Umbrella plant(Schefflera) or Heptapleurum is very much suited as ornamental plants because of its green foliage. These are also one of the fastest growing shrubs and umbrella plant is much flexible in thriving in different environmental conditions. Umbrella is a tropical plant with height 5 to 6 feet.
“Octopus tree”, “schefflera”, umbrella plants has smaller versions of itself called mini Schefflera arbicola. They can be grown in both indoors and outdoors but inside the house you need to do pruning so you don’t have to deal with the bigger sizes of branches.
I have given its variegated variety that is available:
Umbrella Plant “Variegated”
Umbrella plant Overview
|Common Name||Starleaf, dwarf umbrella tree ,Octopus Tree, Schefflera, umbrella tree,Australian Ivy Palm|
|Plant Type||Evergreen shrub|
|Native||Taiwan, Australia, Hainan|
|Height||4-13 feet tall, 20-30 feet Outdoors|
|USDA hardiness||Zone 10,11|
|Soil||Well drained , Fertile, Moist|
|Watering||Few Times Based on Location|
|Light||Indirect bright Light|
|Flower Color||Red, white, pink|
|Toxicity||Yes, They are Poisonous|
Umbrella plants Care
Umbrella plant care requires good soil that can provide better drainage so it doesn’t get root rot, It shouldn’t affect the roots and drains out water perfectly. Also They are grown in large pots once they become big. They need repotting in every 2-3 years if it was feeded well and grown quite big. Watering can be a challenge for its care as they don’t like to sit in water too long but it can easily handle the drought conditions. Caring is easy Read every aspect Requires for its overall growth.
Below are Schefflera Care:
Umbrella plants are best grown in moist soil but not soggy as it encourages the growth. Also it can adjust to low watering days when you forgot to give it water. These plants are forgiving plants as they don’t hate you even if you put them without water for 1-2 weeks, But don’t do that.
But when it comes to overwatering this plant may get impacted on its overall growth and it might see some leaves turning yellow or dull due to root rot problems. Also as you know once it becomes bigger and more mature this plant needs more water and in case of winters you just need to remember they don’t need water every week , only give them water when the soil feels dry.
A thumb rule you can apply here is that always check soil about 1-2 inch if the top is still wet then don’t water. They generally require water once every week and if you live in an area which has colder temperature then need to pour water may be longer than 10 days gap or more according to the location. Cold areas don’t have enough light that is why plants that are growing there always get some problems.
If the area you are living in is warm and has sufficient light then you need to water it more frequently this will fulfill your plant needs.
If you want best results for your plant and want it to grow healthy then find a location that gets no direct sunlight but has partial light which is indirect that doesn’t hurt and impacts the foliage of the plant. When Provided the best position it will grow bushy with the straight trunk and become tall. It looks very beautiful inside the house and makes us remember the actual tree.
Schefflera can be able to grow even if it has some slight dark and doesn’t get bright light. One thing you should note is that you won’t see any jump in growth rate and it will grow slower. Even This plant will become leggy in search of light then again which results in pruning. If you don’t do that it will unstable the plant structure as it will bend and lean to the side where light is coming from.
In case of dark light or minimum light you have to rotate your plant in 3 days so every side gets enough light and is able to avoid any legginess.
The best option you can apply is to place it in morning sunlight which is 3-4 hours direct sun and it can easily be tolerated by this plant. You will see its good growth. Same time if it was put on very hot sun then it can damage the foliage and burn it.
Scheffleras or umbrella plants grow whole year and in winters it may reduce the growth. The ideal temperature for this plant would be 60 degree F to 70 Degree F. Variegated variety of this plant thrives in high temperature while the normal green ones prefer slightly medium to warm temperature.
In Growing season umbrella plants start to grow more and you may notice lots of leaves coming out and that is the season where you need to provide them with sufficient fertilizer which will enhance its growth and strength every week. Any general plant food will work for the Schefflera plant. Read instructions before using any type of fertilizer.
In Winters you shouldn’t use this as plants are in dormant period and they don’t react to much things, even watering is less in that time. If you are trying to feed it so immediately stop this as they have grown at this much height and it will not jump anyone until the new season comes by.
These plants can grow in low to medium humidity levels and if they are kept inside the house it will be perfect for them. However High humidity can cause this plant to attract problems like spider mites or scale.
Umbrella plant if provided sufficient light and adequate watering and free from any disease and pest infestation then it can easily reach to a height of 3 feet every year but for the caring needs it is sometimes pruned to make it produce more green foliage. This plant also grows very rapidly if given good bright light.
