Schefflera Species, Umbrella Tree, Octopus Tree, Amate

Schefflera actinophylla

Family: Araliaceae
Genus: Schefflera (shef-LER-uh) (Info)
Species: actinophylla (ak-ten-oh-FIL-uh) (Info)
Synonym:Aralia longipes
Synonym:Brassaia actinophylla
Synonym:Brassaia singaporensis
View this plant in a garden




Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade





Foliage Color:



15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)


15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)


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)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Mid Summer

Late Summer/Early Fall

Other details:

May be a noxious weed or invasive

Soil pH requirements:

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From hardwood cuttings

Seed Collecting:

Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Mobile, Alabama

Carlsbad, California

Fort Bragg, California

Hayward, California

Manhattan Beach, California

Merced, California

Pasadena, California

Pomona, California

Reseda, California

San Diego, California

San Francisco, California

Santa Barbara, California

Thousand Oaks, California

Upland, California

Bartow, Florida

Big Pine Key, Florida

Boca Raton, Florida

Bradenton, Florida(2 reports)

Cape Coral, Florida

Clewiston, Florida

Daytona Beach, Florida

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Fort Pierce, Florida

Fountain, Florida

Hollywood, Florida(2 reports)

Holmes Beach, Florida

Homestead, Florida(2 reports)

Islamorada, Florida(2 reports)

Jacksonville, Florida

Key Largo, Florida

Key West, Florida(2 reports)

Keystone Heights, Florida

Kissimmee, Florida

Merritt Island, Florida

Miami, Florida

Oldsmar, Florida

Palmetto, Florida

Pompano Beach, Florida

Safety Harbor, Florida

Saint Cloud, Florida

Saint Petersburg, Florida

Sarasota, Florida

Sebastian, Florida

Seffner, Florida

Sugarloaf Shores, Florida

Summerland Key, Florida

Tavernier, Florida

Venice, Florida

West Palm Beach, Florida(2 reports)

Winter Haven, Florida

Valdosta, Georgia

Hawaiian Paradise Park, Hawaii

Honolulu, Hawaii

Honomu, Hawaii

Keaau, Hawaii

Orchidlands Estates, Hawaii

Paulina, Louisiana

Suitland, Maryland

Trenton, New Jersey

Marysville, Ohio

Tigerville, South Carolina

Broaddus, Texas

Brownsville, Texas(2 reports)

Canyon Lake, Texas

Dallas, Texas

Gary, Texas

Harlingen, Texas

Houston, Texas(2 reports)

Mission, Texas

Nome, Texas

Orange, Texas

Portland, Texas

Rowlett, Texas

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Apr 5, 2021, Cwilliams2 from Hilo, HI wrote:

In Hawaii, this is a horrible invasive species trash tree. They spread everywhere and are a little fire ant magnet. So much time is spent trying to control/eradicate them. They choke out native species and seed everywhere.


On Feb 13, 2017, scheff249 from Los Angeles,
United States wrote:

Hello! I have a large schefflera tree (about 14 feet tall) that I inherited when I moved into a new house. I live in Los Angeles and the tree is sited where it receives a lot of light. It was doing well when I moved in a couple years ago... lots of seedlings, a healthy canopy... but after last summer's heat it started to droop quite a bit, and then to drop a lot of stalks/leaves, and some leaves turned brown and shriveled. I had an arborist look at it and he thought it was underwatered and suggested giving it a good slow soak once a week.

Since that appointment, it's been super rainy in LA so I've just let it drink up whatever falls naturally, but it continues to shed. A friend said it might still be in drought shock and that I might just need to wait until the weather warm... read more


On Aug 23, 2016, Harold_C from Miami, FL wrote:

I love this plant. I'm in Miami and it grows like weeds in my yard. I let it grow directly on the soil and in about 2 years it becomes a 12 ft tree. I cut it back to 2 ft and let it grow some branches for a couple of months and then pull the plant out and put them in a very large bonsai planter. They make beautiful Chumono style bonsais. I leave most of the roots exposed. I'll try to post a picture here.


On Mar 18, 2016, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

A useful houseplant, but in many semitropical climates it's a fast-growing 40' tree.

