Trinette variegated schefflera origin


Schefflera arboricola

  • Attributes: Genus: Schefflera Species: arboricola Family: Araliaceae Uses (Ethnobotany): Used to treat unspecified medicinal disorders and has environmental uses. Life Cycle: Woody Recommended Propagation Strategy: Stem Cutting Country Or Region Of Origin: Taiwan Dimensions: Height: 5 ft. 0 in. – 6 ft. 0 in. Width: 1 ft. 0 in. – 3 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits: Plant Type: Shrub Leaf Characteristics: Broadleaf Evergreen Habit/Form: Erect Spreading Growth Rate: Medium Maintenance: Low Texture: Medium
  • Cultural Conditions: Light: Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day) Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours) Soil Texture: Loam (Silt) Soil Drainage: Good Drainage Moist Occasionally Dry Available Space To Plant: 12 inches-3 feet 3 feet-6 feet Usda Plant Hardiness Zone: 10a, 10b, 11a, 11b, 12a, 12b
  • Fruit: Fruit Color: Black Orange Red/Burgundy Fruit Type: Drupe Fruit Description: Orange-red drupes that turn black when they mature.
  • Flowers: Flower Color: Red/Burgundy Flower Inflorescence: Panicle Flower Description: Grown as a houseplant it seldom flowers. Very small red flowers grow on compound panicles.
  • Leaves: Leaf Characteristics: Broadleaf Evergreen Leaf Color: Green Leaf Feel: Glossy Leaf Value To Gardener: Showy Leaf Type: Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately) Leaf Shape: Obovate Leaf Margin: Entire Hairs Present: No Leaf Length: 3-6 inches Leaf Description: Leaves are palmately compound, to 4.4 by 1.5 inches. Leaflets are 2-4.5 inches long in terminal rosettes. They are obovate, entire, obtuse, stalked, and bright green and glossy.
  • Stem: Stem Color: Brown/Copper Green Stem Is Aromatic: No Stem Description: Stems are shiny green becoming brown and woody.
  • Landscape: Landscape Location: Container Houseplants Patio Problems: Poisonous to Humans Problem for Cats Problem for Dogs
  • Poisonous to Humans: Poison Severity: Medium Poison Symptoms: Difficulty swallowing, irritation and burning in the mouth and throat, drooling, vomiting Poison Toxic Principle: Calcium oxalate crystals Causes Contact Dermatitis: No Poison Part: Leaves

High Desert Plant Finder & Guide

Trinette Variegated Schefflera foliage

Trinette Variegated Schefflera foliage

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Height: 3 feet

Spread: 3 feet


Hardiness Zone: 9

Other Names: Dwarf Umbrella Plant, Variegated Arboricola,


A popular variegated variety, with a dwarf growth habit that is better suited for indoor applications; stunning foliage will brighten any room with its contrasting dark green, yellow, and cream colors

Features & Attributes

Trinette Variegated Schefflera’s attractive glossy oval compound leaves remain dark green in color with showy yellow variegation and tinges of creamy white throughout the year. The flowers are not ornamentally significant.

This is a multi-stemmed evergreen houseplant with a more or less rounded form. This plant can be pruned at any time to keep it looking its best.

Planting & Growing

When grown indoors, Trinette Variegated Schefflera can be expected to grow to be about 3 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 3 feet. It grows at a medium rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for approximately 10 years. This houseplant performs well in both bright or indirect sunlight and strong artificial light, and can therefore be situated in almost any well-lit room or location. It prefers to grow in average to moist soil. The surface of the soil shouldn’t be allowed to dry out completely, and so you should expect to water this plant once and possibly even twice each week. Be aware that your particular watering schedule may vary depending on its location in the room, the pot size, plant size and other conditions; if in doubt, ask one of our experts in the store for advice. It is not particular as to soil type or pH; an average potting soil should work just fine. Be warned that parts of this plant are known to be toxic to humans and animals, so special care should be exercised if growing it around children and pets.

There are many factors that will affect the ultimate height, spread and overall performance of a plant when grown indoors; among them, the size of the pot it’s growing in, the amount of light it receives, watering frequency, the pruning regimen and repotting schedule. Use the information described here as a guideline only; individual performance can and will vary. Please contact the store to speak with one of our experts if you are interested in further details concerning recommendations on pot size, watering, pruning, repotting, etc.


Schefflera plant, also called umbrella tree, is a fantastic houseplant and landscape plant. It’s known for being hardy even in cases of neglect or poor growing conditions. Not picky, it produces beautiful foliage.

Whether it’s used to create bonsai or simply to perk up a dark corner, dwarf umbrella trees are great to grow. Let’s go over the history of this fantastic plant and all the best schefflera plant care tips!

Useful Products When Growing Umbrella Tree:

  • Garden Safe Neem Oil Extract
  • Safer Brand Insect Killing Soap
  • Monterey Liqui-Cop Fungicide

Umbrella Tree Overview

The leaves and berries of the umbrella tree. Source: Starr Environmental

Common Name(s) Umbrella tree, dwarf umbrella tree, parasol plant, octopus tree, Hawaiian schefflera, dwarf schefflera, Australian schefflera
Scientific Name Schefflera arboricola, Schefflera actinophylla, Heptapleurum arboricola (synonym)
Family Araliaceae
Origin Australia, New Guinea, Taiwan, China (Hainan)
Height Variable – 1′ to 50′ depending on variety and growing location
Light Partial sun preferred, may tolerate full sun in limited conditions
Water Keep soil moist but not wet
Temperature 60-80°F
Humidity Medium to high humidity preferred as with many tropical plants
Soil Well-draining potting mix
Fertilizer Balanced liquid fertilizer, monthly to biweekly as needed
Propagation By stem cuttings, air layering, or seed
Pests Red spider mites, mealybugs, other scale insects, aphids, thrips. Also susceptible to fungal leaf spot diseases (alternaria and phytophthora), sooty mold, pseudomonas leaf blight, xanthomonas leaf spot, fungal stem or root rots.

All About Umbrella Tree

This variegated schefflera arboricola has a beautiful green and gold leaf design. Source: Dinesh Valke

A member of the ginseng family, umbrella tree leaves grow in an unusual fashion. Long, oval-shaped and pointy-tipped, the leaves grow in circular groups of 5-9 leaves. This gives them an umbrella-like look, hence their name!

There’s literally hundreds of Schefflera species in existence. Of these, only two are usually referred to as “umbrella tree”. These two, schefflera arboricola and schefflera actinophylla, are very closely related.

How do you distinguish the two? It’s all about the size. Actinophylla plants usually have leaves which are longer than 4-5 inches. Arboricola tends to a dwarfing habit, and has leaves 4-5 inches or smaller in length.

There are many cultivars available of dwarf umbrella tree. Some have variegated leaf coloring. Others are all-green in coloration. It seems that schefflera arboricola tends more to the variegated side.

By contrast, most of the schefflera actinophylla species tend to lean towards green. The multicolored or variegated varieties are far less common in this plant type. It grows to much larger sizes.

During the summer months, most schefflera arboricola plants will develop flower spikes. These spikes aren’t showy, often greenish-white or cream in color, and they stay fairly compact.

Schefflera actinophylla flower spikes are the origin of the “octopus plant” name. Their spikes group in clusters that hang down from the tip of branches. Colors of red, pink, or white are common, and they’re believed to look like the underside of tentacles.

In both cases, the flowers gradually turn into bright orange berries. These round fruit are flashy to look at, but are inedible.

Grown indoors, most scheffleras can be trained to smaller sizes. The dwarf umbrella tree can be as small as 8-10″ in height in a bonsai arrangement, or grown up to 4-5 feet. Actinophylla tends to be larger in size, growing to reach heights of 6-8 feet indoors.

Outdoor growers in warm climates like Hawaii, Florida or southern California have a benefit. These climates are great for dwarf scheffleras, and your plants will explode in size as a result. Arboricolas can reach heights of 10-15 feet grown outdoors.

Actinophylla growers can develop even more immense trees. In their natural environment in Australia and New Guinea, these can reach up to 50′ in height! Be careful, though: in zones 10-11, these can be aggressive growers. Some parts of Florida and Hawaii consider them invasive.

Is the Umbrella Tree Toxic?

