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How to Grow: Umbrella Plant
Place an umbrella tree (Schefflera) in a room with bright, indirect light. Avoid direct sun that can burn the leaves. Leggy and floppy plants may not be receiving enough light.
Bloom Period and Plant Shape
Umbrella plants are evergreen, foliage plants in the tropics and are grown for their lush leaves that are shaped liked umbrellas around the trunk. Umbrella plants grow in a shrub-like shape indoors, but some can be trained into a single trunk tree.
Mature Height x Spread
The umbrella plant grows quickly. Outdoors in tropical areas it can reach 15 feet tall and wide. It can grow up to 4 to 6 feet tall as a houseplant, but can be easily pruned to a smaller size.
How to Plant
Plant umbrella plants in pots filled with well-drained potting soil with some compost added. Outdoors, umbrella plants like a sandy loam soil. Don’t allow the soil to stay wet or puddle in the drainage tray. This can cause root rot.
The umbrella plant or Schefflera is a tropical plant. Don’t let temperatures dip below 60F where it’s growing in the house. Move it into a shady, protected location outdoors in summer to enhance the growth.
Water umbrella plants when the soil is dry to the touch and until it drains out of the drainage holes. Reduce watering in winter. Give plants an occasional shower to clean off the leaves. Fertilize monthly from spring to summer with a houseplant fertilizer.
Spider mites and mealy bugs might be a problem in dry homes in winter. Mist your plant regularly to keep the humidity high and place the umbrella plant in a drainage tray filled with pebbles and water to discourage the spider mites. Dab mealy bugs with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol to kill them.
This foliage houseplant needs room to grow to be appreciated. Place it in a large dining or living space. Don’t move the umbrella plant once it’s growing well.
There are a few species of Schefflera or umbrella plant that have different growth characteristics. Schefflera actinophylla is the most common with large, dark green leaflets in a pinwheel shape. Schefflera arboricola is a shorter version that has smaller leaflets with gold patches on the dark green leaves.