I really don’t want to kill this houseplant again!

Hi Judy,
Thanks so much for this service. I have the type of plant pictured below for a second time, I killed the first one. I had this plant outside in direct sunlight and it was doing fine until recently. The leaves started to wilt so I moved it inside to indirect sunlight because I thought it was overheating or drying out. The leaves continue to wilt and are falling off. I’m not sure if I’m watering it too much (once every week or two) or too little. I’m hoping you can help me salvage this plant before it dies completely!


Hi Laura,



Dark green. saw toothed False Aralia (Schefflera-elegantissima)

False Aralia

Your plant looks like a False Aralia (Schefflera elegantissima). See the picture above. False Aralia houseplants like to stay in one place. Moving a False Aralia to a new location probably caused the leaves to drop. Low humidity is another cause of leaf drop as is temperatures below 60 degrees. You may want to set the plant on a tray of wet pebbles (be sure the plant is sitting on the pebbles and not in the water) or place a small humidifier next to it to increase the humidity. Here are some plant care tips for a False Aralia houseplant.

Light: Place a False Aralia Plant in bright indirect lightVery few houseplants should be placed in direct sun. High light refers only to bright indirect light since direct sun often burns the leaves of indoor houseplants. An area that is too hot and dry encourages Spider Mites and causes blooms to quickly fade. A northern exposure really doesn't provide enough light for high light plants. These plants need to be placed directly in front of an east-facing window, within 1-3 feet of a west-facing window, and within 5 ft. of a south facing window. A high light area has over 300 ft. candles of light., never direct sun

Humidity: Moderate to high humidity is important for a False Aralia.

Water: Water a False Aralia well, until the water comes out the drip holes in the bottom of the pot. Allow the top 1″-2″ of soil to dry out before watering again. Wilted leaves usually mean the plant is over-watered.

Temperature: False Aralias like warm temperatures between 65-85°F, 18-29°C. If the temperature dips below 60 degrees, a False Aralia may lose leaves.

fertilizerPlants need fertilizer only when they are actively growing. Slow growing plants in low light require very little plant food. Too much fertilizer is worse than not enough. Most plants prefer a water soluble plant food at 1/2 the recommended strength. Plants that are in bloom or dormant should not be fertilized. Houseplant food contains nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). A fertilizer containing these elements in equal proportion is considered a balanced plant food. Nitrogen helps in photosynthesis and encourages the growth of leaves and stems. Potassium and phosphorus also help in photosynthesis and aid in root and flower development. Most fertilizers have trace elements of other minerals that are lacking in the soil but are necessary for good plant growth. Fertilizers have a high salt content. If a plant is not producing new leaves and doesn’t absorb the fertilizer, salts build up in the soil. These salts can burn the roots, discolor the leaves, and cause new growth to be small.: Feed a False Aralia every 2 weeks in the spring and summer when it is actively growing with a well balanced liquid plant food. Feed an Aralia monthly in the fall and winter. Always dilute the plant food to 1/2 the recommended strength.