Schefflera is a tropical plant that is grown as a low-maintenance houseplant. The evergreen shrub originates from Taiwan and Hainan and thrives in warm, humid climates. It is a popular plant that comes in many varieties. The best known are the umbrella tree and the dwarf umbrella tree. One of the reasons the plant is so popular is because Schefflera is so easy to care for. Read on to learn more about growing the plant and keeping it healthy and lush.
Table of Contents
- How to plant Schefflera
- What is important about Schefflera care
How to plant Schefflera
If you just bought your first Schefflera plant or if it’s time to repot it, here’s how to plant it:
1. choose a location. Place the plant in a spot that won’t get direct sun (such as a south-facing window), or choose a spot with bright light (such as an east- or west-facing window) and filter the light through a curtain.
2. Choose the right container. When repotting your Schefflera for the first time, choose a pot that is only slightly larger than the root ball. Excess soil retains moisture, which can have a negative effect on the plant’s growth. Make sure the pot has drainage holes to allow excess water to drain away and prevent the soil from becoming too soggy, which can lead to root rot.
3. prepare the soil. Your plant needs well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter to thrive. Fill the pot with a few inches of soil.
4. Squeeze the pot to loosen the soil around the roots, then carefully turn the plant on its side and remove it from the pot. Carefully place the plant in the new pot, and fill it with fresh soil.
5. Water your Schefflera immediately after planting so that the soil settles and the plant receives moisture.
What is important about Schefflera care
Schefflera are not difficult plants if they receive plenty of indirect light, heat and moisture. In very cold climates, soil heating may be necessary.
Bright but indirect light
Schefflera prefers bright, indirect light. Place potted plants outside in the summer where they will receive bright light but no direct sun, such as under a patio cover. A Schefflera plant that becomes droopy may not be receiving enough light. Never place a plant in full sun, as the intense sun can burn the leaves.
If you are growing Schefflera indoors, plant it in a rich, loose, well-drained potting soil. For outdoor cultivation, a well-drained, sandy loam soil with a slightly acidic pH is ideal. Avoid an outdoor location where the soil becomes too wet or waterlogged.
Schefflera care – Water regularly.
Schefflera plants are drought tolerant, so they can tolerate short periods with little water. For best results, water the plant regularly once the top five inches of soil is dry. Avoid overwatering; too much moisture can lead to root rot. During the growing season, water regularly and spray the leaves with water frequently. Watering should be reduced during the winter months.
If you water a Schefflera plant too much, it will eventually die. Yellow and dropped leaves are a sign that you may be watering too much. Every houseplant accumulates dust on its leaves over time, which can inhibit the photosynthesis process and damage the plant. Every month or two, use a clean, damp cloth to wipe the dust off your plant’s leaves.
Temperature and humidity
Being a tropical plant, Schefflera requires relatively high humidity and tropical temperatures; it suffers from temperatures lower than 16°C. Do not expose these plants to drafts or dry heating vents. An underwatered or cold plant will drop leaves quickly, so take leaf drop seriously and correct it when it occurs. If the plant loses all its leaves, you can try to save it by moving it outdoors in the spring and watering generously.
Schefflera care: how much fertilize.
Feed Schefflera plants twice a week during the growing season with liquid fertilizer for houseplants or use two applications of slow-release fertilizer in the form of pellets. They are heavy feeders and will benefit from the extra nutrients.
When to prune the plant
Your plant may need to be pruned back occasionally, especially if it doesn’t get enough light. Cut off what you think is overgrown or looks droopy. Schefflera houseplants recover quickly from pruning and will reward your efforts. The result is a more lush and bushy plant.
Propagation of Schefflera
The best time to propagate Schefflera is in the spring: this will prevent your current plant from becoming too bushy and will provide you with new plants. Schefflera can be propagated by cuttings.
- Using sharp scissors, cut a piece of the stem about five inches long at a 45-degree angle and remove all but four or five leaves at the top of the stem.
- Dip the cut end in rooting hormone, then place it in a pot filled with potting soil.
- Cover the pot with a loosely fastened plastic bag to retain moisture, then place the pot in bright, indirect light.
- Check the pot daily to make sure the soil stays moist, and water when necessary. Check by gently pulling on the stem to see if roots are forming.
- When roots have formed after about a month, you can remove the plastic bag and proceed with growing the new plant.
Tips for potting and repotting
Under the right conditions, Schefflera plants can grow quickly and benefit from being repotted once they have taken root. If you notice that your plant’s growth slows significantly during the growing season and the roots seem to form a thick mass in the pot, it may be time to repot it. Houseplants should be repotted annually or as needed: If they have grown too large for their containers, they need new soil and a larger pot.
(You can slow growth and prevent plants from getting too big by extending the time between repottings and allowing them to root in a bit.) If you want to repot the Schefflera, remove it from the pot and gently loosen the roots; soaking them in water may help. To repot, choose a larger container (clay or plastic) that has drainage holes and fill it with a peaty, well-drained soil mix.
Pests and plant diseases
Both bacterial leaf spot disease and Alternaria leaf spot disease affect Schefflera. These diseases are easily controlled by avoiding overhead watering and not watering in the evening. Indoors, schefflera are susceptible to problems with aphids, which leave a honeydew excretion that leads to sooty mold; treat aphids with a spray of insecticidal soap. Outdoors, the plant is susceptible to several pests, including mealybugs, spider mites and scale insects.
Schefflera care for yellowing leaves.
If the leaves of your Schefflera are turning yellow, overwatering is often the cause. Try watering less to see if this helps. If not, the plant may not be getting enough light, so move it to a brighter location.
Brown spots on the leaves
The cause of spots on your plant is probably not enough watering. In this case, you should water your plant more regularly during the growing season. It is best to water the plant deeply and let the soil dry out before watering it deeply again.