Scheffleras, otherwise known as umbrella trees, are large, lush tropical plants. Overall, they’re easy to care for and make great additions to any household.
But, as with any plant, there are some things to keep an eye on.
And watering is one.
It’s easy to overwater a Schefflera. And overwatering can ultimately kill your plant.
Here are 9 tips to help ensure your Schefflera lives a long, healthy life.
1. Water deeply.
Scheffleras like deep watering. So, water thoroughly until water runs from the drainage holes.
It’s easiest to water using a sink so the excess water can drain away. If that’s not possible, then water until the water starts seeping into the pot’s saucer.
But, don’t leave the excess water standing in the saucer. Instead, toss it out so it doesn’t keep the soil too wet. Scheffleras like it moist, but they don’t want constant soggy feet.
2. Let the soil dry.
After you’ve given your plant a thorough watering, let the soil dry out. In general, 50 – 75% of a Schefflera’s soil should dry before you water again. If you habitually water too soon, you’ll overwater your plant and that can lead to problems.
3. Use a pot with drainage holes.
It’s easy to overwater a Schefflera, especially if you’re a novice. Doubly so in pots with no drainage holes. Here, water can pool at the bottom of the pot and you may not be aware of it.
If you have a pot you like but it doesn’t have drainage, consider using it as a cachepot. In other words, put your Schefflera in a cheap pot with drainage, and use your decorative pot as a holder for the cheaper pot.
To learn about how to water your indoor plants, take a look at my watering guide. You’ll find it helpful.
4. Your Schefflera may need more water during the growing season.
Scheffleras do their heaviest growing from spring through the end of summer. During these seasons, there’s greater sunlight and temperatures are warmer. This means, your plant has more opportunity for growth.
And to help with all that growth, your Schefflera will need more water.
5. If placed outside during the summer, monitor your Schefflera closely.
Many people put their houseplants outside during the warm months. If you’re one of them, it’s essential you keep an eye on your plant’s moisture level.
Sun and wind can easily dry your Schefflera’s soil much faster than anticipated. This can lead to you underwatering your plant.
On the other hand, a Schefflera exposed to several days of heavy rains can become waterlogged.
With either scenario, you must monitor your Schefflera’s water level.
6. Reduce your Schefflera’s water in the winter.
Where summer is a time for growth, winter is a time for dormancy. The days are shorter and temperatures are cooler. Your plant’s growth will slow. This means its water needs will also lessen.
7. Always test the soil before watering.
Because a Schefflera likes to dry out between each watering, it’s important you don’t automatically give him water. Stick your finger into the soil to get a feel for the dryness. If it’s wet and cold, don’t water.
But, don’t rely solely on how the top of the soil feels. The first couple of inches should be dry.
And sometimes, it’s dry up top but still too wet down below, near the roots. To test for this you can use a dull probe, like a bamboo stake or even a butter knife. Carefully insert the probe into the soil till it nears the level of the roots. If comes out with soil clinging to it, wait a couple of days before watering.
If you want to remove the guesswork, then use a moisture meter. It’ll read the wetness of the soil. For other handy houseplant tools, look here to find my suggestions.
8. Periodically mist your plant.
To help with moisture, you can occasionally mist your plants and wipe down the leaves with a damp cloth. Or, what I like to do every month or so, is give my Schefflera a shower with my sink’s sprayer. This helps keeps down any dust build-up.
If you are misting or spraying, make sure water isn’t continually lingering on your plant’s leaves. This can lead to fungal disease.
If possible, water your plant in the morning hours so it has time to dry off. Too, make sure there is good airflow around your plant. My article on Schefflera leaves and brown spots has more helpful information on leaf discoloration.
9. Watch for signs of overwatering or underwatering.
- Leaves are yellowing, especially all over the plant.
- The plant is looking droopy.
- Soil is wet to the touch.
- The plant develops root rot.
- You’re seeing pests such as fungus gnats.
- Leaves are turning yellow or brown, particularly the bottom leaves.
- The plant is droopy.
- Leaves are turning crispy and dry.
- The soil is very dry.
- The soil is pulling away from the pot edges.
You can easily overwater your Schefflera, so it’s important you monitor your plant. Feel the soil for dryness and take into consideration the time of year.
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