Here is a picture of a house plant I have had for about 20 years. This year it suddenly sprouted what appear to be some kind of flower. Can you tell me what this plant is and why the flowers now after so long. It sits in a solarium and gets lots of sunlight. It grows prodigiously and has to be cut back every so often.
Thank you for contacting the Toronto Master gardeners with your inquiry.
From your photo it appears that the plant in question is an umbrella tree (Schefflera sp.).
When grown indoors Schefflera prefers a warm, humid environment with indirect light. In order to increase the moisture level around the plant place it on a pebble-filled dish of water, replenishing the water supply periodically. A common complaint about Schefflera plants is that they get leggy and floppy which is a result of too little light.
Schefflera does well in any type of well-drained soil and requires watering only when the upper few inches of soil is dry to the touch. This houseplant performs best when a balanced (20-20-20) liquid fertilizer is applied monthly during growth. Another option is to adjust to half-strength fertilizer and apply when watering every 2-3 weeks.
You are very fortunate to see this plant flower. It is rare for some houseplants like schefflera to flower indoors, because they grow so slowly and take ages to reach maturity. It is quite possible that after 20 years your plant has finally reached maturity. Other Schefflera owners reported their plant sending out it’s first inflorescence once the plant reached 30 years of age.
Continue enjoying your lovely Schefflera.