Umbrella plant / Schefflera: Evergreen ornamental plant suitable for landscaping and indoor bonsai

Umbrella plant / Schefflera: Evergreen ornamental plant suitable for landscaping and indoor bonsai
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Image Source: Forest & Kim Starr / CC BY (Image Cropped)

Umbrella plant or also known as Schefflera, is an easy to grow low maintenance indoor plant with glossy leaves. It helps in purifying the air. There are different varieties of umbrella plant. The ones that are short and compacted can be kept as tabletops. They can be placed both indoors and outdoors. The leaves are either completely green or can be variegated.

Quick Details of Umbrella plant

Other Common NamesDwarf umbrella tree, parasol tree, octopus tree.
TypeOrnamental plant.
MaintenanceLow/ moderate
LightBright direct light
WaterRegular watering
TemperatureWarm climate
SoilAny well-drained potting soil
FertilizerAny house plant fertilizer
HabitatTaiwan and Hainan
ToxicityCan be allergic to animals
Common DiseasesAphids, spider mites, root rot
Scientific nameSchefflera arboricola

Umbrella plant Buying Instructions

  • There are couple of varieties of Umbrella Plant, so buy plant of your choice.
  • Do not buy very old plant unless you are not interested in making bonsai.
  • Plant should look healthy with shining leaves.
  • Plant should not have any kind of pest attack or aunts.

Overview of Umbrella plant

They are flowering evergreen shrubs native to Taiwan and Hainan. They belong to the family of Araliaceae. They are shrubs that can be either free-standing or can be seen clinging to trees. The leaves are palmately compound (looks like a palm) and consist of 6 to 9 leaflets. The flowers are small umbels.

Special feature of Umbrella Plant

Under the right conditions plant can produce areal roots which can act as fully functional roots and provide a unique look to the plant. This makes these plant a good candidate for bonsai making.

Usage and Advantage of Umbrella plant

  • Ornamental plants.
  • Mainly preferred as bonsai

1st Image source: Emmanuelm at English Wikipedia / CC BY (Cropped), 2nd Image Source: Emmanuelm at English Wikipedia / CC BY (Cropped)

General Care for Umbrella plant

Soil: Can grow in any potting soil preferred well drainage soil if you are growing in pots.

Light: They require bright indirect light. Inadequate light can lead to floppy growth. The plant should be placed in areas that can provide a bright indirect light to the plant. Direct light can cause the leaves to burn.

Watering: Deep Water the plant once in a while. Watering can be done once the soil gets dry. Over watering of the plants should be avoided.

Pruning: They can be pruned for better aeration. The tips can be pruned occasionally. Pruning helps the plant grow healthier. It can also make the plants bushier

Fertilizer: No fertilization required.

Pests and other problems for Umbrella plant

They are not attacked mostly by pests or pathogens. However, over-watering can lead to root rot.

In some cases, the plants are attacked by mealybugs or spider mites. Spraying the plant with soap solution can prevent the attack of pests.

Plant can also be attacked from aunts. Spray mild soap solution such as 2 spoon of liquid dish wash in 500 ml water.

Propagation of Umbrella plant

The propagation is done through stem cutting. A 4-5-inch-long growing tip or stem is selected and planted on the soil. A rooting hormone can be used to ensure development of roots. Once the cuttings develop roots, it can be transferred to pots or planted in the ground. Plant multiple cuttings as all will not grow properly.



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