How to Grow and Care for Umbrella Tree

Umbrella plants aren’t topping the lists of trendy house plants these days, but they’re a low-maintenance, easy-to-care-for plant that can add graceful foliage to a room. These under-appreciated beauties need a revival in your home.

About this plant

The common names “umbrella tree,” “Schefflera,” or “octopus tree” can refer to two different, but closely-related, species: Schefflera arboricola and Schefflera actinophylla. If the leaflets are more than 4 to 5 inches (10-13cm) long, it is a Schefflera Actinophylla. Otherwise, it's Schefflera Arboricola.

umbrella tree

Image Source: Google

Care and planting

Like most houseplants, umbrella plants need good drainage so that excess moisture in the soil doesn’t lead to death by root rot. Plant in a pot with a drainage hole, ideally in a peat-moss-based potting mix. Repot every few years in the spring.

After the top layer of the potting mixture has dried, water thoroughly and let dry. Then, water again. Umbrella plants can be flexible with watering but are more comfortable in dry soil than overwatering. They do not like wet feet so make sure to empty the drainage saucer after watering.

Although umbrella plants do not require regular fertilizer, they can be given a standard, diluted fertilizer once per month in the summer to promote faster growth. Wipe the leaves with a sponge or damp cloth to keep them clean.

A stake may be necessary to support a mature tree. Schefflera can be cut back if it becomes too large or leggy. To encourage a bushier, fuller plant, pinch growing tips.

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