Where I've gardened in West Palm Beach, the county has placed it on a list of 9 prohibited species, because it spreads aggressively into natural areas and forms solid stands. The seeds are quickly spread by fruit-eating birds.

I found several seedlings when I started gardening. Thankfully, they're easy to dig out when small.

The Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council has listed this as a Category l invasive species.

It is also highly invasive in Hawaii.


On Jan 29, 2015, Llij5455 from Marysville, OH wrote:

I have had this plant for over 15 years. I have never pruned it and I have moved probably seven times. It is now about 4 1/2 feet tall and I am going to try and trim it to make it a little more bushy instead of tree like. It certainly is a tough plant going through all of the moves. With Ohio weather I always keep it inside. Like so many of you I feel like it has become part of the family. I water it once a week and it has really gotten tall. Yellow leaves happen sometimes but it's very green and healthy.


On Nov 4, 2014, Feather3 from Fort Bragg, CA wrote:

I've had the same Umbrella Tree for over 20 years living in a pot. At first, it stayed indoors, due to my location of being in a cool, wet climate on the northern California coast. I've moved around this area several times and when I moved to an apartment in 2000 to recover from back surgery, it came with me. This time, however, I had to move it outside. To my surprise, it thrived and is now, fourteen years later, still thriving, only this time, on my back deck out in the redwoods, in a new pot. I've transplanted it from one pot to another over the last 20+ years and it continues to do well. I thought about planting it in the yard with so many other non-native plants that exist here; New Zealand Tea Trees, two trees from Chile, a Chinese Fern-Pine, a Chinese Pierris, among others. We bough... read more


On Oct 6, 2014, nbonnwrr from Mission Viejo, CA wrote:

I have 3 of these in my back yard 2 are doing well and one is less than pretty to look at for sure. Growing quite spindly and smaller yellow leaves. I know yellow would indicate overwatering but it is in-between the other two in the same landscape and drainage. I think my best bet is to trim it down to give it it's best chance. Does anyone have suggestions on the best way to trim? Cutting down to where there would be a thicker canopy seems logical in my books, but I'm no gardener :) Any suggestions are appreciated.
All 3 trees are 20 feet tall.


On Aug 29, 2014, definer from Suitland, MD wrote:

A friend of mine had one in his office that was getting tall and lanky. I did some air layering on the two main stems and, just for the heck of it, took three of the leaves I had broken off and put some rooting hormone on them and stuck them in a coffee cup. To my surprise they rooted!! Not sure what they will grow into, but we'll see. Has anyone else tried rooting the leaves?


On Jan 20, 2014, stooky from Saskatoon,
Canada wrote:

Our schefflera is named Joe and he is one tough customer. I've had him for forty years and he takes a beating. On top of that, I live in Saskatchewan, Canada! We keep him indoors in the winter.

Over the years he has gotten quite twisted and tall so tomorrow we chop him off at the base and start all over again. My son Logan is very concerned for his well being!

I have been reassured that chopping it at the base above the soil should not be a problem and I can even take some branches and just stick them into the dirt and they might strike!

The plan is to have Joe for a long time to come!


On Nov 27, 2013, Homer_Simpson from Homewood, IL wrote:

I want to grow this as a house plant, however I am finding it hard to find seed germination instructions for it. (ex. how long does it take to germinate, how deep do I plant the seeds, what temperature does it germinate at, what are the moisture and light requirements., and what soil type does it require).


On Mar 5, 2013, cosmicventure from Hollywood, FL wrote:

Would not recommend this fast growing plant. In South Florida they are like huge weeds and considered invasive. The large canopies choke off native plants. The massive root systems push up sidewalks and clog sewer pipes. Not to mention tripping hazards. It never stops dropping the large leaves and has huge seed pods that when ripe make a mess. They are everywhere (bird droppings with the seeds) and can grow anywhere in South Florida just like a weed.


