Green Arboricola

Schefflera arboricola

Green arboricola - or "dwarf schefflera," as it's often called - has a lush tropical look, yet this hardy shrub only requires a minimum amount of care.

green arboricola

If you're looking for a pretty, easy-to-grow, mid-size shrub, this is it.

Plant it anywhere - full sun to full shade - and it will thrive. Forget to water it - it will forgive you.

These shrubs grow in a mounded shape and make wonderful accent plants, privacy plants or hedges.

They're also useful in hiding the "unmentionables" the air-conditioner or those funky above-ground drainage pipes that can spoil the look of a front yard.

There is a full-size schefflera that grows quite a bit larger if you need to hide something big.

One of the benefits of using this plant is that if you trim back any branches, the plant doesn't have to grow out of the trim to look good. The umbrella-like leaflets generally cover up any cut points so the plant always looks good.

leaf detail

Plant specs

This is an evergreen, cold-hardy shrub, thriving in both Zone 9B and Zone 10.

It takes any kind of light, which makes it a versatile landscape plant.

The green variety grows fast, more rapidly than the popular variegated one. It can be kept 4 to 6 feet tall (or more if you prefer).

Plant care

Add a combination of composted cow manure and top soil (or organic peat humus) to the hole when you plant.

Branch trimming - rather than cutting across leaves - looks best, though these shrubs can be kept more manicured with a hedge trimmers.

Branches are fleshy and easy to cut even on older plants. Trim as needed for shape, and in spring (late March through early April) you can do a harder pruning for size.

Water regularly but give the plant enough time to dry out between waterings. These shrubs don't like wet locations and are considered drought-tolerant once they're established...though a regular, well-timed watering keeps them looking full and lush.

Fertilize 3 times a year - spring, summer and fall - with a quality granular fertilizer.

Plant spacing

Place 3 feet apart. Come away from the house 2-1/2 feet or more.

If you're planting along a walkway or drive, come in at least 2-1/2 feet to allow room for growth.

These make excellent container plants and can be acclimated to grow indoors - though of course they prefer the humidity of outdoor living.

Landscape uses for green arboricola

  • medium-height hedge
  • plant for the corner of the house
  • accent in a garden bed or by the door
  • privacy plant around pool or patio
  • camouflage planting for A/C, pool pump, etc.
  • lining a blank wall
  • along a tall fence
  • backdrop for smaller plants
  • on each side of the entrance to a garden gate or driveway

Other plants you might like: Variegated Arboricola, Podocarpus

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