Umbrella trees or Scheffleras are large shrubs or small trees commonly seen in many homes as indoor houseplants. Occasionally, they can be planted outdoors in certain zones and used as landscape plants.
For some garden stores, umbrella trees are also known as parasol plants or octopus trees. This plant is native to Java, New Guinea, Australia, and Taiwan, which is why it likes warm environments. Umbrella trees come in different varieties which produce different looks that can change your garden landscape.
Umbrella trees are great additions to any indoor home garden or landscape because of their unusual appearance. When seen up close, these little trees look very eye-catching with their lush green foliage that looks like a hand with many fingers.
15 Types Of Umbrella Trees For Landscaping
Typically, umbrella trees are popular as indoor plants. They are common in offices and other indoor spaces because of their hardy nature. Some gardens in warmer climates can healthily grow umbrella plants outdoors, but they look quite different from their indoor counterparts.
When planted in a garden landscape, umbrella trees often flower and bloom in small clusters. The leaves of this plant are also arranged like the ribs of a fully opened umbrella, hence the name of this plant. Unfortunately, despite their beauty, some umbrella plants can be poisonous to pets and children.
There are many different kinds of umbrella trees that you can plant both indoors and outdoors in your garden. Here are some of the popular varieties:
1. Dwarf Umbrella Tree (Schefflera arboricola)
The Dwarf Umbrella tree of the Schefflera arboricola is quite possibly the most popular out of all the umbrella trees you will find in most homes. This small tree has small, ovate, green leaves that look bright when planted outside. They can grow up to 4 feet tall and they can spread just as widely.
2. Petite (Schefflera 'Petite')
The Schefflera Petite is another dwarf variant of the umbrella tree with dense, variegated lime-green leaves. This variant often comes with leaves in varying hues, so they are great in adding a little color to your landscape or indoors.
3. Alpine (Schefflera alpina)
The Alpine Umbrella Plant is a specie of the Schefflera that would work really well if planted outdoors. This variant can withstand cooler conditions compared to other varieties of the umbrella plant. Indoors, they can grow an impressive 5 to 6 feet tall, and when planted outdoors, they can get even bigger.
4. Australian Umbrella Tree (Schefflera actinophylla)
For those who prefer bigger leaves on their umbrella tree, the Australian Umbrella Tree is the perfect plant for you. Featuring wide, glossy green leaves, this plant is typically grown outside to turn into a tree. However, they can also be cultivated for indoor planting for a bushier effect.
5. Green gold (Schefflera 'Gold Capella')
Another popular variant of the umbrella tree, the Green gold Umbrella plant come with a beautiful combination of green and golden yellow shades. This plant has palm-like, glossy leaves that grow outwards as they mature, and they grow pretty quickly so it will need regular trimming to manage.
6. Janine (Schefflera 'Janine')
The Schefflera Janine is a compact varient of the umbrella tree with variegated leaves in cream and light green. A native to Taiwan and the Hainan Province of China, this umbrella plant adds an attractive flair to your landscape and to your home, should you choose to plant it indoors.
7. Trinette (Schefflera 'Trinette')
If you're looking for an umbrella plant that wadds personality to any space you put them in, then the Trinette is something that you will enjoy. This umbrella plant stands out with its happy splash of green and yellow foliage that looks bright whether it is outdoors or in indoor spaces.
8. Amate (Schefflera 'Amate')
For those who are looking for umbrella plants that are more elegant-looking, the Amate will be perfect for you. What separates this umbrella plants from the other variants is the glossy, wider than usual leaves that curl around the edges. It enjoys bright light, which is great if you are planting them outside.
9. Madame de Smet (Schefflera 'Madame De Smet')
Similar to other variegated version of the umbrella plant, Madame De Smet come with leaves of varying hues. You'll often see the wide, oblate leaves in wild splashes of white and green, which can surely captivate anyone who sees this plant in your garden.
10. False Aralia (Schefflera elegantissima)
This umbrella tree looks the most different from all the other variants because of their leaves and color. The False Aralia has tall thin stems with leaves that have serrated edges. When the plant is young, it has a rich, copper-burgundy tone to its leaves with change into a lush green as it matures.
11. Compact Umbrella Tree (Schefflera compacta)
A popular umbrella tree variant for many indoor spaces like homes or offices, the Compact Umbrella Tree or Schefflera compacta is a favorite because of its size. True to its name, this plant is very compact and it grows slim and round when planted.
12. Frodin (Schefflera heptaphylla)
While some umbrella plants can be poisonous and dangerous to pets and small children, Frodin or the Schefflera heptaphylla boasts of medicinal qualities that are not seen in its counterparts. This plant has bright green leaves in groups of eight and can grow both in the garden or in a container indoors.
13. Seven Finger (Schefflera digitata)
The Schfflera digitata or what can be commonly called as the Seven Finger plant is a small, bushy umbrella tree variant. This particular plant is true to its name because it boasts of seven, fine-toothed leaves that spread out like a fan. When planted outdoors, it can create cream-colored sprays of flowers.
14. Sunburst (Schefflera 'Sunburst')
The Sunburst is another dwarf variety of the umbrella plant that comes with variegated leaves that has bursts of bright yellow, hence the name. This particular variety of umbrella plant has more light colored leaves than the others, which is great if you're looking for something evocative for your garden.
15. Luseane Moondrop (Schefflera 'Luseane Moondrop')
The Luseane Moondrop is another variation of the umbrella plant that is popular as an indoor container plant, but would also do well outdoors. This variant have small leaves that come in variegated shades of green and ivory white, making them look like tiny moondrops on the surface.
How To Grow Umbrella Trees Outdoors
Generally speaking, umbrella trees are more commonly grown as indoor container plants because of their compact size. However, just like all plants, they will thrive and grow happily outdoors if they meet the right conditions.
If you are looking into growing an umbrella tree for your landscape, it is always best to consider the climate in your area. Since umbrella trees are natural tropical plants, they will grow very well in places that are warm and have good moisture in the soil.
Scheffleras enjoy light shade and they can grow well in direct sun if there are other plants that can provide shade in the afternoon. Leaving them out in the sun will often result into the leaves turning yellow.
Umbrella plants love well-draining soil that is moist (but not overly wet because it can cause root rotting.) Give umbrella plants plenty of room to grow because they can grow impressive heights of up to 15 feet depending on the variant, and they can spread just as widely because of their root systems.
While they can grow outdoors, umbrella plants will definitely look better growing inside your home. However, outdoor umbrella plants are just as beautiful because you'll see them flower. Wherever you may choose to plant them, umbrella plants will definitely change the look of your space or garden landscape.
Are you looking for more landscaping ideas? We have a couple of articles that might interest you:
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