The Umbrella Tree- Schefflera Brassaia Actinophylla
The umbrella tree is the larger of the houseplants called schefflera. Brassaia actinophylla, also called schefflera actinophylla, has the same distinctive pinwheel leaf structure as it’s smaller cousin, schefflera arboricola. It’s green, leathery leaflets are oval shaped with pointed ends.
The umbrella tree can reach heights of 50 feet in it’s native Australia, New Guinea and Indonesia. Indoors it can reach heights of 8 to 10 feet. As the plant ages, it will lose its lower leaves and take on the appearance of a tree instead of a bush.
Schefflera actinophylla needs bright, indirect light. Some will tolerate direct sunlight, but it is best to use indirect light. If light levels
Schefflera Actinophylla picture
are too low, the umbrella tree will become leggy and thin.
Brassaia actinophylla will do well in normal household temperatures, about 70oF in the day and 60oF at night. Keep the plant away from drafty areas.
The umbrella tree should be planted in well drained potting mix. Water the plant until the water runs out of the drain hole in the bottom of the pot. Do not let the plant stand in water. Discard the excess water from the drip tray. Then allow the soil to dry between waterings.
The umbrella tree is native to tropical rainforrests and prefers more humid conditions. Mist the schefflera actinophylla periodically.
The leaves attract dust. Keep the leaves clean by dusting or spraying in the bathtub or shower. Clean leaves will be less likely to attract spider mites, the main pest problem of the umbrella tree.
Brassaia actinophylla should be fertilized twice a year, in March and August with a balance fertilizer.
The umbrella tree can be repotted when needed during any season.
The plant will need to be pruned to keep it’s size in check. Pinching off the ends of the young stems will encourage a bushier plant.
Brassaia actinophylla can be grown from seeds or propagated by air layering. Cuttings can also be rooted during the summer.
The umbrella tree is a large houseplant, and as such will not fit in every room. With it’s size and distinctive leaf structure, an umbrella tree makes a spectacular specimen plant.