Schefflera arboricola is an extremely variable specie!   Those who do good bonsai have the ability to see the differences in plants. At Fuku-Bonsai, we only propagate cuttings from superior plants.  We cull out weak plants and trees that have poor branching traits.  We prefer to grow from seeds as these tend to be stronger plants, and it is possible to create a lot of character within one inch of the soil level.  But one of the interesting things is that every so often a mutation occurs.   This one showed up over 30 years ago and while we were excited initially, we keep it to add variety to our collection but do not increase it for sale. 

           We call this Schefflera arboricola 'Aurea.' Sometimes when we prune it a certain way during certain seasons, all new growth comes us an attractive lemony yellow.  But not always.  In a few days it becomes more of a yellow green, the a streaky yellow and green, and later all green.  It's different and variations like this pop up every few years and although it has that "new yellow growth" trait, some are very weak, others grow spindly.  We've never gotten any that grow strongly enough so we don't offer it.

           This Dwarf Scheff tends to grow upright.  When branches are trained horizontal, they don't develop character.  Generally we grow at least one to add variety to our collection and to assure staff doesn't cull and throw it out, I usually place in on a nice rock or in a ceramic pot.  This tree is over 30 years old and if it wasn't different, it would have been thrown out a long time ago.

          RESTYLING THE OLD TREE.  Originally we tried to train it like a semi-cascade but eventually came to recognize it wanted to be an upright tree.  So the weak horizontal branches were removed,  some roots removed to better show off the interesting rock, and the root tilted more upright. 

          Like most of our trees we try to train this tree to be as attractive as possible from all sides.  The two photos below and on the left are from the front and back.  The two photos below and on the right are taken from the sides.  So there are at least four nice views. 

          Note that on old trees with exposed roots, the roots develop a very rough appearance.  We'll be introducing our other Dwarf Schefflera varieties and mutations in future issues.

***  Return to the October 2013 issue of Journal of Tropical and True Indoor Bonsai
***  Go to Mid-Pacific Bonsai Foundation website
***  Go to Fuku-Bonsai website
        Mid-Pacific Bonsai Foundation