Scientific name: Schefflera 'Arboricola'
Synonyms: Dwarf Umbrella Tree, Umbrella Plant, Heptapleurum
The Umbrella Plant is a fabulous thing, with its beautifully palmate foliage that adds character to any indoor environment. They are also fantastically easy to care for and make the perfect beginner houseplants. Due to this, the Umbrella Plant has become a staple in the houseplant community.
Schefflera Arboricola is a tropical small bush or tree native to Taiwan and can sometimes grow on other trees as an epiphyte. As tropical plants, they are lovers of humidity and bright filtered light.
Toxicity: These plants are generally considered to be toxic to pets or humans.
- Crisping or droopy foliage: This is commonly caused by underwatering. The Umbrella Plant likes to dry out between each watering, however, Prolonged dryness can cause crisping foliage and droop. Be sure to check your potting medium regularly and once it has dried, saturate fully. This will keep your plant looking lush and healthy. If you note crisp leaf edges and you are Schefflera and your watering is sufficient, it may mean that your air is a little dry. Place your plant on a pebble tray to raise the humidity in the air.
- Leaf drop and yellowing foliage: Even though the Umbrella Plant is a Tropical plant, this doesn’t mean it needs consistently moist soil. They prefer their soil drying out between each watering. If you find that your plant is producing yellow foliage and leaves drop, then you may be overwatering. Be sure that your plant is not sitting in water and is draining correctly. Only water once the potting medium is dry throughout.
- Elongated stems and thin Stems: The Umbrella Plant is a medium to bright filtered light plant, and if you note that your plant is producing thin stems and stretched out foliage then it may not be receiving enough light. Reposition to a brighter position but avoid direct sunlight for best results.
- Pests: The Umbrella Plant is prone to common houseplant pests such as Mealybug, Spider mite and Scale. To avoid pest infestations, provide your Umbrella Plant with its optimal growing conditions to avoid stress to your plants. Which makes them susceptible to pests. If you do notice an infestation, treat your plant with a good quality organic pesticide.
- Origin: Taiwan
- Height: Can reach 8 - 9m outdoors, indoors plant can be restricted to 1.5 - 2m.
- Light: Thrives in medium to bright filtered light. Avoid direct sunlight.
- Water: Allow the soil to dry out completely between each watering. Avoid soggy soil as this will lead to rot.
- Humidity: Average to high humidity is best.
- Temperature: Ideal temperatures range from 18°C - 26°C.
- Soil: A well draining organic potting mix.
- Fertilizer: Use a well balanced organic fertilizer once every month during Spring through Summer.
- Repotting: Looking for signs that your Schefflera needs repotting before doing so. Signs include, roots showing out the bottom or top of the pot and slow to no growth. When repotting choose a good quality well drawing potting medium and a planter no more than 5cm bigger than your plant’s previous container. When re-potting be careful not to disturb the roots unless they are extremely root bound, then you can tease them loose a little.
Propagation: These are best propagated via stem cutting for a successful new plant, however, patience is required. Choose a stem that is pest and disease free and approximately 8cm - 10cm in length. Cut with a sterile cutting implement, dip the cut end in rooting hormone and set aside to callous overnight. Place in a glass or jar with water and set in a bright warm spot and change water weekly. Once roots have developed and reached approximately 6cm in length, pot into a well-draining potting medium and keep moist to the touch until new growth has formed, this means your plant is established.
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