Can you help me identify this oak-leaf houseplant?

ellessebeeFebruary 23, 2013

I inherited this plant when my mother died. My husband says it's a schefflera and has been watering it as if it were. It is not doing well - really drooping and yellowing, leaves falling off, trunk has rotted in places. My husband is very light with the water in general and even though he might give it a drink once or twice a week it never gets overwatered. I'm thinking it's not a schefflera and needs different treatment. Any thoughts? See photos below. Thanks.

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Posting some more photos of the poor sick plant.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2013 at 1:53PM
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And another picture

    Bookmark   February 23, 2013 at 1:54PM
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One more photo of the trunk. I'd be happy to post other photos if they would help identify the plant and offer a strategy to revive it. i'd hate to see this die, too.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2013 at 1:56PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Sorry to hear about your Mom. Are you sure she was cultivating this plant on purpose? It looks like a Mulberry tree.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2013 at 5:56PM
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I'm not sure what it is (I agree with Purple in the aspect that it looks like a tree), but it's definitely not a Schefflera. Sorry I can't be of more help than that.


    Bookmark   February 23, 2013 at 6:04PM
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My guess is Hibiscus. If it IS a Hibiscus, I've never considered them good indoor plants personally. I've attempted before and they seem to bring a multitude of problems. Around here most people cut them back in the fall and put them in a cool room with no light all winter and bring them out in spring. I believe they also like cool conditions in winter and as much light as you can give it...if your trying to keep them growing all winter! Make sure it's not near a vent! I'm not sure what real action to take now...keep it growing, cut it back, or place out of light and ignore it a couple months and make it go dormant??????? I hope someone will chime in here with better advice!


    Bookmark   February 23, 2013 at 7:42PM
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Kyle....Sorry to hear about your Mom too and I wish I could help with the I.D.

I will tell you that if you can nurse it back to health, it will be a beauty.


    Bookmark   February 23, 2013 at 8:26PM
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buyorsell888(Zone 8 Portland OR)

Not a schefflera. I'm sorry but it looks already dead to me. Not sure there is much hope. It does look like a hibiscus leaf.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2013 at 9:46PM
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Thanks for the suggestions. I do think I recall my mother saying she had a hibiscus so I am going to follow that hypothesis for a while and see what happens. I have a variegated leaf hibiscus myself and it is doing well as long as I keep it nicely watered. I will try putting this one near it for a while and see what happens. i also put it in a very slightly larger pot with more soil since so much had washed out over the years. What is odd to me is that this droopy leaf happened practically overnight. There are several branches with new baby growth on the tips and the leaves were perky until a day or so ago. So something must have happened recently to cause such sudden shock-like condition. I will give it lots of love and attention over the next few weeks and see what happens. Will report back - hopefully with photos of successful recovery. Thanks again.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2013 at 11:25PM
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Abutilon something Thinking pictum or something in Abutilon type Difficult exact cultivar by the pics.
Abutilon info it's S.American including areas of Brazil and inward as a tree or shrub.

Ablution flowers are usually small and imitate familiar objects Example: Pictums flowers can look like a small bell or a small hibiscus with fewer pedals. Most all Abutilon have fun to look at easy to distinguish flowers.
Example two: megapotamicum flower pedals look like a small Chinese lantern hanging downward with a stamen looking like a string hanging from it's middle.

I think what happened is: It did get dry enough for watering but you may of watered it to heavily to fast. For future introduce it to watering more slowly VS flushing or watering and then work watering toward flush watering during more prime growing times..
In Pic
It's wet, very wet....Insert a wick to help dry it out from the inside, lift pot up and out of the drip dish/ tray keep it elevated on something to allow warm room temp air assist in drying the inner potting soil as well.

You my want to stake it for more upward growth in a day or two let the branch lean on the stake for a slower lift upward it's to soft for wire support or shape

    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 1:19AM
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Abutilon is a real possibility. It does look like a mulberry to me, too, especially with the bark on that trunk. But if it's a hibiscus relative, abutilon would be a good possibility. I think it's getting too much water.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 8:21AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Elle's Note To Self: never believe husband's advice about plants ever again.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 8:24AM
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Hello again! I wanted to get back to you all about a month after my original post with an update and another question about this plant. I do believe it is a hibiscus although it has never flowered in my care (5 years). As you may recall and see from the photos I submitted in February, it seem to be on its way out. I was distraught about this since it had been my mother's and in a way some of you may understand, I felt like I was letting her down by letting it die - and perhaps even causing its demise. So I set to work, following the suggestions given by you kind and knowledgeable folks. Here's what I did. I removed it from its pot and found a relatively small tangle of roots in rather wet soil. Now this was the same pot and soil it had been in at my mother's where it flourished. I was surprised that the root mass was not larger - it did not fill the pot, and I was surprised that it was so wet because there was plenty of drainage. Nonetheless, I removed most of the soil and repotted it in fresh, dry potting mix. It's actually a succulent mix because that's what i had. I hoped it would allow good drainage to keep the roots happy as I had been told that they don't like to be in cold wet soil. I also drilled extra holes in the pot and raised it up out of the saucer using several chopsticks so it would never sit in water. I gave it a small amount of water just to moisten the new surface but hoped the dry soil around the roots would wick away excess moisture. I also moved it closer to a heat source, right in front of a SW facing window. Of course I checked on it daily and after about a week stuck my finger in to see if the soil was still damp underneath. It was. So using a chopstick I poked around trying to gently churn it up a little. I figured it couldn't get any worse than it was. I was willing to experiment. Now, almost a month later, here are some photos. You'll see most of the leaves are completely dried up and many have fallen off. But there is one branch that still seems viable and I do believe I've even seen some new growth. The other day I noticed a small black flying insect flitting on the soil surface. I got out my insecticidal soap and sprayed the leaves and the soil surface. I don't know if it was a fruit fly from my compost bucket or something else but the plant hasn't gotten any worse. Now I am wondering if I should fertilize/feed it and if so, with what. Again, all opinions welcome - you guys really helped me out! Thanks.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 3:52PM
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Some more photos - I don't know how to add them all together.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 3:55PM
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another photo of possible new growth!

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 3:57PM
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Another new shoot?

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 3:58PM
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Defiantly not any type of Abutilon for what you had on hand nice recovery
Personally I would of used a faster draining mixing course grits in the soil, most Hibiscus like there soil on the dryer side.
In an unknown zone like yours at 50 temps and higher it could be grown out side in partial shade to full sun, if you opt to do this it will need a inside to out side transition time.

Inside is good for a hibiscus for off zone winter months storage, if grown indoors all the time hibiscus might not ever flower for you with out the climatic heat of a nice basking mid to late summer sun.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 12:02PM
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