Schefflera Amate Care
PRO TIP: A fast growing stunner requiring only moderate light to thrive, the Schefflera is a great low maintenance plant for adding a lot of dense foliage to a space.
Native to the shady undersides of the rainforest canopies in Australia and New Guinea, the Schefflera Amate (Schefflera actinophylla) is a fast growing, tropical, and lush tree that can grow up to 65 feet tall in its natural environment! Also known as the Umbrella Tree for its beautiful leaf structure, its bright glossy green leaves add warmth and a touch of the tropics to any space.
The Schefflera has adapted well to indoor environments and can survive in medium light spaces, making it a showstopping option for spaces other large plants may struggle in, such as ficus. Place your Schefflera where it will receive medium to bright indirect light such as in a Northern or Eastern facing Window. If your window faces South or West, then it’s best to place it 5-10ft from the window in order to prevent leaf burn.
If you are unsure of the lighting conditions in your home of office, we have a guide for how to measure light in your space.
The Schefflera Amate was developed from tissue culture and is known for its compact form, glossy leaves, and fast growth.
PRO TIP: Every three months, rinse your plant’s leaves with room temperature water in the shower. This helps prevent pests and remove any dust that’s accumulated, ensuring they’re able to photosynthesize efficiently and show off that trademark gloss.
Always be sure to assess your plant’s watering needs upon receiving it. Before giving your plant a drink, it is best to check the moisture level in the soil first to ensure it isn’t moist right beneath the surface. Also, consider aerating the soil of your plant before the initial watering. We compact the soil to avoid shifting during transit, so aerating can help the soil breathe and allow moisture to be released.
Schefflera Amates like to dry out significantly between waterings. The most common mistake made with these plants is overwatering. Let the soil almost completely dry out between waterings. Typically, you don’t want to water your Schefflera more than once every 10 days. Do not water if the top half of the potting medium is still moist.
The Schefflera can grow upwards of 8 feet tall indoors. To tame the plant's growth and maintain a bushier appearance, prune the new growth tips. Make sure to do all pruning with sharp, sterilized blades.
Rotate your plant periodically to ensure even growth on all sides and dust the leaves often so the plant can photosynthesize efficiently. When dusting the leaves, also take the opportunity to inspect the undersides and keep an eye out for pests.
Frequently Asked Questions
Help! My Schefflera's leaves are turning black and crispy.
- With the Schefflera Amate, black or brown leaves are actually most often a result of overwatering, particularly if you are seeing this on the new growth. Always check the soil to see if the moisture level matches your diagnosis. Brown tips can also be caused by underwatering but this is less common.
The edges of my plant's leaves are becoming wavy and wrinkled. What is going on?
- Check your plant for pests! Scheffleras can be susceptible to spider mites. Inspect your plant and treat as needed. Spider mites like dry environments, so misting your plant can be a preventative measure.
Will my Schefflera survive in low light?
- The Schefflera Amate thrives in medium to bright indirect light. It can survive in lower light spaces provided there is some source of natural light, but the watering will need to be reduced to prevent overwatering as the risk is heightened when the plant has access to less light and is less productive.
How often should I fertilize my plant?
- In general, house plants will thrive when they are fertilized spring through fall. Fertilize once a month with an organic houseplant fertilizer, following the package instructions for dilution and administration. Greenery NYC uses an organic potting mix with a slow release fertilizer in the soil, so your plant will not need fertilizer within the first 6 months of receiving it.
How often does my plant need to be repotted?
- For larger floor plants, we suggest repotting every 18-24 months. Typically you want to choose a potting vessel 2”- 4” larger in diameter to allow for growth. Don’t choose a pot much larger than the previous as this could drown the plants roots. If you prefer to maintain the current size of your plant, repot into the same vessel, providing new soil and trimming away some roots and foliage. Spring or summer is the ideal time to repot as the plant is at its strongest.
Standard Planter Instructions
All of our Standard Planters include a removable drainage plug to give our customers the option of drainage. While no drainage is sometimes preferred for its aesthetic simplicity, we don't recommend this option for beginners as watering mistakes can be hard to rectify.
