Cheflera (Scheflera)

The cheflera is an evergreen shrub

Image - Wikimedia / Alejandro Bayer Tamayo

Most species of chef They are shrubs and not trees. Although this is a website called Todo Árboles, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to also talk about them, the bushes. And it is that in a garden, it is always interesting to put some. For example, a scheflera can look spectacular, since it can also be pruned to give it the shape of a little tree.

So let's get to know them better. Next I am going to tell you what are the types of cheflera that can be obtained in any nursery or store, and what care must be given to them.

What is the origin and characteristics of the cheflera?

It is a genus of plants native to India, East Asia, and New Zealand.. They are, as I said at the beginning of the article, trees or shrubs that have dark green leaves made up of several lanceolate-shaped leaflets.

It produces flowers only when it reaches adulthood. And these are green. For this reason, they go unnoticed at first, and it's not until you hear the buzz of the bees that you realize that, yes, it's blooming.

What types of Schefflera are there?

It is believed that there are more than 600 different species, but the ones we know best are only two:

Schefflera actinophylla

The cheflera is an evergreen plant

Image - Wikimedia / Forest and Kim Starr

La Schefflera actinophylla It is a species of evergreen tree native to Australia., where it grows in tropical rainforests. It reaches a height of 15 meters, and produces green compound leaves. Its flowers appear in summer, and can last several weeks. Since it is very sensitive to cold, it is recommended to grow indoors in the winter months if frost occurs.

Schefflera arboricola

The cheflera can grow as a shrub

Image - Wikimedia / David J. Stang

La Schefflera arboricola It is an evergreen shrub that reaches a height of about 5-6 meters.. The leaves are similar to those of the previous species. However, many cultivars have been obtained that have them green and yellow, or green and white. It blooms in summer, and its flowers are gathered in terminal inflorescences. From my own experience, I can affirm that it resists drought very well, as well as mild frost.

How to care for a Schefflera plant?

I would go so far as to say that the cheflera is one of the easiest plants to care for of all those that can be obtained in a nursery. But it is important that your needs are taken into account so that everything goes well:

Where to put it: indoors or outdoors?

The cheflera is a tree or shrub that needs a lot of light, even direct sun. For this reason, it is only recommended to leave it indoors during the winter, and as long as the temperatures are too low for it. Even so, if you have a greenhouse it will be preferable to have it inside protected than at home, unless the mercury of the thermometer that you have inside the aforementioned drops below 10ºC.

But in any case, if you have no choice but to have it at home, put it in the brightest corner you have, where there is more light. Of course, it is also important that you do not expose it to air currents, otherwise it would suffer a lot.

How many times does the cheflera water?

It will depend on the season of the year, and where it is growing. A) Yes, If it is in the garden and it is summer, for example, we will water it more frequently than if it is winter and/or if it were indoors. Likewise, a cheflera in a pot will also have to be watered more than one that is growing in the ground.

Always keep in mind that it will be better to let the plant get a little thirsty, rather than water it too much. and let its roots rot. Therefore, in case you have doubts, take a wooden stick and insert it into the ground to see if it is dry or not, and if it is, then water.

What type of soil do you need?

The ideal soil for the Schefflera is one that has very good drainage. It can be clayey, but not too compact. It is preferable to make a large hole and mix it with perlite if the soil is very heavy and the water drains poorly.

In the case of wanting to have it in a pot, it will be put universal cultivation substrate, such as this.

When are chefleras pruned?

The cheflera is an evergreen plant

Pruning will be done in spring, when the thermometer begins to mark 15-18ºC and there are no more frosts. You have to use a hand saw for branches that are more than a centimeter thick, and anvil pruning shears for the thinnest and most tender ones.

Then, we will proceed to clean the crown, eliminating those branches that are dry or broken. And then, and as long as our specimen measures at least 1 meter in height, we can cut those that are growing on the trunk if we want it to have the shape of a little tree.

How do they multiply?

It can be done by seeds, or by cuttings that will be planted or obtained in spring. The first ones have to be placed in pots, in a sunny place; and the cuttings will also be planted in a container, but we will put this in semi-shade.

If everything goes well, we will see that the first seeds to germinate do so after two to four weeks, and the cuttings sprout after about 15 days.

What is your opinion of chefleras? You like them?

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