Looking for some larger houseplants to add to your home? Today we’re going to talk all about Umbrella Plant Care (also known as Schefflera). These beautiful, easy to grow plants can grow up to 15 feet tall!
Umbrella Plant Basics
The umbrella tree has a variety of names – Dwarf umbrella tree, parsol tree, octoput tree, Hawaiian schefflera. They are tropical plants that are a great housplant!
They’re very hardy and can grow beautifully even when neglected. Great for beginners who want a bigger plant!
Schefflera Actinophylla vs. Shefflera Arboricola
There are hundreds of different varieties of these plants (like most plants!) but there are 2 main varieties of Schefflera. These are the Schefflera Actinophylla and the Shefflera Arboricola.
The Schefflera Actinophylla is the most common umbrella plant that you’ll see. Actinophylla plants usually have leaves which are longer than 4-5 inches. (If you’re looking for other large plants check out the Rubber Plant or Fiddle Leaf Fig!)
Shefflera Arboricola is the smaller version of this plant. The leaves on this type are around 4-5 inches or smaller in length.
When it comes to flowers, the schefflera arboricola will produce greenish-white or cream flower spikes. The Schefflera actinophylla flower spikes are where the name “octopus plant” comes to be. These are cluster of red, pink or white that hang down from the tip of branches.
These flowers often turn into bright orange berries (but take note – they aren’t edible!!).
Schefflera Plant Care Tips + Tricks
I’ve had my Umbrella plant for so long I don’t even remember where it came from! It has been a staple in our home and one that I don’t have fuss with or worry about it dying. These are great, easy to grow houseplants!
Umbrella plants need different amounts of water depending on the time of the year. During the summer months they typically need to be watered weekly but in the winter months they need to be watered about every 2 weeks.
Like most plants, they need to be in pots with good drainage holes. They prefer to be underwater than overwatered so good drainage is key to happy plants.
They aren’t very picky with how they’re watered (over the soil, bottom watering or water baths), just make sure the top 2 inches are dry before giving them any water.
Umbrella plants do best with part sun and part shade. They like light but don’t do well with too much direct sun. If it is getting leggy or floppy it’s likely not getting enough light.
If you put this outdoor in the summer just be sure it gets a good amount of shade so you don’t burn the leaves.
Schefflera plants to best in a rich, well draining sandy soil. They don’t like to be too wet.
Temperature and Humidity
Schefflera plants are tropical plants meaning you’ll want to keep them in warmer temperatures. These plants don’t like to be in places cooler than 60 degrees Fahrenheit so keep that in mind especially if you live in a cooler climate.
The Schefflera is toxic to dogs and cats (according to ASPCA).
Pruning and Re-potting Rubber Plants
As your Umbrella Plant matures, there’s a good chance you’ll need to prune it. WikiHow has tons of great tips on this but here’s some simple guidelines. Clearly ours needs a good pruning! It’s getting crazy!
First, determine what shape you ultimately want your schefflera to take. Do you want it to be tall and skinny? Prune new stems close to the base.
Want it to be less wide? Trim just above a leaf node.
Scheffleras can handle some super aggressive trims so don’t hesitate to get a little scissor happy! It’ll grow back eventually (just like our hair!).
Some say propagating schefflera is pretty difficult while others say it’s easy! Here’s how to do it:
- Clip off a stem near the base of the plant.
- Fill a pot with soil.
- Dip the stem into rooting hormone.
- Put in pot, covering it with soil.
I tested this out and it was so easy to do!
Overall, the Schefflera plant care is fairly simply and these plants are some pretty amazing plants that would be a great addition to your home! I hope I helped you fully understand how to take care of them!