There are non-variegated umbrella tree cultivars as well. Source: plj.johnny

While they make fantastic indoor trees, schefflera plants develop calcium oxalate crystals. These crystals tend to be a major irritant both to people and to animals.

Most people have limited issues with skin irritation. On rare occasions, it may cause an itchy rash, but most people seem to be unharmed. For safety’s sake, I still recommend using a quality pair of work gloves when you’re pruning. Wash thoroughly if you get any sap on you.

Where the umbrella tree becomes most dangerous is if it’s eaten. Ingestion of any part of the plant can cause many problems. These may include some of the following (or even potentially worse symptoms):

  • numbness
  • tingling or burning sensation in the mouth/lips/tongue
  • excessive drooling
  • vomiting
  • difficulty swallowing
  • swelling of the tongue
  • airway obstruction

For some animals, this plant may be fatal The ASPCA lists schefflera species as toxic to cats and dogs. They’re also potentially dangerous to reptiles. For humans, they won’t generally kill you, but you might wish otherwise while suffering their effects.

While it’s beautiful, it’s best to watch your kids and pets around this plant. It can be a wonderful houseplant, but you don’t need the emergency trip to the doctor or vet!

Umbrella Tree Care

The umbrella tree flowers are not as distinctive as their berries or leaves. Source: Mauricio Mercadante

Overall, care of schefflera arboricola is pretty easy. It doesn’t need any kind of special care to survive — just the basics will do.

Light & Temperature

Depending on which schefflera you’re growing, it varies a bit in its lighting. Let’s look at some detail on that!

Schefflera arboricola grows well in USDA zones 9b-11. It prefers bright, indirect lighting to full sun. It can tolerate full sun for limited periods, but does best during the heat of the day in partial shade.

Schefflera actinophylla does best in zones 10-11. Like arboricola it prefers a partial shade environment. Older, larger plants can tolerate more sunlight than younger plants.

For indoor growers, aim for positioning your plant near windows that get a good amount of sun. Variegated varieties require more light than green varieties do. If the leaves start to droop, it may need more light.

Sunlight that’s too direct may cause the leaves to get sunburned. This isn’t as much a problem for houseplants as it is for outdoor plants. Try to give your plant at least some shade during the hottest parts of the day, especially in summer.

Aim for a general temperature range of 60-80 degrees for your umbrella trees. Outdoor plants are not reliably winter-hardy. In their natural environment, it rarely drops below 55 degrees. If you’ll be growing umbrella tree outdoors, consider moving it inside for the winter.

Water & Humidity

In their natural environment, umbrella trees are drought-tolerant. They can withstand a little neglect when it comes to watering.

Their soil shouldn’t be kept wet, and the pot needs to drain well. Use room-temperature water for watering your plant when possible. This creates less of a temperature shock for your tropical plants.

Ideally, wait until the soil is nearly dry to water. Poke your finger into the soil to test — if it seems dry rather than moist, it’s time.

At that point, give it a good, thorough watering until water begins to come out the base of the pot. Be sure not to allow any standing water to remain in the pot, and drain any saucers under the plant.

Blackened leaves are a sign of overwatering. Wrinkled or wilting leaves signify underwatering. Try to avoid both!

Reduce watering during the winter months. Your plant just won’t need as much then.

Your umbrella trees come from a naturally-humid environment. They love moist air, and you can provide that indoors with a plant humidifier. Occasional misting of the leaves with warm water is fine too.

Keep your schifflera plant out of the path of air vents, heaters, and air conditioners. These can create much drier air, and your plant may not like it.


Well-draining soil is a must when growing umbrella trees. Source: plj.johnny

Your umbrella tree will perform best in a well-drained, sandy potting soil. You can use a general purpose potting soil as well, but add perlite or sand to improve drainage.

A basic homemade potting mix for schiffleras is easy to make. Use one part perlite or coarse sand, one part humus or peat, one part garden soil, and a pinch of agricultural lime. Blend together well.

The pH level of your soil should be in the acidic to slightly alkaline range. An optimal range would be 6.0-6.5 pH.


During the winter, you don’t need to fertilize your schifflera plants at all. But once they go into the active growing mode in spring, that changes.

Depending on the size you’re trying to grow your plant to, you may need more or less fertilizer. I recommend using a balanced liquid houseplant fertilizer. Even better would be one optimized for foliage plants.

From late February through the end of fall, fertilize your umbrella tree at least once per month. If you’re trying to encourage more vigorous growth, you can fertilize every other week.


Your umbrella plant needs to be repotted every 2-3 years. Usually you’ll know well in advance. Roots may be visible growing out of the pot. It may show signs of stunted growth, or the soil will appear to have dwindled away to nothing.

Select a pot with a heavy base. This helps keep the tree from tipping over if its foliage encounters wind. You’ll want one that’s at least 2-3″ wider than your existing pot.

Remove your plant from its prior pot. Check the roots for signs of rot, and then replant at its prior height in its new pot. It’s good to replace the old potting soil with new at this point. Skip 1-2 fertilizing sessions after repotting, as your plant should have enough nutrition in its new soil.


Schefflera arboricola variegata has very distinctive dark green and yellow patterns. Source: tree-species

Umbrella trees love to be pruned, and they’ll grow back quickly. Try to make your cuts above a leaf node to encourage more bushy growth.

It’s important to prune if you want to prevent your schifflera from becoming too large. It doesn’t matter if you’re growing dwarf schifflera arboricola or full-sized schifflera actinophylla! Both can reach large sizes if they’re left to their own devices.

Shaping to remove leggy growth is also advised. This is especially true if you’re trying to maintain a smaller profile.

Pinch back dead or dying leaves to just above a leaf node. This is the point at which the leaves join the stem.

Large amounts of dead or damaged foliage should also be removed. Trim them back to 1/2″ above the nearest healthy leaf or stem. A pair of bypass loppers may be useful for this if you have a larger plant.

Regular tip-trimming during the growing season will also encourage more bushy growth. If you want the canopy to fill out, this is the best way to do it!

Finally, if your trunk or branches seem weak or unable to handle the denseness of the canopy, there’s a way to fix it. Severely trim back these branches to 4-6″ in length. This forces your tree to start fresh with producing more solid branches.


Schefflera actinophylla earned the name ‘octopus tree’ from its distinctive flower spikes. Source: mauroguanandi

Umbrella trees can be propagated via seeds, stem cuttings, or by air layering. It can be a bit tricky to propagate, but worth it!

Stem Cuttings

To take a cutting, begin by selecting a healthy leaf stem. It should be a young stem, not particularly large. Sterilize a sharp knife or sharp pruning shears, and clip or cut off the leaf stem near the branch.

Dip the cut end into rooting hormone, and then place it into a pre-prepared potting soil mix about 2″ deep. Place it in an area with steady bright but indirect sunlight after watering.

It’s best to provide extra humidity around your cutting while it takes root. A clear plastic bag can act like a greenhouse. Alternately, consider using a small cold frame to keep humidity in. Be sure the soil stays moist, but not wet.

A few weeks later, roots should have formed. As soon as the plant starts producing new green growth, you can remove the plastic bag.

Air Layering

To air-layer schifflera, carefully slice off a thin layer of the outer stem coating on a lower branch. The open area should be bent down to bury it under the soil’s surface. You may need to stake it to keep it in place.

Once roots develop, you can cut the stem to separate it from its parent plant and place the cutting in another pot.

From Seed

Soak your seeds in warm water for 12 hours before sowing. The ideal temperature for your water is 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Use at least four times as much water as the amount of seeds you’re soaking.

Once your seeds have had their warm water soak, it’s sowing time. A good potting mix will work. You can also use the Cornell University “peat-lite” mix. This blend is 1 quart vermiculite, 1 quart peat moss, 1/2 teaspoon ground limestone, and 1/2 teaspoon 5-10-5 fertilizer.

Plant the seeds twice as deep as their size. Water enough to make your soil moist but not soggy, and keep them out of direct sunlight. Use a seedling heating mat to keep the soil temperature at 75 degrees. You should have high germination with this method.

Troubleshooting Umbrella Tree Plants

The name umbrella tree comes from the umbrella-like ring of leaves at each stem tip. Source: Starr Environmental

Umbrella trees are hardy, and you shouldn’t run into too many issues with pests or disease. But here are a few to keep a watchful eye for, just in case!


