How To Grow & Care For the Umbrella Plant

The Umbrella Plant is an attractive and popular houseplant known for its unique umbrella-like leaf structure. As a tropical plant native to Taiwan and other parts of Southeast Asia, it brings a lush, exotic feel to any living space. Its scientific name is Schefflera arboricola, and it belongs to the Araliaceae family.

One of the appealing aspects of the Umbrella Plant is its adaptability. It can thrive in a variety of indoor conditions and is generally considered low-maintenance, making it a favorite choice for both novice and experienced gardeners. Its glossy, palmate leaves radiate from a central stem, resembling the spokes of an umbrella, giving the plant its common name.

Umbrella Plants are also known for their air-purifying qualities. They can filter indoor air pollutants such as formaldehyde, helping to improve the overall air quality in a home or office. Below is an in-depth guide to the Umbrella Plant, covering everything from basic care to common problems and professional tips.

Common NamesUmbrella Plant, Dwarf Umbrella Tree
Botanical NameSchefflera arboricola
Plant TypeEvergreen Shrub
Mature Size4 to 6 feet indoors
Sun ExposureBright, indirect light
Soil TypeWell-draining soil
Hardiness Zones10-11
Native AreaTaiwan, Southeast Asia

Umbrella Plant Care

Caring for the Umbrella Plant is relatively simple. These plants are quite forgiving and can endure a bit of neglect. The key to their health is providing balanced care without overindulging in water or sunlight.

Keep your Umbrella Plant in a location with bright, indirect sunlight, and water it when the top inch of the soil feels dry. It thrives in well-draining soil and appreciates a bit of extra humidity. Pruning is essential for controlling its size and encouraging a bushier growth habit.

Light Requirement for Umbrella Plant

The Umbrella Plant prefers bright, indirect sunlight. Too much direct sunlight can cause leaf burn, while insufficient light may lead to leggy and weak growth.

Soil Requirements for Umbrella Plant

Use a well-draining soil mix for the Umbrella Plant. A mixture of peat, pine bark, and perlite is often ideal. Good drainage is essential to prevent root rot.

Water Requirements for Umbrella Plant

Water the Umbrella Plant when the top inch of soil is dry. Overwatering can cause root rot, so it is crucial to let the soil partially dry between waterings.

Temperature and Humidity

Umbrella Plants prefer temperatures between 60°F and 75°F. They also appreciate higher humidity levels, around 40-50%, but can tolerate average indoor humidity.


Feed the Umbrella Plant with a balanced liquid fertilizer every 6-8 weeks during the growing season. Follow the instructions on the packaging.

Pruning Umbrella Plant

Pruning helps maintain the desired size and shape of the Umbrella Plant. Trim any leggy growth or dead leaves as needed to encourage bushier growth.

Propagating Umbrella Plant

Propagate the Umbrella Plant using stem cuttings. Cut a healthy stem and place it in water or moist soil. Roots should appear within a few weeks.

How To Grow Umbrella Plant From Seed

Growing Umbrella Plant from seed is less common but possible. Sow the seeds in a warm, humid environment and provide consistent moisture.

Common Pests & Plant Diseases

Spider Mites

Spider mites can be treated with insecticidal soap.

Root Rot

Prevent root rot by avoiding overwatering and ensuring proper soil drainage.

Common Problems With Umbrella Plant

Yellowing Leaves

This may indicate overwatering. Reduce watering and check the drainage.

Drooping Leaves

Drooping leaves can be a sign of underwatering. Increase watering frequency.

Brown Leaf Tips

Low humidity can cause brown leaf tips. Increase humidity levels if needed.

Pro Tips

  1. Wipe the leaves with a damp cloth periodically to remove dust and keep the plant looking vibrant.
  2. Repot the Umbrella Plant every 2-3 years to provide fresh soil and room for growth.
  3. Be cautious with pets, as the Umbrella Plant may be mildly toxic if ingested.