On Jul 8, 2012, artfullcodger from Trenton, NJ wrote:

My umbrella tree was given to me in 1983 as a houseplant. I had it for another five or six years before it needed to be put into another pot. It grew about 3-4 feet high, summering on my patio outside, coming in as a houseplant in winter, until 1996. Then it sat in my daughter's bedroom with very limited sun until I reclaimed it in 1998. Now it has spread about 8 feet wide and about 3-4 feet high. "Octo-tree" for sure. I am going to trim it back to manage the space it takes up. About three years ago, I cut off one of the branches and stabbed it into the dirt around the main stem and darned if it didn't root there. If anyone wants cuttings, please feel free to ask. Also, it has a menthol scent. Is that typical of all of them?


On Feb 10, 2012, TrotlineDesigns from Clewiston, FL wrote:

I live in Clewiston, Fl. (South Shore of Lake Okeechobee) I found one of these trees growing out of my bottle brush tree.. Decided to leave it as the bottle brush wasn't all that healthy and in less than a year it is over 6 feet tall. I love the large green leaves and by the grace of God they turn yellow about this time of year (Feb) so the tree matches all the other ones in the yard.. I do hope the roots grow out of the trunk of the bottle brush tree... if it makes it I will cut the bottle brush down.
Love the umbrella tree either way.


On Apr 9, 2011, mholl704 from Appleton, WI wrote:

Finding this site, especially the pictures, was awesome. I have had this plant for over 12 years. When my father died, I took home a greenery arrangement from the funeral. This was the only thing in it that survived.

It was only about 4 inches high, nothing special, except the meaning. I potted it, not expecting much. Over the years, it was shifted around, experienced all sorts of lighting, locations (indoors) in 5 different apartments, care and, yes, neglect. But it persisted.

Due to the circumstances, it's bent in all directions, having been turned occasionally to straighten it out. (I'm obviously not much of a plant person -- I just like to watch things grow.) It now looks very similar to picture # 40, and is very healthy. I will have to repot it again soo... read more


On Mar 27, 2011, Seihatsu from Trabuco Canyon, CA wrote:

I purchased a home in Southern California with two Schefflera's planted approximately 8 feet apart and 18 inches from the house. I estimated the trees to be about 10 years old when I decided I had enough of their messy droppings, ant infestations and aggressive root systems. Yes, Schefflera's are attractive but I highly recommend requesting expert landscaping advice prior to planting. I could tolerate the ants and leaf droppings but not the roots. The roots raised and crushed a 4 inch drain pipe and damaged a sprinkling system. One to 2 inch roots fused themselves to over 15 feet of foundation, engulfed the gas and water mains and lifted a slate walkway. It took 6 (six) full days of carefully digging, cutting, drilling and prying to free the root monsters strangle hold.


On Sep 11, 2010, jskyieeyes3 from Saint Cloud, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

my husband is the one who turned me on to these trees. i currently have 2 of them (both in pots), and they do well here in central florida. one is on the back porch, receives filtered morning sun, and is 5ft tall. the other is outside, receives full sun, and is 8ft tall. i have never heard anything about these plants being invasive until reading the other comments. they are planted next to houses and businesses all over town around here. they do grow rapidly here, provided they get plenty of sun. my smaller scheff didn't grow much last year (it was in partial shade), but this year when i moved it to a sunnier location on the porch, it grew a whopping 6 inches of new stem/herbaceous hardwood! don't get me wrong, they will grow in shadier locations, they just grow slower. the rippled leaves... read more


On Jan 17, 2010, faithiep from Oldsmar, FL (Zone 10b) wrote:

How unfortunate that they are such thugs as to be listed as invasive in FL. They're great quick shrubs to grow for privacy, will easily double in size in one year. They got zapped in our freeze, but will come back. I'll have to remember to keep them trimmed to 6'.


On Nov 26, 2009, rcharding from Valdosta, GA (Zone 8b) wrote:

My schefflera is doing extremely well here in Mobile (AL), though a bit of precaution must be taken. I have my planted in a protected south-facing location near a brick wall that absorbs the heat of the evening sun. Mine is a beautiful 6 foot-high bush. A few times in the winter I will cover it with a big plastic sheet on the rare nights of frost, but the worse that happens is a few leaves get frost-bitten. All in all, it can live and thrive here on the Gulf Coast.


On May 12, 2009, Birgitgerlinde from Long Beach, CA wrote:

I live in the coastal Los Angeles region and see various Schefflera species planted everywhere, many quite close to structures. It is a very popular plant here. Are invasive roots only a problem in humid climates? I noticed the problem mentioned only by residents of Florida.


