Need help with abused schefflera

gardenfanatic(MO zone5b)September 9, 2013

I abused my schefflera. I'm a bad plant momma. I've been working and going to school, and forgot to water it for a few, or maybe several, months - it's in the back bedroom, out of sight, out of mind.

It's the type of schefflera that has a rounded, shrub-like growth pattern, rather than tall and skinny. It's (or rather was) a large plant, like 4-5 feet in diameter. I noticed last week it had dropped a lot of leaves, and the remaining green leaves were very droopy. I gave it about 1 1/2 gallons of water - that's typically how much water I give it at a time.

The droopy leaves haven't perked up since the watering. I'm hoping it's not too far gone. Should I try cutting it back, or would that make it permanently too short?

Any suggestions?


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mcgyvr2009i(Schenectady, NY 5b)

Keep watering it about every other day or whenever the soil is dry about 1 inch below the surface. If it's still alive, it might be happy again.

If it is able to recover, don't keep it out of sight or mind but keep it in the part of the house where you are in the most so you don't forget it again. If it does survive, you'll know to avoid the dry conditions again.

Good luck.
Keep an eye out for scale because it's such a pain to get rid of.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 11:07AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

So sorry that happened! I disagree that more water will help though. The parts that are still alive will recover from a normal amount of water, and then normal drying afterward. This first time, hopefully the plant is still alive and will absorb most of the water, so another drink quite soon may be in order. The soil has likely become so dry that it's hydrophobic also, so just rehydrating the soil could take a few applications of water.

But once hydration has been achieved to both plant and soil, if parts have died, water use should be slower than before if the plant is now smaller.

Knowing which leaves that can't recover should be apparent once some have plumped back up. Some have, right, they're not all still droopy?

Are you able to show a pic? From your description, I don't know what kind you have, there are many different Dracs, as it sounds like you know. If you are unable to add a pic, just typing 'dracaena' and a space into a search, should bring up the most popular ones - to compare to your plant.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 11:58AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Decent pictures will help others to guess how far gone your plant is.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 12:10PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

...and remember Scheff, not Drac - maybe. Waitress, more coffee! (Checking medication...)

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 12:31PM
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Wondering if a dry cleaner bag would fit over it to trap humidity for a bit?...that might help.

*switches Purp's meds back before she notices*

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 2:30PM
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eaksqueak(PA 6a)

I half murdered a small schefflera earlier this year. All the leaves that were shriveled eventually fell off. Now it looks like a stick with a bunch of leaves at the top. Supposedly these things can be air layered, but I've never tried. I just keep the plant around to mock me, apparently.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2013 at 4:57PM
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Hi Eaksqueak,..

Maybe you could do something like this with it...there's a scheff in there somewhere!

    Bookmark   September 10, 2013 at 1:55PM
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