The “big brother” to the dwarf umbrella is the Schefflera actinophylla but specifically the variety called ‘Amate’.
‘Amate’ is named after California nurseryman Archie Amate. The selected plant was placed into tissue culture where it has been produced in the lab for the past 20 years.
What makes ‘Amate’ different?
Here’s a quick list of the traits ‘Amate’ has over the regular Scheff.
Leaves which are:
- Darker green
One of the best traits is ‘Amate’s resistance to mites. This doesn’t mean that the plant will not get mites … just much more resistant. It’s possible that the mites cannot penetrate the thick glossy leaves.
The plants are also grown a little differently. Three or four individual plants are planted in pots rather then 15-20 seedlings. This allows each plant to develop a larger more complete root system to support the plant for the long haul.
The growth of ‘Amate’ is very upright, symmetrical and uniform. Plants ranging in size from 8 – 14 inch keep many of their lower leaves providing a more "bush" like appearance. Larger plants will have more of a "tree-like" appearance. ‘Amate’ also holds leaves very well, even under low light interior conditions.
The plant doesn’t stretch like the regular Schefflera. You can place ‘Amate’ in areas which get morning sun, a northern exposure or even fluorescent lighting and still keep the plant looking good.
When plants are indoors… lighting is always an issue and important. ‘Amate’ has large leaves which have a naturally lush glossy look… like they’ve been polished. This also means that dirt and dust can accumulate on the leaf surface. Clean the leaves by wiping then down regularly.
‘Amate’ is not difficult to care for, but doesn’t like to have its feet kept wet. When watering make sure the soil is thoroughly watered and the excess is allowed to drain off. It’s best to keep the plant on the dry side as wet soil can cause root rot.
Don’t assume that since you see an Schefflera it is ‘Amate’. The plant does cost a little more so you may not find it in every garden center or nursery. But your local nursery should be able to order it for you on request
There is a big difference between the ‘Amate’ and the regular seed grown Schfflera and ‘Amate’ is the winner… by a longshot.
For information on dwarf Umbrella Tree click.
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