Umbrella Tree

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Oct 092015
 

Photo © Bulleen Art & Garden

Schefflera actinophylla
How to keep them thriving indoors in Melbourne!

Please Note: The information below is specific to this particular plant. For more detailed notes on the general growing conditions required for all indoor plants, check out our ‘Growing Indoor Plants Successfully’ factsheet.

A fairly fast-growing plant, even when grown as an indoor potted plant. Lovely shiny green leaves and when grown in a cluster of two or three has a great impact, giving a vibrant healthy lush look. A native or northern Australia.

Watering
Allow the top centimetre of potting mix to dry out in between watering over the warmer months and allow to almost fully dry out in between watering in the cooler months. Ensure pots are never sitting in water. In winter water with tepid or room temperature water.

Light
Moderately bright indirect light. Avoid any direct light.

Temperature and Humidity
Umbrella trees do much better with raised humidity, so keep plants away from ducts and outlets as both heating and air-conditioning reduce humidity. Ideally group indoor plants together as this helps create islands of humidity. Regular misting or a room humidifier helps, as does putting pots on feet or pebbles to ensure free drainage and allowing water to collect underneath.

Fertilising
An annual application of slow release fertiliser in spring is sufficient. Avoid too much fertilising or growth will be very rapid.

Maintenance
The leaves are naturally shiny, sower or mist regularly to remove dust and keep them looking attractive.

If you continually pinch out the growing tips you can force basal growth to give an overall more bushy and full effect.

Your pot plant should be flushed annually. This process flushes away the salts that build up in the potting mix. To flush the pot, water several times in succession, soaking the pot each time until water runs out of the bottom.

Problems
They are definitely prone to attack from spider mites and scale – if you increase humidity this will lessen the problem, but a good method of control is to use a systemic insecticide that is pushed into the soil. This comes in the form of a large ‘pill’ and combines an insecticide with slow release fertilizer.

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