Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Hawaiian Umbrella Tree, Dwarf Umbrella Plant, Arboricola Tree, Hawaiian Elf
Schefflera arboricola

Family: Araliaceae
Genus: Schefflera (shef-LER-uh) (Info)
Species: arboricola (ar-bor-ee-KO-luh) (Info)

One vendor has this plant for sale.

31 members have or want this plant for trade.

View this plant in a garden

Tropicals and Tender Perennials

10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)

6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade

All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Late Winter/Early Spring
Mid Spring

Grown for foliage

Other details:
Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings
This plant is suitable for growing indoors

Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From softwood cuttings

Seed Collecting:
Seed does not store well; sow as soon as possible

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There are a total of 55 photos.
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17 positives
3 neutrals
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive nathanieledison On Mar 19, 2013, nathanieledison from Santa Rosa, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

Ours was outside in the mid 20 temps of december-january nights, but didn't bat an eye. In fact, it was still growing leaves! It lives underneath a deck where it hardly gets any light but some frost protection. Love it for the tropical look. Wish I had room for more!

Positive stephenp On Nov 1, 2009, stephenp from Wirral, UK, Zone 9a
United Kingdom (Zone 9a) wrote:

A tough, durable plant well capable of withstanding neglect. A very fast grower too, had it in the ground since late winter/Spring and since then it has looked perky and happy (even through some light ground frosts). It grew a foot in height in that time.

We get about an average absolute minimum temperature of -3C in the winter, about 5-7 times in a winter. It will need fleece protection in the worst nights but it's been subtantially 'hardened offf'

The snails try it but tend to stay away from it, I think it has poisoned quite a few unsuspecting insects!

Lovely plant for an exotic plant border (where applicable)

Edit: The plant got a bit of damage in our worst Winter in a few year so I dug it up, and a year later transplanted it into a more sheltered border where it's been romping away since. Looked extremely healthy all Winter, though it was a fairly mild one.. it is around 6 feet tall now, so becoming quite large.

Positive puremagick On Jun 17, 2009, puremagick from Brisbane
Australia wrote:

This plant is awesome, I live in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia and this plant grows great, never had any dramas with it. Also used to have one in Sydney, Australia too, same thing grow great. Mine both were in Full sun in the garden.

Positive ivytucker On Jan 10, 2008, ivytucker from Cape Coral, FL (Zone 10a) wrote:

This is such a fun plant. I have a bonsai specimen that is thirty years old. I started it in Illinois and it moved here with me to southwest Florida, It now thrives in my garden in a large clay pot. This plant is easy to grow here and lends itself to a variety of uses. It is wonderful for informal topiary and if allowed to flower it produces beautiful fruit that is yellow orange red and purple. The mockingbirds in my back yard like the fruit. This plant makes a great braided specimen. I am going to try the all green "species" and create a standard topiary and see if I can get it to develop into a small landscape tree. I think the dwarf variegated forms Goldfinger or Trinette would make a fantastic espalier. There are several beautiful cultivars and I try to collect any different ones I find. They seem to be somewhat drought tolerant but they can't stand parched or arid conditions for long. This plants self sows in my garden if allowed to set fruit.

Positive macybee On Jun 26, 2007, macybee from Deer Park, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

My husband planted the pot in the ground and it really took off. A year or so ago it even had little yellow fruit.
Never seen that!
Will try to figure out how to add a picture.

Positive matt5797 On Jul 30, 2006, matt5797 from Gallatin, TN (Zone 6b) wrote:

This is a nice plant as a window specimen in areas like mine in the 6b range. Definately needs an open window with the 6+ hours of sun. The leaves usually have some defects when purchased at the store and also when new leaf octets set, but they always turn out nice when they get big. I purchased mine about 25 or so days ago and it already is putting new leaf octets (can vary but usually are about 8 leaves) on. I first noticed it a few months back as a novelty plant at a grocery and I had to buy one. It now sets by my Dieffenbachia on my window.

