Variegated Arboricola

Schefflera arboricola 'Trinette'

The popular variegated arboricola is a South Florida gardener's dream plant - a showy, versatile, easy-care shrub that thrives in sun or shade.

Yellow and green leaves of variegated arboricola

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.

Plant specs

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 care

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.

Leaf detail

Plant spacing

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.

Landscape uses for variegated arboricola

  • foundation planting
  • accent plant in a mixed bed
  • around the trunk of a tree or palm
  • lining a porch, patio or pool cage
  • in a planter outdoors or in the pool cage
  • as a low hedge or "friendly fence"
  • circling a lightpost or around a mailbox
  • along a low fence
  • in drifts to add color to a shady area
  • lining a walk or drive
  • under low windows


COMPANION PLANT SUGGESTIONS: Dwarf oleander, ruella, Maui ixoracopper plant, hope philodendron, loropetalum, liriope, society garlic, and foxtail fern.

Other shrubs you might like: Green Arboricola, Croton

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