Schefflera Stressed?

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Schefflera Stressed?

Post  precariously_put on Wed Nov 28, 2012 2:17 am

I brought my schefflera root-over-rock (in training) in for the winter. Last Spring I potted it with roots wrapped around a rock approx 8 in. tall. The pot is a half-gallon plastic pot so I can progressively cut away the top of the pot and expose roots. All was fine through Summer, but now that it is inside under artificial light with day temps 70-75 and night temp around 65 and humidity 55-65%, I am only needing to water it every two weeks and am seeing quite a few leaves yellow and drop or just drop while still green. The soil is from a local nursery designed to provide more compost for tropicals. The schef is still growing, but my concern is that the soil is holding too much moisture and the plant is stressed from that, as seen by the infrequent need for water. My questions are: 1) is this a reasonable conclusion regarding moisture, 2) if so, should I repot to a better-draining soil now or wait until Spring, and 3) if I wait until Spring how should I proceed with watering for the winter to minimize stress?

precariously_put
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Re: Schefflera Stressed?

Post  0soyoung on Wed Nov 28, 2012 6:01 am

precariously_put wrote: I am only needing to water it every two weeks and am seeing quite a few leaves yellow and drop or just drop while still green. The soil is from a local nursery designed to provide more compost for tropicals. The schef is still growing, but my concern is that the soil is holding too much moisture and the plant is stressed from that, as seen by the infrequent need for water. My questions are: 1) is this a reasonable conclusion regarding moisture, 2) if so, should I repot to a better-draining soil now or wait until Spring, and 3) if I wait until Spring how should I proceed with watering for the winter to minimize stress?

Sounds like your roots have been water logged for some time now. In fact, at two weeks between waterings I wonder if it is really still alive, but you say it is still growing ....

Since it is just set in a plastic pot you should be able to sharply rap on the rim and have the pot fall away so you can see what is happening (in this circumstance you describe, I would cut the retention wires if it is wired in). In a healthly situation virtually all the soil should stay intact in the shape of the pot. And, in a healthy situation you can put it right back in the pot knowing all is well (in other words, you can do this most any time).

My bet is that you will find a lot of your soil sopping wet and still in the pot. If it feels like clay (squishy and sticky) your soil has broken down and will need to be replaced. Otherwise you need to figure out how you are going to dry it out so that it is moist and not saturated. Roots must have oxygen. Submerging them or suffocating them in dense clay 'soil' will always cause the symptoms you descibe. But, it might be something else.

So take a look and act on what you find.

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