Neutral eurokitty On Jun 18, 2006, eurokitty from Seattle, WA (Zone 9b) wrote:

Like its cousin the Schefflera actinophylla, you should exercise caution if you plant this in the ground, especially in a warm, humid area. (Schefflera actinophylla is on the noxious hit list for the state of Florida.)

The roots are known to cause damage to plumbing, buried electrical lines and other infrastructures. This one is probably OK if you plant it well away from other large trees, any structures or any kind of buried pipes.

Positive Pashta On Mar 29, 2006, Pashta from Moncks Corner, SC (Zone 8b) wrote:

I have had my plant for years now. I transplanted it a couple weeks ago for the first time since I bought it, and now Im seeing little yellow scale things on the leaves and trunk. I sprayed it down with neem oil, hoping that will do the trick. I think Im going to take it outside and soak it down thoroughly, and let it sit for a while, then neem it again. I would be crushed to lose this plant; it has become part of the family!
Other than the recent pests, I have not had a single problem with it. It will tell you what it needs, thats for sure.

Positive fluffygrue On Nov 30, 2005, fluffygrue from Manchester
United Kingdom (Zone 8a) wrote:

I inherited an established 5 foot plant and had it outside in part-shade during summer, where it was happy. Thought I'd see how it coped with our first frosts so left it out for about a week where night temperatures were dropping to minus 8 Celcius ish. It wasn't too impressed and some foliage died back, but bounced back into life after a few weeks. Nice little plant, seems robust and low maintenance.

Positive BayAreaTropics On Sep 24, 2005, BayAreaTropics from Hayward, CA wrote:

The all green form is very cold tolerant-takes 18-20 degrees, at least it did in 1992. I'm starting to see the variegated ones more and more outdoors. It's one of those "common plants" that stands out when grown large or uncommonly well. All make great Bonsai banyon trees that can live for decades.

Positive Dave_in_Devon On May 2, 2005, Dave_in_Devon from Torquay
United Kingdom (Zone 9b) wrote:

I've been growing the golden variegated form 'Gold Capella' outside, here in the coastal SW of England for a couple of years. Temperatures can fall to around minus 2C in winter for very short periods, but the plant gets overhead protection from a nearby evergreen tree to prevent 'radiational freezing' on clear nights. Generally the average winter temp (Dec - early March) is around 9C with very few nights falling below zero. In summer it gets early morning sun, but dappled shade for the rest of the day. The soil is usually moist and very humus enriched, but being sharply drained, it can dry out in hot weather. The pH is about 6.2 - slightly acid.

Feeding is by way of a couple of handfuls of pelleted poultry manure in spring and summer, plus an occasional dose of a balance liquid feed. Growth in the first year was steady with about 20" being added by the end of the growing season. Since the stems were a bit 'leggy' (it was not the best looking of specimens when planted) all of the stems were cut very back very hard in early autumn 2004 and it has made nearly 12" of bushier growth since then (May 2005).

Positive CaptMicha On Feb 18, 2005, CaptMicha from Brookeville, MD (Zone 7a) wrote:

Terrific plant.

Mine is growing in the front entrance way of my house, filling in the hallway around the fountain with tropical looking foliage. It gets light from the (window?) above the front door and watering about once a month if I remember.

The plant always looks great with barely any care.

Positive angelam On Jan 28, 2005, angelam from melbourne
Australia wrote:

We inherited a 4 ft plant in a large concrete pot with our house. Too heavy to move, out of sight and forgotten it survived 8 years, on only rain-water and no feeding except what roots growing through the drainage hole found. These were broken occasionally by us to protect the path. I then needed something to go at the base of a new retaining wall, in significant shade and with likely tree root competition.

It seemed a tough position so I decided it would cope best. It was finally liberated from the pot. I had to savage the roots, they were so curled round themselves. I put it in the ground and it has never looked back. 3 years later it is at least twice as wide and about 5ft high, glossy, and now with dense foliage, green and still living on only rainwater, in a clay soil on a steep slope. I have never met such an uncomplaining plant.

