Updated: October 3, 2022

Dwarf umbrella plant (Schefflera arboricola) is a popular houseplant that is easy to grow and care for. It is native to Taiwan and Hainan Island in southern China, where it grows as a small tree or shrub. The plant has shiny leaves that are arranged like the spokes of an umbrella, hence its name. Dwarf umbrella plants are great indoor plants because they are low-maintenance and can thrive in low-light conditions. In this article, we will discuss how to grow dwarf umbrella plants indoors.

Choosing the Right Pot

The first step in growing dwarf umbrella plants indoors is to choose the right pot. The pot should be large enough to accommodate the plant’s roots, but not so large that it will hold too much moisture. A good rule of thumb is to choose a pot that is one size larger than the plant’s current pot. Make sure the pot has drainage holes at the bottom to prevent water from accumulating and causing root rot.

Soil Requirements

Dwarf umbrella plants prefer well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. A good potting mix should contain peat moss, perlite or vermiculite, and sand. You can also mix in some compost or worm castings for added nutrients. Avoid using heavy soils or soils that retain too much moisture, as this can cause root rot.

Light Requirements

Dwarf umbrella plants can tolerate low-light conditions, but they prefer bright, indirect light. Place the plant near a window that receives filtered sunlight, or use artificial lighting if natural light is not available. Avoid placing the plant in direct sunlight, as this can scorch the leaves.

Watering Requirements

Watering dwarf umbrella plants can be tricky, as they do not like to be overwatered or underwatered. Water the plant when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch. Allow the water to drain out of the pot, and do not let the plant sit in standing water. In winter, reduce watering frequency as the plant’s growth slows down.

Fertilizer Requirements

Dwarf umbrella plants do not require frequent fertilization, but they benefit from occasional feedings during the growing season. Use a balanced fertilizer with an NPK ratio of 10-10-10 or 20-20-20, and dilute it to half strength. Apply the fertilizer every two to three months, or as directed on the package.

Pruning and Maintenance

Dwarf umbrella plants are relatively low-maintenance, but they benefit from occasional pruning to maintain their shape and size. Prune back any leggy or yellowing stems, and remove any dead or damaged leaves. Repot the plant every two to three years, or when it outgrows its current pot.

Common Problems and Solutions

Dwarf umbrella plants are generally healthy plants, but they can be prone to a few common problems:

  • Yellowing leaves: This is often caused by overwatering or poor drainage. Make sure the pot has drainage holes, and reduce watering frequency.
  • Brown leaf tips: This can be caused by underwatering or low humidity. Make sure the soil is moist but not waterlogged, and mist the leaves occasionally.
  • Pests: Dwarf umbrella plants can be attacked by spider mites, mealybugs, and scale insects. Use a mild insecticidal soap to treat infestations.


Can I grow dwarf umbrella plants from cuttings?

Yes, dwarf umbrella plants can be propagated from stem cuttings. Take a 4-inch cutting with at least two leaves, and plant it in moist potting mix. Cover the pot with a plastic bag to create a humid environment, and place it in bright, indirect light. The cutting should root in about four weeks.

How big do dwarf umbrella plants grow?

Dwarf umbrella plants can grow up to 10 feet tall in their native habitat, but they usually reach a maximum height of 4-6 feet indoors.

Can dwarf umbrella plants be grown outdoors?

Yes, dwarf umbrella plants can be grown outdoors in USDA zones 9-11. They prefer partial shade and well-draining soil.

In conclusion, dwarf umbrella plants are easy-to-grow houseplants that add a touch of greenery to any indoor space. By following the tips outlined in this article, you can successfully grow and care for your own dwarf umbrella plant.

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