False Aralias (Schefflera elegantissima) are fantastic houseplants. With their slender, serrated, and umbrella-shaped foliage (hence the umbrella plant nickname), they bring elegance to the room. Aralias tend to be slow growers and versatile in their growing location and conditions. Younger Aralias perform great in smaller containers and add decorative appeal.
Once False Aralias have had time to mature, they do excellent in bigger containers and decorate large spaces nicely.
Keep reading to learn more about specific varieties of False Aralias.
We’ll also help you discover similar umbrella plants from the Schefflera genus that are also beautiful options for your houseplant collection.
Types of False Aralia (Schefflera elegantissima)
The False Aralia is by far one of the most popular species of umbrella plant. It is also commonly referred to as Plerandra elegantissima, or Dizygotheca elegantissima.
However, the most current scientific name is Schefflera elegantissima. It comes from the Araliaceae family of plants, which are known for their unique foliage.
False Aralias, also known as Spider Leaf Aralias or Threadleaf Aralias, are native to New Caledonia, an island off Australia’s eastern coast. If grown outdoors, they are happiest in USDA Hardiness zones 10 and 11.
However, if grown indoors and provided the proper care, False Aralias can be grown anywhere. Their versatility is what makes them such popular houseplants.
Below are three types of False Aralias. The care you provide these distinct varieties is very similar. However, they each have interesting and desirable qualities regarding the unique colors and shapes of foliage they possess.
1. S. elegantissima ‘Galaxy’
The ‘Galaxy’ False Aralia is remarkable because its leaves are not as finely divided as the other types of False Aralia. It is also known for its shinier and darker foliage.
Because of its unique foliage, we prefer the ‘Galaxy’ Aralia in smaller containers to be kept on tables or windowsills. This plant will thrive if you keep it in a location that gets filtered, indirect sunlight. It can even tolerate partial shade.
The ‘Galaxy’ False Aralia prefers rich, well-draining soil. Try to avoid overwatering this variety. Always check the soil with your finger to monitor moisture before adding more water to the soil.
2. S. elegantissima ‘Gold Crest’
The ‘Gold Crest’ False Aralia is another impressive variety of the elegantissima species. Unlike the ‘Galaxy’, the ‘Gold Crest’’s foliage is finely divided, much like a typical False Aralia. The leaves have serrated edges, almost like the blade of a hand saw. And along the fringes of the green leaves are spectacular accents of gold and yellow.
The ‘Gold Crest’ requires an average amount of water. ‘Average’ normally correlates to weekly waterings, depending on the season. In the hotter months, it may need more. On the other hand, the plant may not need as much water during the winter months.
Luckily, the ‘Gold Crest’, along with other varieties of False Aralias, do not require a routine fertilization routine. However, if you would like to speed up growth, we recommend using a diluted liquid fertilizer once a month during the growing months of the year. Hold off on fertilizing while the plant is not actively growing during the winter.
3. S. elegantissima ‘Olympia’
The ‘’Olympia’’ variety of Aralia is one of our favorites because of the exceptional color-changing quality of its leaves. Young ‘Olympia’ plants typically start off with a dark and dense green color. However, as they mature, they will eventually become flushed with hues of violet and red!
The color-changing of the ‘Olympia’ is related mainly to its sunlight exposure. Usually, the more sunlight your False Aralia gets, the better chance it has to begin presenting new colors. Over time, the greens, violets, and red will blend into an exceptional spectrum of color.
Like other Aralias, the ‘Olympia’ does best with lots of indirect sunlight and average watering. If you have your ‘Olympia’ Aralia in a small container, you can periodically bring it outside for a boost of sunlight. However, we also love this variety in larger containers that command a position near a big beautiful window.
Below, you will find out more about the Schefflera plant’s close relative (but different species). They look and act a bit different than False Aralias, but the similarities between the two are also obvious.
Keep reading to get the low down on the Dwarf Umbrella Tree, and to learn about the most beautiful (and therefore our favorite) varieties.
Types of Dwarf Umbrella Tree (Schefflera arboricola)
The S.arboricola is another great species, especially when it comes to indoor houseplants. The arboricola species is the dwarf variety, meaning that it typically grows much smaller than other species. We like this compact quality for indoor gardens where space might be limited.
The foliage of the Dwarf Umbrella Tree is similar to the False Aralia in that it fans outwards from the center, shaping umbrella-like fronds. They are also commonly described as hand-shaped. However, they do not possess the same serrated edges.
Instead, the leaves tend to be rounder, if not oval-shaped. The softer appearance of the Dwarf Umbrella Tree makes an attractive option as an indoor plant in your home or office space.
S. arboricola grows best in medium to bright, indirect sunlight. It likes moist soil, but like False Aralias, it can tolerate the occasional drought.
Ideally, the soil will have a slightly acidic or neutral pH level, somewhere between 6.1 and 7.5. This variety is ideal for living, dining, and family rooms. Folks also tend to enjoy this plant in their bedrooms because of its ability to filter and purify the surrounding air.
1. S. arboricola ‘Sun Burst’
The ‘Sun Burst’ arboricola is unlike any other umbrella plant or False Aralia. This dwarf variety is heavily variegated, meaning that it boasts a beautiful mixture of greens, yellows, gold, and creamy whites. Each tiny leaf is like a burst of color.
So if you’ve been meaning to bring an extra splash of color to one of your indoor spaces, this is the variety for you.
2. S. arboricola ‘Luseane Ivory’
As you might suspect, the ‘Luseane’ Ivory is known for its ivory and cream-colored foliage. The whites and light greens complement one another nicely. This variety is also notable because its foliage tends to twist and curl. The twisting foliage gives the plant an exciting dimension and aesthetic appeal.
3. S. arboricola ‘Gold Capella’
We love the ‘Gold Capella’ variety for its outstanding, variegated color scheme. The round, light, and dark green leaves boast streaks of golden-yellow. This variety of umbrella plants brightens any room, especially as a table centerpiece where it can soak up the indirect morning or afternoon sunlight.
False Aralias Are Fantastic Houseplants
We really love False Aralias as houseplants. Their unique, sawtooth foliage that forms elegant-looking little umbrellas is seriously unbeatable. The colors they can present are great also.
Plus, their slow-growing, low maintenance requirements make them a perfect plant for a home gardener who might not be a fan of routine pruning or who might miss the occasional watering.
Go ahead and check out your local nursery to see which varieties of False Aralias they have on display. Then, consult a nearby professional, along with this article, to pick out the variety of plant that fits you and your space the best. We’re sure you’ll love your new False Aralia plant.
*image by sharafmaksumov/depositphotos