The worst issue affecting dwarf umbrella tree indoors are two-spotted spider mites. These annoying little pests create spider-like webbing on the underside of leaves.

Spider mites hate humidity. Your first line of defense should be providing plenty of humidity for your umbrella tree. Beyond that, neem oil will repel them from the plant.

Another insect which neem oil repels is the aphid. Many types of aphids may prey on schefflera plants, and they all react similarly to neem oil. They stop sucking plant juices from leaves, and if the oil coats them they die out.

Scarred umbrella tree leaves may be a sign that thrips have invaded. These thysanoptera pests are hard to defeat as their larvae hide inside plant tissue. I recommend using an insecticidal soap blended with a little neem oil to keep them away.

Finally, white mealybugs, a type of scale insects, may move into your plant’s foliage. They don’t move around much, but they can cause some severe damage to your plant in large numbers. Use a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol to free them from your plant’s stems and leaves.


Fungi can cause leaf spots on your schefflera plants. The most common of these is alternaria, but phytophthora fungi can also do it. Both of these leaf spots can be treated similarly. Use a copper-based fungicide to evenly coat the plant and kill the fungi.

When aphids attack, they can leave behind patches of honeydew, a sticky secretion. This secretion is the perfect habitat for sooty mold. While sooty mold won’t harm your plant, it can make it hard for the leaves to absorb light. Use a damp cloth to clean off the leaves.

A form of bacterial blight known as pseudomonas leaf blight can happen. This can cause leaf drop or water-soaked splotches on leaves. Prune off infected leaves and destroy them. Keep the leaves dry to prevent further outbreak.

Xanthomonas leaf spot, another bacterial disease, creates beige-colored spots. These spots can become large patches over time. Prune off diseased leaves and fertilize more regularly to help the plant fight it off.

Over-watering may cause fungal growth that leads to root and stem rot. You’ll know this is happening when the roots and stems feel soft and mushy, or the leaves of your plant turn black and fall off.

Cut away any affected areas and repot into fresh, less wet soil. Take care not to overwater in the future and your plant will recover.

Frequently Asked Questions

A closeup of where leaves meet the stem. Source: PKMousie

Q. How do I harvest seeds from my umbrella tree?

A. For schefflera actinophylla, wait for the strings of berries or seed pods to turn dark maroon. Allow the pods to dry out in the sun completely. You can then put them back into water while rubbing them to release the seeds.

Once you’ve gotten the seeds out of the pods, spread them out to completely dry out. The same basic process works for schefflera arboricola. However, arbicola berries turn from orange to bright red when ready to harvest.

Q. My umbrella tree is getting too tall, what can I do?

A. It’s common for an umbrella tree to get out of control. They grow quickly, but they also recover quickly. If yours is getting out of control and taking up too much space, heavily prune it back. It will start producing plenty of new shoots!

Q. What is the easiest way to propagate umbrella trees?

A. Schefflera arboricola is known as a hard-to-propagate plant, but there is one way that has a high success rate. Take cuttings, place them in high-quality potting soil in pots. Place these pots in trays of water and place the trays in the shade. As long as the water temperature is warm, you’ll see new shoots in 2-3 weeks.

So are you ready to rush out and get an umbrella tree of your very own? They’re really great foliage plants and can really brighten up a room! Do you prefer smaller dwarf umbrella tree or the larger variation? Tell us in the comment section!

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Umbrella trees might look nice, but they’re damaging

Umbrella tree (Schefflera actinophylla)

UMBRELLA tree is native to tropical America but is also considered as native to northern Australia (the coastal districts of northern and central Queensland and the northern parts of the Northern Territory) and New Guinea.

This species is becoming widely invasive beyond its native range in eastern Australia (in south-eastern Queensland and the coastal districts of northern New South Wales).

Umbrella tree is regarded as an environmental weed in south-eastern Queensland, New South Wales and on Christmas Island.


A weed of closed forests, rainforests, open woodlands, national parks, waterways, orchards, and coastal environments in these areas. Umbrella trees are causing harm to local ecosystems’ flora and fauna.

The seed is spread by birds and other animals that eat its fruit.

The umbrella tree’s aggressive roots can easily crack sewer lines, water pipes, paths and walls. They can block plumbing joints and pipes as well as damaging footpaths and building foundations.


A fast-growing multi-stemmed tree usually growing 6-10m tall, but occasionally reaching 20m or more. This plant has been widely cultivated in gardens.

Seedlings may germinate in the crotches of large trees, and in this case the plant will grow as an epiphyte until its roots reach the ground.

The thick branches are marked by conspicuous leaf-scars when they are young. They are dark green in colour, and covered with whitish spots.

The once-compound leaves are very large, with several leaflets (7-16) radiating from the same point. The main leaf stalk is robust and 15-60cm long, while each of the leaflets is borne on a smaller stalk 2.5-8cm long.

Each of the glossy green leaflets is oblong to narrowly-oblong in shape (8-30cm long and 4-8cm wide) with pointed tips. They are hairless and usually have entire margins, however seedling leaves may be slightly toothed towards their tips.

The flowers are borne in large branched clusters at the top of the plant. Each flower cluster has several branches up to 80cm long that radiate outward from a central point.

The small bright red flowers are grouped together in small clusters (1-2cm across) along these flowering branches.

Each flower usually has 12 petals (occasionally as few as 7 or as many as 18) that are pink to red in colour and only 3-5mm long, while its sepals are reduced to a tiny rim about 1mm long. The flowers have the same number of stamens as petals.

Flowering occurs mostly during spring and summer. The small fruit (6-12mm across) turn dark red or dark purple in colour as they mature. They resemble berries but have a hard centre. Fruit appear during winter.


At any time of year, cut stems off horizontally as close to the ground as possible. Immediately (within 15 seconds) swab cut surface with herbicide mixture.

Untreated stumps will reshoot and roots left in the ground will reshoot unless removed.

Landcare details

Article writer Ian Read can be contacted 07 4159 9365, or email [email protected] for free weed identification and native plants advice, and for landscaping and weed control.

Phone Landcare president Michael Johnson on 0422 297 062 for weed project details and monthly meeting times, or email [email protected]

The Bundaberg Landcare Nursery at the Salvation Army Tom Quinn Centre, Doctor May’s Rd, is open on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, 10am-4pm for native plants.


By Franz Xaver CC BY-SA 3.0, GFDL (Photo Credits)
Botanical Name: Terminalia catappa Description

Also known as the Sea Almond or Tropical Almond, it is common throughout SE Asia, growing wild as well as cultivated for its striking features and tasty nut. A deciduous tree it can shed its leaves twice a year. In Autumn the leaves turn into colours of red, copper, gold. This tree has a characteristic pagoda shape because it sends out a single stem from the top center. When the single stem reaches a good height, it sends out several horizontal branches. It can get very large reaching 30m in ideal conditions. The grey fissured, flaky but not ridged. The fruits are almond-shaped and green turning brown to purple when ripe. The fibrous shell surrounds an edible nut. This shell helps the fruit to float as the seed is dispersed by water. The nuts are edible, taste very much like almonds although it can be a challenge to remove the flesh from the hard stone. Unlike the commercial almond, the Sea Almond can be eaten raw. Oil extracted from the dried nuts is edible and used in cooking (South America). Cold sensitive, recommended for Tropical climates.

Image Price Avail. Propagation Size Buy Options
$24.90 0 Seedling Pot: 2.5L
Height: 70-80cm
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Height: 20-30cm
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Plant Information or Specifications

Sub Categories (HashTags)

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Preferred Climate

Tropical, Subtropical
Learn About Climate Zones

Learn About Propagation Methods

Max Height (when in the ground with good conditions)


Plants required to Pollinate

1 (Self Pollinating)
Learn about Pollination

Can it Handle Frosts?

Likes Temps above 5deg

Amount of leaves in Winter?

Some Leaves (Partly Deciduous)

Water Requirements

Frequent Watering

Is it a Dwarf Fruit Tree?

