How to grow and care for Schefflera arboricola (Dwarf Umbrella Tree) Indoors

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Schefflera arboricola Care, Dwarf Umbrella Tree Care

Botanical name: Schefflera arboricola
Synonym: Heptapleurum arboricola
Family: Araliaceae
Common names: Dwarf Umbrella Tree, Hawaiian Schefflera, Dwarf Schefflera

Schefflera arboricola Description

Schefflera arboricola commonly called Dwarf Umbrella Tree, Hawaiian Schefflera or Dwarf Schefflera is a popular houseplant on account of its tolerance to neglect and poor growing conditions.

Hawaiian Schefflera is a fast-growing tree-like plant with about ten leaflets radiating from each leaf-stalk.

Under the right conditions, Dwarf Umbrella Tree will produce aerial roots which will convert to fully functional roots when they reach the ground.

Three conditions must be maintained for Dwarf Umbrella Tree to produce aerial roots. These conditions are a high growth rate, insufficient trunk roots (due to the plant being root bound or these roots are pruned) and a constant, very high humidity.

Schefflera arboricola Related Plants

Dwarf Umbrella Tree is much easier to grow than its close relative Schefflera actinophylla (Umbrella Tree).

Unlike the Umbrella Tree, the Dwarf Umbrella Tree will happily grow as a bush if the growing tip is removed.

Schefflera arboricola Origin

Schefflera arboricola (Dwarf Umbrella Tree) is native to Taiwan as well as Hainan and it gets its common name from its appearance as a smaller version of Umbrella Tree.

Schefflera arboricola Varieties

Many varieties of Schefflera arboricola can been selected for their variations in leaf color and pattern which are often variegated with creamy-white to yellow edges or centers.

Varieties of Dwarf Umbrella Tree include Hayata whose leaves are greyish, Geisha Girl with rounded leaf tips and Variegata with yellow-splashed leaves among many others.

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Schefflera arboricola Care, Dwarf Umbrella Tree Care

Schefflera arboricola (Dwarf Umbrella Tree) Care Indoors

Schefflera arboricola Light Requirements

Schefflera arboricola grows best in bright to medium light. The variegated types will require more light than the all-green type.

Protect your Dwarf Schefflera from direct sunshine to prevent sun burn on the leaves. Check Out this guide on understanding light for houseplants.

How to Water Schefflera arboricola

Water Schefflera arboricola liberally during the growing season and allow the soil to dry out between waterings.

Reduce watering for your Dwarf Umbrella Tree during the cold season to keep the soil slightly moist as growth is minimal at this time. Read more on how to water houseplants.

Ensure the pot for your Dwarf Umbrella Tree has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to root-rot disease and eventual death of your plant.


Temperature for Schefflera arboricola

The best temperature for growing Schefflera arboricola indoors is an average warmth with a minimum of 120C.

Protect your Dwarf Umbrella Tree from cold draughts to avoid sudden drop in temperature as it can cause leaf drop. Read more on understanding temperature for houseplants.

Humidity for Schefflera arboricola

Normal household humidity is perfect for Hawaiian Schefflera; normally the plant has no need for extra humidity.

Mist the leaves of your Dwarf Umbrella Tree regularly and clean them by damp-wiping with a soft cloth to get rid of dust and discourage pest infestation. Read more on how to clean houseplants.

Fertilizer (Feeding) for Schefflera arboricola

Feed Schefflera arboricola with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer that contains micronutrients every 4 weeks during the growing period.

Withhold feeding for your Dwarf Umbrella Tree during the cold season as growth is minimal and feeding at this time may lead to fertilizer burn.

Regularly flush out accumulated salts from the soil of your Dwarf Umbrella Tree by running a stream of water through the soil until the water comes out through the drainage hole. Allow it to run for a few minutes and repeat several times. Read more on how to feed houseplants.

How to Repot Schefflera arboricola

Repot Schefflera arboricola every 2 years during the growing season when the plant becomes root-bound.

Use rich and free-draining soil. A pot 1 size larger is ideal as your Dwarf Umbrella Tree prefers to be root-bound.

Ensure that the pot has a drainage hole as Dwarf Umbrella Tree does not like to be in soggy soil and it can lead to root-rot disease and the eventual death of your plant.

How to Prune Schefflera arboricola

Pruning Schefflera arboricola requires removal of dead and yellow leaves to maintain the plant neat and tidy.

