Schefflera (Umbrella tree) - Care tips

Schefflera

Schefflera or Umbrella tree/plant is a plant that is often found as a houseplant. It is valued for its attractiveness, but also for its strong survival qualities, which allow it to shine in the most diverse environments of our homes, flats and offices. We love this wonderful plant.

Information about the Schefflera

The origin of the Schefflera is Australia and New Zealand. Schefflera is a genus of flowering plants in the family Araliaceae that comprises an estimated 600-900 species. The genus thus comprises about half of the family. The genus is named after Johann Peter Ernst von Scheffler, a physician and botanist from Gdańsk, and later from Warsaw.

The Schefflera is a very decorative plant that is also easy to care for: cold or warm, much or little light: it makes no difference to this houseplant. It also belongs to the group of plants that purify the air. This makes the Schefflera not only beautiful, but also contributes to a better climate in your room or office. A nice bonus! The plant is known for its cute almost hand-shaped leaves, really special.

Schefflera varieties

Various species are grown in pots as houseplants, most commonly Schefflera Actinophylla ‘Amate’ (umbrella tree) and Schefflera Arboricola (dwarf umbrella tree). Schefflera Actinophylla ‘Amata’ is a beautiful, tropical shrub or tree with a vigorous growth habit. This beautiful Schefflera has a shiny appearance and long, oblong leaves. The glossy green, leathery leaves stand on slender stems like an umbrella, or like fingers on a hand. Schefflera Actinophylla is native to tropical regions of north-eastern Australia, Java and New Guinea, where it can reach enormous sizes in open woodlands and monsoon rainforests. As a houseplant, Schefflera is super versatile and adapts well to different conditions.

Schefflera Arboricola (sometimes called Dwarf Schefflera) has smaller, shiny leaves, sometimes with creamy variegation. Apart from its smaller size, it closely resembles the larger version. This plant is sometimes called the finger tree because of the shape of the leaves. We have two very nice versions of this plant in our shop. These are called: Schefflera Melanie and the Schefflera Charlotte.

There is also a special, new and above all unusual concept! A Schefflera plant on lava stone. Yes, you read it correctly! The lava rock, combined with some moisture, appears to be an excellent living environment for the Schefflera plant. The lava rock was once spun out onto the land by a volcano, so it is special in itself. In combination with the Schefflera, it is a magnificent picture.

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Schefflera Care Tips

One of the reasons why the plant is so popular is because the care of Schefflera plants is so easy, but although the care of Schefflera is easy, the plant does need to be cared for.

Light and placement for Schefflera plants

Schefflera plants are medium-light plants, which means that they need bright but indirect light. A common complaint about Schefflera plants is that they quickly become leggy and floppy. This problem is caused by too little light. Make sure, therefore, that you place your Schefflera in a spot with enough light. However, you do not want to place a Schefflera houseplant in direct sunlight, because its leaves can burn quickly. It may also be necessary to prune your Schefflera from time to time, especially if it does not get enough light. Pruning a Schefflera is easy. Just cut back what you think is overgrown or too long, to a size or shape that you like. Schefflera houseplants come back quickly from pruning and will look even fuller and more bushy shortly after pruning.

Water

When you grow Schefflera, you should remember that the right watering is important to keep your Schefflera houseplant healthy. Wait until the soil in the pot dries out (the upper 2 to 3 centimetres) and then water it. People often over-water their Schefflera plant, and this will cause root rot. Yellow leaves that fall off the plant are a sign that you may be giving it too much water. Make sure that you then quickly change your watering schedule.

Nutrition

The Schefflera plant needs little extra nutrition, over-fertilisation soon happens. In the case of over-fertilisation, the soil becomes very acidic, which can burn the roots. We recommend that you fertilise your Schefflera once a year (during the growing season) and then only give half the amount that you would normally give.

Propagating Scheffleras

Scheffleras can easily be propagated using stem cuttings (there must be a growth node in the cutting), but be prepared that it may take a few tries before you are successful. Use a sharp knife or scissors to make the stem cut. With a pencil, prick a 5 cm hole in the pot of soil you are preparing. The use of rooting powder will help the cutting to root, so dip the cut end of the cutting in rooting hormone powder, then place it in the hole and gently tap the soil around the cutting to hold it in place. Water the soil and place the pot in a place with constant light, but not in direct sunlight. The best time to take a stem cutting is in spring or early summer.

Most common pest on Schefflera plants

Schefflera plants do not often suffer from pests or diseases, but it can happen occasionally. Spider mites and mealybugs are the most common pests that affect Schefflera plants. Also be aware that pests usually attack this plant when it is already a little weaker, so if your Schefflera has pests, this is probably a sign that it is either getting too little light or too much water. The most common disease that affects Schefflera is root rot. This disease is caused by over-watering and poor drainage in the soil. If you want to be sure which disease or pest is bothering your plant and how you can fix it, visit our PLNTS doctor page.

Are Schefflera plants toxic for pets or children?

Schefflera plants are poisonous to humans and animals if eaten. It is not often fatal, but causes a burning sensation, swelling, difficulty in swallowing and in severe cases, breathing difficulties. So be alert if you have pets or small children that can get close to this plant.

Buy your new Schefflera at PLNTS.com

At PLNTS.com you can buy your new Schefflera online, for example the Schefflera Actinophylla Amata.

Whether you like your PLNTS big from the start or prefer to grow them from tiny BabyPLNTS into full-grown PLNTS - we’ve got you covered!

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