Schefflera houseplant artwork by Alexandra Brodt.

Schefflera are tree-like houseplants with green or variegated green and off-white leaves. This cheerful houseplant can grow quickly in the right place, eventually reaching anywhere from four to eight feet tall. They are sometimes called umbrella plants.

Schefflera Light & Temperature Needs

Scheffleras need bright, indirect light. Otherwise the plant will become leggy. East and west facing windows work well. Keep the plant in a room that stays above 60 but ideally between 65-75°F. Avoid placing the plant near heating or cooling vents.

Schefflera Water Needs

Keep soil evenly moist, but not overly wet. When watering, move the plant to a sink or tub. Then apply water until it runs out the bottom of the pot. This helps move along the accumulation of salts that occur naturally in water and also in fertilizer.

If you water the plant just a little bit each time, salts will accumulate in the soil and show as leaf tip burn.

Fertilizing Schefflera

Feed scheffleras with a general houseplant fertilizer every month. In winter, cut back to every other month or skip fertilizer altogether. Or add a slow release fertilizer to the soil that provides fertilizer each time you water.


Schefflera may attract pests such as scale and spider mites. Scale insects are difficult to detect, so wiping your plant’s leaves and stems with a damp cloth once a month can help prevent them. Spider mites are a pest that thrive on dust, so in addition to wiping your plant, wipe the area around it with a damp cloth.

Schefflera photograph by Alexandra Brodt.

Should I repot my houseplant?

If your plant is outgrowing the pot, and the soil dries out more quickly than before, it’s time to repot! Choose a pot that is one size up from the current container.

Purchase a good quality potting mix from a nursery or garden center. Avoid mixes that contain an ingredient called “sedge peat.” I once repotted an African violet with this, and noticed too late that the the mix didn’t dry out for weeks, so my plant roots rotted and my poor plant died. 

Add mix to your new container, then place the root ball (area of soil and roots) so that it becomes the new top of the container. Add soil around the edges of the root ball, but not over the top. Water thoroughly.

Is it poisonous to people or pets?

Schefflera plant sap has been known to cause skin irritation. 

About Houseplants

For more general information about houseplants and their care, visit Indoor Gardening.

Want a print of the schefflera artwork above? Visit Alexandra Brodt‘s page to get your own copy!