No (Full Size)

Time to Fruit/Flower/Harvest

5+ Years

Sun or Shade

Full (Sun:80%-100%)

Preferred Soil Type

Good Drainage

Soil pH

Neutral (6.6-7.3pH)

Fruiting/Harvest Months

February, March


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Customer Comments on Indian Almond Tree

Tree Information on growing, planting, pruning, maintenance, ripening, taste, pick or bonsai tips. But mainly how to grow a Indian Almond Tree Share Your Advice or ask questions on our Forum

Indian Almond

Terminalia catappa is known as “Baadam chettu” in Telugu. I would appreciate if you added it to the list of common names in other languages. | Narasimham Ayalasomayajula – Sacramento, CA 07-Jan-2007 The leaves of this tree are used to serve food, providing bio-degradable dinner plates! | Lakshmi Modali – Hampton, VA 13-Mar-2007 Called Almendro (the tree) or Almendra (the fruit) in Costa Rica and Nicaragua. | Sylvia Cardona – Cumming, GA 13-May-2007 Used to treat water in fish tanks, containing betta’s reduces stress levels in fish and lowers ph of water. also eliminates harmfull chemicals in the water. | Random_ Chaos – Durban, R.S.A 26-May-2007 This can be used as hair oil | Jamal – Puttalam, SRILA 20-Jun-2007 In Nehan Language Nissan Island Bougainville PNG It is called “Talisa” | Daniel – Nissan Island, PNG 30-Jun-2007 We discovered this beautiful tree whilst staying in Fiji where it is referred to as the Tivi tree | Shannon – Perth, WA 03-Aug-2007 In tropical australia, they are a favourite tree for black cocatoos. If you love your wildlife, this is a magnificent tree to grow | Rhaya Jordan – Townsville, QLD 26-Sep-2007 Indian almond is commonly known in GA as ‘brofo nkatie’ | Barnabas Yaw Klu – Accra, GHANA 16-Dec-2007 In Tanzania is commonly known as Kungu (Swahili Language). You can chew the fruits, because are palatable | Mswahilina Mswahilina – Dar Es Salaam, BONGO 19-Mar-2009 Terminalia catappa is known as badam in kerala. the dried leaves contain a chemical substance. These leaves when put into water release anti-bacterial substances into the water it reduces ph level. | Rafi – Calicut, KERAL 02-Jul-2009 Known as Talisay in Philippines; the bark and leaves are used as antipyretic; the extract can be extracted by decoction of by Soxhlet method | Jenny Castro – Iloilo City, PHIL 20-Jul-2009 Know as a Bunda Pin in Burmese. The seed is useful for cooking purpose. When is crushed, the oil is used wit coconut oil for hair rejuvenation in Burma. Yes, we also use it for Lowing the PH for fish tanking without harmful chemicals. | Shannyboo – Perth, WA 06-Oct-2009 Afghan Almond | Faizan Azami – Kabul Afghanistan, KABUL 08-Nov-2009 India Almonds is very common in Nigeria and the fruitis very tasty. We usually eat the outside fruit when is yellow ripe. We call the tree frut in Nigeria. | Rotimi Durojaiye – New York, NY 26-Jan-2010 Used as a water conditioner for fishes like discus, tetras, arowanas, bettas, etc. | Alan Chow – Singapore, SG 13-Feb-2010 Indian Almond is a Multipurpose usable Tree | Rakesh Swarnkar – Indore, M P 22-Oct-2010 Known as ‘fruit’ in south-west Nigeria. | Annon – Lagos, LAGOS 07-Nov-2010 In ghana it is also called “abrofo nkatee” meaning white-man’s groundnut which is very good in the treatment of malaria and typhoid-fever(the dried and fresh leaves) | Boateng Emmanuel – Kumasi-asafo, GHANA 12-Jun-2011 In UAE and many Arabian Gulf countries it is called “Laoze” tree. The fruit is very tasty and eaten raw. The inside nut just taste like sweet almon but hard to get because of hard shell. The tree is very popular in the gulf and southern part of I ran. | A. Razak Yousef – Jumeirah, Dubai, UAE 26-Aug-2011 In the Maldives, Indian Almond or sea almond nut is called : Kana madhu. The tree and timber is : Midhili. One of the most common trees throughout the island nation. I have no information of its medicinal uses, sorry. | Ahmed Sameer Ali – Male’- Maldives, MALE’ 23-Nov-2011 The dried leaves of the indian almond are used for poison dart frog tadpoles to releive stress and to properly form there lungs | Kamil Danko – Palos Hills, IL 21-May-2012 The tree bark mixed with boiling water & pounded given to me for stomach bug/diaorrhea in Fiji – tablespoon full when cold, worked immediately | Peter Young – Mt Tamborine, QLD 20-Jun-2012 The Indian Almond tree is a great shade tree and can be shaped to accommodate a round table and chairs,in Costa Rica | Rich Sulzer – El Rodeo, Mora, SAN J 16-Nov-2012 Planting it gives u shade | Sachin.j.thool – Ulhasnagar, MAHAR 02-Dec-2012 In kerala it is called as ” badham tree” … it gives better shade….and also can be properly shaped…. better to be planted on road sides:) | Arshad – Trivandrum, KERAL 22-Mar-2013 Known as Cay Bang in Vietnam. The nuts are roasted and or roasted & sugar coated along with ginger slivers and eaten as snacks. | Peter King – Alstonville, NSW 10-Jun-2013 Indian Almond Tree also known as umbrella tree in Nigeria provides shade for relaxation and meeting points in some compounds. the fruits which is called mkpuru edo in Igbo language is cracked and eaten. | John Utazi – Fct, ABUJA 24-Oct-2013 Indian almond Trees are usually found in road sides giving shades. Lots of fruits fall on road and ignored completely. Nobody farm it commercially, but buy the costly imported almond nut for $15(900 indian rupees). | S. Gautham Yogeeswar – Trivandrum, KERAL 27-Jul-2014 In Mauritius it’s called fruit du badamier or D’amandier tropical or in kreol Badamier | Graham King – Deer Park, VIC 02-Apr-2015 Indian Almond Tree is known as “Kath Badam” in Bengali. | Tarashanker Kumar – Kolkata, SELEC 18-Jun-2015 Known as “Talisay” we discover that the Terminalia Catappa can also be a wine. | Jessel Ann Plaga – Manila, PHIL. 23-Jun-2015 Known as “Talisay” we discover that the Terminalia Catappa can also be a wine. | Jessel Ann Plaga – Manila, PHIL. 23-Jun-2015 I read that the seeds survive in ocean water for long periods and that the plant is spreading naturally to beaches in many new places. A good thing to prevent erosion. It is common on beaches here in Costa Rica and is planted by people in other areas. | Andres Fernandes – Roxana, LI 30-Jul-2015 Known as “Telie” in Tonga, The new leaves & bark are used for medicinal purposes,the outside of the fruit is eaten when ripe, the nuts are delicious and the shells are dried and used as firewood when camping, also, under the scorching sun- perfect shade. | S. Hoke – Manly, NSW 27-Sep-2015 In Malaysia this tree grows at beaches with branches rnging out over the water. Humans and monkeys using them as dive boards. | Kurt Schaefer – Carnarvon , WA 01-Mar-2016 It is called Fruit or Elebobo in Nigeria. The tree usually provides shade and tasty fruit for people to eat. Inside the fruit, there is a nut that’s tough to remove but can be used for several things. | Damilola – Lekki, LAGOS 05-Apr-2016 We used this trees in restocking the coastal strips of Davao Oriental which are barren of mangrove forests. | John Glen P. Seniel – City Of Mati, PHIL. 20-Sep-2017 In Burma (Myanmar), these are widely known as Bandar ( or Baadan in some areas) and are grown mostly for shade. Some crack the fruits to eat the seeds for fun but not on a commercial scale. | Khin Maung Nyane – Falls Church, VA 27-Apr-2018 I have grown Indian almond trees in Redcliffe QLD AUS It takes a good 3 months to germinate in our cooler climate | Bob Coonan – Kippa-ring , Queen 23-Oct-2018 The dried leaves are popular in the shrimp keeping hobby. Used to lower pH and provide beneficial bacteria to aid the health of shrimp | G Handley – Brisbane, QLD 05-Apr-2019

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Indian Almond Tree

Kath’s Edible Fruits

Comments: – Gorgeous tree, edible almond like kernal.

