Schefflera or umbrella plants are tropical plants grown as indoor plants due to their attractive foliage. But many plant owners want to know how fast this plant grows and how big it can get.
Generally, Schefflera can grow between 13 to 24 inches every year. They are fast-growing plants when grown outdoors under ideal conditions. But, when grown indoors in containers, their growth rate reduces, and they have smaller leaflets and a shorter height of around 3 to 4 feet.
However, the plant’s growth depends on several factors like the variant, the care needs, and the growing conditions. In this article, I will discuss the factors that affect the growth of the Schefflera plant and tips to make your plant grow faster.
Some links in the post are affiliate links and I get a commission from purchases made through links in the post.
Factors that affect the growth of the Schefflera plant
Every plant has a growth rate that is compromised if it encounters unsuitable growing conditions and flourishes when growing in an ideal condition.
Along with the plant’s internal growth rate, multiple external factors affect the growth rate, like the amount of light it gets, the watering routine, fertilization schedules, etc.
When the Schefflera plant grows outdoors in nature, it grows quite fast due to the availability of plenty of nutrients in the soil. However, when we grow it indoors in pots, its growth rate slows.
Now I will discuss each of the factors and explain how these factors are responsible for your umbrella plant’s growth.
Some of the common factors that affect the growth rate of your Schefflera plants are:
Light is one of the most crucial elements that help plants photosynthesize and produce food and energy for their growth.
So if the plant is getting adequate light, it will be able to photosynthesize more and grow faster.
Umbrella plants are tropical plants that grow in indirect or dappled sunlight in nature.
They require medium sunlight, which means they need bright but not direct light falling on them.
Therefore an indirect source of light is ideal.
Keeping your Schefflera plant in a low light area will affect the plant’s growth rate.
It will become leggy, the growth rate will slow down, and the leaves may start to droop.
If your Schefflera is not getting enough light, you should install artificial light to give the necessary light to the plant because the plant will not grow well without sufficient light.
Find a spot in your house that receives bright light but not direct sunlight, and keep your plant there to help it photosynthesize adequately.
Also read: What Kind Of Light Does A Schefflera Need?
Native to the tropical regions like Taiwan, China, and Australia, Schefflera plants like warm temperatures.
Their ideal temperature range is 65 to 75°F.
If the plant is exposed to a temperature below 50°F, it may lose leaves.
Being warmth-loving plants, these cannot tolerate extreme cold.
This is why they get dormant in extremely cold temperatures.
You must protect this plant from extreme temperature variations and frost.
An incorrect temperature range can harm your plant, affecting its health and growth.
To maintain a suitable temperature, make sure to bring your plant indoors in winter to protect it from frost.
In summers, try to keep the plant away from hot air and direct sunlight.
Keep the plant in an area that remains cool and is away from temperature variations.
Also read: Can Schefflera Get Too Much Sun? (Sunburn)
|Essential Plant Supplies||Check Out On Amazon|
|Miracle-Gro Indoor Potting Mix||Buy Now|
|Miracle-Gro Indoor Plant Food||Buy Now|
|LED Grow Light for Indoor plants||Buy Now|
|Kensizer Soil Tester, 3-in-1 Soil Moisture/Light/pH Meter.||Buy Now|
|Heavy Duty Gardening Tools with Non-Slip Rubber Grip||Buy Now|
|Govee Bluetooth Hygrometer and Thermometer||Buy Now|
|Humidifiers for Home and houseplants||Buy Now|
|Houseplants Self Watering System with 30-Day Digital Programmable Water Timer||Buy Now|
|Drain Smart 9” 2-Pack Drainage Discs - Perfect for any Potted Plants||Buy Now|
Looking for a readymade indoor plant soil mix that you can open and pour? Check out rePotme. They offer a wide range of readymade soil premixes for all your indoor plants.
Schefflera or umbrella plants require moderate to high humidity because they come from a tropical region with a warm and humid climate.
If you do not have sufficient humidity, you can use various ways to increase the humidity by using humidifiers, misting, or pebble trays.
The plant becomes dehydrated in the absence of sufficient humidity, and its growth decreases.
