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How to deal with scale insects on umbrella plants

Suspect that your Schefflera has a pest infestation? Here is how to identify and treat scale insects on umbrella plants!

It would be no surprise to us if we discovered that, after you bought an umbrella plant, it has become your favorite houseplant. And we completely understand why!

It is strong, looks beautiful, and thrives under most conditions.

Besides, it is also very low maintenance- perfect for forgetful adults trying to be successful plant parents.

And no matter how much you love your Schefflera, you might occasionally notice a problem developing with your plant.

As with every other plant, the Schefflera plant is susceptible to pests. You might find it uncommon (especially if you have never dealt with pests before), but it can happen, even to the best of us!

That’s why we’re here to explore the world of pests, and specifically, scale insects.

We’ll give you answers to the most common questions, how to identify them, and what you can do to eliminate scale and prevent any similar issues from happening in the future.

how to ID and treat scale bugs in umbrella plants

Printable Umbrella Plant care guide

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Umbrella Plant plant care guide

What are scale insects?

Scale pests are undoubtedly the worst! They are so small, sometimes invisible to the eye, and they attack the umbrella tree with all they got! Usually, they have a hard shell and look like tiny bumps.

They attach themselves to the stems and the underside of the leaves and suck on the sap until they have drained the plant from all its nutrients.

Depending on the type, they can be white, black, brown, or other colors.

Believe us, there are so many species that we can hardly keep track of them!

What is worse, they multiply easily – if this happens while they are on the plant, the damage they can do may be beyond repair.

close up of a potted umbrella plant on a shelf

What are the most common pests on umbrella plants?

Just the thought of small scale bugs on a houseplant gives us the creeps, but we are powering through! See some of the other common pests on an umbrella plant below:


These are first on our list for a good reason! Known as one of the most difficult to exterminate, they extensively damage the Schefflera.

Sucking on the sap with their mouths is their specialty, after which they release a sticky substance.

This sticky substance further attracts ants, creating some more damage to your plant.

If you notice them on your umbrella shrub and don’t take immediate action, you might end up with a completely dried-out plant.

Spider mites

These attack when the plant is not getting enough moisture. They are almost invisible to the naked eye, which makes it hard to spot them.

To make things even worse, they attach themselves to the underside of the leaves, and they start sucking from the plant’s veins, enjoying all the sap they can get.

If you notice some little white dots on the undersides of the foliage, then you’re probably dealing with a spider mite infestation. 


They are the most common pests on umbrella plants, and thankfully, you can easily spot them if they have inhibited your plant.

The thing is, they can camouflage, so you might think they are irregular growths. If you notice this on your Schefflera plant, act immediately. 


They are oval-shaped and come in various colors – but unlike the rainbow, but they don’t bring any luck.

Umbrella plant are commonly under attack by aphids if it is low on water and light.

As with the other varieties, they suck on the stem and the leaves of the plant, and if you leave them untreated, they will overpower the plant, resulting in its death.

Fungus gnats

Last but not least, fungus gnats are yet another common pest problem your umbrella scrub might experience.

These tiny little flies travel in packs, and if you notice them around your greenery, it’s probably a sign that you’re overwatering it.

They move inside the soil and do great damage to the roots. Trying to catch them won’t help, but they’ll fly out once you start shaking the plant.

Luckily, they are easy to catch and kill using sticky traps!

close up of a potted umbrella plant on a shelf

How to treat umbrella plants with scale

There are some commonly known approaches and treatments for removing these popular scale insects from your umbrella plant. Here is what you can start with:

Separate your plants

Whenever you see pests on a plant, separate it from all other plants and thoroughly check them all to help prevent spreading.

Remember in the end, if you can’t get rid of all of the infestation, it’s usually better to get rid of one infected-beyond-control plant than to lose them all!

Manual removal

If there is a small infestation, you can remove the insects and bugs manually.

Gently scrape them off from the plant’s surface with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol. Ensure you get all of them!

Neem oil

Neem oil is a horticultural oil that will smother and kill insects in an instant. All you need to do is get it from a store, read the instructions carefully, and act accordingly.

Remember to check if you can use this particular oil on your Schefflera – as some varieties don’t like to be smothered in oil during hot weather.

Insecticidal soap

Insecticidal soaps are available almost anywhere that sells plants! Deemed extremely effective, just like the oil, all you should do is follow the instructions on the package.

Apply the soap to the affected areas of the plant and cover it completely.

Rinse with water and repeat the process as many times as needed.

Systemic insecticides

When the job gets serious, then you need to take more drastic measures. The plant absorbs systemic insecticides to kill even hard to kill pests.

They effectively fight off-scale bugs that are difficult to detect and remove. If you don’t know how to do this yourself, call a professional.

potted umbrella plant on a shelf

Preventing scale on umbrella plants

Once you have removed all the scale insects from your umbrella plant, it is important to monitor the plant’s health for the following period.

Continue with regular inspection, and keep it clean, hydrated, and rejuvenated at all times.

Dealing with bugs is always a traumatic experience, but we hope we have put your mind at ease.

Be persistent, and positive results will follow!

Thanks for reading!

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