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Mangrove and Wetland Wildlife at Sungei Buloh Nature Park

Tropical Almond, Sea Almond

A typical Tropical Almond in a typical setting. Photo by Tropical Plant Book

I went to Ft. Myers one Friday to look at plants on an 11-acre monastery. On the property there was a large tree they didn’t know nor did I. The following Sunday while teaching a class across the state in West Palm Beach two students knew a tree there that I didn’t know. It was the same tree at the Monastery. Small botanical world. The tree was a Tropical Almond.

Tropical Almonds at various stages of ripening. Photo by Staticd.

You would not know the Tropical Almond is not native to the American tropics if you judged it by popularity there. Starting in mid-Florida along the coast then south it becomes more common if not excessive by Central America. Not bad for a tree that is native to East Indies and related warm areas from Australia to Africa. It’s usually found in coastal locations because it likes low-elevation (under 1300 feet) and is salt, drought and wind tolerant. Add a lot of rain and no freezes and the tree is happy. It’s often used in landscaping because when a leaf dies it turns red making the tree colorful most of the time. The journey west to east probably started in Hawaii. We know it was there before 1800. It was definitely introduced to Jamaica by 1790. The tree is naturalized in southern Florida, the Florida Keys, Virgin Island and Hawaii as well as the West Indies and from Mexico to Peru and Brazil. It is also grown in warm areas of Texas and California

Pagoda-like Terminalia mantaly “Tricolor” in Hong Kong. Photo by Green State

Botanically Terminalia catappa (ter-mih-NAIL-ee-uh kuh-TAP-uh) it is not related to the edible almond. No doubt the tree gets it common name from the seed pods which look like large unshelled three-inch almonds and from the seed/kernel which resembles almonds. Unlike true almonds though the outside of the fruit is also edible. Both the seeds and the fruit of this particular species are edible raw. When the fruit dries it is very light thus buoyant and uses water (ocean currents) to get spread around. They are a common “sea bean” found along Florida beaches. For such light fibrous things they are surprisingly tough to open (especially if you have only two chunks of small concrete as we did that day… the surface of Florida does not have rocks.) Julia Morton, who was a long-term botany professor at the University of Miami, reported in 1985 that “defleshed, thoroughly sun-dried fruits may be readily cracked by a sharp blow on the keel.” If well-dried they will also open if hit on the end point with a hammer.

Inside the Almond-like husk is a tasty kernel. Photo by N.I.T. Gallery

Propagated by seed the fast-growing Tropical Almond reaches 30 to 55-feet talls on average but can grow to 80 feet. Deciduous, it forms a symmetrical, upright tree with horizontal branches that reach 35 feet in width. The branches are arranged in tiers giving the tree a pagoda-like look. The tree’s large leaves are distinctive, 12-inches long and six-inches-wide, glossy green, leathery with a heart-shaped base. They are also woolly underneath and grow in a rosette at the end of branches. Leaf stems have two glands at the upper end. Before dropping from age, or winter or drought they change through shades of red, yellow, and purple. Spring time blossoms are inconspicuous, green and white, arranged in fives with 10 to 12 stamens each all on six-inch-long terminal clusters. They produce the edible fruit that changes through the colors already mentioned for the leaves: green to yellow then red or dark purple. The husk is corky, thin with green flesh inside. The fruit is high in tannic acid which can stain cars, pavement and sidewalks. But the tannic acid is also good for tanning hides. Interestingly the tree does not attract much wildlife. Some tropical ants like it and fruit bats eat the husk. Bees are attracted to the blossom but apparently have a difficult time making honey from them. Humans can barely detect an odor from the flowers. A tree can produce (when shelled) about 11 pounds of kernels per season.

Above left is the Roman God Terminus on a coin from 58 BC.

There are some 250 species in the Terminalia genus. Terminalia is a variation of the Dead Latin word Terminus, a Roman God who presided over boundaries and frontiers. He liked fences and was never inside a buiding. In English we get termination, terminal and terminus from it. Here Terminalia refers to the rosette of leaves at the end of branches. While I would like to say Catappa is from the Greek word Kata (which means “below, all along” ) it is not. Catappa is variation of the Malaysian name for the tree which is ketapang.

Whether by age or conditions Tropical Almond leaves turn red making attractive foliage. Photo by J.M. Garg.

For flavonoids the tree has quercertin and kamferol; pigments include violaxanthin, lutein and zeaxanthin; tannins are punicalin, punicalagin and tercatein. The leaves and bark are astringent. Medicinally the tree has had a myriad of uses in folk medicine including treatment for cancer, sickle cell disorders, dysentery, cough, leprosy, nausea, diarrhea, intestinal parasites, eye problems, rheumatism, colic, liver disease, scabies, upset stomach, thrush and as an antibacterial agent and contraceptive. There is some modern research that suggests it might be useful in treating high blood pressure. Leaf extracts have shown to have some anti-diabetic and antioxidant activities. The leaves and bark are put in fish tanks to increase water acidity and reduce bacterial infections amongst the tank’s inhabitants.

Dried fruit floats and is carried thousands of miles by ocean currents. Photo by N.I.T. Gallery

The wood is moderately dense but had not been used for timber like other Terminalia species. It’s hard, strong, and has an attractive heartwood. Boxes, crates, buildings, bridges, boats, floors, planks, wheelbarrows, carts, barrels and water troughs are made from the wood. It does not do well in soil such as when used as fence posts but does well in water such as for building boats. In Fiji and Samoa it is the favorite wood for native drums.

A Tropical Almond Tree in India. Note the shallow roots, one reason why it grows well in south Florida which in many places only has a few feet of soil on limestone. Photo by Barbara E.

Related species that have edible kernels after washing and cooking are T. glabrata, T. litoralis, T. mauritiana, T. pamela, and T. kaernbachii, the latter of which has seeds that are 12.5 protein and 70% fat. Morton reported T. cattapa kernels are 52% fat, 25.5% protein and 6% sugar. The oil is mostly palmitic acid, 55.5% and oleic acid, 23%. Per 100 grams the outer flesh is 74% moisture, 5% protein and has 84 mg of calcium, 24mg of phosphorus, 7 mg iron, 21 mg of ascorbic acid. The T. cattapa is the only one in the genus to produce a kernel that can be eaten raw and does not need washing or cooking. A few species produce lesser quality fruit whose fleshy husks (but not seeds) are eaten: T. edulis, T. oblongata, T. platyphylla, T. sericocarpa, and T. solomonensis. The seeds of those species are often not eaten because of a high tannic acid content sometimes as high as 53%. Whether they can be leached like acorns I do not know. I suspect if they could it would have been discovered by now.

Tropical Almond fruit ripening. Photo by B. Navez

Other names for the species include: Barbados almond, bastard almond, Bengal almond, country almond, Demarara almond, false kamani, Fijian almond, Malabar almond, Malay almond, sea almond, Singapore almond, story tree, tavola nut, West Indian almond, alconorque, almendrillo, almendro, almendro de la India, almendron, almendro del pais, amandelboom, amandier de Cayenne, amandier des indies, amandier des tropiques, amendoeira, badam, badamier, castafia, castafiola, chapeu de sol, guarda-sol, kalumpit, kamani-haole, ketapang, kotamba, parasol, saori, talie, talisai, tavola, tipapop, tipop, tivi, white bombway, wilde amandel, zanmande, and many more dialect names.

The leaves are also fed to silkworms and animals.

Green Deane’s “Itemized” Plant Profile: Tropical Almond

Flowers of the Tropical Almond. Photo by J.M. Garg

IDENTIFICATION: Terminalia catappa: Usually a single trunk tree that can reach 80 feet high, 18 inches through at the base. It has whorls of nearly horizontal, slightly ascending, branches like pine trees eventually taking on a pagoda-like appearance. Branches droop at the tips. Leaves are short stemmed, spirally clustered at the branch tips, obovate, up to 11 inches long, six inches wide, dark-green above, paler beneath, leathery and glossy turning bright-scarlet, dark-red, dark purplish-red, or yellow in midwinter often right at Christmas time in Florida. In Hawaii the tree is evergreen. Foetid flowers are greenish-white, very small, no petals but 10-12 conspicuous stamens, in slender spikes in the leaf axils. Most flowers are male, a few hermaphrodite, some female. The fruit is two inches or more long, one inch or more wide. Most that I’ve seen are about three inches long and half as wide, ellipsoid more pointed at the end than at the base, slightly flattened, with a prominent keel around both sides and the tip. Skin is smooth, waxy, and thin. Pulp layer is juicy, whitish to pink or reddish, slightly sweet or acidic. The seed in the husk is spindle-shaped with a thin brown covering. The “kernel” is actually the tightly coiled seed leaves of the embryo, more tender than an almond with a hazel nut like flavor.

