A Schefflera, native to Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands, is often called an Umbrella Tree because of its large shiny dark green leaves that drape down like the spokes of an umbrella. Each leaf appears at the end of a long stem and consists of several smaller leaflets. The plant usually has multiple trunks. The newer Amate variety of the Schefflera, which is developed from a tissue culture, is a much better choice than the regular Schefflera. It has larger glossier leaves, requires less light, is much more resistant to spider miteSpider Mites, members of the Acari family, are small insects about 1mm in size. The most common indoor plant mite is the red spider mite (also called the two-spotted spider mite.). These pests lay their eggs on the under surface of leaves and produce fine webbing especially where the leaves are attached to the stem. Spider mites are hard to see with the naked eye, and may appear only as small red dots. They are more often recognized by the gritty feel of the leaf when you run your finger down it’s length, or by the appearance of discolored leaves due to the sucking action of the mites. The best way to prevent spider mites is to keep your plants clean and dust free. Treat spider mites by spraying every ten days for a month with a product such as Safer Insecticidal Soap., has a better developed root system, and is very symmetrical and full. A Schefflera Amate is a little more expensive than a regular Schefflera, but well worth the extra cost.