How to Care for Your Umbrella Plant

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Umbrella plants aren’t as popular as other houseplants, but they are easy-to-care-for, which makes them perfect for beginners. Learn how to care for your Umbrella plant.

Don’t get me wrong, Umbrella plant is a popular houseplant, but it’s not as popular as Aloe Vera or Basil. However, similar to other houseplants, the Umbrella plant is easy-to-care-for, and it’s low-maintenance, too! So if you’re a new plant parent, the Umbrella plant is a great choice. Also known as Schefflera, the Umbrella plant’s name came from its glossy, long, oval green leaves that droop gracefully from a central stalk, resembling, of course, an umbrella. It originated in Australia, Hainan, and Taiwan. The Umbrella plant can grow 6 feet tall and 3 to 4 feet wide indoors.

Fun Fact: The Umbrella plant also bears the name octopus tree because its flowers look like the tentacles of an upside-down octopus.

OK, a lot of people get confused with the Umbrella plant and Cyperus Papyrus or commonly known as Umbrella Grass. Yes, Cyperus is another type of Umbrella plant, but they have a big difference in appearance. The leaves and stems of the Umbrella Grass form a grass-like clump as it grows and matures. Additionally, the Umbrella Grass is very unique because it’s the only indoor plant that is impossible to kill through overwatering, well, 99% of the time.

The Umbrella plant is an effective air-purifying houseplant. It removes toxins like benzene, formaldehyde, and toluene. Additionally, it can also remove toxins released into the surrounding air by cigarettes. As we have mentioned, the Umbrella plant can grow from 5 to 6 feet indoors, in optimal conditions. There are two very important factors for your Umbrella plant to grow properly: correct sunlight and proper watering. Unlike the Umbrella Grass, the Umbrella plant can handle a little neglect, but it’s sensitive to overwatering and root rot.

Botanical NameSchefflera
Common NameAustralian Ivy Palm
Dwarf Hawaiian Schefflera
Dwarf Umbrella Tree
Hawaiian Umbrella Tree Plant
Octopus Tree
Parasol Plant, Starleaf
Umbrella Plant
Plant SizeThe Umbrella plant can grow up to 6 feet tall and 3 to 4 feet wide indoors.
Types of Umbrella PlantsCyperus Alternifolius (Umbrella Papyrus)
Darmera Peltata (Indian Rhubarb)
Diphylleia Cymosa (Umbrellaleaf)
Eriogonum Longifolium Var. Harperi (Harper’s Buckwheat or Harper’s Umbrella Plant)
Podophyllum Peltatum (American Mayapple)
Schefflera Arboricola (Umbrella Tree)
SunlightIt can tolerate direct indoor light, but it grows well in bright, indirect light.
WaterWater thoroughly when the soil in the pot dries out. Be sure to empty the drainage saucer after watering.
HumidityHumidity levels over 60% will make your indoor Umbrella plant thrive.
TemperatureYour indoor Umbrella plant prefers temperatures of 55°F to 75°F.
ToxicityUmbrella plant is poisonous if ingested. It can cause heart and respiratory problems, kidney problems, tremors, and vomiting, so be very careful if you have pets or small children.
FoodFor faster growth, you can feed your Umbrella plant with a standard diluted plant fertilizer once a month during the summer.
Pests and ProblemsAphids, scales, and spider mites are the most common insect problem of the Umbrella plant. To eliminate these pests, spray horticultural oil to your Umbrella plant.
Omysa Plant Care TipIncrease the humidity of your home to prevent pests like scale and spider mites.

Umbrella Plant Care Tips

Similar to the Philodendron plant, your Umbrella plant can, but it doesn’t mean that it can survive on its own. If you’re planning to get yourself an Umbrella plant, make sure that you pay attention to the humidity of your place to prevent pests, such as aphids, scales, and spider mites. Also, check your plant’s soil if it’s completely dry before watering to avoid problems like overwatering and root.

Here’s a detailed explanation of how to care for your Umbrella plant, from sunlight requirement to common problems and its solutions.


First, on our list on how to care for your Umbrella plant is to place it in a spot where it can receive bright indirect light. It can tolerate direct indoor light and medium-to-low light, but it will become leggy and grow more slowly. Avoid placing your plant under the intense, direct sun because its leaves will burn.

Common Problem: If the leaves of your Umbrella plant are turning yellow, this means it’s in a very low light area. However, if the leaves are turning brown and falling off, this means it’s getting too much sun.

Solution: Your indoor Umbrella plant can adapt to low light areas, but its growth will slow. It’s still best to place your plant in a warm well-lit spot, where it can get bright, indirect sunlight. For a sunburned Umbrella plant, the leaves may develop yellow patches where the damage is most severe, or the leaves may turn completely yellow. Make sure that you are growing your Umbrella plant in the right amount of light to prevent these problems.


Next on our list on how to care for your Umbrella plant is to water it when the soil in the pot dries out. Always check the soil first to avoid overwatering and root rot. It’s advised to water your Umbrella plant thoroughly, but make sure to empty the drainage saucer after watering.

Common Problem: If the leaves of your Umbrella plant are curling or wilting, this means your plant is receiving too much water. Overwatering your Umbrella plant can lead to root rot, which is fatal to houseplants.

Solution: One of the most common mistakes of new plant parents is overwatering the plant. Overwatering can start a lot of problems, from attracting pests to root rot. Your Umbrella plant can handle missed watering, but it won’t survive from root rot caused by too much water. The general rule of thumb is to water it when the soil in the pot dries out.

Humidity & Temperature

Adding to our list on how to care for your Umbrella plant is to put it in an extra humid environment to pests like scale and spider mites. It’s also best if you can mist it often, place it near a humidifier, or use a pebble tray. Also, your Umbrella plant prefers temperatures between 55°F to 75°F. Avoid placing your plant near air conditioning vents, doors, and drafty areas.


According to the ASPCA, your Umbrella plant is toxic to pets or small children. If ingested, it can cause heart and respiratory problems, kidney problems, tremors, and vomiting.


Another on our list on how to care for your Umbrella plant is to feed it every two to three weeks with a standard diluted plant fertilizer for faster growth. Once your Umbrella plant reaches the height that you want it to be, you can switch from feeding the plant once or twice a year.

Remember to follow the recommended amount of fertilizer and schedule to avoid fertilizer burn or plant burn.

Pests & Other Problems

Your Umbrella plant is prone to insects like aphids, scale, and spider mites. Eliminate these pests by coating your Umbrella plant liberally with 5 tablespoons of horticultural oil mixed in 1 gallon of water.

That’s a wrap on how to care for your Umbrella plant. The Umbrella plant is very easy to take care of. It’s normally undemanding and purifies the air for you, so even if it’s not as popular compared to other houseplants, we recommend that you add it to your plant collection. It can brighten up and give structure to a dull corner of your home.

Grow your plant knowledge. Check out our Plant Care blog to learn more about different houseplants and tips on how to keep your plants alive and healthy.

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