There are foliage plants, and then there are FOLIAGE plants. Scheffleras definitely fall into the latter category. In their native Taiwan, Australia, and South China, these tropical beauties can reach heights of up to 50’, nearly overwhelming passers-by with an emerald avalanche of elegant, uniquely shaped leaves—not to mention highly attractive berry-like seeds. In houseplant settings, Scheffleras range in size from bonsai-small to 4’-9’ tall, but still retain that exquisite foliage. In fact, newer varieties have ramped up the presentation with variegated forms. Durable, reliable, and versatile, Scheffleras are a wonderful addition to any houseplant collection.
The Schefflera Family - beautiful tropical plants for indoors and outdoors
The appeal of Scheffleras is obvious the moment you first lay eyes on one: it’s the leaves. Nothing else looks like a Schefflera. Each leaf is made up of 7-11 oval leaflets, each roughly 2”-4” long, arranged around a central leaf stem (or petiole, if you want to get botanical) like the spokes of a wagon wheel. The result is a dense, usually rounded plant with massive amounts of gorgeous foliage supported by woody stems you’ll just have to trust are there because they’re hidden by SO MUCH FOLIAGE. Often, that foliage is deep, lush green. But many varieties mix in various amounts of light green, creamy white, or golden yellow. They’re all stunning.
Scheffleras are also among the most all-purpose tropical plants on Earth. Looking for a vibrant, but low-maintenance specimen plant? This is it. Want an ideal bonsai plant? Here you go. Live in zones 10-12 and need a dense privacy hedge, or just something to cover up outside equipment like an A/C unit or pool pump? Scheffleras should be on your list. Whatever your need, there’s a fair chance Schefflera has you covered. It’s a wonderful plant.
It's like having your own tropical plant nursery…
Scheffleras look exotic and complicated, but they’re remarkably easy to keep happy and healthy. They live their best lives in bright indirect light, but can handle lower light and even a bit of direct sun (though they may need midday protection in some situations). Their water requirements are simple—just give them a good drink, let it drain (they do require good drainage) and wait for the soil to dry to a depth of about 2 inches before watering them again. Fertilize at half strength once or twice a month during the hot season, trim them into whatever size and shape you desire, watch out for spider mites (especially on indoor specimens), and that’s pretty much it. The Schefflera will take it from there. It’s easy to care for, easy to prune into shape, and easy to love.