These plants grow very well when it comes in small sized pots even as you know umbrella plants have such a big size. If you want to grow them outdoors in your garden that time you need repotting and some extra potting mix to fix the plant. Also They need to be repotted every 2-3 years once they become tall and have so many leaves covering the trunk/main stem.
Repotting young umbrella needs bigger size pot which need to be little bit big enough to handle the weight and give space to the plant. Also You can add some new soil at the top with a mix of compost and remove the top layer sand of the existing pot. It will increase the nutrients and refresh the soil. Although You can use fresh soil for the whole plant , I am just telling you all that if your soil is healthy and not being damaged then it can be used.
Using a standard organic compost can add lots of value and nutrients to the soil after that your plant will give more bright color on the foliage. After repotting you don’t need fertilizer for the next 3-4 months as it can already be included in most compost as they have all major nutrients that a plant needs.
Umbrella Plant Propagation
To Propagate Schefflera Or Umbrella plant first take a good cutting tool and cut the stem which is healthy and doesn’t have any disease. Take a close look on its stems and decide which one you wanted to cut. Propagation is easy and what you need to do is cut the stem just above from where the other branches are growing. This way you get your stem cutting and also that branch node is where it will regrow again.
Here is the steps on how to propagate Umbrella plant:
1 . Find a healthy Main Stem.
Find a stem which is free from any disease or bacterial infection. It is done to ensure that the new plant doesn’t get affected by the previous stem.
2 . For Propagation , Use a clean and sterilized Cutting tool.
It is important for you to use a clean cutting tool , else the bacteria / micros sitting in the scissor or cutting tool will stick to the existing stem and also to the new stem cutting. Clean it using a Rubbing alcohol.
3 . Cut about 10-14 inch stems.
Long stem is better because it gets more such nodes from where it will grow roots.
4 . plant it in a potting soil.
use potting soil and place the cutting straight in the pot. Sowing it deep is better as roots will grow from nodes.
5 . Water it and enjoy.
Now time to water the Umbrella plant , fill it until the water gets drained from the holes of the pot. Every day check the soil if it gets dry. As for roots to germinate it requires soil to be moist most of the time.
Please see the video for more clear Propagation Process.
Umbrella Plant Pruning
To Start Schefflera or Umbrella plant Pruning first you need a sharp scissor or cutting tool, you can cut the branches or leaves according to your need and how much size you want your umbrella should be. So you have scissors now to clean and disinfect it so that no bacterial infection can stick to your plant. Umbrella plant pruning is easy and even if you made some mistake , it will regrow normally and beautifully, the only thing you need to know is how much you should prune it so it looks good.
Here are the steps on How to take Cutting from Schefflera plant :
1 . Decide how much you want to trim it.
You should have an image on how much you want it to be , So trim back 6-8 inch if you have a mini umbrella plant growing indoors and if planted outdoors then you can trim it about 12-15 inch also. But pruning in an umbrella is basically you can decide how tall you want it to be. Some people keep it shorter indoors and some people make it bigger and do very less pruning.
2 . Find and prune the infected or Diseased stems or leaves.
In this step you need to find those leaves that are pale or infected , also find the stems which look ugly and have disease. Cut those off and recheck if any leaves left.
3 . Cut the Stem just above the leaf node.
Cutting the stem can be tricky but remember you need to cut the stem just above a branch(leaf node) so that it can regrow. That is where new branches will appear and eventually this shrub or tree will regrow again.
4 . Water it.
Water it so it can recover from shock of pruning.
5 . Enjoy.
Well done, Your plant is healthy now , do it more often when you see compact bulk branches and stems.
This Tree is also named as Dwarf umbrella tree because it was a mini version of the bigger umbrella palm tree. The Scientific name of this plant is Schefflera arboricola and it comes from the Araliaceae family.
If you want green foliage inside or outside of your house you can grow these as they require low maintenance and also easy to grow shrubs. These shrubs or trees don’t have flowers but they have many varieties which have some attractive leaf pattern.
To make you aware of both its mini and tree size variety , let me tell you about the variety called S.actinophylla which is a tree that is about 6-12 tall in height and has red or pink to red colored flowers. The other variety is called S.arboricola which is a shrub plant, small in size and can grow about 3-4 meters tall. It has green to yellow flowers..
