Umbrella trees (Schefflera actinophylla) are evergreen trees native to Australia and New Zealand. Also called schefflera, they are often grown as indoor houseplants. They are fast-growing, shade-tolerant trees that invade undisturbed forests and crowd out native species.
Umbrella trees grow as tall as 40 feet in the wild, but they usually grow between 8 and 10 feet tall indoors. They have multiple slender, narrow trunks. Their shiny leaves grow in circular formations around the leaf stems. Trees grown in full sunlight produce red blossoms, according to the University of Florida. Small reddish fruits replace the flowers.
Umbrella trees grow in full sunlight or partial shade and prefer well-drained soil. They grow in a wide variety of soil types and are moderately drought tolerant. Indoor plants can grow in an all-purpose potting mix.
Indoor trees are susceptible to spider mite infestations, while outdoor trees are vulnerable to sooty mold fungus and scale insect attacks. The University of Florida warns that umbrella trees have naturalized in some areas of Florida and are listed as an invasive pest plant species in the central and southern areas of the state. They are also a serious pest species in Hawaii.
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