A Comprehensive Guide To Schefflera Plant: How To Care For

5 Min Read

The schefflera, often known as the “Umbrella Plant“, is a popular houseplant due to the beauty of its dark green leaves that form “fingers” in a circle. The Umbrella plant is a low-maintenance houseplant.

Schefflera plants are evergreen tropical plants that come in various sizes, including dwarf varieties. The broad leaf clusters flow from its branches, filling room with lush green. However, while schefflera plant care is simple, the plant does require more attention.

Overall, these plants are popular because of their brilliant green foliage and tropical vibe, which can set the tone in any area or office. Perhaps these underappreciated gems are ripe for a revival in home.

Schefflera Plant

Schefflera or octopus tree is a genus of flowering plants in the Araliaceae family. The genus constitutes around half of its family, with an estimated 600-900 species.

Schefflera is a huge tropical plant genus that includes two species that make excellent tropical houseplants. The long, shiny, oval green leaves of Schefflera actinophylla drape gently from a central stem, like an umbrella.

A mature umbrella can have 12 to 16 leaflets on a single stalk, but an immature Schefflera will have four to six. Schefflera arboricola has smaller, glossier leaves with creamy variegation.

Schefflera pants, which are hardy in USDA hardiness zones 10 to 12, are often planted indoors for the most of the year in cooler climates. The plants are trees, shrubs, or lianas that reach 13-66 feet tall and have woody stems.

If you want to plant a umbrella in a warm climate garden, do it in the spring or fall when the climate isn’t hot. To humans, all portions of the umbrella plant are mildly toxic, while to dogs, cats, and horses, all parts are very toxic.

Plant Overview

  • Common Name: Schefflera, umbrella plant, umbrella tree
  • Botanical Name: Schefflera spp.
  • Family: Araliaceae
  • Plant Type: Broadleaf evergreen
  • Mature Size: 4 to 6 feet. tall, 3 to 6 feet wide (indoors); up to 25 feet tall
  • Sun Exposure: Bright, indirect light
  • Soil Type: Rich and moderately moist
  • Soil pH: Slightly acidic (6.0-6.5)
  • Bloom Time: Summer (outdoors)
  • Flower Color: White, pink, or red (indoor plants rarely bloom)
  • Hardiness Zones: 10–12 (USDA)
  • Native Area: Taiwan
  • Toxicity: Mildly toxic humans, toxic to pets

Schefflera Plant Types

The two most common types of Schefflera genus houseplants include:

  • Schefflera actinophylla: The most common Schefflera has oval leaves that can grow to be 10 inches long and grow from a central stalk. Outdoors, it may grow to be a 50-foot specimen, but indoor potted plants often reach 15 feet tall.
  • S. arboricola: This smaller type, popular in home gardens, has one- to two-inch leaves that grow in dense clusters; it is a variegated variety with creamy spots on its leaves. Outside, it may reach a height of 25 feet, but within, it is usually kept to no more than six feet.

How To Grow Schefflera Plants

During the summer, take 6-inch stem cuttings from existing schefflera plants to propagate new plants. Cut the growing tip of one of the branches, then remove all but the top two leaves.

Dip the cut end in Dry Powder Rooting Hormone and place it in a small container filled with damp Indoor Potting Mix. As the cutting grows, make careful to keep the soil consistently moist.

Schefflera plants grow quickly, when planted outside, where they can reach three feet per year. If you want to plant a Schefflera in a warm climate garden, you should do it in the spring or fall when the temperature isn’t hot.


Pruning for height and fullness works well on umbrella plants. Lower leaves fall off as plants age, exposing bare stems. Schefflera may require pruning on occasion, especially if it is not getting enough light. Remove all that seems to be overgrown or leggy.

Wear gloves when doing this since contact with the sap of a schefflera plant can produce a rash. Prune lengthy branches by up to two-thirds, but make careful to cut above leaf buds. Pruning Schefflera houseplants yields quick results and will repay efforts. As a result, the plant will be fuller and bushier.


Propagating Schefflera in the spring is ideal since it stops plant from becoming overly bushy and gives new plants. The easiest way to propagate umbrella plants is to use stem cuttings:

Remove all but four or five leaves from the top of the stem by cutting a six-inch length of stem at a 45-degree angle using sharp pruners.

Dip the cut end in rooting hormone, and then set it in a potting soil-filled container. To keep humidity in, cover the pot with a closed plastic bag and set it in bright indirect light.

Check the container regularly to ensure the soil is wet, and water as needed. Gently tug on the stem to check for root formation.

Schefflera Plant Care

Schefflera requires proper drainage so that excess moisture in the soil does not cause root rot. When the top of the potting mix dries out, water deeply. Let the soil dry before watering again.

Umbrella plants may be watered in a variety of ways, but they prefer dry soil over overwatering. They don’t like wet feet, so after watering, empty the drainage saucer.

Schefflera plants do not require regular fertilizer, but for faster growth, apply a basic diluted plant fertilizer once a month during the summer.

Soil and Fertilizer

Plant Schefflera is a rich, loose, well-drained potting soil if growing it indoors. A well-draining, sandy loam soil with a slightly acidic pH is good for outdoor growth. Planting in an outdoor area where the soil becomes too wet or waterlogged is not advised.

During the growing season, feed umbrella plants with liquid fertilizer twice a week, or use two cases of slow-release pellets. They are voracious feeders and will benefit from the extra nutrition.

Light and Water

Schefflera loves indirect light that is bright. Move potted plants outside in the summer where they will receive bright light but not direct sunlight. A Schefflera plant becomes lanky or floppy may be lacking in light. Never plant a umbrella in full sun since the high heat might scorch the leaves.

During the growth season, water often and sprits the leaves with water. Wait until the dirt in the pot dries up before giving it a good bath. Reduce water use in the cold months. Overwatering will eventually destroy a Schefflera plant.

Temperature and Humidity

Schefflera, as a tropical plant, requires high humidity and tropical temperatures; it will suffer in temperatures below 60 degree F. Keep these plants away from draughts and dry heating vents.

The leaves of an under-watered umbrella will drop fast, so treat leaf-drop seriously and rectify the problem if occurs. If the plant loses all of its leaves, you can try to rescue it by putting it outside in the spring and giving plenty of water.

Pests and Diseases

Schefflera is affected by both bacterial and alternaria leaf spots. These diseases are readily treated by avoiding overhead watering, not watering in the evening, and applying a copper fungicide if these watering habits do not work.

Aphids, which produce a honeydew secretion that leads to sooty mould, are an issue for umbrella indoors; treat for aphids with an insecticidal soap spray. Outdoors, the plant is susceptible to pests such as mealy bugs, spider mites, and scale insects.

Hope you enjoyed reading the Planting guide of Schefflera Plant. If you think we missed something or have a suggestion, please leave it in the comments section below.

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