A dwarf umbrella tree may be just what your houseplant collection has been missing. Available with green, white, or yellow leaves, these statement plants are low maintenance and easy to care for any plant owner to have. Here is how to take care of a dwarf umbrella tree!
Other Names for Dwarf Umbrella Trees
In addition to its scientific name, Schefflera arboricola, common names for dwarf umbrella trees are:
- Octopus trees
- Parasol plants
- Umbrella plants
What Soil Works Best for Dwarf Umbrella Trees?
Dwarf umbrella tree plants do not require any unique potting mix. You can use the potting soil of your choice just as long the soil has adequate drainage and moisture retention. Layering a DIY soil mix of peat moss, garden soil, and lime over sand can help aerate the soil.
You can add fertilizer specially designed for house plants into the soil about once a month if needed. Adding house plant soil is recommended if your home does not get enough light. Constantly water your Schefflera plant before adding the fertilizer.
How Much Sun Does a Dwarf Umbrella Tree Need?
Dwarf umbrella trees require bright, indirect sunlight for at least four hours a day. The ideal placement of your plant is close to the window but at a safe enough distance to avoid exposure to direct sunlight, especially around high noon, as this can burn the leaves of your umbrella tree.
Inadequate sunlight will cause the leaves of your houseplant to droop and turn yellow. In low light, placing your umbrella tree in a dark corner of your home will hinder its growth and produce a less dense plant.
What Temperature Works Best for Dwarf Umbrella Trees?
Your umbrella tree plant does best in a home kept at 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Do Dwarf Umbrella Trees Enjoy Humidity?
The dwarf umbrella tree prefers high humidity levels, as it comes from the hot climates of Taiwan and Australia. You should mist your plant every few days with warm water. Using filtered water will help prevent buildup on your plant’s leaves.
How Often Should You Water a Dwarf Umbrella Tree?
A Schefflera plant is an ideal houseplant for busy people, as they can survive bouts of neglectful watering. After an extended period of underwatering, the green leaves will begin to wrinkle and wilt. You’ll know it is time to water your plant when the soil feels nearly dry.
Overwatering can cause significant harm to your dwarf umbrella plant, as it can lead to root rot. Signs of overwatering include the leaves turning black and falling off.
When filling up your watering can opt for lukewarm temperate water. To prevent the soil from staying wet for too long, make sure the drainage holes are clear, and water can drain from the pot properly.
What Size Do Dwarf Umbrella Trees Grow to Typically?
While an umbrella plant can grow up to 50 feet, the dwarf variety maxes out around four or five feet in height. Pruning your Schefflera arboricola by pinching off the ends will ensure the plant will grow bushier rather than out of control. Keep a careful eye on your tree during the spring, as it is growing season.
Unlike other indoor plants, the Schefflera actinophylla can sprout flowers and berries with proper plant care. Blooms typically appear in the summer months, followed closely by round blackberries.
Most Common Bugs
The most common bug that can infest your Schefflera plant is spider mites. An easy way to spot these leggy pests is by looking for their webs on the underside of your plant’s green leaves. Once you notice any webbing, promptly remove it.
Spider mites do not like indoor plants kept in areas of high levels of humidity. Try regularly misting your umbrella plant to keep these pests at bay.
While less common than spider mites, mealybugs and aphids can appear on your dwarf umbrella plant. If frequent misting does not prevent infestation, consider investing in a humidifier to help maintain the humidity levels your umbrella plants need.
Most Common Diseases
The disease most likely to impact your umbrella tree is root rot. Root rot occurs when your pot has poor drainage or overwatering. To combat root rot, you need to take the plant out of the soil, shake off any excess water, and put the plant into fresh soil.
Do Dwarf Umbrella Trees Like Coffee Grounds?
Coffee grounds work as a fine fertilizer for your umbrella plant, but only sparingly add coffee grounds to the potting soil. Since this type of houseplant only needs indirect light, it requires less fertilizer than other tropical plants.
How Do You Propagate a Dwarf Umbrella Tree?
Propagating a dwarf octopus tree can be challenging. You may use three types of propagation if you are up for the challenge: cutting, seeds, and air layering.
Cutting involves snipping a stem off of this house plant near the base. Cut the green leaves in half horizontally to minimize the moisture loss during propagation. Poke a two-inch hole in the stem of the cutting before planting in a pot with fresh potting soil.
Growing this type of bonsai tree from a seed requires two to three weeks to germinate. A flower will sprout from the seed when it turns dark red. Once that occurs, place the plant in direct sunlight to dry out. After it dries out completely, gently rub the pod to allow additional seeds to come out. You can then plant these seeds as you usually would in potting soil.
Air layering involves cutting a thin layer from a bottom branch of your umbrella plant and burying this cutting in potting soil. Once roots have developed, transfer this stem cutting to a new pot.
How Often Should You Repot Dwarf Umbrella Trees?
Experts recommend repotting umbrella plants every few years. When selecting your plant’s new home, consider a pot with a heavy base to keep the umbrella tree from tipping over.
Conclusion — How to Take Care of a Dwarf Umbrella Tree
A dwarf umbrella tree requires just a few hours of indirect light per day and can survive prolonged periods of infrequent watering. With proper maintenance, your umbrella tree can grow up to five feet tall, making this low-maintenance plant a statement piece of your collection.