There are a few tips to keep in mind that ensure your plant gets proper humidity.
- Do not keep your plant near air conditioners, hot or cold drafts, or heaters. These suck out the moisture from the plant and make it dehydrated.
- Keep the plant at a spot where there are no drastic temperature changes.
- Using a humidifier is a great way to ensure your plant gets sufficient humidity.
Seasons play an important role in determining the growth rate of your plant.
Schefflera plants grow the most during the spring and summer seasons, and the winters reduce the plant’s growth.
This is because the low temperatures and low light and humidity of winters push the plants into dormancy as these are not favorable conditions for the plant to grow.
It is a natural process, and you should not be worried.
Once spring arrives, your plant will go back to its normal self.
Being tropical plants, they enjoy the bright light and humidity of the summers and spring season.
There are a few things you must remember during the winters to make your Schefflera survive:
- Do not fertilize your Schefflera in winters.
- Reduce the level of watering.
- Protect your plant from frost and extremely cold temperatures.
- It is best to bring the plant inside the house and keep it in a room with lots of light and warmth.
- If the plant does not get enough light in winter, try to install artificial light.
Size of the pot
The size of the pot plays an important role in the growth too.
Keeping the plant in a small pot makes the plant root bound faster, limiting its growth rate as the roots begin to suffocate in need of space.
The roots thus fail to get the necessary nutrients and air from the soil.
In such a situation, the plant’s growth gets hampered.
On the hand, if you use a pot that is too big for the plant, that will also affect the plant’s growth.
The plant focuses its energy on spreading the roots to fill up the soil in such a situation.
The growth of the foliage reduces.
Also, the chances of overwatering get higher in extremely big pots.
So the ideal pot size for your Schefflera is a pot that is no more than 1-2 inches bigger than the existing size.
At this size, the plant gets enough space to spread its roots while at the same time is not too big for the roots.
This is the correct size of pot you should get for your plant.
Choosing the right potting mix for your umbrella plant is important.
In a container, the plant gets all the available nutrients from the soil to be of good quality.
Schefflera plants prefer soil that is light, well-draining loamy soil with a pH value of 6.0-6.5.
Using incorrect soil can harm the plant and slow its growth.
Using too heavy and clayey soil can hold a lot of moisture for the plant, which will not be suitable.
It can lead to soggy soil and overwatering issues.
At the same time, using soil that is too sandy will drain out all the moisture too fast, which will also be unsuitable for this plant because they need the soil to hold some moisture so that the plant does not get bone dry.
So what kind of soil can be suitable for your Schefflera?
You can prepare a soil mix by mixing these:
- 1 part good quality potting soil
- 1 part compost or orchid bark
- 1 part sand or perlite or vermiculite
Over the years, with constant watering, the plants in containers start to lose the nutrients available in the soil.
This is where fertilization plays an important role.
When Schefflera plants grow in nature, they get all the nutrients from the soil directly; however, that is not the case for potted plants.
They do not have access to the nutrients that nature adds, so it is up to the plant owners to feed them with the nutrients.
In the absence of those nutrients, the plant gets weak, reducing its growth rate.
Schefflera plants are not heavy feeders, so it is enough to feed them in the growing season.
It will be sufficient for this plant.
Excessive fertilization can be very harmful to the plant, leading to root and leaf burns.
Too much fertilization also leads to salt buildup in the soil.
Also, you must not fertilize your plant in winters when it is dormant and always fertilize in moist soil.
If you think you have overfertilized your Schefflera, here is what you must do:
- Stop feeding the plant.
- Scrape the soil to remove all the excess salt build-up.
- Water your plant 3-4 times fully and let all the water drain off. This will remove all the salt from the soil.
- Take the plant out of the pot and inspect the roots.
- Trim off any damaged roots.
- Repot in a fresh potting mix consisting of soil, compost, sand, and perlite.
Watering is probably the most tricky factor to understand, and beginners often get it wrong.
It is also one of the factors that kill Schefflera plants most often.
Schefflera plants are hardy and can tolerate a few rounds of watering, but overwatering is extremely damaging to this plant.
