How to Care for Umbrella Tree Houseplants
Umbrella tree is a term that actually refers to several different varieties of plants. When talking about houseplants however it is used for two species, the Schefflera Arboricola and Schefflera Actinophylla – which are also sometimes called the dwarf umbrella tree, or octopus tree.
Regardless of what you wish to call it, umbrella trees are relatively large for an indoor plant and can grow up to 6 feet, with leaflets as long as 4 to 5 inches arranged in eight spokes that make it look like an umbrella. It may not be the most popular houseplant, but it is easy to care for and low-maintenance.
In fact, as long as you know what you’re doing, you should have no trouble keeping an umbrella tree healthy and happy!
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Pick a Bright Location
Umbrella trees aren’t that picky about the location that they’re placed in, but it would be best if there’s bright but indirect light. If there isn’t enough light or the light is too direct your plant may grow more slowly, but it isn’t likely to suffer too much.
The temperature shouldn’t be an issue with umbrella trees as they can tolerate temperatures within the range of 13 to 24 degrees Celsius. The same goes for air humidity – however, if the humidity is too low you may end up having pest infestations of spider mites or scale.
Water Regularly, But Not Too Regularly
Moist soil is good for umbrella trees, so you should make it a point to water them regularly. The best way to make sure that you’re watering it the right amount is to wait for the soil to dry and check before you water it.
It should be noted that if you overwater umbrella trees (or the soil doesn’t drain well enough), it may be susceptible to root rot and the leaves could turn yellow. On the flip side if you don’t water it enough the leaves will start to droop.
Feed it to Help it Grow
During the growing season, you can help your umbrella tree to grow by using standard, diluted plant fertilizer. It can be applied twice a month, or every two to three weeks.
Of course, if you’d prefer to keep your umbrella tree at a particular height, you should avoid fertilizing it or it could quickly outgrow your expectations.
Prune and Clean
Pruning an umbrella tree can be good for it. Not only will it allow you to shape the plant so that it doesn’t grow out of control, but the parts that you prune will end up growing back fuller than previously.
Aside from pruning you should also clean the leaves of your plan regularly by wiping them down. That can ensure that dust doesn’t accumulate on the surface and end up causing problems.
All in all umbrella plants don’t really need that much care – as you should be able to see. It is a hardy and resilient plant on its own, but by catering to its preferences you can help it to grow faster and ensure that its foliage looks lush and thick.
At first glance, you may be worried about the size of the plant, but that can be fixed by pruning it and shaping it to your whim. In fact, it is safe to say that if you want a medium to large-sized plant, there are very few options that look as good and are as easy to care for as the umbrella tree.