Schefflera arboricola, common name: Umbrella plant.

Plant Care Cheat Sheet

Difficulty Level: Easy
Light Requirements: Bright indirect light
Humidity Requirements: Room humidity okay

Native to Thailand, Schefflera plants are some of the easiest to grow houseplants that can either work as a small bushy plant or a tall statement tree. The shape of the umbrella plant will depend entirely on your pruning.

The plant is identified by it's seven-part leaves which splay out like fingers. Young stem growth on the Schefflera is green, but over time the plant will harden to a more woody stem.

Variegated versions of this plant usually contain a yellow or creamy edge.

Schefflera arboricola (umbrella plant)


Although the Schefflera will thrive in ideal conditions, it makes a great beginner plant since it is tolerant of low light, stress, and imperfect conditions.

Schefflera prefers bright indirect light, although it more can handle some of lower light conditions. I have had this plant directly in East-facing windows, 6 ft away from an East window, on a covered porch, and even in a dark corner in a desperate situation.

In it's natural environment, Schefflera arboricola grows under the trunks of larger trees. As such, you'll want to avoid direct sun light. Too much sun will burn or bleach leaves.

If your start to see your Schefflera plant becoming "leggy" (long spaces between the leafs) or reaching for the light, it may not be getting enough light.

Schefflera arboricola (umbrella plant) leaves

Watering and Humidity

Schefflera prefers to mostly dry out before being watered. Avoid letting the umbrella tree sit in soggy soil.

Be sure your Schefflera is planted in well-draining soil in a pot with drainage. Schefflera could be fine any kind of pot, but be sure to adjust your water intake accordingly. Use our houseplant pot guide to know how much you should water for different kinds of pots.

Bottom leaves will naturally drop as the plant grows, however, if you notice many leafs yellowing at once this may be a sign of over watering and root rot.

Schefflera arboricola (umbrella plant) putting out new growth

Encouraging branching

Keep your Schefflera arboricola bushy and full-looking with regular pruning.

It can be nerve-wrecking to cut a beautiful branch off of your plant, but this is important for the long-term growth and success of your umbrella tree!

Use clean pruning sheers or a clean sharp knife to cut where you notice leggy growth or would like to encourage branching.

Within a few weeks (probably sooner), you will notice new growth from the point where you  cut. The growth begins as teeny little "baby arms" and soon grows into the classic Schefflera shape.

Pruned Schefflera arboricola (umbrella plant) starting to grow back

You can propagate the branches you have cut in water or in soil with rooting hormone. They take a long time to begin to root, but it will probably happen eventually.

Warning: Dangerous to pets!

All Schefflera species are poisonous to cats and dogs. It chewed, it may cause oral irritation, upset stomach, or more severe symptoms if a lot is ingested.

New growth on Schefflera arboricola (umbrella plant)