Overwatering can keep the soil soggy and wet, inviting fungus and pathogens to attack the soil.
The roots become suffocated due to the lack of oxygen in the wet soil and begin to rot.
Once the plant starts to get root rotting, it isn’t easy to protect the plant any longer.
In the case of underwatering, if the plant stays underwater for too long, it begins to get dehydrated and weak.
Remember a few tips before watering your Schefflera:
- The correct way to water your Schefflera is to check the soil before watering and only when the topsoil gets dry.
- If you are still unsure, you can use a moisture meter in the soil and water only when the soil is around 20% dry.
- Use well-draining soil and a pot with a drain hole to escape the extra water.
- Do not forget to empty the cache or plates after watering.
- Reduce watering in winters.
We frequently notice our plant becoming wilted and droopy if we change its location in the house.
Or, after repotting the plant, it looks droopy and weak.
Sometimes when we buy a new plant and bring it home, it can look quite wilted.
This is a normal issue, and you need not panic over it.
Like humans, plants need time to adjust to a new environment and show stress when moving to a new place.
If you see your Schefflera growing very slowly after repotting or changing its location, just give it some time to adjust to the new environment.
Pruning is an important part of caring for your plant, but it is often ignored in most cases.
It helps the plant remove all the unnecessary leaves and branches of the plant that consume the plant’s energy so that it can use its energy to push out new and healthy growth.
Pruning helps the plant grow faster with healthy new growth by getting rid of dry and damaged parts of the plant.
There are a few tips to keep in mind before you start pruning:
- Always prune the plant using a pair of sterilized pruners only.
- Prune the parts that have gotten dry, damaged, or yellow. You can also prune the leggy branches of the Schefflera.
- Always prune in the growing seasons only. Never prune the plant in fall or winter.
- The sap of the Schefflera plant is toxic and can cause skin irritation. So it is recommended to wear gloves during pruning to protect your skin.
- After pruning, provide water to the plant and place it in a bright spot away from direct sunlight.
Pest infestations are a problem that we often ignore until it gets uncontrollable.
Pests are very harmful to plants, and they play no good role.
They attack themselves on the plant’s body and suck out the nutrients from the plant sap, rendering them weak by sucking all the energy and ultimately killing them.
Mealybugs, scales, thrips, and spider mites are some of the most common pests that attack this plant.
Too much humidity, low light, air, and wet leaves are some reasons for pests’ infestations.
Let us now discuss how to avoid such pests and prevent infestations.
- If you find any pests on any plant, quarantine the plant as soon as possible.
- Handpick the pests if possible.
- Give the pest a good wash under a shower or a hose if they are too many.
- Move the plant to a bright, airy area.
- Prune off the leaves or areas with heavy infestations.
- Spray neem oil to the entire plant very well and let it sit on the plant.
- Keep spraying it 2-3 times every week until you see the pest infestations getting clear.
- Water the plant only when the soil is dry.
How do you make your Schefflera grow faster?
Your Schefflera will grow fast if it gets suitable growing conditions.
Let us discuss the basic care tips for your plant in the below table.
|Light||Bright indirect light, but keep it away from direct sunlight. Use artificial light if there is not enough natural light.|
|Water||Always check the soil before watering. Water when the soil is 25% dry. Reduce watering in winters.|
|Soil||Use well-draining, light loamy soil with a pH around 6.0 to 6.5.|
|Fertilizer||Add a balanced NPK 20:20:20 fertilizer during the growing season. Do not fertilize in the winters.|
|Temperature||The ideal temperature is 65 to 75°F. Protect the plant from frost and extreme temperature.|
|Humidity||Maintain around 60% humidity around the plant. If there is low humidity, use a humidifier.|
|Repotting||Repot the plant only when it gets root-bound or gets a root rot.|
|Pruning||Prune off the yellow, dry leaves and stems to encourage new growth.|
Schefflera plants are fast growers in nature; however, their growth rate is medium in containers. If you provide the plant with suitable conditions, its growth rate can increase.
Give it the correct amount of light, water, and fertilizer, and follow all the care tips I have mentioned in the article.