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How to Care for Umbrella Trees (Schefflera)

About Umbrella Plant

Umbrella plant, octopus tree, Schefflera actinophylla, and Schefflera arboricola are two umbrella tree species that make great tropical indoor plants. Schefflera actinophylla has long, lustrous, oval green leaves that drop from a central stem, suggesting an umbrella. Mature umbrella plants have 12 to 16 leaflets per stalk, while juvenile has 4 to 6. Schefflera arboricola has smaller, glossy, sometimes creamy-variegated leaves.

It looks like its taller cousin, just smaller. Both indoor Schefflera Plants are easy to grow and make great houseplants. One thing to keep in mind with Scheffleras is that they are mildly toxic to humans and more seriously toxic to animals if ingested. So if you have pets or small children, you might want to consider another plant for your home.

Other than that, umbrella plants are low-maintenance plants that thrive with minimal care. They prefer bright, indirect light but can also tolerate low light conditions. Water when the soil is dry to the touch and fertilize it monthly during the growing season. With a little love and attention, your umbrella plant will thrive and bring some Tropical style to your house.

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How to Care for Umbrella Trees (Schefflera)

Trinette Arboricola – Live Plant in a 3 Gallon Pot

Selecting the Best soil for my Umbrella Plant

As any gardener knows, soil is essential for growing healthy plants. Not only does it provide nutrients and support for roots, but it also helps to regulate moisture levels and prevent weed growth. However, not all soils are created equal. Different plants have different soil requirements, and it is important to choose the right type of soil to ensure optimal growth.

When grown indoors, an umbrella plant should be planted in potting soil that is rich, loose, and has good drainage. When grown outside, the optimum soil is one with good drainage, sandy loam in texture, and a pH that is slightly on the acidic side.

Planting Schefflera Plants should be avoided in outdoor locations where the soil tends to become saturated or excessively damp. Choosing the right type of soil for your Schefflera can help ensure it thrives for years to come.

The Best light for my Umbrella Plant

An umbrella plant prefers light that is bright and indirect. Move plants in containers outside during the summer months and place them in an area where they will be exposed to bright light but not direct sunlight, such as beneath a patio cover. If your Schefflera plant is becoming floppy or leggy, it is possible that it is not getting enough light.

It is important to remember that the leaves of an umbrella plant can be severely damaged if the plant is exposed to full, direct sunlight. When selecting a location for your Schefflera, make sure to choose an area that receives plenty of bright, indirect light. This will help to ensure that your plant stays healthy and vigorous.

How to Care for Umbrella Trees (Schefflera)

Trinette Arboricola – Live Plant in a 3 Gallon Pot

How to Water my Umbrella Plant

Schefflera is a tropical plant, so watering it is critical to its health, but it’s important to not overdo it. During the growing season, water frequently and spray the leaves with water. It’s also important to know that they also need moist soil. Wait until the dirt in the pot is completely dry before giving it a thorough watering. Reduce water usage during the winter months.

An umbrella plant will eventually die if it is overwatered. Yellow and fallen leaves indicate that you may be overwatering. If you see these signs, cut back on how much and how often you’re watering. With a little care, your Schefflera should thrive for years to come.

Types of Umbrella Plants

Two of the many species in the genus Schefflera are popular houseplants: Schefflera actinophylla and Schefflera arboricola. S. actinophylla, the most prevalent species of Schefflera, has oval leaves that grow up to 10 inches from a central stalk. It can grow up to 50 feet tall in the wild, while indoor specimens are typically 15 feet tall. S. arboricola, on the other hand, is a variegated variety with creamy spots on its leaves.

It can reach heights of up to 25 feet in the wild, although indoor plants are often restricted to a maximum height of six feet. Some of the most popular cultivars include ‘Dazzle,’ a variegated variety with practically white leaves; ‘Gold Capella,’ a yellow and green variegated form; ‘Trinette,’ a white and cream variegated plant; and ‘Dwarf umbrella tree,’ which is a miniature version of the plant. No matter which variety you choose, these beautiful plants are sure to add some life to your home!

How to Care for Umbrella Trees (Schefflera)

Schefflera Arboricola ‘Gold Capella’ – 4” from California Tropicals

How to Fertilize my Umbrella Plant

Feeding umbrella plants is easy. Liquid fertilizer should be applied to your umbrella plant once every other week, or two applications of slow-release pellets should be made. They consume a lot of food; therefore, the additional nutrients will be beneficial to them. Slow-release pellets provide a constant stream of nutrients over an extended period of time, which is ideal for plants that are actively growing.

However, it is important to remember that too much fertilizer can damage the roots and leaves of the plant. Therefore, it is important to follow the directions on the fertilizer packaging and always err on the side of caution. You will be rewarded with healthy growth and vibrant foliage by giving your umbrella plant the extra nutrition they crave.

Best Temperature and Humidity for my Umbrella Plant

Umbrella plants are pretty temperature sensitive. They cannot tolerate any temperature lower than 60 degrees Fahrenheit and will die if exposed to temperatures that are lower. It is important to keep them away from drafts or dry heating vents as this could harm the plant.

If your umbrella plant starts shedding leaves, it is crucial to deal with the underlying cause right away to prevent further damage. If the plant sheds all its leaves, you may be able to save it by moving it outdoors in the spring and giving it plenty of water. With proper care, your Schefflera plant can thrive and bring you many years of enjoyment.

