Schefflera, Arboricola ‘Trinette’ (Schefflera arboricola)

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Plant Details

Category: Tropical
Light: Bright Light
Bloom Season:
Height: 2-6' / 
Space: 2-3' / 
Zones: 11, 12
Lowest Temp: 50° to 80°F / 
10° to 27°C
Colors: Grown for foliage

Basic Care

Does best in light, well-drained soil. Allow soil to dry between thorough waterings. If grown indoors dust or wipe off leaves occasionally for best display.


Water once a week.


All-purpose mix.


Once every month during growing season.

Ornamental Foliage



‘Trinette’ is a variegated variety of umbrella plant with large patches of creamy yellow lighting up its foliage. Perfect for brightening a room solo or enlivening a mix of green-leaved plants. Schefflera may initially drop leaves as they adjust to a new setting, but really are vigorous and easy care plants. They may be pruned to control height or shape.


Perfect for all kinds of containers. Makes a breathtaking potted specimen plant indoors or out. Makes a lovely gift plant and can be grown indoors in cold climates.

Schefflera, Arboricola ‘Trinette’ (Schefflera arboricola) Care Guide

Choose a location that will allow roots to spread and branches to grow freely. Space plants far enough from building foundations, walls, and decks so that the growing foliage won’t crowd the structure.

If planting in the ground:

To prepare the planting area dig a hole as deep as the root ball and three times as wide. After removing the soil, mix it with some compost or peat moss. This enriches the soil and loosens the existing dirt so that new roots can spread easily.

Remove the plant from its nursery container and set the plant in the hole.

Return the soil to the planting area packing it firmly around the root ball. Fill the hole until the soil line is just at the base of the plant, where the roots begin to flare out from the main stem.

Water the plant well then add a 2” (5cm) layer of mulch, such as shredded bark, around the planting area. Keep the mulch at least 4” (10cm) away from the trunk of the plant as this can keep the bark too moist and cause it to decay.

If planting in a patio planter or other container:

Start with a good quality, commercial potting soil. These are usually lighter in weight than topsoil, sterile and pest-free. Many are available with a mild starter fertilizer in the mix.

Select a container with a drainage hole or be prepared to drill holes for drainage if there are none.

Prepare the container by filling with potting soil up to 2” (5cm) from the rim of the planter leaving some space in the middle for placing the plant. Remove the plant from its nursery pot.

Insert the plant into the hole and press soil firmly around the roots. Add soil if necessary to cover the root ball. Water thoroughly to settle the soil and give plants a good start.

Plan ahead for vining plants that might require a trellis or support cage. It’s best to install supports at planting time, before the foliage gets bushy.

Depending on rainfall, new plants need to be watered weekly through the first growing season. During hot spells thoroughly soaking the ground up to 8” (20 cm) every few days is better than watering a little bit daily.

Plants in containers can dry out quickly, depending on the weather, and may need water more frequently than plants in the garden bed. Check the soil moisture with your finger. If the top 2-4” (5-10cm) of soil is dry, or plants are wilted, it is time to water.

Apply water at the soil level if possible to avoid wetting the foliage. Water the entire soil area until water runs out the base of the pot. This indicates that the soil is thoroughly wet.

Deep watering encourages roots to grow further into the ground resulting in a sturdier plant with more drought tolerance.

To check for soil moisture use your finger or a hand trowel to dig a small hole and examine the soil. If the first 2-4” (5-10cm) of soil is dry, it is time to water.

Pruning may be needed to remove dead branches, encourage bushier growth, promote more flowers, or maintain a specific size or shape.

Most container plants can be pruned freely to maintain the desired size and shape. Keeping the foliage trimmed also keeps the plants looking neat and tidy, encourages the plant to develop more side-shoots and flowers, and reduces the demand for the plant to develop a larger root system. This is important since the roots are in a confined space.

Many shrubs can be regularly sheared to keep them shaped as a hedge, edging or formal foundation planting.

When pruning to control a plant’s size or shape, cuts should be made just above a leaf bud and at a slight angle. This bud will be where the new growth sprouts.

Remove old flowers to keep plant looking healthy and prevent seed production that drains the plant’s energy at the expense of forming new flowers.

Always use sharp, clean tools when pruning. There are many tools available depending on the job. Hand shears, pruners, and loppers are ideal for most shrubs. Pole pruners and tree saws are better for large, mature shrubs or trees. If a tree is so large that it can’t be safely pruned with a pole pruner, it is best to call in a professional tree service.

Fertilizers are available in many forms: granulated, slow-release, liquid feeds, organic or synthetic. Determine which application method is best for the situation and select a product with a nutritional balance designed to encourage blooming (such as 5-10-5).

Too much fertilizer can damage plants so it’s important to follow the package directions to determine how much, and how often, to feed plants.

Slow-release fertilizers are an especially good, care-free choice for container plants. A single application can often provide plants with the proper level of nutrition all season long.

Companion/Combination Plants


  1. PK

    (Question) We have a night light near our dwarf trinettes (near the door). They are “in-ground”. Height now is ~4 feet. Now have “excessive” heat in Florida. Plants are thinning and leaves are turning brown. Is it lack of sufficient water, the night light, or lack of fertilizer (we have let it go due to birds and butterflies around them constantly…..They are ~10-15 yrs old.

    • My Garden Life

      Hi PK,
      It seems unlikely that your arboricola shrubs are being affected by your landscape light if you’ve got the typical, small landscape lights. Arboricolas are known to be drought tolerant once well-established (and yours are) so that shouldn’t be a worry – unless you’ve been in an exceptional period of drought. In that case you should grab a hand trowel and check the soil around the root zone down to about 6” deep. If it’s not obvious whether the soil is moist or dry, feel it with your fingers. Water thoroughly if dry.

      You didn’t say how hot the temperatures have been, but anything over 90 degrees F is unpleasant for an arboricola and can result in yellowing and browning leaves that would likely drop from the plant eventually. This would be made worse if your shrubs get long periods of full sun. If that is the case, and more 90+ degree temperatures are expected, you could erect a temporary shade structure to try to protect your shrubs until temperatures start to go down.

      Excessive water can also cause problems. If you’ve had heavy rains and standing water, your arboricola plants might react. Typical symptoms are overall drooping, yellowing leaves and/or leaves with brown edges. But it does seem more likely that it’s the heat.

      Arboricola shrubs are known to be heavy feeders so when your shrubs recover, you should consider feeding them during periods of active growth (spring and summer usually). Don’t fertilize your shrubs until they stabilize; the rule is “never fertilize a sick plant” because you can actually make things worse if there’s a problem with the roots. Applying a granulated slow-release fertilizer in the spring is an easy way to provide a supply of nutrients without worries of overfertilizing (follow product recommendations for application rate). If you work it into the soil around the root zone, it’s unlikely it would have any detrimental affects on your wildlife.

      Lastly, inspect your shrubs closely for any signs of insect pests. For example, high heat can encourage a spike in spider mite populations. Mites can cause yellowing and leaf drop on an infested arboricola plant. We recommend using a magnifying glass to inspect the trunk, stems, and undersides of the leaves to look for problems.


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