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How to Care for a Schefflera

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How to Care for a Schefflera

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Overview

The schefflera (Heptapleurum arboricola), or umbrella plant, is a tropical plant that is most often grown in a container indoors because of its sensitivity to cold weather. It has green or variegated compound leaves, or more than one leaf at the end of each stem, and grows to 3 feet tall and wide. A healthy schefflera has a bushy habit and leaves and stems in different stages of growth on the plant. Schefflera plants can live for years if properly cared for, according to Plant-Care.com.

Step 1

Plant the schefflera plant in a new, clean container with new potting soil and plenty of drainage. The new container should be more than 2 inches in diameter larger than the previous planter as it can collect water. Do not separate any plants that look like they are growing together. Schefflera plants do not mind being crowded.

Step 2

Locate schefflera in a place with bright indirect sunlight. A location in dappled shade is okay for a schefflera plant, keeping in mind that the plant is sensitive to drafts and cold temperatures. The schefflera is a houseplant that has higher-than-average light requirements.

Step 3

Add water to the schefflera when the top inch of soil is dry. Test it by pushing your finger into the soil around the side of the planting container. Never let the schefflera sit in water as over watering can cause leaf drop and sudden death of the plant.

Step 4

Fertilize on a regular schedule with a water-soluble fertilizer appropriate for houseplants. Follow directions on the fertilizer container label carefully. Always add fertilizer after the plant is watered to avoid stress on the plants new roots caused by the fertilizer's high nitrogen content.

Step 5

Prune the schefflera plant as needed to retain its shape. Schefflera plants grow straight up and never branch unless the ends are pruned, according to North Dakota State University Extension. If you have a healthy plant prune it by cutting the trunk to the desired height, then 1/4 inch above a leaf node or area where a leaf is growing from the trunk. If you have a sickly plant, wait until it is doing better as pruning can add stress to an already weak plant.

Things You'll Need

  • Well-drained planting container
  • Potting soil
  • Water-soluble houseplant fertilizer
  • Hand-held pruner

References

  • North Dakota State University: Questions on: Schefflera
  • Plant-Care: Schefflera Arboricola--Dwarf Umbrella Tree
  • New Mexico State University Extension: Propagating a Schefflera
Keywords: schefflera care, growing shefflera, shefflera care

About this Author

Based in Rockdale Texas, Jim Gober has been writing garden-related articles for 25 years. His articles appear in several Texas newspapers including The Rockdale Reporter, The Lexington Leader, The Cameron Herald and The Hearne Democrat. He is a Master Gardener and Certified Texas Nursery and Landscape Professional. He holds bachelor degrees in English Writing from St. Edward's University and Finance from Lamar University.

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