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How to Take Care of Umbrella Plants

By Sarah Terry ; Updated September 21, 2017
Umbrella plant's large leaves

The umbrella plant (Brassaia actinophylla or Schefflera sp.) is a large-leaved, warmth-loving plant that’s native to northeastern Australia. Most commonly kept as a houseplant, the umbrella plant has shiny, hand-shaped leaves that are deep-green or variegated and up to 10 inches wide. Some umbrella plant species grow in a dwarf form, while others can grow to a larger size. The dwarf umbrella plants are typically shaped as miniature trees or bushes. Umbrella plants are easy to grow and maintain.

Position your umbrella plant in bright, indirect light or in lower light but not in direct sun. Maintain normal indoor air temperatures around the umbrella plant of 60 to 75 degrees F.

Water your umbrella plant two or three times per week, providing water until it begins to drain from the bottom of the pot. Keep the potting soil evenly moist but not wet. Discard the excess water in the drainage dish after watering to prevent the plant from sitting in water.

Prune your umbrella plant in early spring or autumn to remove any crowded growth, as well as any dead or damaged stems. Pinch back the stem tips to encourage a bushier form.

Treat the umbrella plant for infestations of certain insects, such as scales, mealybugs and spider mites. If you detect any of these pests on your umbrella plant, apply an appropriate insecticidal soap to the foliage according to the directions on the label.

 

Things You Will Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Insecticidal soap (optional)

Tip

  • Avoid over- or under-watering your umbrella plant. If the leaves begin to turn black and drop from the umbrella plant, you're over-watering it. If the leaf tips begin to wrinkle, you're under-watering the plant.

Warning

  • Don't repot the umbrella plant continually, unless it's a dwarf variety. Umbrella plants will continue to grow to large sizes as long as you keep providing them with an increasingly larger pot, and they may grow too large to keep as an indoor plant.

About the Author

 

Sarah Terry brings over 10 years of experience writing novels, business-to-business newsletters and a plethora of how-to articles. Terry has written articles and publications for a wide range of markets and subject matters, including Medicine & Health, Eli Financial, Dartnell Publications and Eli Journals.