If you are searching for a low-care plant to start your gardening, then many of your plant lover friends might have suggested the Umbrella plant. I too suggest you get the same plant! Because this plant can be easily maintained and thrives in low care. Let us know why the umbrella plant is so important and popular!
The Umbrella plant is scientifically called “Heptapleurum” and formerly called “Schefflera” which belongs to the flowering species of the Araliaceae family. It is a native of Taiwan forests, but now it has become very popular and can be seen anywhere in the world.
Although it may not be a trending plant right now in 2022, many beginners and plant lovers still buy them. Thus the graph of its marketing rate has never seen the bottom line.
The most impressive quality of this plant is, it can be grown both indoors as well as outdoors. These flowering plants produce beautiful flowers that grab our attention towards them.
In this article, I’ll be talking about how to care for the Umbrella plant and what are the common diseases that can affect the umbrella plant.
But before that let me tell you more about this attractive plant!
About the Umbrella plant!
The common names of the Umbrella plant are the Octopus plant, Dwarf Umbrella tree, Parasol plant, Heptapleurum, and Schefflera. This tropical plant includes two species called Schefflera Actinophylla and Schefflera Arboricola. Both species look very similar and have the same growth needs. We can observe variegation on the foliage if we keep the Schefflera plants outdoors.
|Foliage||The foliage of these plants is oval-shaped and bright green. The evergreen leaves are formed in oval-shaped leaflets which have an umbrella shape. The new leaflets might have 3 to 5 leaves and the mature ones have 10 to 12 leaves. If the leaf leaflets are about 4 to 5 inches long then, it is an Actinophylla plant. The Arboricola plants might have a little smaller leaflets.|
|Flowering||The flowers of the umbrella plant become an attraction to the plant. Dramatically, the flowers of these plants are 2 feet in diameter. They often look like upside-down octopuses. Mostly the flowers are pink or white. We can see the flowering in the early growing season (spring).|
|Height||The Schefflera Arboricola plants can achieve a height of up to 25 to 30 feet when grown wild. But, when grown indoors, it can grow up to 8 to 10 feet in height. Whereas the Schefflera Actinophylla plants achieve a maximum height of 50 feet in the wild and if they are grown indoors, they too have similar heights as the Arboricola plants.|
|Width||These plants can grow wider up to one and a half to two feet.|
|Growth||The Umbrella plants are fast-growing plants, they achieve a good height within a short period.|
|Growing season||We can observe the growth in the Umbrella plants during the spring and summer.|
|Dormancy||These plants stop their growth for a while and go dormant during the winter.|
|Toxicity||ASPCA says that umbrella plants are toxic to pets (dogs and cats). So keep your pets (and also children who might be feeding the plants parts to the pests) away from these plants.|
How to care for the Umbrella plant?
If you take good care of the umbrella plant, this plant can become the tallest plant in your home. These plants can survive in any conditions, but they won’t do best or last long if proper care is not given. Let’s take a look at the care tips journey below to help you care for your umbrella plants properly!
1. Umbrella plant care: sunlight preferences
Umbrella plants thrive when they get enough sunlight. But, they can’t tolerate the direct sun rays. So, it is better to place the plant in a spot that gets bright indirect sunlight. Provide at least 4 to 6 hours of bright light to it. If it is placed indoors, cover the windows with drapes and then place the plant in window sills to make it observe more filtered sunlight.
If the plant is planted outside then make sure it is growing under shade. If the plant does not get enough sunlight, it fails to bloom and grow well. Insufficient sunlight can cause droopy leaves and stems.
On the other hand, exposure to the sun can cause sunburns, dehydration, and dried leaves. To provide the plant with enough sunlight to make it thrive. If you have time to provide more care for your plant, then take the plant out and let it get early morning and late afternoon sunlight.
2. Umbrella plant care: how to water the plant?
Water is one of the main aspects of the plant’s survival. It carries nutrients and minerals from the soil to the plant through its roots. The Umbrella plants too need water to thrive. It needs thorough watering, but the top 2 inches layer must be completely dry between the waterings. These plants do not like to stay in the waterlogged soil for a long time. The roots of the plant wanted to be in dry soil.
So, I recommend not to follow a schedule for watering your Umbrella plant, instead, check the soil wetness. Moisture in the soil changes with the climate. So, watering the plant by following a schedule can make its way to frequent watering or over watering, which causes root rot and other fungal diseases.
This plant can tolerate a little drought condition but not for a long time. Underwatering can cause dehydration in the plant which results in discoloration of foliage, dried leaves, leaf fall, and e.t.c.
So, poke the soil, if the soil is dry about 1-2 inches, then water it thoroughly until the excess water comes out of the drainage holes then stop watering. If the top layer of the soil is wet then postpone watering the plant. Follow the same process every time.
3. Umbrella plant care: soil preferences
This plant does not like to stay in waterlogged soil for a long time as its roots may get rotten. It likes to stay in dry soil, so use a well-draining soil mix for planting this plant. You can buy the well-draining soil mix anywhere. But I prefer preparing the well-drained soil mix at home by mixing perlite, peat moss, and orchid bark in equal quantities to the two parts of the normal household soil mix.
This is not only well-draining but the organic content present in this mix will encourage the plant’s growth. You can simply mix a part of coarse sand with a part of normal soil to make the soil well-draining. The umbrella plant thrives in slightly acidic soils. To maintain the pH of the soil between 6.0 to 7.0. Remember to place gravel at the bottom of the pot of this plant to avoid drainage holes from clogging.