Types of Umbrella Plants
There are 3 most popular types and the names of every variety are S.arboricola , Variegated (Gold capella) and S.actinophylla. All the varieties of umbrella plant are similar in appearance but caring is same and easy , If you are not sure about which variety you should choose then try with the basic variety which is Dwarf Schefflera or umbrella tree. This Article is all about this tree. You can bookmark it for the future reading purpose as i will update information on this one.
Let’s talk about the other 2 variety :
This variety is famous for its leaves which are green or golden yellow. It is easy to grow and care compared to other variety.It grows in USDA hardiness zone 10 and 11. The care is the same as Umbrella plant and it can thrive in both environment whether it is indoor or outdoor.
It is native to the north eastern region of Australia and Also grows in Java and New guinea. The Other name it has is Octopus tree, amate, Australian umbrella tree. This Tree is grow about 13-15 m and the flowering is beautiful in this plant.
Umbrella Plant Outdoors
These plants grow in a shade area where some morning sunlight of 1-4 hours they get before afternoon.Outdoor growing is the best option ,if you are living in a tropical climate area as this can give plants a natural growing environment and they thrive there better. Outdoor planting has a issue like yellowing of leaves because they gets lots of sunlight and can’t tolerate that light for very long or whole day. Growing medium can be well drained soil which has perlite in it & don’t grow many plants near with this plant. If your soil is wet most of the time it will increase the chances of rotting of roots. In the Spring Season it requires some fertilizer. You can use Jack’s Classic All purpose fertilizer. This plant can grow about 10 feet wide so you need to give them space (here i am talking about the bigger version of umbrella tree) and in height it grows about 11-15 feet tall.
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Umbrella Plant Indoor
As you know these mini versions of umbrella plants grow mostly in containers. And you are best known for indoor environment thriving plants.When you grow these plants outdoors one thing you need to do don’t give them direct sunlight or if you give them sunlight then it can be only morning sunlight. In summers the sun is more hot then in winters , so you can put them outside at night when temperature is above 60°F. If you are growing them inside of your plant they might adapt to the low light environment and this will give them a shock if you suddenly grow them outside in bright sunlight. You can find a place where there is shade , that can be corner of your yard. Growing umbrella plants indoors in indirect light is best and you can grow them in filtered sunlight that can be given using the curtain of the window. And If you have a north facing room then it can grow there as minimum amount of light can reach to your plant daily without hurting them as those light comes for a few hours everyday.
When we talk about growing plants in a specific temperature, it can be applied to both indoors and outdoors. For plants like umbrellas, which are tropical plants, they need medium humidity as well as heat. Room with air conditioners on for whole day can be harmful for plants or also with direct sunlight exposure rooms. These plants will not thrive in high humidity and heat so take care and find a location with medium heat and humid condition. Normally every room has that if you switch off the air conditioner and heaters. If you find the leaves of this plant dropping then shift its location as soon as possible because they are feeling very cold and it needs a warm place to live.
It is best grown in regular potting soil and the whole year the foliage is greener. When they are baby plants , moist soil can help them grow. Roots can grow in moisture faster. Container should have drinking holes so that water can be out and doesn’t stay longer.
As you know it has strong stem and to build that it need good amount fertilizer. If you have heard ever that they are famous for as heavy feeders. In Terms of fertilizer you can use all purpose fertilizer that can give this plant all the micro nutrients. How frequent is fertilizer? This can be given every 2-3 weeks when they are on a growing stage.
When they grow large you can shift them in a new pot , which must be slightly bigger than the previous one.umbrella plant requires repotting to be done every year or else you can do pruning more often to limit the plant growth indoors. Also if you don’t report it then they will still thrive but slow.
Umbrella Plant Propagation in Water
The Umbrella plant stem cutting can be grown in water and basically the cutting will start to develop roots. Only thing you need to take care of is to change the water more often and shift the stem once the roots sprout. Those who grow it in water know that the roots which grow in water can easily break and have less nourishment. While the roots which grow on soil get more nutrients that can help it to become stronger. Always show it in soil after roots appear as these are not water growing plants so changing its thriving medium can be issued but don’t worry until you transfer it back to soil they will survive.
Umbrella plant toxic to cats and dogs
Toxicity of umbrella plant is according to NC State University & ASPCA , they are poisonous to cats, dogs, and humans. The symptoms which might arise is tingling of mouth, vomiting, lack of coordination and numbness. There is also one more effect like skin irritation. This shrub or tree has leaves and sap/juice which is poisonous please contact your nearest hospital or animal center to help them. As you know many website didn’t mention the source that claims we becoming responsible for giving you every authority , government source that can tell a plant is toxic or not.
