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Dwarf umbrella tree plant care guide

Want to add a Schefflera arboricola to your plant collection? Here is our complete dwarf umbrella tree plant care guide!

Looking for a new houseplant to add to your collection? How about a dwarf umbrella plant!

The dwarf umbrella, also known by the name Schefflera arboricola, is an evergreen shrub originating from China.

Its appearance is just as you imagine it – small leaves with rich green color that open up like flower petals, creating a small bush you simply can’t resist.

It’s very compact in size (hence the name dwarf), and the leaves are incredibly glossy.

This makes it a perfect choice for a decorative home plant.

If you are still on the fence about getting one, allow us to help you make up your mind.

Let’s take a look at the key care elements concerning a dwarf umbrella tree plant.

dwarf umbrella plant care guide

Printable Umbrella Plant care guide

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Umbrella Plant plant care guide

What is the dwarf umbrella tree plant?

The first thing you need to know about it is that it doesn’t grow large! It can only grow a few feet, especially if you keep it kept indoors.

The compact size is the first thing that attracts people to get it because it can fit practically anywhere.

Secondly, the plant has a symbolic meaning- it represents becoming one with nature and spreads positivity, good luck, and prosperity.

Lastly, it truly looks amazing! It is by far one of our favorite plants to have, and no matter how your place is decorated, it always seems to fit right in.

Whether this would be your only plant or you already have a lot of maybe vining, traditional houseplants, an umbrella plant is an interesting and beautiful addition to any houseplant collection.

potted umbrella plant

Dwarf umbrella plant care

Here are some maintenance tips to consider when purchasing a dwarf umbrella plant.

Watering needs

Watering is the most important care factor for umbrella plants. Under or over watering your plant is going to be the most common cause of distress or even killing the plant.

The dwarf plant grows best in a high-humidity environment and moist soil.

During summer, it needs more water, which means that you can even spray its leaves every day if you can.

Whenever you notice the plant is dry, spray the foliage. It will provide the leaves with some humidity and keep them healthy and shiny.

During spring and fall, the plant needs water only every few days, while in winter, it almost doesn’t need water at all.

If the plant shows serious signs of drought, mist the leaves first and then water the plant accordingly. Repeat this process until it is back to normal.

close up of a potted umbrella plant on a shelf

Light requirements

The second most important part of this plant’s care and maintenance is providing it with enough sunlight.

This is specific variety prefers a bright spot where there is plenty of indirect sunlight. Ideally, you can place them near a window that is facing east or north.

The plant should be protected from the sun during summer to prevent any leaf burn.

In winter, you can even place it under direct sunlight for no more than 4 hours to get the most out of the natural light.

Note that no matter how sturdy and rough the leaves look, they are actually very tender. If you are not careful enough, you can easily burn them and create some long-term damage to the entire plant. So, keep it out of direct sun!

Potting + Fertilizing

Soil and fertilizing are very important for the dwarf umbrella tree! And to get it all right, you need to start from the beginning, i.e., from the pot you choose.

Your umbrella plant needs a pot with holes in the bottom to make sure there is a way for excess water to get out.

No drainage holes? No problem! Here’s our guide on how to drill drainage holes in a ceramic pot!

Another way to avoid your umbrella tree becoming waterlogged is to put it in soil that provides good drainage.

The dwarf umbrella tree loves a mixture of perlite, vermiculite, and peat moss, so aim for that type of soil.

Last but not least, fertilizing the plant means giving it plenty of nutrients to boost its growth.

While in the seedling stage, use a fertilizer with a low nitrogen concentration and a little bit of phosphorus and potassium fertilizer.

Once the root system is developed, continue using compound fertilizer. During spring and summer, fertilize the plant once a month.

Pro tip: If you are afraid of overfertilizing your plant, keep track of the leaf color – if you use too much fertilizer, it will turn solid green.

close up of a potted umbrella plant on a shelf


You can easily maintain the desired shape of the dwarf umbrella tree plant if you prune it regularly.

Pruning helps rejuvenate any plant and boost the growth of new leaves and branches.

For this particular plant, trim whenever you notice some overgrown branches.

Take away all the yellow or damaged leaves and give it some space to breathe. Doing this won’t only boost new growth but will also make the plan look neater.

Remember, leaving this plant unpruned for a very long time will result in losing its lovely shape. So, it’s best to prune in spring, summer, and fall, trimming back as much as possible before winter starts.

Pro tip – every once in a while, wipe the leaves with a damp cloth to remove the excess dirt and dust. This will also make them glossy!

potted umbrella plant on a table

Common problems with dwarf umbrella plants

It is okay to find yourself face-to-face with some common issues when it comes to umbrella plant care.

Even though this particular type is very resilient, you may notice some mealybugs or spider mites – and that’s okay as long as you act fast.

Check the plant regularly for any pest issues, and if you notice some, you know what to do! Spray your dwarf umbrella plant with a lot of water, use insecticidal soap and neem oil, and nurse your plant back to its full glory!

The dwarf umbrella tree is probably one of the best houseplants you will ever find. It is easy to find and even easier to maintain if you follow the tips we listed above.

Give it a little bit of love, attention, and gentle care, and you will have yourself a plant pal for a long time!

Any more questions about dwarf umbrella tree care?

Thanks for reading!

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