Schefflera Arboricola Plant Care Guide: How to Grow and Propagate
Schefflera Arboricola is a tropical and easy-to-care-for plant. Its unique appearance makes it a favorite among plant collectors.
In this post, we’re sharing the hows, whats, and when’s of keeping your Schefflera Arboricola happy. We will also provide various options for you to buy one for yourself. Read on to find out more about Schefflera’s exciting features!
What Is Schefflera Arboricola?
Schefflera Arboricola is from the Araliaceae family. It is famous because of its oval-shaped, glossy green leaves.
It may be referred to as Dwarf Umbrella Tree, Dwarf Schefflera, and S. Arboricola. However you call it, it is known for its unique, hand-looking leaves.
There are two species of Schefflera plants:
The Schefflera Actinophylla (Umbrella Plant, Umbrella Tree, Parasol Plant), which can grow up to 10 feet tall indoors and up to 40 feet outdoors, has longer oval green leaves that droop from a central stalk, making it look like an umbrella. This plant is a close relative to the Dwarf Umbrella Tree.
The Schefflera Arboricola is a multi-trunk tree that can grow over 20-30 feet tall outdoors. It has smaller glossy leaves that sometimes develop variegated. Mature plants can even produce aerial roots. Besides the smaller size, it looks similar to the Umbrella Plant.
The Arboricola can become container plants. If grown outdoors, it has the highest chances of survival in hardiness zones 10-12.
Origin And Family
Dwarf Umbrella Tree originates from the Schefflera genus, which is part of the Araliaceae family. The forests of Taiwan are the natural habitat of this plant. Dwarf Umbrella Tree has become a popular indoor plant in recent years, thriving in most households that give it plenty of humidity.
The genus was named after the German botanist J.C. Scheffler. It produces white, pink, or red flowers most summers when grown outdoors.
Where To Buy
Are you planning to buy a Schefflera Arboricola but unsure where to order one? Based on our experience, Etsy gives the assurance of purchasing from reputable sellers who grow the plants themselves. In most cases, they can assist you with queries regarding plant care as they would be aware of the ideal conditions for packing and shipping the plants.
With very affordable prices, the Schefflera houseplant is usually available in the market for $10 for smaller plants (3-inch pots) to $50+ for larger or more mature plants (about 8-inch posts).
Schefflera Arboricola Plant Size
The Schefflera Arboricola is a houseplant that reaches a height of 4-8 feet and a width of 4 feet.
Schefflera Arboricola Care Needs
Your Schefflera Arboricola, like any other houseplant, will thrive when properly cared for. With its unique leaves, this plant loves humidity and wants to keep relatively dry soil all year round.
For the majority of growers, you should water your Schefflera plant when the top inch of soil becomes dry. Give the water ample time to pass through the drainage hole in the pot. This well-known plant requires bright indirect light to grow.
Read our detailed care guide below for more specific advice!
While all plants require some level of care, the Dwarf Umbrella plant is considered by most indoor gardeners to be easy to care for. With the right combination of factors, such as well-draining soil and amount of light, you can keep this plant in its best health.
The S. Arboricola reaches a height of 4-8 feet when grown inside a home. This plant will usually produce more actively from spring to fall.
Schefflera plants typically grow fast, especially outdoors, where they are known to add three feet per year. On the other hand, indoor plants can be a bit slower-growing, primarily if confined in a tight-fitting pot.
The dwarf umbrella tree, Heptapleurum arboricola (formerly Schefflera arborícola) is a large shrub originally from China and Taiwan that is often grown as a houseplant and, in warmer climates, planted in parks and gardens. #plants #gardens #houseplants #parks #nature #botany pic.twitter.com/issP21sGSo— Challen Willemsen 🌿 (@challenguate) March 9, 2022
In terms of potting material and size for this plant, it’s generally advisable to use a large-sized pot made of terracotta. The critical consideration is that your pot has at least one drainage hole to drain excess water. Dwarf Umbrella Tree does not like sitting in water; otherwise, they may succumb to root rot.
As your plant grows and expands, you might consider upgrading from your current pot to a bigger pot on an as-needed basis. Typically, the need to repot occurs yearly or when they’ve outgrown their pot because these are fast-growing plants.
When repotting, you can use a fresh batch of standard commercial potting soil which is the ideal growing medium for your Schefflera Arboricola.
The Dwarf Schefflera does best in standard commercial potting soil, and its roots prefer a relatively dry environment, so make sure you choose components with suitable moisture-retention properties. Use 2 parts peat moss and 1 part perlite to create your soil mix.
With effective drainage, root rot and other diseases can be avoided. To increase aeration, consider incorporating chunky and grittier objects into your soil.
These are some top choices for the substrate for your plant:
A soil pH of around 6.0-6.5, which is neutral to acidic, is ideal for S. Arboricola. For newbies concerned about the soil’s acidity, you can acquire a simple pH meter device online to evaluate it.