TIME OF YEAR: Varies on location, summer, winter or nearly all year. Here in Florida they bear in November. In southern Indian they have two crops per year. In the Caribbean they fruit continuously.

Young Tropical Almonds in pots. Photo by Tropicals USA

ENVIRONMENT: Full sun to medium shade on well-drained soil, tolerant of wind, salt, and drought, likes being mulched and regularly fertilized. Will not tolerate freezes. The germination rate for whole fruit is 25%. Seedlings are transplanted into pots and raised in shade slowly acclimatizing them to full sun. Field planting is done when they are seasonally leafless.

METHOD OF PREPARATION: The fruit has a pleasant aroma but is not too tasty. The ripe husks of the fruit can be eat raw but are best when young and sweet. The seeds have an almond or hazel-nut flavor. In India they are often served sitting in water on a small plate. The oil can also be used for cooking or to make soap. Leaves can be used as plates or to wrap small amounts of food. Among the fruit there can be a lot of variation as to when they are edible and palatable, sometimes when younger other times when older.

Tropical Almond Fruit. Photo by The Three Foragers

Wonderful But Little-known Facts About Umbrella Trees

Umbrella tree or Umbrella plant may refer to five disparate types of trees. Each of these differ as far as their stems, leaves, fruits, and region of growth are considered. Have a look.

The term ‘umbrella’ in umbrella trees or plants is used to refer to the typical structure of leaves these plants possess. Their leaves are umbrella-shaped or cluster to form an umbrella-like canopy. We will take you through the different plant species this term may refer to.

Facts about Umbrella Trees

Umbrella tree may mean one of the following:

  • Schefflera actinophylla
  • Magnolia tripetala
  • Terminalia catappa
  • Musanga cecropioides
  • Polyscias murrayi

Schefflera actinophylla

  • It is a tree in the Araliaceae family. It is also called the Octopus tree.
  • The tropical rainforests in Australia (eastern Queensland and the Northern territory), Java and New Guinea abound with these species.
  • The tree can grow up to 15 meters. It is evergreen and has compound medium green leaves in clusters of seven.
  • This tree depends for mechanical support on other rainforest trees.
  • The tree is multi-trunked and flowers bloom at the treetop. Inflorescences having a length of 2 meters and enclosing almost 1000 small dull red flowers, are part of the tree.
  • This flowering starts in early summer and continues for many further months. The flowers have a large quantity of nectar. This entices honey-eating birds.
  • The fruits of this tree are devoured by several birds and animals like Musky Rat Kangaroos, Red-legged Pademelons and Spectacled Flying Foxes. The Bennett’s Tree-Kangaroo likes to consume the leaves.

Magnolia tripetala

  • It can be categorized as a deciduous tree.
  • It is found in the Appalachian mountains in the southeastern United States.
  • The large shiny leaves are 30-50 cm in length and the stems are stout. In autumn, the leaves become yellow.
  • The tree can grow to a height of 15 meters. The flowers are 15-25 cm in diameter. These have a large red style and 6-9 creamy-white petals. The fruit is red and 10 cm in length. This has many red seeds.

Terminalia catappa

  • It is a large tropical tree and may have originated in India, Malay peninsula or New Guinea. It is also called the Indian almond, Bengal almond, Malabar almond, Tropical almond, Sea almond or Singapore almond.
  • This tree can grow to a height of 35 meters. When full-grown, it has an upright, symmetrical crown and horizontal branches. As it ages, the crown flattens to have a spreading, vase finish.
  • The leaves are 15-25 cm in length and 10-14 cm in breadth. They are leathery, glossy dark green, ovoid and broad. The color becomes pinkish-reddish or yellow-brown just before falling.
  • The flowers are 1 cm in diameter, white to greenish in color and are seen on axillary or terminal spikes. The fruit is 5-7 cm in length and 3-5.5 cm in breadth. Its color changes from green to yellow to red. It contains a single seed.

Musanga cecropioides

  • It is the African Corkwood tree found in secondary forests. It is also called the Parasolier, Doe, kombo-kombo, musanda, N’Govoge, musanga and Govwi.
  • This tree is generally found in Africa from Sierra Leone to Angola and eastward to Uganda.

Polyscias murrayi


  • It is also known as Umbrella Tree, White Basswood or Pencilwood. These trees are found in New Guinea and also over the Victoria State border, in New South Wales and in parts of Queensland.
  • It grows to a height of 25 m and has a trunk of a diameter of about 50 cm which is smooth grayish-brown. The cylindrical trunk branches at a random height and the forked structure of the branches supports a leafy crown.
  • Leaves are alternate and pinnate. They have 8-30 leaflets, with each leaflet pair having a visible gland in between.
  • The tree flowers in the months of February and March bearing creamy green flowers. The fruits of this tree are two or three-lobed blue drupes.

Umbrella Plant Facts

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This term may mean one of the following:

  • Darmera peltata
  • Podophyllum peltatum
  • Cyperus alternifolius
  • Schefflera arboricola
  • Eriogonum longifolium

Darmera peltata


  • It is also called Indian rhubarb.
  • In late spring, the flowers bloom before the leaves. These flowers have rounded cymes of many five-petalled white to bright pink flowers.
  • The leaves are coarsely-toothed, deeply lobed, rounded, dark green and conspicuously veined. These become red in autumn.

Podophyllum peltatum

  • It is found in the eastern part of North America.
  • The stems are 30-40 cm tall. The leaves are 20-30 cm in diameter with 5-9 deeply cut lobes.
  • This tree is also called the mayapple, Hogapple, wild lemon, American mandrake, Devil’s apple, Indian apple or wild mandrake.

Cyperus alternifolius

  • This plant is found in Madagascar and in the Indian Ocean.
  • Its common names include umbrella papyrus, umbrella sedge and umbrella palm.
  • It belongs to the Cyperaceae family. It is grass-like and grown as a houseplant. It is used as an ornamental plant and grown in pots or ponds. Its leaves form an umbrella-like cluster.

Schefflera arboricola

  • It is an evergreen shrub. It may grow to a height of 3-4 meters. It is commonly known as the Dwarf umbrella.
  • The leaves have 7-9 leaflets. Each leaflet is 9-20 cm long and 4-10 cm broad.
  • The umbels are 7-10 mm in diameter and have 5-10 flowers.

Eriogonum longifolium

  • It is also called Harper’s umbrella plant or Harper’s buckwheat.
  • For a long period it remains in an immature stage and eventually develops a flowering stalk. Then, it flowers and perishes.
  • Tennessee and Kentucky are the areas where its survival is doubted.

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Umbrella Plant Key Facts

Umbrella plant (Schefflera / Heptapleurum, scientific name Schefflera Arboricola) is a popular houseplant. It is commonly known as the Dwarf umbrella tree. These beautiful plants can successfully be grown indoors. One of the best things about them is that they can easily be kept to a small size. They will grow around 4 to 8 feet tall indoors. They are also easy to care for so it is not difficult to make your umbrella plant thrive inside your home.

These plants originate from Taiwan. They are known under numerous names, such as umbrella plant, dwarf umbrella tree, Queensland umbrella tree, Gold Capella, octopus tree, and more.

Plant Description

Umbrella plants are multi trunk trees. These beautiful plants can grow around 10 feet outdoors so they need to be pruned if you want to grow them inside your home. Pruning and topping is essential care for umbrella plants.

This tree’s close relative, Schefflera Actinophylla, need to be planted carefully since it has a very invasive nature. In fact, it is seen as weed in some areas, so be careful if you wish to grow this one in your home.

Most umbrella plants have two or more trunks, though it is not unheard of to find those with only one trunk. They typically have multiple branches with palmate compound or whorled leaves. You will recognize them by their distinctive look: they resemble fingers coming from the stalk. They typically have 4 to 12 leaflets. This gives them an umbrella spoke appearance, hence the name.