Positive azsunnygrl On Nov 27, 2004, azsunnygrl from Tucson, AZ wrote:

I have had a plant growing on my patio all summer and it pretty much doubled in size in six months. It currently is 3-1/2 feet tall x 3-1/2 feet wide. I had some problems with aphids in the spring, but after spraying with a fungicide/insecticide I had no further problems. The trick growing it in Southeastern Arizona is to keep it moist without getting it too wet. I had a large plant several years ago I killed with too much water during the hot dry summer. My current plant seems to like the morning sun on the east side of my house. I've brought it inside now that we are close to freezing at night and my patio is being renovated, but will return it outside as soon as construction is completed. It doesn't seem to mind the cooler weather. It never seems to go dormant here.

Neutral Carapss On Aug 5, 2004, Carapss from Olho
Portugal wrote:

I've had it for a year now. I've passed the fungi phase, the insect phase, and the falling leaf phase. All with success. Now, I'm in a very worried period, because it looks like it's definitely going away. The majority of its leafs are dark brown...and falling. I just don't have a clue of what happened.

Negative Monocromatico On Jul 31, 2004, Monocromatico from Rio de Janeiro
Brazil (Zone 11) wrote:

This is the first plant we had at home, when I was quite young (7-8 years old). My mom kept it inside, in a partially shaded place. It did somewhat well until it got attacked by insects of all kinds and associated fungi. It was a disaster, and the plant rapidly died. Several years later, theres another plant growing near here, and I am noticing the same thing happening to it. I guess its just too vulnerable to insects, specially aphids and relatives.

Positive punaheledp On Jul 31, 2004, punaheledp from Kailua, HI (Zone 11) wrote:

I've had two potted, flanking my exterior door for years. It's a light, airy spot but they only get a bit of early morning sun. Usually light water and they don't mind going dry in between. Very easy care for an attractive effect. An occasional trim keeps them full and bushy.

What they seem to like best is, a few times a year, I will put them out when we have a heavy rain, and they always immediately put out new leaf. They also liked the bit of menehune magic I added to their pots. Have had scale sometimes, but have trimmed out infected areas and plants do fine. They also will do well as an indoor plant.

Positive NativePlantFan9 On Jul 23, 2004, NativePlantFan9 from Boca Raton, FL (Zone 10a) wrote:

I have the variegated form of this plant (Schefflera arboricola) growing in my front yard in a row in front of one of the bedrooms in my house. They get full sun, and our house is positioned North/South in direction. They get brownish leaves that are covered in mold if you don't water them for about a week or more but recover when sprayed with the hose. They are native to Taiwan and the Pacific Islands. I have the hybrid form, which has golden yellow and green leaves. They are not trees, unlike the pest plant Schefflera or Queensland Umbrella Tree, which is also called the Octopus Tree (its a pest because it clogs up your pipes and ruins driveways with its water-guzzling, thick and agressive roots). So far the Schefflera Arboricola "Trinette" hybrid I have shows almost no signs of invasiveness and grows well in its position. They like to be watered a few times a week and love full sun. If you know any more about it and how to take care of it, please tell me! Also see the image for this plant I'm sending in, which should appear in the gallery very soon!

Positive Wingnut On Jun 15, 2004, Wingnut from Spicewood, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

I've had mine for about four months and it's putting on so much new growth! Started out as a two and a half foot tall plant. It's now over three feet tall. I'll be repotting it soon I imagine. I have it on my porch where it gets all day full shade and sun in the evenings.

I water it once it almost dries out, soil, foliage and all.

Positive Sunshine12 On Feb 24, 2003, Sunshine12 wrote:

Size and growth rate:
It can grow up to 10-12 feet, and can be 3-4 feet wide. Given the best conditions it can grow 10 inches per year.

