General and Cultural Information

                OUR SPECIALTY SINCE 1962!   Brassaia actinophylla,  commonly known as Schefflera,  Octopus Tree, or Queensland Umbrella Tree, is the most popular and durable of all house plants.  We've duplicated what happens when a seed grows in a lava rock crevice.  By blending a proven house plant with an interesting piece of lava,  a unique decoration indoor planting results.  Brassaia is one of the oldest house plants and it's common because it's survived while others have come and gone.   It has survived in spite of neglect or poor environment. This tenacity to survive is major factor for our customer success!

BrassaiaSeeds.jpg (35534 bytes)           Brassaia seeds are part of attractive clusters of strung out on a 3' long stalk with several at the end of each branch.  In each cluster are hundreds of seeds and there are millions of seeds in this photo.  As the seeds mature, they turn purplish-black and when the birds start eating them, they're mature for harvest.  We process, germinate, and train the Brassaia seedlings.

                This plant seems to thrive on neglect! At the nursery, we have to train our staff not to overwater the Brassaia. We built a "bird perch" platform high above the plant benches and instructed our staff to watch the plant to see how long it could stand not being watered. After a week, new staffers got nervous. After two weeks, the plant continued to do well. About the third week leaves became droopy.

                After a full month without watering, very tiny vertical fissures could be seen on the trunk as the plant was drying out. The leaves were dull and dried out. So we soaked the plant overnight in water. A week or so later new leaves started coming out again! This exercise demonstrates unique Brassaia qualities. Pachira proved equally tough. But when we dried out Dwarf Schefflera, Dracaena, Phoenix and other plants that we once offered, the plants died and we could not revive them.

                We also did trials to learn what not to do. We kept Brassaia sitting in water and added water from time to time.  Some continued to grow well for over a year, but most died. Without a chance to air out, the roots rotted. Although the trunk looked normal, when you squeezed the trunk between two fingers, it was apparent that the trunks were soft and rotting. DO NOT OVERWATER BRASSAIA!

j.Tad74.jpg (44352 bytes)           We started shipping as a certified nursery to all parts of the United States in 1974. Our son Tad who was then four years old posed for the photo and it was a widely used promotional photo. The photo was copyrighted and we received many compliments about it. Tad is now into computers and working in California.

            Proper watering is the key.  Just soak it in water once a week for 30 minutes.  If a new leaf develops a tall long stem, it's usually a sign of too much watering.  Pinch off the first stem and water every 10 to 11 days.  Some customers report best compact growth in air conditioned offices when totally dip saturated every two weeks.  These are tough plants, but if you kill the roots by over-watering, the plants will die.

              Brassaia will easily adapt to the dry air of heated or air-conditioned interiors.    It can handle florescent office lighting levels and will remain compact if not overwatered.  Compared to all other plants that we grow,  Brassaia is the most forgiving and an ideal plant to give as a gift to a person who may forget to water from time to time.  But it's not a good choice for a person who tends to give "too much tender loving care" and is known to overwater plants.  Dwarf Schefflera or the other plants would be a better choice for them. 

                WATERING & HUMIDITY.  The best method is to totally saturate rock plantings under water for 30 minutes or so until all bubbles stop. Potted items should be placed in water slightly below the rim of the pot for 30 minutes or so to allow the water to enter through the bottom holes and for the entire root ball to be totally saturated. Allow the rock planting to drain. Brassaia rock plantings can sit on glass shelves, tabletops or in dishes. We offer them with saucer and gravel as they look nice. But keep the gravel dry for Brassaia. Brassaia will do well in the dry air-conditioned or heated interiors.


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Fuku-Bonsai     FUKUBONSAI.COM    March 2001