Heptapleurum arboricola ‘Janine’

Family: Araliaceae

Countries: Asia, Hainan, Taiwan

Heptapleurum arboricola ‘Janine’ is one of the miniature, cultivated forms of Heptapleurum arboricola, which is also known as Schefflera arboricola ‘Janine’.  Heptapleurum arboricola is a mid to dark green leaved, evergreen shrub that originates from Taiwan and Hainan.  This cultivated form of Heptapleurum arboricola differs from the wild form, as this dwarf form features mid green coloured leaves that are decorated with a soft cream coloured variegation.  The plant’s small, finger-like, palmate leaves vary greatly in their colouring.  Some leaves are almost entirely cream coloured, a few leaves are green, but most leaves are a random blend of both cream and green.  This is not a garish variegation; Heptapleurum arboricola ‘Janine’ leaves display a lemon chiffon colouring, which is highlighted by the foliage’s glossy appearance.  Younger leaves have a brighter, shinier appearance, being a slightly limier green and lime white colour.  The leaves age and then fade to a darker mid green and clotted cream colouring.

On the whole, I find that variegated plants are not quite as robust and resilient as regular green leaved varieties.  Heptapleurum arboricola is famed as being an easy to grow houseplant that’s incredibly tolerant of neglect.  I suspect that Heptapleurum arboricola ‘Janine’ and any other variegated forms of Heptapleurum won’t be quite as tough as the wild species.  Variegated plants usually require a brighter location and more consistent, regular watering than green leaved plants; as variegated leaves do not contain as much chlorophyll as green leaves, so the plants do not receive as much sustenance from photosynthesis.  If you’re looking for the strongest form of Heptapleurum and you wish to purchase a plant that will be happy with very little care or will succeed in shadier conditions, I would recommend you order Heptapleurum arboricola.  

Heptapleurum arboricola ‘Janine’ is an adaptable plant that grows successfully in areas that enjoy indirect, bright light and partially shaded conditions.  Plant Heptapleurum arboricola ‘Janine’ in a container filled with peat free compost.  Water your plant when the compost becomes dry.  Heptapleurum arboricola ‘Janine’ doesn’t need daily misting or any specialist care.  These plants grow well in moderate conditions, they don’t need a humid environment to flourish.  Plants favour growing in drier growing conditions than many houseplants.  Heptapleurum arboricola ‘Janine’ plants don’t enjoy sitting in water – overwatering can lead to root rot or causes the plants to decline.

I’ve seen Heptapleurum arboricola ‘Janine’ described as a very dwarf plant that grows to a maximum of just 50cm (1.5ft) tall.  While others have told me that Heptapleurum arboricola ‘Janine’ grows to around 1.5m (5ft), or taller.  I’d assume that the first of these estimates is correct.  Certainly I can tell you that my Heptapleurum arboricola ‘Janine’ plants produce much smaller leaves than other Scheffleras; this looks to be a genuinely dwarf houseplant.  My plant is young, so it’s still very small in size.  To help you gain more of an idea of the scale, the Heptapleurum arboricola ‘Janine’ that you see pictured measures just 15-20cm (6-8inches) tall.  I am unsure as to how tall this Heptapleurum will grow – but I’ll be sure to update you on how my plant grows and develops.

Update: This Heptapleurum arboricola ‘Janine’ plant was a kind gift from one of my friends.  I’ve now given this plant to another friend, but I can tell you that this Heptapleurum did not noticeably increase in size during the two years that the plant was in my care.

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