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Schefflera: Are they hardy?

Schefflera, also known as umbrella plants are grown for their exotic foliage and ornamental value. Architecturally stunning and a fantastic contrast to other subtropical plants or tropical planting designs this is a must for any tropical gardener or large greenhouse owner.

Schefflera taiwainiana

S.taiwaniana is a flowering evergreen plant native to Taiwan, in the Araliaceae family. It grows at altitudes of 2000m to 3000m, to a plant height of 4m by 2.5m wide. Its leaves can grow large to 6" long each, with up to 11 leaflets aranged in a palmate fashion radially around a central stalk. Young Schefflera taiwaniana plants will require protection from the frost but once established mature plants are hardy to -5c to -10c. They prefers being planted in a sheltered spot around other foliage to keep the humidity high. Dappled light is best, but with good strong light to keep growth healthy.

Schefflera alpina

S.alpina is a high altitude species from Vietnam. Its glossy leaflets radiate out in groups of seven leafs on long petioles. This is one of the hardier species of Schefflera. Growing at altitudes of 2000 to 2500m it is hardy to -10.

Schefflera rhododendrifolia

S.rhododendrifolia is one of the hardiest of all Schefflera, similar to S.alpina. It has palmate foliage growing to a large schrub hardy to -10c and is frost hardy to -5c.

Schefflera macrophylla

S.macrophylla can cope with winter temperatures of -5c to -10c. S.macrophylla leaves are huge and and susceptable to wind damage. A south facing sheltered wall in dappled to strong light is best for this species. Wind protection is key and they make great greenhouse plants. Schefflera macrophylla is best described as a centrepiece specimen plant with its long petioles supporting broadly spreading leaves.

Key considerations when growing Schefflera

- Grow in sheltered conditions away from wind

- Grow in a south facing garden in good strong dappled light

- Grow around other foliage to contain humidity

- Grow next to a wall to obtain radiated heat late into the evening

- Soil should be acidic to neutral with low to no feed to avoid leggy growth

Exotic Earth Plants are looking to stock S.Alpina, S.Taiwaniana, S. rhododendrifolia and S.macrophylla for 2022.

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