The plant also has glossy leaflets that are nearly oval in shape. These leaflets are a few inches long and several inches wide. This size depends mainly on the age and size of the tree.

Common Varieties

There are some common varieties of umbrella plants. There are 3 most popular varieties of these plants that are commonly grown in homes: variegated Gold Capella, plain green leafed and dwarf sized umbrella plant. These are by far the most common varieties of umbrella plants you can find in garden centers and other specialized stores. Another thing to keep in mind is that umbrella plans are often grown as bonsai trees.

There are some slight differences between S. arboricola and S. actinophylla, so it is best to always ask staff at the store to help you choose the right one. However, keep in mind that both types require the same care conditions so it might not make so much of a difference, except that S. actinophylla tends to be more invasive, so be careful about that.

Care Requirements

Umbrella plants are considered easy to care for in the home. This is why even beginners can consider growing umbrella plants in their home. All you need to provide to your plant is some basic care and maintenance. This is typically sufficient to make an umbrella tree happy.

In fact, these plants thrive when left alone. Less is truly more with them, particularly when it comes to watering and feeding. Giving them too much water or fertilizing too much will actually cause numerous problems, so keep this in mind. However, if you add only a little more than needed it will not cause serious problems so you don’t need to stress too much about it.

One thing you need to remember, though, is that older umbrella trees typically need to be supported by a moss stick or a stake. In case you wish to use a moss stick make sure to choose the one that has matured enough and has aerial roots. The only way to prevent this is to regularly prune and pinch your umbrella plant.

Warning: Poisonous for Pets!

One important thing you need to remember about umbrella plants is that they are toxic to cats and dogs. Keep this in mind if you wish to grow umbrella trees in your home. It is best to grow them only in places where your pets don’t have access to.

This plant is mildly toxic when ingested by cats and dogs so if you notice that your pet is unwell, make sure to take them to the vet immediately.


When grown outdoors in warmer climates, the umbrella plants produce bright red flowers that resemble tentacles. The flowers grow on long stems above the foliage. This is where one of the popular names for the plant comes from: octopus tree.

However, keep in mind that it is very difficult to make your umbrella plant bloom indoors. This is important to remember if you want to keep your tree indoors at all times.

Repotting Your Umbrella Tree

Keep in mind that it is important to repot your umbrella tree once in 2 years. During repotting, it is vital to provide your plant with anew potting mix. Always repot during spring. To stay on the safe side, avoid fertilizing your plant for one month after repotting. The reason for this is that new potting mixes typically contain all the nutrients a plant need so adding more fertilizer will just lead to over-feeding.

When choosing a new container, make sure to pick the one that is solid and heavy enough. This is important because it needs to be strong enough for the mature tree.

Propagating Your Umbrella Tree

These plants are not easy to propagate, so keep this in mind before you try. Propagation is typically done by taking a 4 to 6 inch stem cuttings during spring. It is important to remove all the leaves from the cuttings, save from one set. It is also important to make sure that the node is available: this is where the new growth will sprout from.

It is also important to use rooting hormone on the cut that you will place in the soil. Make sure to pot the cutting in the container that you can cover with a plastic sheet.

Another way you can go is to use a propagator. You will need to keep these at the exact temperatures of between 65 degrees F and 75 degrees F (18 to 24 degrees Celsius). It is also important to provide them with bottom heat. This will all improve your chances of success.

During the propagation process make sure to never over-water the soil. Over-watering will make the cuttings rot. It is best to wait until you notice plenty of new growth until you start providing basic care for your new plant.

Umbrella trees need to be pruned. They tend to grow very fast so pruning is a must, especially if you want to grow your tree indoors. In case your umbrella tree becomes leggy or if you want to make it look bushy, simply pinch the growing tips of the plant.

One good thing about umbrella trees is that you can basically prune them as much as you want and it will bring the new growth the next spring. It means that you can rarely go wrong or over-prune it.

Photo credit: dinesh_valke Schefflera arboricola via photopin (license)

Main Content

Mayapples – umbrellas for elves?


Hiking in the woods this spring, you may encounter a sight that may make you wonder “Did a convention of elves loose their umbrellas?” Those glossy green umbrellas popping up from the forest floor are mayapples, Podophyllum peltatum. They are found in the woodlands from western Quebec and Minnesota to Florida and Texas. Mayapples are found in clumps or colonies because the plant spreads by rhizomes. Rhizomes are stems that grow horizontally under the surface of the ground. From these stems, shoots and roots are produced.

In the Barberry family, these plants are one of the easiest spring wildflowers to identify – having smooth dark green leaves that are wrapped around stems. The leaves are circular in shape with five to seven lobes. You can tell if a mayapple will produce a flower by looking at the number of leaves it has. One leaf, it won’t flower, two leaves it will flower. It can take up to four years for a mayapple to mature and produce a flower.

The waxy white flower has six petals and is about 2″ in diameter. The 2″ long fruit is sphere to lemon shaped. It will change in color from green to yellow as it ripens. The fruit of the mayapple is considered to be the only non-toxic part of the plant. Its fruit can be incorporated into marmalades, jellies, pies and drinks.

Historically, Native Americans used the mayapple as a powerful laxative, to get rid intestinal worms, as a wart cure-all and as an insecticide on crops. They would gather the rhizomes in the fall, dry and then crush them into a powder. Care had to be taken because only certain parts of the rhizome are safe; the others can be quite toxic. Currently, the USDA lists mayapple as ‘unsafe’ and advises against using it medicinally at home. Modern science has discovered that extracts of mayapple can be used in treatment of certain cancers and tumors.

From elfin umbrellas to cancer busters, mayapples have a myriad of uses. They are also one of the easiest spring wildflowers to be identified. On your next ramble into the woods, check under those leaves for the flower and fruit!