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Umbrella Plant Yellow leaves
There are 2 reasons for plants to suddenly get yellow leaves. First it might get too much sunlight and this plant doesn’t make for heavy sun exposure. With heavy sunlight you need to give them water and make them moist. But these are basically partial shade growing plants and can tolerate the morning sun and are also able to manage the heavy winds and drought soil conditions.
You need to place these plant in partial shade location and also take care of its watering needs as they loves to be in moist in growing season.If you are growing them in a outdoor container , check the location and how much it was getting sunlight a day, these plants are affected by the sun and can cause leaves to yellow.
There are examples of people placing them indoors near a window that is for sure the best location as it only gets a few hours of sunlight but window glass can provide double the light exposure and this might burn the leaves of umbrella plant. If the burn was because of the sun , it will have some yellow patches where it gets the most light. These leaves won’t grow and eventually fall after changing color from yellow to brown.
The 2nd most reason might be because this is not getting a daily dose of sunlight. This is the most common in these plants , whole days if plants are stuck at a place where there’s not much light change the leaves to yellow. Some say if you put them near the south , east or west window position it will get proper sunlight , i suggest first check which room or window gets about 2-5 hours of sunlight and place it their. Another solution can be to use a curtain as a filter to shade the area and light won’t pass it , that light can give plants happiness and they can properly do the process of photosynthesis. Indoors have another option which is use of fluorescent lights that can provide the sufficient amount of light it needs for a day.
There are 2 more reason but it was not the case with these plant still i will explain that. One is no proper care of plants that includes proper water, well drained soil , no heavy water etc. second roots have no space to grow , containers are bound with roots. if the container is only left with roots and not soil then this might be a problem , repot it as soon as you find out.
Umbrella Plant Dropping leaves
There are 2 reasons why umbrella plants are drooping leaves: either you are giving them too much water or less water that is not enough for its roots. If you find the soil surface to be moist and wait for next day as you need to reduce the watering. And if you find out soil is dry give them water more often. If you see leaves getting pale then give then it might be low in fertilizer give the liquid fertilizer suggested above. This may solve the problem.
Do you have a plant which needs Umbrella Planter?
If you have vines or succulent plant then you must get a Umbrella planter, It gives beautiful feel to your garden or house. They are specifically designed to these kind of plant. Some Plants including string of heart, string of turtles and string of dolphins type plant can grow there.
Umbrella Planter – Check Price in Amazon
Do umbrella plants need sunlight?
No umbrella plant doesn’t need sunlight which is direct, they mostly thrive in indirect light. Although they can tolerate some direct light inside the house for some hours, if they get too much then it can lead to leaves burning. IF they get low light it will make it leggy and growth of the plant will be slower than before. Umbrella plants do have pest infestation in low humidity areas where it’s too dry and spider mites or scales can easily infect in that environment. Still if that happens you can use pesticide for the purpose.
Why are my umbrella plant leaves turning yellow?
Most Common and talked reason for umbrella plant leaves turning yellow would be lack of bright indirect light and If that problem can lead to leggy condition. Generally these plants need sufficient indoor light if your area doesn’t provide it enough light then leaves may turn yellow. To Solve this problem you can use artificial fluorescent light that can give it additional light which is needed by the plant. Yellowing is cause for concern , you shouldn’t take it lightly.
Should you cut yellow leaves off plants?
You can cut the yellow leaves off from the plants if your plant looks unattractive and unappealing , then you can just cut them off. Otherwise it’s not a big thing that can happen to any plant growing on the earth. If the problem is related to light or overwatering then solve it as soon as possible by making sure to rectify both the issues.
How do I make my umbrella plant bushy?
By trimming Schefflera or umbrella plant you can make it more bushy. You should start by cutting this plant from the top most stalks for about 2 cm to make it more dense. You can also cut those which are old and discolored foliage. Make sure to do the pruning in a strategic way to enhance its overall growth.
Why is my umbrella plant turning black?
Umbrella plant turning black due to cold climate and there are other reasons like too much humidity which again cause other pest related issues and also rotting of root section due to overwatering can be another reason. If your issue is related to yellowing of leaves becoming brown then it could be a water related issue.
I hope you get the information on “umbrella plant care” and other topics like propagation, pruning and leaves turning brown. Thank for reading.
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