Dwarf Umbrella Tree on the Floor and Umbrella Plant on the Table

Dwarf Umbrella Tree (Schefflera arboricola) is a tropical flowering plant commonly grown as a foliage houseplant. Its leaves are palmately lobed with 7-9 narrow leaflets arranged in an umbrella-like formation.

They are often green but there are variegated cultivars such as the 'variegata' which is formed with green and yellow leaves. The umbrella plant generally reaches 4-5 feet tall; however, regular pruning and trimming of your dwarf umbrella tree can keep it at the size and shape you prefer. It can also be grown as a bonsai tree.

The Schefflerlla arboricola with its attractive, glossy green leaves will fit nicely in your indoor garden to complement your home decor. It requires little care, and will easily live and grow for as long as 20 years. In addition to its decorative qualities, the umbrella plant is beneficial for your health because it rids your indoor air of toxins.

TIP:  Once a month You should clean the foliage of your Schefflera arboricola to keep dust from building up and clogging the plant's pores (stomata). This will help your plant perform better as an "air cleaner." 

It is an easy-to-grow tree originating from the tropical climate of the West Pacific Island of Taiwan. The plant tends to prefer warm, humid temperatures away from drafty areas like doorways and heating vents.

How to Care for a Dwarf Umbrella Tree

Temperature:  The plant does well where the temperature ranges
from 55 to 72 degrees F.

LIGHT:  Keep schefflera plants out of direct sunlight. It grows best in filtered light from a shaded window, but it will adapt to light shade.

Water:  Water thoroughly and allow to drain, then empty excess
water. Water again when soil is dry. This is necessary to prevent root rot and leaf disfigurement. Cut back on water in winter.

Leaf spot and powdery mildew develop if the soil stays wet or water frequently gets on the leaves. Rhizoctonia a fungal disease, appears as a rust colored residue on the soil and leaves.   Examine  the leaves each time you water and don’t allow the soil to become soggy.

Humidity:  Provide this plant with the humid air it likes. It is crucial that you supplement the air moisture if you have forced air heat. A room humidifier will be ideal. Daily misting the plant with warm water or by placing it on a humidity tray will help. You can also try grouping several plants together.

Fertilizer:  Feed  your plant monthly in the spring and summer when it is actively growing with a basic houseplant food at 1/2 the recommended strength. However, if the plant is still producing
new leaves during fall and winter feed every other month.

Soil:  A well-draining all purpose potting soil that retains moisture can be used for dwarf umbrella trees. Perlite or coarse sand can be added to the soil to improve aeration.

You can make your own umbrella plant potting mix with the following Recipe: Mix 1 part Perlite or coarse sand, 1 part humus or moist peat and 1 part garden soil and give the mixture a light dusting
with lime. Make sure the container has a hole for extra drainage.

Pests: Schefflera arboricola plants may be attacked by spider mites.  so check for them before you purchase one and examine the plant on a regular basis to see if they have turned up. You will probably need a
magnifying glass to see them, but their damage is hard to miss.
mealy bug, Aphid, scale, and Fungus Gnat infestations can all
be a problem.

Problem:  Signs of spider mites will show  Leaves will begin to turn yellow and then brown, and will have a stippled pattern all over them. There will also be webbing under the leaves and where the leaves meet their stems.

Solution:  Wash the plant with soapy water or an insecticidal soap. To ward off any future invaders, use a systemic pesticide or you can treat the plant when an infestation occurs. There are lots of great options when it comes to pest control.

Propagation:  Schefflera plants may be grown from seed, or from a cuttings of about 1 inch long stripped of all its leaves except the last several sets. Dip the end of the of the stem into a rooting hormone and shake off the excess. Stick the end of the cutting into the potting mix, making sure to cover up at least one to two leaf eyes. Pat the soil down firmly around the cutting.

It can also be done by air layering. This is a cultivation process where a portion of an aerial stem grows roots while still attached to the parent plant. The plant is then detached as an independent plant. A rooting hormone and lots of humidity and warmth should be provided for this process.

Warning:  Keep your dwarf umbrella tree  out of your pets' reach. Schefflera arboricola contains fine, needle-like calcium oxylate crystals within the plant cells. If ingested, these crystals can cause significant mechanical irritation and swelling of the oral tissues and other parts of the gastrointestinal tract.