To encourage a bushy and compact growth of your Dwarf Umbrella Tree, regularly pinch the growing tips and new growth will appear just below the cut.

If your Schefflera arboricola becomes leggy, cut it back to a few inches above the soil level; this will encourage new growth to sprout. Read more on how to prune houseplants.

The foliage emanating from the pruning can be used for taking cuttings to propagate new Dwarf Umbrella Tree plants.

To prevent branching, do not pinch the growing tips and provide support for your Dwarf Umbrella Tree to encourage upright growth.

Schefflera arboricola (Dwarf Umbrella Tree) Propagation

Dwarf Schefflera Tree can be propagated from stem cuttings or from stem-tip cuttings during the growing period.

How to propagate Schefflera arboricola from stem cuttings

Take a 6 in. Dwarf Umbrella Tree stem or stem-tip cutting, ensure it has several leaf node as this is where new growth will come from.

Strip off the lower leaves and stick about 2 in. of the Dwarf Umbrella Tree cutting into moist free-draining soil.

Cover the set up with polythene to create a greenhouse effect to increase warmth and humidity.

Place the set up in a warm, shaded place and maintain the soil moist until new growth emerges.

Rooting of Dwarf Umbrella Tree cuttings should take about 3-4 weeks; new growth indicates rooting has taken place.

Acclimatize the new Dwarf Umbrella Tree to normal growing conditions by opening the polythene cover a little bit everyday for a period of two weeks. During this period, keep the soil barely moist.

At the end of the two weeks, water moderately, apply liquid fertilizer monthly until a fine network of roots appear on the soil surface.

The new Dwarf Umbrella Tree should by this time have developed 2-3 new leaves. From this point, the plant is ready for repotting and normal Umbrella Tree care can begin.

Schefflera arboricola Care, Dwarf Umbrella Tree Care

Schefflera arboricola (Dwarf Umbrella Tree) Problems Indoors

Dwarf Umbrella Tree black leaf tips and leaf drop

Black leaf tips and leaf drop in Dwarf Schefflera is caused by too wet soil (soggy soil). Too much water in the soil reduces oxygen in the soil and when this happens death is the result. Death begins from the leaf tips and eventually the plant dies if the fault is not corrected in time.

Ensure that both the soil and the pot for your Dwarf Umbrella Tree have adequate drainage to prevent unhealthy water retention in the soil.

Dwarf Umbrella Tree leaf drop

Sudden change in growing conditions for Dwarf Umbrella Tree will is the cause of sudden leaf-drop.

Dwarf Umbrella Tree needs to be gradually acclimatized to the new growing conditions and to protected from draughts (drafts) to avoid sudden changes in the temperatures.

Dwarf Umbrella Tree leggy growth and yellow leaves

Leggy growth and yellow leaves in Dwarf Schefflera are due to too little light (inadequate light).

Move your Dwarf Umbrella Tree to a brighter spot. Dwarf Umbrella Tree grows best in bright to medium light. Read more on understanding light for houseplants.

Dwarf Umbrella Tree bright yellow leaves

Bright yellow leaves in Dwarf Umbrella Tree are due to underwatering (too little moisture in the soil).

Maintain the soil for your Dwarf Umbrella Tree moderately moist and never allow the soil to dry out completely. Read more on how to water houseplants.

Dwarf Umbrella Tree pests

Common pests in Dwarf Schefflera are Scale Insects, Mealy Bugs and Red Spider Mites.

Isolate the affected Dwarf Umbrella Tree to prevent spread to other houseplants and treat it appropriately for the pests.

Mist and clean the leaves of your Dwarf Umbrella Tree regularly to reduce infestation by these pests.

Dwarf Umbrella Tree diseases

The most common disease in Dwarf Umbrella Tree is root-rot disease which is brought about by soggy soil due to poor soil drainage.

The presence of root-rot disease in your Dwarf Umbrella Tree is indicated by yellowing of leaves, stems turning brown-black and gradual wilting of the plant.

Isolate the affected Dwarf Umbrella Tree to prevent spread to other houseplants and treat it appropriately for the disease.

Is Schefflera arboricola (Dwarf Umbrella Tree) toxic?

Schefflera arboricola (Dwarf Umbrella Tree) is toxic to both humans and pets.

The plant contains "sharp" calcium oxalate crystals that are insoluble and damage cells and tissues of animals if ingested.

The Calcium oxalate crystals cause swelling of the exposed tissue and the digestive tract which may be fatal to both animals and humans.

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