the toxin level for death would be immense. However, poinsettias can cause great irritation to the skin or mouth.

When we discuss poisonous houseplants, we should take the approach that the American Animal Hospital Association takes on its Healthypet.com site with regards to its guide to toxic plants and foods. They state, “If you have these plants or foods, you need not dispose of them-just keep them away from pets and children.” Of course, plants that are deadly may not need to be in the home of small children or young pets. However, plants that can cause irritation or stomach upset may only need to be placed somewhere pets and children can’t reach them.

Here is a quick top 10 guide to plant toxicity for florists (note there may be plants that are carried by florists that are not listed. In these cases you will have to research that specific plant or email me and I will find out and add it to the list).

Houseplants with High Poison Plant Classification

Dwarf Schefflera

Dwarf Schefflera

Green Schefflera

Green Schefflera

Variegated Dwf Schefflera

Variegated Dwf Schefflera

Dumb Cane

Dumb Cane





Heartleaf Philodendron

Heartleaf Philodendron

Tree Philodendron

Tree Philodendron

Red Princess Phildendron

Red Princess Phildendron



According to many sources these ten houseplants are highly toxic to dogs, cats or children. The toxicity resides in ingesting the plants. So it is important to keep these away from dogs, cats or children who might chew on them. They are all wonderful plants and should not be excluded from our lives as long as we keep them under appropriate supervision.

Flowers that are considered highly poisonous are: Foxglove (Digitalis), Amaryllis bulb, Bleeding heart, Lily-of-the-valley, Delphinium, Larkspur, Monkshood, Anthurium, lilies and Calla lily. Many times with flowers it is the bulb from which they come that is toxic if eaten by a dog or a cat.

There are other houseplants and flowers that are considered a mild or moderate risk. Although not a complete list by any means, this is a short break down of plants or flowers that cause a mild or moderate irritation or toxicity in dogs, cats or children:

Peace lily, Chinese evergreen, Benjamin fig, Corn Plant, Dracaenas, Nephthytis, rubber plant, Pothos,
English Ivy, Mother-in-law tongue, Azlaea, Croton, Easter Lily, Hyacinth, Daffodils, Chrysanthemum, Bird of Paradise, iris, lupine.

You can find more information on the Healthypet.com prevent poisonings page or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Page.

Hopefully this information will help you and your customers select the appropriate houseplants and flowers for their specific situation.

I have had many of these plants and flowers in my home. Fortunately for me my puppies found that these plants were not interesting and did not taste good. I don’t worry about having “poisonous” plants in my home or yard. I do make a mental note of plants that can be harmful in case my vet needs to know my dogs have been exposed to.

Click on the button below to find the right house plant for your home. Flowering house plants keep us smiling and cheery; green house plants ease our minds and provide comfort, while tropical house plants make us feel composed and sophisticated.

If you don’t see a particular plant on the lists above. Contact me for a more comprehensive list.

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Shuffle To Your Local Florist For Schefflera

Shuffle Toward Scheffleras

Shuffle Toward Scheffleras

Actinophylla to arboricola, Schefflera plants have long been among the favorites in the houseplant world. They’re popular, easy to care for, and show a lot of love in return.

January is the month when the Christmas tree comes down (for most people) and that empty feeling begins to set in. It’s not empty because of the passing of the holiday or anything like that. It’s that longing need to fill the space where the tree stood with a natural substitute that has more staying power. To keep those non-holiday blues away, I fully recommend schefflera plants.

Silliness aside, schefflera houseplants are very cozy and inviting additions to any room. Caring for schefflera houseplants is rather simple for those who have had houseplants before. Beginners shouldn’t be scared. A little t.l.c. goes a long way with this plant. Need a little more information about schefflera before stopping by your local flower shop? Flower Shop Network has the schefflera plant care information that you want along with plant care information for many other popular houseplants.

One thing to note about schefflera plants is that they tend to require a lot of light to become vibrantly green. If you live in an area with very gray winters, try keeping your plant in rooms with a lot of light though not very near the source as the heat can be damaging. With all of the post-holiday parties to come, light and sound will invariably make it to your schefflera. The tree may be down but the natural beauty of indoor plants lives on!

