The umbrella plant, also known as Schefflera arboricola, is a popular houseplant that is native to Taiwan. It's an excellent choice for beginners as it's relatively easy to care for and can survive in a wide range of conditions.
If you're looking for a low-maintenance plant that will add some greenery to your home, then the umbrella plant is a great option.
In this article, we'll cover everything you need to know about umbrella plant care, including when to plant, how to care for it, and troubleshooting any problems you may encounter.
All About Umbrella Plant
The umbrella plant belongs to the Araliaceae family, which includes other popular houseplants such as the fiddle leaf fig and the rubber plant.
It's a tropical plant that can grow up to 10 feet tall when planted outdoors, although it's more commonly found as a houseplant and typically grows up to 6 feet tall.
The umbrella plant is named for its umbrella-shaped leaves, which can have anywhere from 7 to 16 leaflets.
When to Plant Umbrella Plant
If you're planning on growing your umbrella plant indoors, then you can plant it at any time of the year.
However, if you're planting it outside, it's best to do so in the spring or summer when the temperatures are warmer and more consistent.
Umbrella plants thrive in warm, humid environments, so planting it during the warmer months will give it the best chance of success.
Umbrella Plant Care
Light & Temperature
Umbrella plants prefer bright, indirect light, although they can tolerate lower light levels. Avoid direct sunlight as it can scorch the leaves.
If you notice that your umbrella plant isn't getting enough light, it will start to lose its bottom leaves. In terms of temperature, umbrella plants prefer temperatures between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
They don't like to be in drafty areas, so avoid placing them near doors or windows that are frequently opened.
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Water & Humidity
Umbrella plants like to be kept evenly moist but not waterlogged. Water your plant once a week or when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch.
Overwatering can cause the roots to rot, so be sure to allow the soil to dry out between waterings.
Humidity is also important for umbrella plants, so consider placing a humidifier near your plant or misting it with water once a week.
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Umbrella plants prefer well-draining soil that's rich in organic matter. A mixture of peat moss, perlite, and sand is a good choice. Avoid using heavy soils that retain water as they can lead to root rot.
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Umbrella plants benefit from regular fertilization during the growing season, which is typically spring and summer.
Use a balanced fertilizer, and follow the manufacturer's instructions for application. Overfertilization can lead to burned leaves, so be sure not to overdo it.
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Umbrella plants should be repotted every 2-3 years, or when they outgrow their current pot. Use a pot that's one size larger than the current one and fill it with fresh soil. Be sure not to bury the plant too deeply, as this can cause stem rot.
Umbrella plants can be propagated through stem cuttings. Take a 4-6 inch cutting from the tip of a stem and remove the lower leaves.
Dip the cutting in rooting hormone and plant it in moist soil. Keep the soil moist and place the cutting in bright, indirect light. It should root within a few weeks.
Umbrella plants don't require much pruning, but you can prune them to shape or to remove any dead or damaged leaves.
Use sharp, clean pruning shears to make clean cuts just above a leaf node. Pruning can be done any time of year, although it's best to avoid pruning in the winter months when the plant is dormant.
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Troubleshooting Umbrella Plant Problems
One common problem with umbrella plants is legginess. This is when the stems become long and spindly with a lot of space between the leaves.
Legginess is typically caused by too little light, so try moving your plant to a brighter location. If your plant is still leggy, you can also prune it back to encourage bushier growth.
Another problem you may encounter is yellowing leaves. This can be caused by a number of factors, including overwatering, underwatering, too much fertilizer, or too little light. Try to identify the cause of the problem and adjust your care accordingly.
Umbrella plants can be susceptible to pests such as spider mites, mealybugs, and scale insects. These pests can be treated with insecticidal soap or neem oil. Be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions for application and repeat the treatment as needed.
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One common disease that umbrella plants can develop is root rot. This is caused by overwatering or poorly-draining soil. To prevent root rot, be sure to allow the soil to dry out between waterings and use a well-draining soil mix.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are umbrella plants good for indoors?
Yes, umbrella plants, also known as Schefflera, are good for indoors as they are easy to care for and can thrive in low to bright light conditions.
They also help purify the air by removing toxins such as formaldehyde and benzene.
How long do umbrella plants live?
Umbrella plants can live for many years if they are well cared for. In ideal growing conditions, they can live for up to 10 years or more.
However, their lifespan can be affected by several factors such as the quality of care, environmental conditions, and disease or pest infestations.
Where should I put my umbrella plant in my house?
Here are some tips on where to place your umbrella plant in your house:
Bright, indirect light: Place your umbrella plant near a north or east-facing window, where it can receive bright, indirect light for several hours a day.
Low light: If you don't have a lot of natural light in your home, you can still keep an umbrella plant. Just make sure to place it in a well-lit room away from direct sunlight, or use artificial lighting to supplement the natural light.
Avoid cold drafts: Umbrella plants are sensitive to cold drafts, so avoid placing them near doors, windows, or air conditioning vents.
Adequate humidity: Umbrella plants prefer a humid environment, so placing them in a bathroom or near a humidifier can be beneficial.
Adequate space: Umbrella plants can grow quite tall, so make sure to choose a spot where there is enough space for it to grow and spread out.
Overall, the best place to put your umbrella plant is in a bright, well-lit room with adequate space and humidity, away from direct sunlight and cold drafts.
When should I repot my umbrella plant?
Umbrella plants should be repotted when they have outgrown their current pot or when the soil has become compacted and is no longer providing adequate drainage. Here are some signs that your umbrella plant needs to be repotted:
Root-bound: If you notice roots coming out of the bottom of the pot or growing out of the soil surface, it's a sign that your umbrella plant needs a larger pot.