The very elegant Dizygotheca, often also called the most elegant schefflera or elegant aralia, is in nature a large shrub, or small tree, evergreen, originating in Australia and the neighboring islands. In nature it reaches a few meters in height, while in a container it is kept within 150-200 cm of height, also having a rather slow growth. It has an erect habit, with a slightly rounded crown; the stems are flexible but erect, of green color, often spotted; the leaves are palmate, compound, consisting of 7-10 elongated leaves, similar to fingers, with a lobed margin. Cultivated in pot, it generally does not bloom, but this plant is very successful due to the color of its leaves, which are greenish-brown, very dark, almost black.
The Dizygotheca is grown in a partially shaded place, away from direct sunlight but allowing a good brightness, an essential factor for the good growth of Aralia; during the warm seasons it can be taken outdoors, but with the arrival of autumn it should be placed indoors, at a minimum temperature close to 18 ° C. They are not plants of easy cultivation because they require places that have a constant temperature, without particular climatic changes, the ideal would be around 25 ° C and never less than 18 ° C.
From March to October water regularly, taking care to let the soil dry slightly between one watering and another; in winter water sporadically, periodically wetting the substrate. Throughout the year it is advisable to vaporize the leaves with demineralized water, to increase the environmental humidity. Remember to use, for the nebulisations, water at room temperature and not cold, because Dizygotheca could be affected by the thermal shock.
Dizygotheca prefers rich, peaty, slightly acid soils; you can prepare an ideal substrate by mixing good universal soil with little sphagnum peat and shredded bark. These plants do not grow very quickly, so they can stay in the same container for a few years, without needing repotting. It is good to replace the vase when you notice that the plant has reached such dimensions that the roots need more space.
For the multiplication of Aralia, in spring, it is possible to practice cuttings, taking them from the branches of the previous year; to better take root cuttings it is good to cut the leaves at the base and to halve those in the upper part of the branch. The cuttings are then placed in a mixture of peat and sand and sheltered in a humid place with a temperature of about 20 ° C.
When the new shoots appear, the cuttings should be placed in a new container to allow their best development.
Aralia elegant - Dizygotheca elegantissima: Pests and diseases
Aralia plants are often attacked by cochineal; their presence leads to notice dark spots on the underside of the leaves. If the attack is limited, it is possible to intervene manually eliminating the parasites with a wad and alcohol. Another method is to wash the affected leaves with water and neutral soap, then rinse carefully.
Otherwise, on the market, there are numerous specific pesticide products that will be vaporized on the affected specimens.