4. Umbrella plant care: potting and repotting the plant
Select a better pot for planting the umbrella plant. The pot must have enough space to allow root growth, it should not be too small which leads to pot-bound or root-bound roots. At the same time, it should not be too large that holds too much soil which takes a lot of time to get dry. Because the waterlogged soil or the pot-bound and root-bound roots may lead to root rot.
The pot should have porous walls to allow aeration into the soil mix. This makes the soil dry quickly and also supplies oxygen to the root system.
Check the drainage of the pot before the plantation as it plays a crucial role in the plant’s life. The excess water present in the pot after fulfilling the roots and the soil mix should drain out through the drainage system of the pot. Otherwise, it leads to fungal growth in the soil and can also cause root rot. So, buy a pot that has at least 4 to 5 small drainage holes at the bottom of the pot. must have a proper drainage system.
Repotting the umbrella must be done at least once in 2-3 years. It not only increases the space for root growth but also decreases the chances of fungal growth in the soil. Use fresh soil while repotting. This improves the nutrient level of the plant. Use a 2 inches larger pot to repot the plant. Because larger pots filled with more soil hold a lot of water and the small pot will control the root growth. Repot the plant in its growing season. Avoid repotting in the dormant period.
5. Umbrella plant care: temperature and humidity preferences
These tropical plants love to be in little high temperatures. This plant does not survive in temperatures above 85 degrees Fahrenheit and falls below 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The plant thrives in temperatures between 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. The higher temperatures dehydrate the plant and cause dryness. Whereas the temperature below its comfortable zone will make the plant go dormant.
Umbrella plants need high humidity levels to thrive. Mist the plant regularly, or whenever you see the plant a little dry. You can place the plant near a humidifier to encourage the plant’s growth. Placing the plant on a humidity tray (a tray filled with water and pebbles) is the cheapest and best idea for maintaining the humidity levels. But make sure that the water in the humidity tray does not pass through the drainage holes of the pot.
6. Umbrella plant care: how to fertilize the plant?
Fertilization helps potted plants to improve their growth by enriching the nutrient level of the soil. Being a fast-growing plant, Schefflera does not need extra fertilization to grow faster. If you plant your Umbrella plant outdoors, then it might not need any extra feeding to thrive. But the indoor umbrella plants that grow in pots need feeding once a month during their growing season to maintain a bit more growth rate. Remember not to over-fertilize the plant. Umbrella plants can’t tolerate over, frequent or strong fertilization.
Read the instructions carefully given with the fertilizer to feed the plant. Mild or organic fertilizers best suit the plant. If the fertilizer you are using is slightly stronger, then dilute it to feed the plant. If you ignore feeding the plant during the growing season, the plant may not get enough nutrients from the soil which has lost all the nutrients and minerals with time in the pot. So, feed it enough once in its growing season.
7. Umbrella plant care: pruning preferences
Gardeners often prune their plants regularly to maintain their shape. Pruning also helps in conserving the plant’s energy. The plants like Umbrella plants need pruning to maintain their umbrella shape. So, prune your plant in its early growing season. Trimming in the growing season will help the plant to recover from the shock of pruning fastly. It not only makes the plant look good but also boosts the plant’s growth in the following days.
But, remember one thing, over-pruning is not good, plants undergo shock which may take a lot of time to recover and result in stunted growth in the plant. Also never prune the plant in winter. Because the plant goes dormant this time and pruning during that time may cause stress in the plant.
You can prune the plant even in winter if any part of the plant got infected. Removing dead leaves can be done anytime in the year. Always use sharp pruners and it is better to wear gardening gloves while pruning. Avoid mushing the stems of the plant to prevent bacterial growth over there.
Common pests and diseases that can affect your Umbrella plants!
Pests like mealybugs, spider mites, aphids, and scales are the common pests that may bother your plant. But don’t worry, you can treat it easily. Take a cotton ball dipped in the rubbing alcohol to wipe the infected parts of the plant. Spray soap and water mixed on the parts where the pest growth is more. Apply neem oil to the plant to avoid pest growth. You can also use mild pesticides to deal with these troubling pests. If the infection is more, then prune off the most damaged parts.
Diseases like fungal growth, root rot, sooty mold, droopy leaves, leaf-drop, discoloration of the foliage and e.t.c are common problems that can be treated with proper care. Follow the above care tips to prevent the plant from falling sick. But root rot can be treated only by pruning the rotten roots. Otherwise, the plant may not survive. If you observe yellow droopy and mushy leaves and mold growth on the soil, then your plant might be telling that it is facing root rot. React immediately to save your plant.
The umbrella plants are one of the most beautiful plants that enhance your home garden. Its pleasant look will refresh your mind and thus helps in increasing your productivity.
Some tips to care for umbrella plants:
- Let the plant get enough sunlight to see it blooming.
- Water enough when the soil becomes dry.
- Use a well-draining soil mix and a suitable pot to plant your umbrella plant.
- Repot the plant every 2-3 years and fertilize it once a year during its growing season and pruning should also be done in its growing season only.
- This plant loves high humidity to survive and temperatures between 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you follow these care tips your plant will be problem-free. If still ant pests or diseases then solve the problem by reading this article.
So, that’s about my favourite Umbrella plant. I hope this article will help you in dealing with your Umbrella plant. If you like this article, don’t forget to share it with your friends and family. Also, if you have any questions related to umbrella plants, feel free to comment down below. Happy Gardening!
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- Umbrella Plant Soil Requirements | How to Choose Best Soil for Schefflera Plant