Whether you choose to use drainage or not, we always recommend using a layer of drainage (such as our Aeration Stones) at the base of the planter. A drainage layer allows the plant's roots access to oxygen in the pockets between the drainage medium, and a lack of drainage can cause anaerobic damage to your plant.
If you decide to utilize the drainage hole for your pot, make sure to include a Plant Saucer beneath your pot to collect excess water. For most plants in standard planters, we recommend watering about once a week. Water the soil mass until water begins pooling in your Plant Saucer.
With no drainage hole, you will need to be more precise in your watering. While we would love to give you a specific measurement of water to provide for your plant, the reality is that a plant's water requirements vary wildly depending on factors such as light exposure and the overall health of the plant. You will need to learn to tell when the plant is thirsty based on how its foliage looks. Droopy foliage is usually the first sign: when your plant looks a little slumped over that's usually a visual indicator that it's thirsty.
The best solution for checking your plant's moisture level, drainage hole of not, is to use a Soil Probe to determine the moisture content of the soil at the bottom of the planter.
Self Watering Planter Instructions
The Self-Watering Planters require a deep and thorough watering of the topsoil after they are first planted. This is important because the roots of the plants first need to grow into the reservoir in order to drink from it. Water your plant from the top for two to four weeks before using the reservoir. During the dormant seasons, or for plants that have slower growing habits, consider top watering for longer.
TEST: After the initial top water period, fill the bottom water reservoir. If the water in the reservoir is absorbed into the planter, it means the plant is ready for regular reservoir servicing. If not, be sure to continue top watering for a few more weeks until the plant has started drinking from the reservoir.
RESERVOIR SERVICING: Once the reservoir empties on its own, do not refill the reservoir right away. Similar to how humans need a breath of air between gulps of water, most plants require a drying out period. Allow for the reservoir to empty all the way between watering. All plants are different in their needs so the amount of time the reservoir sits empty will need to be determined, but know that for most plants this period is between 1-3 days.
From here on out, you should rarely topwater the plant while using the reservoir system. Watering from below allows the plant to drink at its own pace, and can help combat certain issues like fungus gnats by allowing the top layer of soil to dry out more. Please note that if your plant's soil dries out too much, it can impair the wicking ability of the Aeration Stones in your planter. If your soil becomes too dry, we recommend giving it a thorough watering.
For more information on our Self Watering Planters include planting instructions, visit our blog post on How to Use Our Self-Watering Pots.
Aeration Stones promote healthy root growth by creating air pockets in the soil and absorbing excess water in the basin of your planter. These porous clay stones are a natural, efficient and invaluable material to set your plant up for success. We always suggest using these when working with a planter without drainage holes.
Stainless Steel Pruners
Salts and moisture from potting soil wreaks havoc on cheaper metals. Stainless steel is one of the most durable metals available on a consumer scale, and these heavy duty pruners are built to take a beating. Great for pruning jobs large and small.
Neem Oil is an all purpose insecticide, miticide, and fungicide used for organic gardening. It's systemic, which means the plant will absorb the neem oil into its circulatory system and poison pests from within. Be careful not to overuse, as this can weaken plants and cause discoloration.
Plants do poorly without air to the roots. Overwatering causes the air to be pushed out of the soil, compacting the soil around the waterlogged roots of the plant. Using the Soil Probe aerates the soil as it checks for moisture.
Watering cans come in all shapes and sizes, and the perfect one for your home is the one you're happiest living with. Look for long spouts and a container volume that's appropriate for your plant collection.
Fox Farm Ocean Forest contains all the features we look for when aiming to ensure the long term health of a plant: excellent water retention, breathability, texture, and is made from organic materials.
10-4-3 fertilizer is a great, gentle choice for indoor foliage. Simply mix this in to your watering can using the supplied directions every other week. Ensure that your plant is receiving a good amount of light, otherwise it won't have the energy to process the nutrients and burnt tips may occur on the foliage.