Umbrella Tree Stock Photos

Variegated Leaves of Dwarf Umbrella Tree Plant Isolated on White Background with Clipping Path Valentine day card with black silhouette of a kissing couple holding an umbrella under a tree Variegated Leaves of Dwarf Umbrella Plant, Octopus Tree Isolated on White Background Variegated Foliage Leaves of Dwarf Umbrella Plant, Octopus Tree as Natural Texture Background Variegated Dwarf Umbrella Plant, Octopus Tree Isolated on White Background Close up Transparent Umbrella with water drops during the rain with green leaves tree on the blur background. Rainy weather. At spring, summer Close up Transparent Umbrella with water drops during the rain with green leaves tree on the blur background. Rainy weather. At spring, summer Close up Transparent Umbrella with water drops during the rain with green leaves tree on the blur background. Rainy weather. At spring, summer Close up Transparent Umbrella with water drops during the rain with green leaves tree on the blur background. Rainy weather. At spring, summer Close up Transparent Umbrella with water drops during the rain with green leaves tree on the blur background. Rainy weather. At spring, summer Close up Transparent Umbrella with water drops during the rain with green leaves tree on the blur background. Rainy weather. At spring, summer Close up Transparent Umbrella with water drops during the rain with green leaves tree on the blur background. Rainy weather. At spring, summer Close up Transparent Umbrella with water drops during the rain with green leaves tree on the blur background. Rainy weather. At spring, summer Close up Transparent Umbrella with water drops during the rain with green leaves tree on the blur background. Rainy weather. At spring, summer Close up Transparent Umbrella with water drops during the rain with green leaves tree on the blur background. Rainy weather. At spring, summer Close up Transparent Umbrella with water drops during the rain with green leaves tree on the blur background. Rainy weather. At spring, summer Close up Transparent Umbrella with water drops during the rain with green leaves tree on the blur background. Rainy weather. At spring, summer Close up Transparent Umbrella with water drops during the rain with green leaves tree on the blur background. Rainy weather. At spring, summer Close up Transparent Umbrella with water drops during the rain with green leaves tree on the blur background. Rainy weather. At spring, summer Close up Transparent Umbrella with water drops during the rain with green leaves tree on the blur background. Rainy weather. At spring, summer Close up Transparent Umbrella with water drops during the rain with green leaves tree on the blur background. Rainy weather. At spring, summer Close up Transparent Umbrella with water drops during the rain with green leaves tree on the blur background. Rainy weather. At spring, summer Close up Transparent Umbrella with water drops during the rain with green leaves tree on the blur background. Rainy weather. At spring, summer Jungle tropical forest umbrella palm tree leaves in the greenhouse. Jungle tropical forest umbrella palm tree leaves in the greenhouse. Jungle tropical forest umbrella palm tree leaves in the greenhouse. Jungle tropical forest umbrella palm tree leaves in the greenhouse. Umbrella Tree, Octopus tree , Schefflera arboricola. (Hayata )cv, araliaceae.Shrub beautiful green background. Tree wallpaper. Araliaceaeshrub Umbrella Tree, Octopus tree , Schefflera arboricola. (Hayata )cv, araliaceae.Shrub beautiful green background. Tree wallpaper. Araliaceaeshrub Umbrella Tree, Octopus tree , Schefflera arboricola. (Hayata )cv, araliaceae.Shrub beautiful green background. Tree wallpaper. Araliaceaeshrub Umbrella tree common to Italy with a blue sky background. Umbrella tree to italy with a blue sky. skyline view of the italian hill town of san gimignano in Blue sport SUV car parked by the tropical sea under umbrella tree. Summer vacation at the beach. Summer travel by car. Road trip. Automotive industry. Hybrid Girl with colourful umbrella in row tree, Nami island in South Korea. Winter in South Korea. Girl with colourful umbrella in row tree, Nami island in South Dwarf Umbrella Tree Garden​ decoration​ Colored umbrella hanging on a tree in the autumn Park. Open colored umbrella hanging on a tree in the autumn Park Lonely girl under an umbrella on the sidewalk next to an illuminated palm tree, city street in rain, bright reflections. Of street lamps. Intentional motion Blue sport SUV car parked by the tropical sea under umbrella tree. Summer vacation at the beach. Summer travel by car. Road trip. Automotive industry. Hybrid Beautiful little girl with rainbow colored umbrella dreaming staying near the tree outside. Looking into the distance Dwarf Umbrella Tree. Close up Dwarf Umbrella Tree with raindrop on its leaves South Africa Savannah Scenic, umbrella tree with cloudy Blue Sky. Background Woman with umbrella on a flowering tree branches background. Asian style portrait of a woman with red umbrella on a flowering tree branches backgroundn Umbrella Tree, Octopus tree , Schefflera arboricola Hayata cv. Araliaceae. Shrub beautiful green background Photographer taking a shot of girl with umbrella under the tree. Photographer at work while taking a shot of girl with umbrella under the tree Night was misty Dwarf umbrella tree. Leaf of dwarf umbrella tree Car under umbrella tree on tropical sea beach. Oranjestad, Aruba – December 01, 2011: Car under umbrella tree on tropical sea beach on Aruba, Netherlands Huge leaf of umbrella tree. From Costa Rica Hawaiian Umbrella Tree. This is a picture of a Hawaiian Umbrella Tree on a lovely spring day in Hawaii New umbrella tree leaves. Newly burgeoning umbrella tree leaves with rain drops isolated on white background Beautiful geisha with a blue umbrella near green apple tree. On the background of fountain Beautiful geisha with a blue umbrella near green apple tree. On the background of fountain African Umbrella Acacia Tree. The Umbrella Acacia thorn tree may be either a bush or shrub under extremely arid conditions and lives in Africa and the Middle Umbrella Tree. Leave of the Schefflera arboricola, Dwarf Umbrella Tree, isolated on a white background Leaf of dwarf umbrella tree. With rain drops The beach umbrella and the palm tree. Tropical island Japanese Umbrella Pine Tree. A close-up image of Japanese umbrella pine tree Sciadopitys verticillata needles Leaf of dwarf umbrella tree. With rain drops Umbrella tree on white background. Umbrella tree isolated on white background A Stone Pine, umbrella form tree isolated, dicut on white background with clipping path. S A Stone Pine, umbrella form tree isolated, dicut on white background with clipping path. S Fresh green palmate shape leafs of Dwarf umbrella tree. Beside the black steel fence in the gardens Red umbrella shaped visor with green handrail on the kid`s playground against a background of tree foliage and blue sky. A red pyramid or umbrella shaped visor Beautiful blue umbrella on a tree branch. Moscow. Russia. The umbrella is blue. Patterns on the surface of the umbrella. The handle is blue. Tree trunks. Tree Beautiful luxury umbrella and chair around outdoor swimming pool in hotel and resort with coconut palm tree. For travel and vacation concept Beautiful luxury umbrella and chair around outdoor swimming pool in hotel and resort with coconut palm tree. For travel and vacation concept Beautiful luxury umbrella and chair around outdoor swimming pool in hotel and resort with coconut palm tree. For travel and vacation concept Beautiful luxury umbrella and chair around outdoor swimming pool in hotel and resort with coconut palm tree. For travel and vacation concept Beautiful luxury umbrella and chair around outdoor swimming pool in hotel and resort with coconut palm tree. For travel and vacation concept Beautiful luxury umbrella and chair around outdoor swimming pool in hotel and resort with coconut palm tree. For travel and vacation concept Beautiful luxury umbrella and chair around outdoor swimming pool in hotel and resort with coconut palm tree. For travel and vacation concept Beautiful luxury umbrella and chair around outdoor swimming pool in hotel and resort with coconut palm tree. For travel and vacation concept Beautiful luxury umbrella and chair around outdoor swimming pool in hotel and resort with coconut palm tree. For travel and vacation concept Beautiful luxury umbrella and chair around outdoor swimming pool in hotel and resort with coconut palm tree. For travel and vacation concept Beautiful luxury umbrella and chair around outdoor swimming pool in hotel and resort with coconut palm tree. For travel and vacation concept Beautiful luxury umbrella and chair around outdoor swimming pool in hotel and resort with coconut palm tree. For travel and vacation concept Beautiful luxury umbrella and chair around outdoor swimming pool in hotel and resort with coconut palm tree. For travel and vacation concept Summer time vacation season park outdoor scenic south nature landscape straw umbrella beach foreground and palms tree background,. Copy space Brussel`s Bonsai Dwarf Hawaiian Umbrella Tree. With faded pot back ground. Hawaiian Umbrella garden tree.n Umbrella and palm tree on the beach. Umbrella and palm tree on white sand beach near azure Indian Ocean in Zanziabar island Rainbow lorikeet perched in umbrella tree. Rainbow lorikeet perched near the red flowers of umbrella tree Rainbow lorikeets in umbrella tree. With one bird feeding on red flowers

Schefflera Arboricola

The umbrella plant is a multi trunk tree that can grows over 15 metres tall outdoors and has to be pruned and topped at some point to keep its size manageable within a home. Its close relative () Schefflera Actinophylla) has to carefully planted because of its invasive nature and is seen as a weed in certain places.

Varieties: You will find three main varieties available including variegated (Gold Capella), plain green leafed and dwarf sized trees just named schefflera and umbrella plant on sale in garden stores). They are also grown as bonsai trees. If you want to purchase a plant but your unsure of whether it’s a S.arboricola or S.actinophylla and it’s just named schefflera; there are some slight differences, although care conditions needed are the same – so I would suggest you buy it if you like it.

How they look: They can grow with one trunk, but most likely with a two or more and multiple branches displaying palmate compound or whorled leaves (like fingers coming from the stalk) with four to twelve leaflets or more, giving it an umbrella spoke appearance. The glossy leaflets are near oval shaped and a few inches long and a couple of inches wide (depending on the age and size of the tree).

Flowering: Grown in warmer climates outdoors – the umbrella plant produces bright red flowers like tentacles growing above the foliage on long stems (it’s where it gets the common name octopus tree). Unfortunately were not able to get these in flower when grown indoors.

Pets: The umbrella tree is mildly toxic when ingested by cats or dogs and causes them to become unwell.

Level of care: Basic care and maintenance will keep this plant looking healthy and living a long long life indoors. It’s a plant which less is more, concerning watering and feeding – too much of these will cause plant problems. When a tree matures it’s likely to need to be supported with a stake or a moss stick (if it has matured enough and produces aerial roots) unless it’s pruned down and pinched. A little bit too much or little of water, heat, cold or dryness won’t cause any serious issues.

Schefflera actinophylla
(umbrella tree)

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