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Gardening: Tough, shiny leaves like an umbrella.

PRIZED for its tough shiny foliage, which radiates from a central point like the spokes of an umbrella, Schefflera actinophylla is a rather elegant houseplant. It's easy to grow and loves being in a bright, sunny spot out of direct sunlight.

Water liberally from spring to autumn and sparingly in winter with regular misting of the leaves and it should be a happy plant.

It should eventually grow to 1.2 metres tall, but you'll need to repot in spring every other year to get the max from this grower.

It's not all good news, this plant can cause skin allergy and be toxic if swallowed by pets.

This plant, of Australian origin, belongs to the Araliaceae family. Schefflera is also known as Brassaia actinophylla.

While, a good-sized plant is considerably more handsome than the rather small specimen, the plant remains a manageable indoor shrub if kept in smaller pots.

The plants are slow growing, but improve every year. As the plant grows, they also produce larger leaves. The fiveto-seven or nine leaflets, of which each long-stalked leaf is composed of, are themselves elongated ovals each up to 20 to 24-cms-long and shiny olive green.

The large shiny leaves should be cleaned regularly with a damp sponge.

The growing tips can be punched out to make it branch and this will give a better size of plant for a limited space.


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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Apr 10, 2004
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