Sure, you may no longer see an umbrella plant in many decorative items with houseplants these days.
The Schefflera plant, either Schefflera Arboricola or Schefflera Actionphylla, are both fairly easy-care plants that can add an interesting touch to your space.
If you are thinking about how to decorate with plants, consider these umbrella plants.
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If the leaflets are longer than 4 or 5 inches, it is a Schefflera Actinophylla, otherwise it is a Schefflera Arboricola. Both of them often look pretty similar, and the conditions they require are more or less the same. Our recommendations for caring for your umbrella plant apply to both unless otherwise stated.
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Shefflera Arboricola is native to the forests of Taiwan and reaches heights of 26 to 30 feet outdoors. However, indoors it reaches 8 to 10 feet in height. You can also find dwarf versions that are popular with bonsai and stay smaller.
Schefflera Actinophylla is native to the forests of Java, New Guinea and Australia. Being able to walk up to 50 feet outdoors, it is the larger of the two species.
You can find a few types of both, with white, gold, or yellow patterns on the leaves. According to the ASPCA, both are toxic to cats and dogs.
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Where should you grow them?
When you take care of your umbrella plant careput them in bright, indirect light. However, they can also tolerate direct indoor light and can grow slowly, albeit slowly, in medium or low light. Humidity isn’t that important, but if the air is too dry, you’re more susceptible to pests like spider mites and dandruff.
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As for temperature, the preferred is 55 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. They can be grown outdoors in USDA Zones 10-11. However, if you are in Florida or Hawaii, Schefflera Actinophylla is considered a more aggressive breeder and invasive species, so be sure to check your local restrictions first.
Which conditions do you prefer?
Water: You will appreciate plenty of moisture and moist compost. You should water them weekly and spray them frequently during the growing season. Less water in winter, I thought.
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Temperature: They suffer below 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Try not to expose them to dry heating slots or drafts.
Light: Indirect, bright light is best, and in summer you should place it outside under a shaded overhang for best results.
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Soil: Abundant, loose potting.
Fertilizer: Feed them liquid fertilizer twice a week during the growing season or just use two pellets, slow-release. They are pretty heavy feeders, keep that in mind.
If you have the right conditions, Schefflera can be propagated using leaf cuttings. A root hormone and plenty of heat and moisture should be used. However, since these are tropical plants, you should expect a relatively high failure rate. You can also spread them through air stratification.
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How to multiply
Secure a stem near the base with clean scissors. Dip the end in a root hormone, then place it in potting soil, preferably in a small container. Pour it and put it in bright but indirect light. If you want to maintain humidity and speed up the rooting process, put the pot in a clear plastic bag and store it in warm temperatures.
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Repot as needed, usually annually. A mature plant can grow into a small tree, up to 15 feet tall. However, if it’s a houseplant in a temperate climate, it will stop at around 6 feet. If you want to slow down the rate of growth, extend the repotting process.
How to care for it – diseases and pests
The plants are quite susceptible to pest and pathogen problems. Pests that could attack your plant are scale insects, spider mites, mealybugs and thrips. Spider mites are the most common. To avoid problems, spray the plant with a soapy water mist once a week.
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If you still find spider mites, do so twice a day or use insecticidal soaps. Pathogen problems are less likely, but if you leave them afloat, root rot can occur.
Interior decoration with house plants
The larger the room you are working in, the more plants you can place. For example, a small plant looks lost in a large, empty room. However, add some of these and arrange them well and you get a nice accent.
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Tree-like plants are pretty important when it comes to decorating, and large-leaved species can fill a room pretty quickly. Especially if it is a sparsely furnished room or if it is an entrance hall.
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On the contrary, in a small room, large plants take up too much space. Small or medium-sized plants with large, delicate leaves are best here. Place them where they can be seen, but don’t put too much of them in a small space. That way, the individual plants won’t have much of an impact.
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Plants usually look best against a plain background. If they have large foliage, place them in front of wallpaper with a small pattern. Leave the large patterned wallpaper for filigree leaves or ferns. Wood-paneled walls are best for climbing plants on bamboo or wooden supports. In addition to a brightly painted wall, these also look stunning.
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The decorative scheme must take into account the light in your room. Placing everything in front of a bright, sunny wall creates interesting patterns created by the shadows. Make sure the colors don’t match the color theme as you don’t want expensive furniture to be discounted by having flowers of the wrong color in your pots.
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Make sure the plants are organized to complement each other. Larger plants are best placed in the background of smaller groups of plants.
Wrap things up
This houseplant is very popular. It looks great and is pretty easy to maintain. However, you shouldn’t neglect it. If you don’t, you have stunning decor in your room.