The popular variegated arboricola is a South Florida gardener's dream plant - a showy, versatile, easy-care shrub that thrives in sun or shade.
Landscapes in South Florida have become almost overwhelmed with the use of this plant - and with good reason.
It looks good anywhere, no matter what you do to it (well, almost), and takes next-to no care.
"Trinette" is the most commonly grown variegated cultivar. The all-green variety grows faster and larger and is included in the 4-6 foot Shrubs section.
Charmingly pretty as an accent, foundation planting, or in a garden bed, this dwarf schefflera can add tropical flair to an otherwise ho-hum landscape. It can be grown to highlight other plants or stand out as star of the show with its bright yellow and green foliage.
This well-behaved arboricola plant grows at a moderate pace and can be kept about 2-1/2 to 3 feet tall.
Evergreen and cold tolerant, it does fine in Zone 9B and southward.
Though it will grow in full sun or full shade, arboricola tends to look its best in part sun or part shade.
Plant with a combination of top soil or organic peat moss and composted cow manure added to the hole.
Variegated arboricola is one of the easiest plants to trim for shape and size.
Just cut off any tall, wayward stems just below the level of other foliage. The rest of the plant's leaves will cover the pruned areas. No hard pruning is needed.
Fertilize 3 times a year - in spring, summer and autumn - with a good quality granular fertilizer.
Water regularly but let the soil dry out between waterings. Make sure the planting location drains well and doesn't stay wet.
Plant these shrubs about 2 to 2-1/2 feet apart. They can go close to the house - come out 2-1/2 to 3 feet.
Variegated arboricola does fine in a container with the correct amount of water.
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by Chase Landre, author of South-Florida-Plant-Guide.com