Flora: Schefflera Amate

AKA:  Many Schefflera species are referred to as Umbrella Tree

Lighting: Medium light

Water: Prefers to dry out slightly between watering.  As a potted plant, water once a week, when the top 1-2″ of soil feels dry.  In my enclosure it is lightly misted in the morning and evening, and allowed to dry out in between.

Substrate: Not fussy about soil, but in an enclosure, a well draining soil mixture is recommended due to frequent misting.

Humidity: As a tropical plant it enjoys higher humidity, but will thrive at almost any humidity level.

Native to: Thought to have originated from Australia, New Zealand and the Polynesian Islands.

Toxicity: The ASPCA has listed Schefflera plants as toxic to humans and animals due to them containing calcium oxalates.  Ingestion can cause mild to severe irritation and swelling of the mouth, throat, and stomach.  May cause vomiting, excessive drooling, and difficulty swallowing.



Schefflera Amate is one of my favorite plants to use in my chameleon enclosures.  The glossy, droopy leaves provide great cover and privacy, while the foliage is still light and airy enough to provide a great view of your animal.  The bright green color gives a very lush, tropical feel to the enclosures.  

Schefflera Amate is a hardy, fast growing tree that is very easy to care for.  Smaller trees are usually sold with two plants per 10″ pot.  These can be left together for a fuller looking plant, or separated and grown as individual trees (my preference).  This plant can grow up to 10′ tall indoors, and will surely require some light pruning as it grows.  It is not a particularly needy or finicky plant, and will do well in almost any lighting.  If planted into a vivarium, be sure to use a well draining soil to compensate for the daily misting.

The stem and branches of Schefflera Amate are not very sturdy.  They may be fine for the occasional climb, but will bend and sag under the weight of a larger animal.  I prefer to route branches and vines throughout and under the foliage of the Amate, and given the choice, my animals will use those and not crawl on the Amate itself.

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