Light and Temperature
A dwarf schefflera does best when it receives medium to bright sunlight. Typically, a spot within 10 feet of an east-, south- or west-facing window is acceptable while a position within 4 feet of such a window is ideal. The ideal temperature range for the plant is 65 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Hot or cold air drafts can damage the plant, however; keep it away from open windows, air conditioners, exterior doors, heat vents and other drafty areas. Cold temperatures force the plant to develop an overall pale or yellowish appearance.
Water and Fertilizer
Water the dwarf schefflera deeply whenever its soil about 1/2 inch below the soil surface feels dry to your touch. The water used should not be softened water. Supply water to the plant slowly and evenly over the soil surface, stopping only when water begins to exit the plant container’s drainage holes. Fertilize the dwarf schefflera with a water-soluble or slow-release fertilizer labeled for use for houseplants. If the plant grows in bright light, then it needs fertilizer every two months. If it receives medium light, it needs fertilizer every three months.
An excessive amount of fertilizer can burn the plant’s roots, give new foliage brown leaf margins or make leaves become dark green, soft and floppy. Tall, pale and thin growth often indicates the plant has an insufficient amount of available nutrients.
Container and Soil
A dwarf schefflera performs best in well-drained, sandy potting soil and suffers in water-logged soil. Its container must offer ample drainage holes. A dish or tray placed under the container is effective in catching excess water exiting the holes. When a dwarf schefflera’s roots grow out of its container’s drainage holes or above the soil surface and the soil dries out quickly after watering, then the plant is crowded in its current container. Such a plant benefits from being repotted in a new container that is about 2 inches larger in diameter than its current container.
Pruning and Other Maintenance
Pinching back, or removing, dwarf schefflera stems just above a leaf, especially in parts of the plant that look spindly, gives the plant a denser appearance. It is also possible to cut back or pinch off leaves and stems selectively and gradually over several years to shape a dwarf schefflera into a small tree. Cut or pinch off all damaged, diseased and/or dead leaves, or larger portions of the plant, as soon as you notice they have a problem.
Dust accumulates on an indoor schefflera’s leaves, making the foliage less attractive than normal and interfering with the plant’s photosynthesis. A soft brush or moistened cloth can be used to remove the dust. An alternative, if the dwarf schefflera is small enough to move easily, is to put the plant in a shower stall or outdoors and gently spray it with warm, but not hot, water.