To lower pH levels, use sulfur or aluminum sulfate. On the other hand, use calcitic or dolomitic lime, baking soda, or wood ash to increase pH levels.
Your Dwarf Umbrella Tree will want the soil to stay relatively dry between watering schedules. Feel out the soil with your finger and check when the top inch of the soil dries out. If this is the case, thoroughly drench your plant until water seeps out from the bottom of the pot.
Overwatering is a prevalent cause of plant death indoors. When in doubt, it’s usually preferable to underwater than drench your Dwarf Umbrella Tree with too much water. Use well-drained soil and a pot with drainage holes to secure your plant’s roots from drowning.
This easy-to-care-for houseplant prefers bright indirect light. If there’s excessive light, its leaves will get burned. If it lacks light, it may get leggy.
If your Schefflera Arboricola isn’t getting enough light, move it near a window, or you may also invest in LED grow lights. Here are some suggestions for you to consider:
Avoid putting your Schefflera Arboricola in direct sunlight, as this could cause severe damage or even kill it.
For houseplants to thrive, they require soil, water, and sunlight. Plant food needs to be added to soil as it might lose nutrients over time.
If you want a thriving Dwarf Schefflera, fertilize it once a month from the spring to fall. You may choose a water-soluble fertilizer, but ensure that it is diluted first if it’s highly concentrated.
Typically, fertilizing during the winter is not necessary.
Propagating Schefflera Arboricola
You can quickly reproduce your Schefflera Arboricola through various methods. Check the detailed instructions for each propagation technique are provided below.
Stem Cuttings In Soil
Most plant enthusiasts agreed that the easiest method to propagate a Dwarf Umbrella Tree is directly planting stem cuttings into soil. This plant’s growing season is during early spring, so it’s best to make cuttings during this time.
1. Cut. Cut a portion of the stem with new leaves and at least one node attached. Without a node, your cutting won’t be able to sprout fresh leaves.
2. Disinfect. If you have cinnamon or rooting powder, dip the cutting to disinfect the wound and encourage faster rooting.
3. Plant. Stick the disinfected cutting into your potting mix. Pro tip: Make sure that the nodes are buried.
4. Water. Water the soil and keep it moist (but not soggy).
5. Maintain. The Schefflera Arboricola roots grow within 2-3 weeks. We recommend placing your new plant in a bright, shaded area with good airflow.
Humidity And Aeration
Schefflera Arboricola is a popular perennial that loves high humidity. We recommend keeping the air humidity at least 60% for the best results.
Aside from absorbing water through its roots, your plant will also need nourishment from the moisture in the air. You can keep bowls of water to evaporate nearby, or you can invest in a humidifier that is more consistent in improving humidity for your plant.
new plant just dropped- variegated schefflera arboricola pic.twitter.com/3xguWOPotq— court 11/22 🎂 (@coco_mathes) January 18, 2021
Warm temperatures are preferable for S. Arboricola plants, but they can thrive in a temperature range of 60-75 degrees Fahrenheit.
They do, however, like constant temperatures, so keep them away from windows and openings that may allow chilly air or cold drafts during cold seasons. Similarly, keep them away from heat sources like vents and other heat sources as this might dry the air.
If you can provide the optimal conditions for your plant and keep it at its happiest, you might be able to see white, pink, or red flowers. You must know, however, that most plants generally bloom in an outdoor environment.
Be on guard if you have little children or pets in your home. The Dwarf Schefflera contains calcium oxalate crystals and is highly hazardous to pets, including cats, dogs, and humans. If ingested, you can expect the following symptoms: difficulty swallowing, drooling, and burning of the lips, mouth, and tongue. It can also cause mild skin irritation, so wear gloves when handling this plant. In most cases, this plant is considered non-life-threatening.
|Toxic To Pets?
|Dwarf Umbrella Tree, Dwarf Schefflera, S. Arboricola
|Recommended Home Placement
|bright indirect light
|standard commercial potting soil
|When To Water
|Water when the top inch of the soil dries out.
|When To Fertilize
|once a month during growing season
|at least 60%
|Toxic To Pets?
|Yes – symptoms include difficulty swallowing, drooling, and burning of the lips, mouth, and tongue
|Common Pests & Diseases
|spider mites, brown tips, scale insects, yellow leabes, root rot, aphids, mealy bugs, drooping leaves
Pests, Diseases, And Other Problems
I would say Schefflera Arboricola plants are not disease and pest-resistant. Here are some quick tips for curing the most common pests and ailments and general recommendations to keep this plant healthy.
Unfortunately, spider mites are widespread, and S. Arboricola is particularly vulnerable. Tiny brown or yellow areas that have been damaged by spider mites can be seen on the plant’s leaves. When the infestation is serious, you could also notice fine silk webbing.
