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The complete umbrella plant care guide

Want to add a gorgeous umbrella plant to your houseplant collection? I love the look of this easy to grow plant! Here’s my complete umbrella plant care guide!

A few years ago, my husband decided that he wanted a plant for his desk at work. He had recently been upgraded to a cubicle with a window and had a great ledge for plants.

He perused the plant selection at Lowes and chose an umbrella plant. It was actually small and bonsai-like at that time.

He set it in his window and it really flourished! It now lives in our guest bedroom at home and is an interesting looking tropical plant!

Umbrella plant is the common name for the schefflera actinophylla plant. It’s also known as the octopus tree because of it’s groupings of 8 leaves.

These plants can grow to be six feet tall, sot hey are really dramatic. The most interesting part of their look is the way that the leaves grow in 8 leaf sets, almost like the spokes of a wheel. Or, like an umbrella – hence, the name.

potted umbrella plant on a table

How do you take care of an Umbrella plant?

Umbrella plants are easy to care for with bright, indirect light and semi-frequent watering.

Is the Umbrella plant toxic?

Yes, all parts of the umbrella plant are toxic to humans and pets. Keep them away from curious mouths!

umbrella plant leaves

How big will an Umbrella plant get?

Umbrella trees can grow 50 feet tall outdoors! However, as an indoor plant, they are unlikely to get taller than 6 feet. It is rare for an indoor umbrella plant to get wider than 18-24 inches in diameter.

Gan you grow an umbrella plant outdoors?

This plant likes to stay between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. You can keep them outdoors in warmer months, out of direct sunlight. Bring them indoors in the winter.

How to prune an umbrella plant

If your umbrella plant is getting leggy – AKA long stems with only leaves on the end, cut it back. Do this during growing season for best results and new bushy growth!


Printable Umbrella Plant care guide

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Umbrella Plant plant care guide

Umbrella Plant care guide

Umbrella Plant lighting needs

Umbrella plant does well with several hours of very bright indirect light and sun each day. Don’t put it in direct sunlight of the leaves can burn.

This plant can do OK a bit further in more indirect light, it just won’t grow as much or as quickly.

My husband had our umbrella plant in his cubicle window at work and it grew a ton. He brought it home due to the pandemic and it’s further from a window. It’s totally healthy but does not grow hardly as much!

Can Umbrella plant take full sun?

The dwarf umbrella tree likes bright light but will burn – and get brown and crispy leaves – in direct very hot sun.

new growth on an umbrella plant

Umbrella plant watering needs

Water your umbrella plant when the top two inches of soil feel dry.

Make sure that your pot has drainage holes to prevent overwatering which can lead to root rot.

Should I mist my umbrella plant?

You don’t have to mist an umbrella plant to keep it happy. However, these plants tend to get Red Spider Mites and Scale. Making them more humid (via misting or a humidifier) will help to prevent those pest invasions!

Umbrella plant soil + pot needs

Repot your plant when the roots start poking out of the drainage holes. Look for a deep or heavy pot since these indoor plants can be top heavy and fall over in light weight pots!

These plants love a well draining soil with a nice layer of compost.

These plants love being fertilized in the summer. Apply liquid fertilizer once a month to really get it growing big!

close up of umbrella plant leaves

Why is my umbrella plant dropping leaves?

Dropping leaves indicate that your plant is unhappy. It could be too much or too little water or light!

Why are my umbrella plant leaves turning yellow?

Yellow leaves on an umbrella plant usually indicate overwatering or not enough light.

Why is my umbrella plant leaning to one side?

These plants are notorious for growing towards the light. So, if it is leaning, you need to start rotating it.

I have a whole post about rotating houseplants, but try a quarter turn each time you water it to give it more balanced light!

How to propagate umbrella plant

Umbrella plan can be propagated through stem cuttings.

Cut off a section of the plant (as a part of pruning). Dip the cut end in rooting hormone.

Place in moist soil and cover loosely with a plastic bag to create a greenhouse.

Roots should grow in a couple of weeks.

Here’s my complete guide to propagating umbrella plants!

Any more questions about umbrella plant care?!

Thanks for reading!

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