Schefflera Amate care

Placement

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.

Schefflera Amate Plant Leaf

The Schefflera Amate was developed from tissue culture and is known for its compact form, glossy leaves, and fast growth.

Routine Maintenance

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.

Standard Planter Instructions

There are two types of standard planters offered by Greenery NYC—those with drainage holes, and those without. Within those two categories are an array of sizes and styles to choose from. The presence of drainage holes and size of the vessel play a role in the quantity and frequency of water given to your plant.

Plants purchased in a pot without a drainage hole have been set up with a built-in drainage system. A layer of hydro stones (porous, absorbent material made of recycled glass) has been placed beneath the soil to act as a reservoir for any excess water that flows through the soil. You will need to be slightly more cautious not to pour too much water into these containers as there is no way for the excess water to escape. We suggest pouring small amounts of water in bit by bit, until you have reached the desired moisture level in the soil.

For plants potted with drainage, water until it begins to come out the bottom of the pot and into the catch tray.

Always be sure to assess your plant's watering needs upon receiving it. Refer to the routine maintenance section for your plant’s specific moisture requirements. 

Self Watering Container Instructions

The self-watering planters require a good, solid watering of the topsoil after they are first placed. This is important because the roots of the plants need to grow into the reservoir first in order to drink from it. Follow the standard planter instructions for the first four weeks. Then the reservoir is ready to be tested.

TEST: After four weeks, fill the water reservoir until the red indicator reaches the MAX line. If the indicator goes down over the first few days, 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 red indicator goes down, meaning the plant has started drinking from the reservoir.

RESERVOIR SERVICING: Once the indicator goes down, do not refill the reservoir right away. Similar to how humans need a breath of air between gulps of water, almost all plants require a drying out period. Always allow for the reservoir to empty all the way, and after a drying out period of a few days, be sure to refill it until the indicator reaches the MAX line.

From here on out, you should NEVER topwater the plant. If you water from the top, it can drown the plant. In the Self Watering Container, the top layer of soil will eventually become extremely dry and hard, and may even pull away from the edges of the pot. This is not a cause for concern, but simply because the plant is drinking directly from its roots in the water reservoir.

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.

Additional Care Guides