Light and Temperature:
Ideal temperature is 60-70 degrees F. during the day, and not below 50 degrees F. at night.

Watering and Feeding:
Scheffleras need lots of water during the summer, and should be watered thoroughly once or twice a week with an occasional misting (but only once every 2 weeks in the winter). Feed once per month during summer.

Soil and transplanting:
Schefflera is not a very demanding plant as far as soil is concerned, but is FUSSY about wet feet. DO NOT allow water to remain in saucer underneath. Use regular potting soil mixed with a little sand to ensure good drainage. If the plant is growing well, it may need transplanting every spring in a pot 1 size larger than the previous.

It may be necessary to cut back the Schefflera from time to time if it is getting too large or leggy. Do this in the fall when it has stopped growing for the year. This can also be done in early spring. When grooming in spring, it is a good time to take cuttings.

Professional gardeners usually prefer to propagate from seed, but the seeds soon lose their ability to germinate. There is a better chance of success by taking cuttings. Plant the cuttings in a sandy soil mixture and cover with plastic until they have taken root. Can also take root in a glass of water.

Common problems:
The plant gets thin, long and leggy- It is too warm and not getting enough light. Move to cooler and brighter spot.

Yellow, falling leaves- This is often the result of too much water, or water that has been left in saucer below. It does NOT like "wet feet"! Let it dry out and water less in the future. Empty that saucer!!!

Scale on the leaves and stems- This must be dealt with immediately. If the attack is small, dab each insect with a cotton swab dipped in alcohol and scrape them off with a small knife.

Schefflera is frequently attacked by spider mites. Misting can help keep them at bay. Combat with pesticides. Always read and follow label instructions.

Buying tips:
Make sure it has healthy, shiny leaves. The leaves should not be yellow, but undersides should have a matte appearance.

The Schefflera can live many years if looked after right. It is often lack of room that leads to its demise.

Easy to look after.

Neutral tiredwabbit On Aug 8, 2001, tiredwabbit from Point Pleasant Beach, NJ (Zone 7a) wrote:

Leaves usually grow in sections of 8. Can get a bit leggy, a good pruning will solve that problem. Plus it will reward you with a lot of new growth.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Phoenix, Arizona
Tucson, Arizona
Hayward, California
Merced, California
Pomona, California
Reseda, California
San Francisco, California
Santa Rosa, California
Upland, California
Valley Center, California
Bartow, Florida (2 reports)
Big Pine Key, Florida
Boca Raton, Florida
Bradley, Florida
Cape Coral, Florida
Dunnellon, Florida
Gainesville, Florida
Holiday, Florida
Hollywood, Florida
Holmes Beach, Florida
Homestead, Florida
Islamorada, Florida
Jacksonville, Florida
Keystone Heights, Florida
Kissimmee, Florida
Lakeland, Florida
Marathon, Florida
Naples, Florida
New Smyrna Beach, Florida
Ocala, Florida
Orlando, Florida
Port Charlotte, Florida
Saint Petersburg, Florida
Sebring, Florida
Summerland Key, Florida
Tavernier, Florida
Valrico, Florida
Venice, Florida
Winter Springs, Florida
Zolfo Springs, Florida
Cordele, Georgia
Honomu, Hawaii
Kailua, Hawaii
Davenport, Iowa
Denham Springs, Louisiana
Franklinton, Louisiana
North Billerica, Massachusetts
Claremont, New Hampshire
Alden, New York
Brevard, North Carolina
Charlotte, North Carolina
Vieques, Puerto Rico
North Augusta, South Carolina
Broaddus, Texas
Brownsville, Texas
Deer Park, Texas (2 reports)
Friendswood, Texas
Houston, Texas
La Porte, Texas
La Vernia, Texas
Manor, Texas
New Caney, Texas
Port Neches, Texas
Portland, Texas
Spicewood, Texas
Spring, Texas
Tyler, Texas

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