Schefflera arboricola
Common Name: umbrella plant 
Type: Broadleaf evergreen
Family: Araliaceae
Native Range: Taiwan, Hainan
Zone: 10 to 12
Height: 10.00 to 25.00 feet
Spread: 4.00 to 8.00 feet
Bloom Time: Rarely flowers indoors
Bloom Description: Red
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Hedge
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Evergreen
Fruit: Showy
Other: Winter Interest

Culture

Winter hardy to USDA Zones 10-12 where it is best grown in bright part shade locations. Outdoors, it tolerates full sun, but generally appreciates protection from direct sun during the heat of the day. It also tolerates bright shade. In St. Louis, it is easily grown as a houseplant in warm, humidified areas. Plants should be grown in containers filled with a peaty well-drained soil mix. Water regularly but moderately during the growing season. Avoid overwatering. Best to deeply water and then allow soils to nearly dry before applying an additional deep watering. Reduce watering somewhat from fall to late winter. Plants may be taken outdoors to sheltered locations in summer. Indoor plants are best placed in bright light at east, west or southern windows in curtain filtered sun (3-4 hours per day). Avoid direct sun. Indoor temperatures should not dip below 60 degrees F. in winter. Clean leaves as needed with a damp sponge to maintain best foliage appearance. To increase humidity, mist foliage with water and/or place containers on a tray of wet pebbles. Prune to control size.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Schefflera arboricola, commonly called umbrella plant or dwarf schefflera, is an evergreen shrub or small tree that grows in tropical climates to 10-25' tall. It is native to Taiwan. In the wild, it sometimes grows on other trees as an epiphyte. It is widely grown in temperate climates as a much smaller ornamental foliage houseplant rising to 3-6' tall on upright stems clad with glossy, slender-stalked, compound, palmate, evergreen leaves. Each leaf has 7-9 obovate-oblong to elliptic leaflets (to 4-6" long) arranged in a circle on leafstalks to 6" long. Tiny red flowers in compound panicles bloom in summer. Flowers are followed by round orange drupes (to 1/4") which mature to black. Indoor plants rarely flower.

Synonymous with Heptapleurum arborcola.

Genus name honors J.C. Scheffler, 19th-century botanist of Danzig (Gdansk, Poland).

Specific epithet from Latin means tree-like.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Mealybugs, aphids and thrips may appear. Watch for spider mites in dry indoor conditions. Leaves will drop if soils become too moist or too dry. Remove any yellow leaves as they appear.

Garden Uses

Low-maintenance indoor potted plant. Where winter hardy, it is commonly used as a specimen/accent, hedge or container plant.