Schefflera actinophylla ‘Amate’

large leaved umbrella tree
Tropical foliage feature. The cultivar ‘Amate’ has smaller darker leaves that are more succulent and glossier; it is also overall a smaller plant. Shrubby when young, treelike with age.
height 3–10ft
width 3–5ft
tolerates Heat, Pots
When soil is mostly dry.
This plant wants the top two thirds of its soil to dry out between waterings, while always having some moisture left deep in the pot. Generally the plant will want water every one to three weeks.
exposure Moderate Indirect – Partial Direct
drainage In Ground: Planting Mix, In Pots: Potting Soil
fertilizing All Purpose
origin Selection, Australia
17, 21–24, H2

Sunset Zones Map

Indoor Exposure Guide


Direct Sun
Beams of light hitting the plant near a window four or more hours a day. The most intense light. If you're in a direct sun spot, you can feel the warmth of the sun on your skin.

Partial Direct
Occurs when you have a plant that is in less intense direct sunlight. This happens when a plant is in a few hours of direct morning sun, or an hour or less of direct afternoon sun. It also happens when a plant is in direct sun, but more than six feet from a window, where the light is diffused.

Bright Indirect
This is just beyond the direct beam of light (or through cracked blinds or a sheer curtain filtering direct sun). Bright indirect areas are characterized by a place where you can sit and read a novel comfortably without artificial light.

Moderate Indirect
Beyond the bright indirect light. In these areas you wouldn't turn on a light walking through the room, but if you were hanging out there you would probably have the lights on, even during the day.

Low Light
Dim spots, usually the backs of rooms or hallways where you would always turn lights on, even if just walking in to grab something.


Growing Notes

The cultivar ‘Amate’ has better resistance to mites, possibly due to its glossy leaves, making it a great choice for drier rooms without airflow. We also just love that glossy shine, so pretty!
Some also report that the darker leaves allow it to tolerate lower light conditions than typical actinophylla.
The lowest leaves will naturally turn dry and brown, and then shed as they are replaced by new growth. It’s totally natural to see browning ‘dying’ lower leaves as long as the plant is happy and growing.
If this tree ever gets too tall you can prune it back to a lower height; it will regrow, often with multiple growth points, from where it was pruned. This is best done in spring or early summer when the plant is actively growing. The top can be rooted, and in fact when you see large stumpy specimens of this plant they are usually rooted cuttings of large trunk segments.

Special Interest

Rumor has it that ‘Amate’ was named for nursery grower Archie Amate, who noticed it growing in a batch of typical actinophylla seedlings. His chosen plant has since been replicated through tissue culture, keeping the cultivar consistent for over twenty years!

More Info

This plant has been grown as a houseplant, but it also excels outdoors in mild climates. See Sunset zones if you are interested in growing this plant outside. Also note that anytime a houseplant is moved outside, some transitional stresses should be expected, including burning (when a plant that can and in fact would often prefer to grow in direct sunlight has not been cultivated in direct sun) and also drooping or leaf drop (usually associated with a shift in temperature). Planting outdoors during mild weather will help negate these effects, and if the plant is properly cared for, it should rebound with new acclimated growth.