The Schefflera plant, also known as the umbrella tree or octopus tree, is a tropical plant that is originally from Asia. It is native to Taiwan and southern China. In this article, I will provide you the most useful information about this awesome houseplant.

This evergreen plant can grow up to 20 feet tall in its natural habitat, but can also be kept smaller as a houseplant. The leaves are large and glossy, arranged in a distinctive pattern that resembles an umbrella. Interestingly, different people see different things: some countries refer to this plant as the finger plant, because they feel the leaves strongly resemble hands.

Main Schefflera species

There are several species of the Schefflera plant, but the two main species commonly cultivated as houseplants are Schefflera actinophylla and Schefflera arboricola. The first species is also known as the Octopus Tree. This species is native to Australia and is the most popular variety of Schefflera sold and kept as a houseplant. It has large glossy leaves that can reach up to eight inches in length.

Leaves of a healthy Schefflera arboricola plant
Leaves of a healthy Schefflera arboricola plant

The second species, the Schefflera arboricola, is also known as the Dwarf Umbrella Tree. It has smaller leaves than the actinophylla, which are usually about four inches long. It’s a good choice for smaller spaces as it’s a more compact version of the same plant. My Schefflera arboricola has been extremely easy to care for. It’s been thriving in my living room, near a north-east facing window. Whichever species you decide to get: this plant is really easy to care for.

Schefflera plant care

Schefflera plants are relatively low maintenance and can tolerate a wide range of temperatures, making them a popular choice for indoor gardening. They require bright, indirect light and regular watering, but can tolerate lower light levels. They are sensitive to over watering and dryness. Propagation is done by stem or leaf cuttings.

To keep a Schefflera plant healthy, it is important to provide it with the right amount of light, water, and humidity. Schefflera plants prefer regular watering.

Water frequently!

They like to be consistently moist, but not waterlogged. Allow the top inch of soil to dry out before watering, and then water thoroughly until water runs out of the bottom of the pot. Be sure to empty any water that accumulates in the saucer under the pot, as standing water can lead to root rot. This plant species prefers a humidity level of around 50%. If the air in your home is dry, you can increase humidity by using a humidifier, regularly misting the plant or putting a tray of water near the plant.

To keep your Schefflera plants healthy, here are some other plant care tips:

☀️ When it comes to light, Schefflera plants prefer bright, indirect light. They can tolerate lower light levels, but may become leggy and have fewer leaves. Place the plant near a window that receives indirect sunlight, or use a grow light if necessary.

🌱 Umbrella plants prefer well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. A good potting mix for Schefflera plants contains a mixture of peat moss, perlite, and vermiculite.

🥑 Feed the Schefflera plant with a balanced fertilizer during spring and summer months. Avoid over-fertilizing, which can lead to leaf burn.

✂️ Prune the plant regularly to control its shape and size. Cut back long, leggy stems to promote bushier growth.

🪲 Schefflera plants are relatively pest-free. They may, however be attacked by spider mites or scale insects in dry, low-light conditions. Prevent pests or rot by regularly checking for signs of pest, and always remove any leftover water from the scale.

Schefflera Heptaphylla
Schefflera Heptaphylla (suitable as outdoor plant) – © Pixabay / styx

Overall, it is safe to say that Schefflera plants are relatively low maintenance and easy to care for. With proper care, you will enjoy this plant for years to come.

If you already have a Schefflera plant, and want to learn how propagation works for this species, check out this useful article by the Bonsai Alchemist.

Is Schefflera toxic?

As with many houseplants, people want to know whether it is safe to touch them. You should handle some plants, such as Alocasia, with care. It is generally recommended to wear gloves when handling that plant. Schefflera, however, is generally not toxic to humans or animals. It is not considered a poisonous plant and is not known to cause serious health problems if ingested.

That’s not to say the plant is completely harmless. In fact, the plant’s sap can cause skin irritation and eye irritation if it comes into contact with the skin or eyes. Ingesting large amounts of the plant could cause stomach discomfort and should be avoided. That’s why it’s always a good idea to keep any houseplants out of reach of children and pets to prevent accidental ingestion.

Tropical houseplant that’s easy to care for

The Schefflera is a great plant for people who want a lush, tropical look without the maintenance some other tropical plants require. Schefflera is a tropical houseplant that is easy to care for, tolerant of low light conditions and can survive in a range of temperatures. It’s a great plant for beginners, or for those who want a low-maintenance addition to their home or office. It’s also a great option for people who want to improve the air quality in their home, as it also helps with air purification.

By Dan

I am a houseplant-enthusiast and love the outdoors.