On Jun 23, 2008, schhdogs from Saint Petersburg, FL wrote:

We have 3 mature trees close to the house and driveway but have not experienced problems with the root system. We don't let the tree get any higher than the roof line and this is easily done by manually plucking off new growth on the top -- the plant bounces back quickly from this and we do this routine often. Grows TALL if allowed and IMO the shape isn't as nice than when kept shorter. These are very easy to propagate from cuttings. Also does well in containers. Seems to tolerate both part shade and full sun.


On Jun 9, 2008, mcdannells from Central Oregon, OR wrote:

These are house plants here. Basic plant great for newbies I feel. Never seen one in the ground but on the http://www.
The latest one I was given had to have five feet or so cut off. I like the bushy look and the people had it looking like a palm tree. The top was given away and the stalk was cut,rooted and given away (still have at least one left hint,hint) .
It is growing back.

This is one of those huge house plants....In the past this is one that I had grown big (easy) and sold to a office building where it might still be?

I had to supply this one with artificial light, which I had to keep moving the light for it grown to close and burned the leaves.

Again easy house plant... read more


On Dec 17, 2007, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

I have not grown this tree, but have observed Umbrella Tree, Umbrella Plant, Octopus Tree (Schefflera actinophylla) in Maui. Native to Australia, it has become an introduced native plant in Florida, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Considered one of the plant pests in Hawaii because alien fruit-loving birds spread its seeds, it is quite common in wet lowland habitats on all of the Hawaiian Islands. A fast growing evergreen tree which can grow to 50 feet tall, it is very shade tolerant


On Jul 26, 2007, BayAreaTropics from Hayward, CA wrote:

Although tender,I have seen them looking very nice in the eastbay. I think an almost 20 year run of mild winters has much to do with S.actinophylla now doing well this far north.
Full sun to half a day of full sun seems to be best exposure.


On May 27, 2007, Nenehsmom from Moreno Valley, CA wrote:

We had a huge potted schefflera at my work on the patio and I always loved it. I had a chance to get one so I did. It did great on the fireplace hearth (who uses a fireplace in California?) then we moved. It was the hottest weekend in September and someone left it out next to the white moving truck, radiating the heat from the sun in 115 degree weather, and after being inside, it didn't like it. It was about 3ft across and about 4ft high, almost lost it, I thought it was dead, lost all its leaves, looked like it was shriveling. I refused to let my husband throw it away, I just kept watering it and talking to it! It's been 5 years and great until now. I've been wanting to put it in a bigger pot, but now it's got those under the leaves bugs and some of the leaves are turning yellow. I'... read more


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

This is on the state of Florida's do not plant list of noxious Australian plants/trees. You shouldn't plant it in Florida. Another horror story:

My mother had one that she loved, but that eventually cracked the cement pathway in her yard and broke part of her paver patio into rubble. Ultimately, it choked many of the surrounding plants. They had it taken down and had the main roots dug out - and they were huge.

The professional tree remover said that he's removed scheffera that actually broke a portion of the cement foundation in homes and its the most common tree that he removes close to homes in Florida. He also said they will invade and crush sewer pipes.

If you are in a warm, humid area you must be extremely cautious about where you plant ... read more


On Feb 3, 2005, mmesamantha from Merritt Island, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

I think the Schefflera is a very pretty tree. However, I have seen the damage this botanical can do with it's invasive root system.

The Schefflera root system destroyed my waterfall, tiled courtyard and the wing wall behind it. I was not going to let it destroy my pool so I had it cut down and the stump poisoned by professionals. Months later it was still alive. I had to have the stump cut out using various saws and other hand tools. I fear there still might be roots somewhere in the surrounding area the Schefflera could root from.

It has cost me nearly $4000.00 so far to repair the damage the Schefflera has caused.

When I drive past a building or house where I see the Schefflera planted next to a wall, I can't help but wonder how much the ... read more


On Dec 20, 2004, SudieGoodman from Broaddus, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

I have my Schefflera in a 5-gallon plastic pot overwintering in a greenhouse. The roots are growing out the bottom - will repot in spring into larger pot. Plant is now 3 feet tall - I need a little more height.