How to Care for Umbrella Trees (Schefflera)

Schefflera Live Plant, Medium, Green

How to Propagate my Umbrella Plant

Spring is the perfect time to propagate Schefflera. By taking cuttings from an existing plant and placing them in potting soil, you can create new plants that will be ready to transplant in just a few months. To get started, cut a 6-inch portion of the stem at a 45-degree angle and remove all but 4 or 5 leaves at the top.

Then, dip the cut end in rooting hormone and place it in potting soil. Next, place the plant in bright indirect light and cover it with a plastic bag to retain humidity. Be sure to water the container daily to keep the soil moist. After a month, check for roots by lightly pulling on the stem.

If roots have sprouted, remove the bag and continue growing the plant. If no roots have formed, discard the cutting and try again. With a little patience and care, you can easily propagate your umbrella plant in the springtime.

How to Care for Umbrella Trees (Schefflera)

Umbrella Tree – ‘Gold Capella’ Live Braided Schefflera Arboricola 

Common Pests and Diseases – Umbrella Plant

When it comes to plant care, there are a few things to keep in mind in order to keep your umbrella plant healthy and happy. For starters, this plant is susceptible to bacterial leaf spots as well as the leaf spot caused by alternaria. To avoid these diseases, you can simply treat them by avoiding overhead watering and not watering in the evening.

However, if these two watering practices don’t work, you can try applying a copper fungicide instead. An umbrella plant might also be prone to difficulties with aphids, which excrete honeydew when grown indoors. This honeydew can then lead to sooty mold. In order to combat this issue, you can treat aphids using a spray made of insecticidal soap.

Lastly, when grown outside, the plant falls prey to a number of different insects and pests, such as mealybugs, spider mites, and scale insects. Thankfully, however, there are treatments available for all of these issues so that you can keep your umbrella plant healthy and looking its best.

Common Problems With Umbrella Plants

Scheffleras are beautiful, easy-to-care-for plants that make a great addition to any home. However, even the most low-maintenance plant can sometimes have problems. If you notice that your Schefflera’s leaves are yellowing or have brown spots, don’t panic! You can take a few simple steps to figure out what the issue is and get your plant back to its healthy self.

The most common disease that affects Schefflera is root rot. This disease is brought on by overwatering and poor drainage in the soil. If the leaves on your umbrella plant are beginning to turn yellow, the most likely cause is overwatering. Try reducing the amount of water you give your plant and see if that makes a difference. If not, your Schefflera may not be getting enough light.

Move it to a position where it will receive more light and see if that helps. If the leaves on your umbrella plant have brown spots, it could be because the plant was underwater for too long. Water your Schefflera regularly during the growing season, and make sure you give it a thorough soaking when you do water it. These simple steps should help get your Schefflera back to its healthy self in no time!

How to Care for Umbrella Trees (Schefflera)

Umbrella Tree – ‘Gold Capella’ Live Braided Schefflera Arboricola 

When should I repot my Umbrella Plant?

If you have ever owned a plant, you know that they need the proper care to survive and thrive. This includes repotting them every once in a while, as they can outgrow their containers. Some signs that your plant needs to be repotted are if the leaves are wilting or if the plant is growing too slowly.

If you choose to repot your plant, make sure to do it in the spring or summer when the plant is actively growing. You will also need to choose a new pot that is about two inches wider in diameter than the current one and make sure it has drainage holes. To help your plant adjust to its new pot, water it well and keep it in a shady area for a few days.

How to prune my Umbrella Plant

Pruning your umbrella plant is a simple process that can be done with just a few household items. First, you’ll need a sharp pair of scissors or pruning shears, and it’s important to make sure the blades are clean and sharp to avoid damage to the plant. Next, take a close look at the plant and identify any overgrown or slim branches.

Once you’ve identified the areas you want to trim, make clean cuts at a 45-degree angle. Be sure to trim back no more than one-third of the plant at a time so as not to shock it. After pruning, it’s important to water the plant well and give it some extra humidity if possible. With just a little care, your umbrella tree will soon look its best.

How to Care for Umbrella Trees (Schefflera)Umbrella Tree – ‘Gold Capella’ Live Braided Schefflera Arboricola 

Care for Umbrella Trees – FAQ

 Are Umbrella plants Poisonous?

Yes. According to the ASPCA, Schefflera plants are toxic to pets. 

Is umbrella plant care difficult?

No. With a little care, your umbrella plant will soon look its best.

Is indoor umbrella plant care easy?

Yes, indoor umbrella plant care is easy. Still, you should be aware of some potential problems, such as overwatering and lack of light.

Is Schefflera an indoor plant?

Yes, Schefflera houseplants can be grown indoors.

How much light does Schefflera need?

A few hours a day is possible, but too much direct sunlight will cause the leaves to burn. Also, they do best in bright, indirect light; they can usually tolerate direct indoor light.

What are schefflera’s most common pests?

Spider mites and mealybugs are the most common pests that affect Schefflera plants.

How much fertilizer do Schefflera need?

You can give your plant a standard diluted plant fertilizer once a month during the summer. 

What causes root rot in scheffleras?

This disease is brought on by overwatering and poor drainage in the soil.

How to Care for Umbrella Trees (Schefflera)

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M.Arch. Julio Arco
M.Arch. Julio Arco

Bachelor of Architecture - ITESM University
Master of Architecture - McGill University
Architecture in Urban Context Certificate - LDM University
Interior Designer - Havenly
Architecture Professor - ITESM University

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