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We got this plant from someone else a year ago. It was doing fine until 3-4 months ago, when some branches just died (turned black).

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It's winter now, but we keep about 19-20°C (66-68°F) inside. Sunlight is limited though at 58 degrees North latitude.

We've tried to give it more water, less water and fertilizer. It just seems to get worse.

What's the best way to treat this plant?

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This a schefflera arboricola sometimes known as a Hawaiian Schefflera although it is native to Taiwan. Flowers are insignificant and rare when grown indoors. It is tropical and I suspect it has root rot due to cool temperatures, too much water and low light levels.

Cut the stem back hard to six to eight inches above the ground, reduce water to a minimum and increase light levels. This plant buds out readily from old wood if there are enough roots to provide nutrients.

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Scheflara is a tropical plant so it expects to get a fair amount of light and moist air. I like to spritz my tropical plants rather than pour water in the pot. Position in a southern or eastern window (you don't want it baked in the afternoons though). If you haven't already, transplant with slightly sandier soil, possibly a bigger pot so the roots can move around. The fertilizer you're using might have too much nitrogen for your jungle native and could be burning the roots so nutrients aren't getting to the leaves. And make sure the pot has good drainage. Good luck. My mom has had her scheflara for 30+ years and it takes up half the dining room now!

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