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Common Name:


Scientific Name:

Schefflera spp.

Family Name:



Tropical trees and shrubs with interesting dark glossy green to variegated palmate leaves. Some species, such as Schefflera actinophylla are used as coarse textured shade trees in the tropics, while Schefflera arboricola and Schefflera elegantissima are finer textured and often grown as shrubs. All of the above species are popular as interiorscape plants as they tolerate very low light levels and will adapt to indoor conditions. They can also be used as effective annual textural accents, either in the ground or in containers. The large flower and fruit structures, particularly those on S. actinophylla are an asset in tropical landscapes.

Plant Habit or Use:

Shrub, medium shrub, large shrub, tree, small tree, medium tree, tropical, interiorscape


sun, partial sun, shade

Flower Color:

Monoecious; pink to red; inflorescences with an elongated central spike surrounded by spoke like lateral spikes.

Blooming Period:

Spring, summer, fall

Fruit Characteristics:

Red, purple-red, to black berry-like drupes.


6 ft to 30 ft (40 ft) in tropical climates; 4 ft to 8 ft as summer annuals.


6 ft to 25 ft(40 ft) in the tropics; 4 ft to 6 ft as summer annuals.

Earth–Kind® Index:

  • Heat Tolerance: Non-Defined Heat Tolerance
  • Water Requirements: Non-Defined Water Use
  • Soil Requirements: Non-Defined Soil Requirements
  • Pest Tolerance: Non-Defined Pest Resistance
  • Fertility Requirements: Non-Defined Fertility Requirements
Explanation of the Earth–Kind® Index breakdown

USDA Hardiness Zones:

10, 11

Regions that intersect these hardiness zones:
Region H - Rio Grande Valley
Click image for enlarged map of USDA Hardiness Zones

Additional Comments:

Schefflera species have become invasive in some tropical climates; some plants may function as dieback shrubs in very protected portions of USDA zone 9b; mealy bugs, scale insectes, spider mites, aphids and sooty mold are interiorscape and greenhouse pests, but are less problematic in the landscape.
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A Special Note about Cool Season Annuals

Cool season annuals typically are planted in the fall or early winter and flower in early spring under moderate temperatures. This group of plant materials includes: pansies, snapdragons, violas, dianthus, flowering cabbage/kale, etc. Because cool season annuals flower in the spring when conditions are mild, most have limited heat tolerance.

As a result cool season annuals do not receive a high Earth–Kind® index despite their outstanding landscape qualities.