How Green Schefflera Houseplants Beautify Your World

I get lazy around the holidays and very much enjoy the chance to relax with my family and friends. This is probably the biggest reason why I chose to highlight the Green Schefflera plant this month. Schefflera plants (Schefflera actinophylla or Brassia actinophylla) are easy to care for and easy to love. Ask almost anyone and you’ll hear the same resounding praises about buying Schefflera houseplants for beginners or sending Schefflera as gifts.

The world is such a green place to live right now with a rise in eco-friendly activism. Certain members of my family have bounced onto the environmentally friendly bandwagon. It’s very hard to shop for someone who is so particular. The great thing about houseplants is that you cannot find a more green gift—literally! Beginners or seasoned houseplant experts love Green Schefflera plants and can always find fun new ways to decorate their homes with the wonderful houseplant.

Though I prefer a different kind of green gift, there is one thing that strikes my fancy about my Schefflera plants. They flourish in my home with little effort from me. I’ll put that in a way that deserves more fanfare. Green Schefflera plant care is simple enough for everyone. Schefflera plants require only very basic attention. Water occasionally, make sure it receives adequate light, repot in the spring and you’re done!

Green Schefflera plants add an unparalleled ambiance to any room. Going to work is just a bit more fun when you are able to look forward to gazing at Schefflera plant all day. The rich green color of Schefflera houseplants adds pep to boring rainy days. It’s almost a certainty that whatever your mood, Schefflera plants make it better. Easy care and a more fulfilling environment. What more can you want from a houseplant?

Green Schefflera Houseplant Green Schefflera plants make great gift ideas!

Leaves Are Falling Off My Schefflera – Help!

Ask the Expert: why do the leaves keep falling off of my scheffera
schefflera keeps loosing it leaves, i water it about twice a week – Sue

Do you love the idea of having plants in your house but don’t have much time to take care of them?

There are many low-maintenance plants that are easy to grow! Click the button below to order a plant that is easy to care for!

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Why Does My Schefflera Have Curling Leaves?

Ask the Expert: Schefflera leaf curling
We have a large, old schefflera. It is so tall we have to cut the tops off. It site in front of a small, high round window. My problem is that the top leaves are curling, not just the tip but the whole leaf. Then  they die. Some of the leaves have little holes that look as if they may have been eaten by bugs.

Low light level variegated plants – Dracaena, Pothos, Aglaonmea, Schefflera

Ask the Expert:

Which dracaena can take low light(opposite of south east window approximatly 14 feet). I would like something varigated. Please advize as to which dracaena or any other varigated plant.

Thanks, Susi Stein Omaha

There are few plants that you can use in this situation. You could use a type of variegated Schefflera arboricola. If you want a variegated Dracaena that works well use my favorite the Warneckii goldstar. Another great low light plant that is easy to grow is the Golden pothos seen here . Pothos is also a great trailing plant for baskets. The Aglaonema ‘Silver Bay’ is a fairly easy to grow low light plant that has broad leaves and a silvery variegation. Any one of the above plants should work for you.

Warneckii Goldstar - from the Dracaena Family Dracaena – Warneckii Goldstar

Golden Pothos (Picture provided by Bernecker's Nursery) Golden Pohtos

Aglaonmea Silver Bay (Photo from Bernecker's Nursery) Aglaonema ‘Silver Bay’

Thanks to Bernecker’s Nursery for the Photos.


Identify Plant Received At Funeral?

David asks:



Jamie’s Reply:

You have a Schefflera arboricola. This plant doesn’t like temperatures under 59 degrees, so I would recommend using it as a house plant. Schefflera have moderate to low light requirements and enjoy temperatures ranging from 59 to 70 degrees. If plants are kept too cold leaves will drop off. Keep plant lightly moist. From April thru August, feed with a water soluble fertilizer every two weeks. Insufficient fertilizing will cause stunted growth and pale leaves. To keep it shapely prune to encourage branching. Plants needed to be repotted about every two years or if pot size is inappropriate for plant size. Watch for spider mites (the prime pests for Schefflera — they thrive in very warm conditions). Although spider mites can only be seen with a magnifying glass, your plant will exhibit leaf discoloration and other symptoms to alert you. Don’t be alarmed if your plant is stressed for the next few weeks. Your Schefflera will go thru transplant stock from it’s traveling. Follow the above guideline and it will be fine. I hope this helps. If you need any other information please contact me. Flower Shop Network has an article on houseplants that might give you some more information: go to House Plants For Interiors.