Plants 101

How to Care for a Schefflera

Read on for simple instructions on how to care for a Schefflera.

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The Schefflera is a tropical plant native to Southeast Asia and Australia. It is also commonly known as the umbrella tree due to its large, glossy leaves that fan out like the spokes of an umbrella.

Types of Schefflera

There are several types of Schefflera, including the common Schefflera arboricola, also known as dwarf umbrella tree or parasol plant, and the larger Schefflera actinophylla, also known as Queensland umbrella tree or octopus tree. Another popular variety includes the Schefflera alpine, which grows larger than the dwarf variety with longer leaves.


Scheffleras prefer bright, indirect sunlight but larger varieties can tolerate dappled direct sunlight. An East, West or diffused South window would be ideal to keep your Schefflera happy and actively growing. An unobstructed Northern window may work but will causes stunted growth as they can't tolerate lower light. Not sure if your space will provide enough light? Consider measuring light to ensure your Schefflera will receive enough!


Water your Schefflera once the soil has dried out completely, but don't wait too long to water once it reaches that point. Water thoroughly to evenly saturate the soil, and make sure the soil is well-drained and never sits in standing water. Overwatering can lead to root rot. You can utilize a moisture meter to help you properly gauage soil moisture and avoid overwatering.


Scheffleras are a tropical plant, which means they thrives in humid conditions typically ranging between 30-40% or higher indoors. They can tolerate normal room humidity between 20-30% but aiming for higher will also be better. Not sure if humidity is high enough? You can measure the level of humidity with a hygrometer or LTH meter.

If your home is particularly dry, you may need to increase the humidity around your plant. Placing a humidifier nearby will be the best way to localize adequate humidity levels consistently.


Scheffleras prefer temperatures between 60-75°F. They can tolerate slightly cooler temperatures, but avoid exposing them to cold drafts or temperatures below 50°F.


Scheffleras prefer well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. A soil mix that contains coco coir, perlite and compost is ideal.

Common Problems

SYMPTOM: Leggy and floppy, or leaf drop

CAUSE: Not enough sunlight

SYMPTOM: Yellow droopy leaves with wet soil

CAUSE: Overwatered

SYMPTOM: Brown leaf tips

CAUSE: Low humidity or too much direct sunlight


Scheffleras are mildly toxic to pets and humans. Ingesting the leaves or stems can cause gastrointestinal upset, so keep them out of reach of children and pets.

Words By The Sill

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