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Plant view from above

Side view, also shows rock decor on bottom

Can anyone identify this little tree/shrub/indoor plant? I got it from a neighbor who had it on her porch, among others, and it appears pretty healthy. It's in a 3" plastic pot, that rests in a faux rock holder.

I'm curious about the rock decor at the base of the plant. It's all glued together in one piece at the top of the plastic planter and is difficult to water, as the water sits on top of the rocks. I'd have to break it to remove. Should I remove the glued rocks? Or is this a kind of Plant that will continue to grow fine even though the rocks are against the base, and/or can it thrive with little water?

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This plant is commonly known as the Hawaiian Scheffelera or Schefflera arboricola. Although the species grows to 8 - 9 M (24 to 27 feet) tall this variety is variegated and when grown indoors usually stays in the 1 - 2 m ( 3 to 6 feet) range. It does not usually flower indoors and tends to have a finer root system than it's larger cousin the Umbrella tree or Schefflera actinophylla.

The rock decor is just a decorative element and should be removed for better plant care. You won't be able to tell how wet the soil is if you can't see it.

As it has a finer root system this plant does not do well with being totally dried out. Established specimens in 12 or 14" pots can go a few weeks between water with strong indirect light but your plant has a smaller pot so I recommend watering thoroughly when the top half inch of soil has dried out.

More light is always helpful and these plants will benefit from a strong southern exposure.

Pests include the usual mealy bug, scale and thrip and occasionally spider mite. Control with soap and water as described here is effective if three applications are used at five day intervals.

  • Would you recommend transferring to a new pot altogether? The link provided showed ppl bonsai-ing it, if I go that route still re-pot? – Christy B. Oct 4 '17 at 0:46
  • @ChristyB. this plant is sold to look like a bonsai but is not suitable as the leaves do not get smaller when dwarfed in a small pot. if you intend to keep it under a foot tall you will be disappointed. Better to repot into a 6" pot and try it as a houseplant – kevinsky Oct 4 '17 at 0:52
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    Kevinsky is so very correct, christy B. Get rid of that weird pot thing and rocks and transplant your plant in a fresh new pot (6" would be perfect no larger) with plain potting soil. Glued rocks? What next? Bonsai is supposed to use very fine textured plant material so that it looks like a massive tree on a mound far away. Look up all our question/answers on our site for how to transplant, what soil to use (do not use garden soil), how to fertilize, how to water...any problems just ask another question! – stormy Oct 4 '17 at 4:12
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    Thanks! I just love this online community, always willing to help! – Christy B. Oct 4 '17 at 4:14

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