Heptapleurum

Heptapleurum is a fast-growing tree-like plant with about ten leaflets radiating from each leaf-stalk. Its main advantage over its close relative Schefflera is that it will happily grow as a bush if the growing point of the main stem is removed. This plant grows quickly in any fairly good soil and it loves partial shade. It is originally from Australia.

They may be increased by seeds, air layering or cuttings. Air layering is useful for pot-grown plants that have become tall and spindly. Heptapleurum is quite easy if you provide winter warmth, good light and moist air. Leaf fall may occur if there is a sudden change in conditions – blackened tips indicate overwatering.

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Types

Stake Heptapleurum arboricola to produce a 6 ft unbranched tree. Named varieties are available – Hayata (greyish leaves), Geisha Girl (rounded leaf tips) and variegata (yellow-splashed leaves).

Plant Heptapleurum in a well-draining soil. Whether you want to keep the plant in an outdoor garden, container or indoors, make sure the soil is well-draining. Sand or loam can be incorporated several inches into the soil to increase drainage. Pinch the stems once a year when they begin growing out of the ground. This will help the plant become a fuller, denser shrub.

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Secrets of success

Temperature: Average warmth – minimum 60 °F in winter.

Light: Bright light, not direct sun. Heptapleurum can better tolerate too much shade than too much sun.

Water: Water liberally from spring to fall. Water when the soil becomes dry to the touch. Stick a finger 1 to 2 inches into the soil. If the soil is still moist, wait three to four days to check again. Water then to a depth of 1 to 2 inches. Water sparingly in winter.

Air humidity: Mist leaves frequently. Wash leaves occasionally.

Repotting: Repot in spring every year.

Propagation: Take stem cuttings or sow seeds in spring.

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