Schefflera Arboricola

Landscapes in South Florida have become almost overwhelmed with the use of this plant - and with good reason.  It looks good anywhere, no matter what you do to it (well, almost), and takes next-to no care. "Trinette" is the most commonly grown variegated cultivar. The all-green variety grows faster and larger and is included in the 4-6 foot Shrubs section. Charmingly pretty as an accent, foundation planting, or in a garden bed, this plant can add tropical flair to an otherwise ho-hum landscape. It can be grown to highlight other plants or stand out as star of the show with its bright yellow and green foliage.


This well-behaved Arboricola plant grows at a moderate pace and can be kept about 2-1/2 to 3 feet tall.  Evergreen and cold tolerant, it does fine in Zone 9B and southward. Though it will grow in full sun or full shade, Arboricola tends to look its best in part sun or part shade. Schefflera require an evenly moist environment, water moderately during the growth season and keep only moist to the touch in winter. During the growing season, allow the soil to dry between watering. However, do not leave the soil dry for too long or allow your Schefflera to sit in water which could lead to many pathogen and performance problems for your plant. Leaves that turn black and drop are signs of excessive water. Too little water causes the tips of the leaves to curl or wrinkle. 


Variegated arboricola is one of the easiest plants to trim for shape and size. Just cut off any tall, wayward stems just below the level of other foliage. The rest of the plant's leaves will cover the pruned areas. No hard pruning is needed. Fertilize 3 times a year - in spring summer and autumn - with a good quality granular fertilizer. Water regularly but let the soil dry out between waterings. Make sure the planting location drains well and doesn't stay wet.


Schefflera plants are susceptible to pest and pathogen problems. Pests that may affect your plant are spider mites, scale insects, thrips, and mealybugs. The most common of these are spider mites which can be avoided by spraying your Schefflera plant once weekly with a mist of soapy water. Increase to twice daily if spider mites occur or consult your local garden center for insecticidal soaps and other options. Pathogen (fungal and bacterial) problems are less likely to affect your Schefflera plant but common problems caused by overwatering such as root rot are possible.  Schefflera is also a favorite of deer!