Start by giving your indoor umbrella plants a quick spray of water using a pressure sprayer or a sink nozzle. The spider mites are discharged from the plant as a result. You should use an organic pyrethrin spray if the first approach doesn’t work.
Release ladybugs in your indoor growing area to help reduce the spider mite population if you prefer a more natural approach. The “Spider Mite Destroyer” beetle is another species that may be difficult to find, but its name speaks for itself!
Adult scales are sedentary and covered in a waxy coating, but they will give birth to extremely small crawling bugs.
Armored scales can be scraped off, but you must do it gently using an old ID card or with your fingers. Take care not to rip the leaves of your Schefflera Arboricola.
Use insecticidal soap, horticultural, or neem oil to suffocate scale insects. When you see active crawlers, spray your plant with a general pesticide. Follow it up with a second application after a week. We recommend some products below:
Aphids are insects that are tiny and will suck the sap of your Dwarf Schefflera. Some aphids crawl, and some have wings. They may come in green, brown, black, red, white, and many others.
Check the underside of leaves or unfurled shoots and delicate areas of the stem to find aphids. Act swiftly if you see these insects (which are generally in a group) to prevent them from spreading to other houseplants!
Put a plastic bag over the soil first. After that, thoroughly wash your plant with soap and water. To make sure all surfaces are covered, you can even use a sponge. After washing, keep your plant alone in a cool, shaded area with excellent airflow to prevent soap burn on the foliage.
If the aphids return, spray your Dwarf Schefflera with neem oil, rubbing alcohol, or horticultural oil. But remember to dilute these products first.
Mealybugs may infest your S. Arboricola. These little parasites damage your Schefflera by inserting a feeding tube into the plant tissues and sucking on the sap. They can eventually weaken or even kill your plant.
Soak a cotton swab in rubbing alcohol to remove them, then use its tip to remove each mealybug manually. Neem oil can also be sprayed on the leaves to suffocate these bugs.
Brown Leaf Tips
Brown leaf tips on your Dwarf Umbrella Tree can be due to low humidity, underwatering, root damage, and soil compactness.
On occasion, flushing the soil with water for a few minutes may be necessary to remove extra minerals, salts, fertilizers, and pesticides. If your plant is in a pot with drainage holes and you have a fast-draining substrate, you shouldn’t be concerned about unintentionally soaking its roots.
Drooping leaves on the Schefflera Arboricola can be caused by inconsistent watering, incorrect lighting, and lack of humidity. It might also help to clean your plant’s leaves with plain water and a microfiber cloth to remove the layer of dust that can interfere with photosynthesis.
Yellowing leaves on Dwarf Schefflera can be caused by lack of light, too much light, overwatering, underwatering, nutrient deficiency, overfertilization, recent disruption of the roots, changes in temperature and humidity, presence of pests, and many others.
If you’re confused, don’t worry! Gardening requires trial and error to determine the ideal conditions for your plants, and even master gardeners learn new things daily.
It is usually encouraged to prune off yellowing leaves so the plant won’t waste its energy trying to “save” the leaf instead of supplying nutrients to new leaves.
Root rot in S. Arboricola is often caused by overwatering. Excessive moisture will drown your plant or invite fungal diseases that destroy the roots.
Figuring out the right amount of hydration will keep your Schefflera healthy. Instead of limiting the amount of water you pour on your plant out of fear that the roots will drown, you can provide a substrate that will drain and dry fast. Take your regular potting soil and mix in some chunky but light components such as perlite, pumice, bark, coco cubes, coal, river sand, and many others.
Of course, you must also ensure your planter has holes for the water to drain. Choosing porous pots made from terracotta or unglazed ceramic can help dry the soil faster.
Love Dwarf Umbrella Tree? Here are some other similar plant options you should try:
Rubber Tree – This plant earned its name because of its milky sap and its leaves with a rubbery and shiny appearance. Besides being a great addition to beautifying a home garden, this plant is also known for its air-purifying properties.
Money Tree – This fascinating plant has a rich origin story and beautiful features. Glossy leaves and braided tree trunks adorn this tree, which is believed to bring luck to whoever grows it.
Bonsai Tree – Bonsai trees symbolize tranquility and peace and make an excellent centerpiece for any room. These plants were created to be a miniature and realistic representation of nature in the form of a tree.
The Schefflera Arboricola, with its unique leaves, is the ideal addition to any plant lover’s collection.
Whether you’re just starting as an indoor gardener or a long-time hobbyist learning more about this particular plant, we hope you’ve learned some helpful tips to grow your Schefflera Arboricola successfully!
Help us grow! This post contains affiliate links, which means we receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something recommended. All opinions, however, are our own, and we do not accept payments for positive reviews.