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

It does perfectly well in Rio de Janeiro. When they bloom, its just fantastic. Theres a touristic point, the Aterro do Flamengo, where lots of these plants were planted, and when its time to bloom, they all show those red blooms, like they wear fire crowns.


On Jul 31, 2004, broozersnooze from Jacksonville, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

Mine remains outside 24/7/365 in a clay pot & does beautifully.


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

much prefer the dwarf to this. had some, at least 20', in the parking area of a home i lived in some years ago. incredibly messy, always had fruit and was always dropping in all over vehicles, the walkway, yuck. Maybe keep it tamed in a pot and never let it near soil it could get its roots would grow itself out of the pot in a blink.


On Jul 25, 2004, NativePlantFan9 from Boca Raton, FL (Zone 10a) wrote:

Schefflera, or Queensland Umbrella Tree or Octopus Tree, is an attractive-looking tree that does well in zones 9, 10a, 10b, 11 and below. I had this tree at my old house in Tamarac, FL, where it was growing (grows well throughout southern Florida and my Boca Raton, FL, area) in the front yard and was damaging part of the black, concrete tar driveway with its roots. It also dropped many of its leaves which we had to rake up (I think there was one in the back also). It is a fairly fast-growing, unusual, up to 30 feet tall and attractive-looking tree but is on the EPPC Plant List One for its invasiveness. It can clog sewer lines and sprinklers and become a nuisance. However, it is excellent for keeping inside in a medium-to-large sized pot, where it dosn't show most or any of those negatives.... read more


On Jan 12, 2004, moonbeam5o wrote:

I have had this plant for about 4years in the late spring I put it outside the schefflera loves it of corse when falls comes around its back in the house and it does very well one thing it needs shade in the hot summer.Nancy


On Oct 3, 2003, anomina from Bradenton, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

in the bradenton neighborhood, on the west coast of florida just south of tampa, schefflera is practically a weed. you can't kill it, it can be pruned any way you want, it will grow 15-20ft high, or you can cut it back so it branches and forms a fast growing bushy plant covering as large an area as you wish. i have yet to see it flower, but i've not grown the plant tall until lately. i've been told by others around here that it does flower in red. all in all it's a very useful plant. i have the large leaf, the super large leaf, the small leaf and the variegated leaf varieties, all serving different landscaping uses, all thriving. it doesn't seem to care what kind of soil, mine is sandy and i throw some slow-release fertilizer to it from time to time. some is in shade, some in full s... read more


On Jul 17, 2003, Bairie from Corpus Christi, TX (Zone 10a) wrote:

Since my first knowledge of this plant, it has been a house plant, until about 15 years ago when I began to see them planted in the ground. We have had mild winters except for a few years when (usually) people wrap their 'tender vegetation.' So now they are seen quite frequently growing outside at heights of 10' or so. I have not seen any here like those in Palmbob's picture--that is awesome!


On Jul 16, 2003, nipajo from Dallas, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

i have mine in a pot on the patio. i bring it out in the spring and take it in, in the fall. i have tried to or i'm trying to propagate a cutting and so far it has done well. some new growth but very little progress.


On Jul 16, 2003, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

This is a very commonly grown lanscape tree in Southern California. Though it only flowers in the perfect climates here, it does flower profusely in more tropical, humid climates (such as Florida). It takes a huge amount of reckless pruning without a hint of a problem. There are varieties that have wavier leaves that are highly attractive.

Maybe not as cold hardy as what I thought this species was... had a freak cold snap here in Los Angeles Jan 07 and all the Scheffleras exposed to temps below 28F are brown and melted... maybe only a 10a plant?


On Sep 29, 2002, IslandJim from Keizer, OR (Zone 8b) wrote:

The flowers are nothing to get excited about but the fruit is quite interesting. It's bright red, borne in clusters on ribs that look somewhat like the ribs of an unbrella.

Just added a photo of a variegated one that I acquired this morning. The nursery had only one. It has two stems; as soon as I plant it and it become established, I intend to sacrifice one cane for cuttings, maybe in the spring.