Botanical Name: Schefflera actinophylla
Schefflera plant also goes by the name Umbrella Tree.
Its upright branching stems bear horizontal spoke-like leaves that consist of about 8 large, dark-green leaflets.
A dwarf variety (Schefflera arboricola) is much a smaller and bushier plant. 'Variegata' (shown at left) is a variegated form with green and yellow leaves.
Pruning schefflera may be necessary on large varieties. As the plant ages, it loses its lower leaves, so prune back harshly to stimulate new growth and to keep it full. Pinching off the growing tips will promote branching.
Plants that are allowed to grow tall will need support. Mature plants have aerial roots that can be trained to cling to a moss stick.
Schefflera plant care is easy. Put it in a bright spot, out of direct sun and place the container on a saucer of wet pebbles to increase the humidity around it.
Schefflera doesn't like to be moved around and may drop its leaves if exposed to cold drafts or blasts of hot air from heating vents.
Repot in spring when roots grow through the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot. Use a heavy pot to prevent toppling -- this plant can get top-heavy.
Pests are few, however spider mites may invade if the air is dry. Keep an eye out for webbing between stems and the undersides of leaves. Raising the humidity around the plant in winter will help to prevent an invasion.
With good care, this beautiful, tropical house plant will live for several years.
Origin: Australia and Pacific Islands
Height: Up to 6 ft (1.8 m)
Light: Bright light, no direct sun. Turn plant occasionally to encourage even growth.
Water: Allow the top inch of soil to dry out between waterings. Yellow leaves are a sign of overwatering. Drooping leaves usually indicate that the soil is too dry.
Humidity: Average indoor humidity. If it gets too dry in the winter, use a room humidifier or mist with water.
Temperature: Average to warm room temperatures 65-75°F/18-24°C
Soil: Peat moss-based potting mix.
Fertilizer: Feed monthly with a balanced liquid fertilizer diluted by half.
Propagation: Take stem tip cuttings in spring and summer. Can be grown from seeds.