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Mystery Houseplant

I have recently inherited a large houseplant (see below), a smaller version of which I had for several years up until last year when it finally died.  My small version had been unwell for a long time and I am quite worried about this big one as it is near some orchids that I believe have shore flies and thrips (I do not think the flies will bother it but uncertain on the thrips) and the leaves are looking a bit pasty and brownish at the bottom of the plant.  I would love to know what it's proper name is so that I can find out how to care for this plant and treat it better than I did it's predessesor. Also, if anyone could identify what the small one may have been afflicted with I would be very grateful: the small version had been ill for a long time, with dark brown necrosis appearing on the leaves, stems falling off, and a sticky residue over much of the foliage.  

Thank you for any help!!



  • meiowmeiow Posts: 51


    Not 100% certain but it looks similar to a varigated umbrella plant

  • jeffdjeffd Posts: 61

    It is a Variegated umbrella plant (schefflera).

  • Hello Baileyana,

    As meiow and jeffd say, it's a variegated umbrella plant (Schefflera arboricola). These are prone to scale insects, which cause the plants to be covered in a sticky film, whilst weakening them. Schefflera can also be attacked as you say by thrips, and mealybugs. Mealybugs can also cause leaf stickiness but you probably would have spotted them as you'd see the pale 'fluff'. It can be hard to spot scale insects as they can hide in crevices in the plants. After the danger of frost has passed, you can put your plant outside for the summer, that will help you to deal with these conservatory type pests. But have a look at the controls set out in the links above.

    Shore flies / fungus gnats are annoying and can leave faecal spots on your plants, but they won't cause harm. Try not to water too much, to reduce the wet conditions they favour.

    Good luck,

    Emma team

  • Thank you meiow, jeffd and Emma! My plant is now on its way to a better life.

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