SCHEFFLERA ACTINOPHYLLA “Umbrella Tree”
First glance at this indoor plant will reveal why it bears the common name of “Umbrella Tree”, with the leaves branching out from short stems creating the shape of an umbrella. Although the original variety bore just plain green leaves there are now many variegated versions available. Look out for “Trinette” and “Gold Capella which have very attractive yellow and green variegations to the foliage.
Scheffleras are upright growing plants which can reach 5ft. or more in height eventually. However it is possible to cut the stem off at any point just above a leaf joint if the plant is getting too tall for its position.The stem will branch out at this point losing its single stem appearance but this is not detrimental to the plant and may even enhance its appearance. If you decide to cut your plant down do it in spring or early summer when regrowth will take place much more quickly.
Scheffleras do well in a warm draught-free spot which receives plenty of bright light without direct sunshine.
Water well throughout spring and summer ensuring the plant can drain freely. You can ease off a little during winter with water but don’t allow the compost to dry out completely. Mist-spraying will help with keeping the air humid around the plant.
Check the roots each spring to see if the pot is becoming root bound. Leave potting on for another year if there is still plenty of compost around the roots. If potting is necessary, use a houseplant compost or good quality multi-purpose compost.
With age Scheffleras will gradually shed their lower leaves. This is natural and if you want to keep your prize specimen it might be worth cutting down as described above or re-potting it into a larger pot with a couple of new shorter plants and therefore creating a fresh look and disguising the bare stems of the original plant.