Schefflera, also known as the umbrella plant, is famous in the houseplant community due to its attractive appearance and easy care routine. If you are thinking of getting an umbrella plant or repotting one, you must understand what soil it needs.
The ideal soil type for the Schefflera plant is rich, slightly acidic, with excellent drainage and aeration. To get the perfect potting soil mix for Schefflera, you should mix two parts of peat moss, 1 part compost, and 1 part perlite. Also, make sure the soil pH is between 6-6.5.
If you own a Schefflera or Umbrella plant and are confused about which soil to use, this is the ideal place to gain knowledge.
This article has all the information you need to know about the soil of the Schefflera plant.
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Why choosing the right soil is important?
Soil holds all the essential nutrients needed for a plant to grow.
A proper soil mix is important to indoor plants because the roots are restricted to the pot.
It should have the properties to hold moisture and nutrients, drain excess water, and air passage.
Indoor plants also need a balanced pH level in the soil to grow and thrive.
To choose the best quality soil for your Umbrella plant, consider the following factors while setting up a pot or container:
- It should drain the excess water: Most houseplants suffer from watering issues due to poor soil quality. If the soil you are using doesn’t have good draining properties, it can lead to issues like overwatering, the most common cause of the decline in houseplants.
- It should hold the required moisture: Choosing soil with good moisture retaining capacity will positively contribute to your plant’s health. It will not allow the plant to dehydrate easily.
- It allows the passage of gases between the soil: Airflow between the roots and soil is important to avoid root rot. Root rot is caused when the roots stop receiving oxygen. Moreover, certain other gases in the atmosphere also need to pass through the roots.
- It holds enough nutrients and minerals: A good soil mix will hold the nutrients and minerals that the plant needs. Since the limited soil is the only source of nutrients other than fertilizers, you must ensure it contains the required nutrients to support the plant.
- It provides a place for beneficial microbes: Microbes in the soil can increase its nutritional values and stimulate the plant’s growth. A soil rich in beneficial microbes can prevent plant diseases and improve its health.
Signs of using the wrong soil mix for your Schefflera
Several issues can arise while using the soil mix.
If you are using the wrong soil, you are putting your umbrella plant in danger.
In some severe cases, it can also lead to the death of your plant.
Some common signs that your Schefflera plant must be giving you for using the wrong potting mix are as follows.
Brown leaves: If the soil mix you are using is poor or laden with unwanted elements, you will spot some brown leaves at the lower parts of the plant.
Brown leaves can also occur due to dehydration or when the soil holds excessive moisture.
Excessive moisture will keep the roots wet for a prolonged period, leading to the rise of root rot.
However, if the soil is too light to hold moisture, the plant will become dehydrated.
Leaves will run out of moisture and turn dry and brown day by day.
Wilting of leaves: The leaves of any plant wilt when they lack moisture for proper functioning.
If the soil you are using for your umbrella plant can’t hold adequate moisture, its leaves will wilt.
The leaves try to reduce their surface area by wilting to retain the moisture left in them.
Slow growth rate: The biggest source of plant nutrients in the soil.
The soil might not be the sole provider of nutrients or solely responsible for a plant’s growth, but it is highly important.
If the plant fails to get enough nutrients and minerals required to grow, its growth rate will fall rapidly.
Within a couple of weeks, you will notice a change in its growth rate.
Even during the months of summer and spring (growth phase), they will not grow as expected.
The right soil mix will never compromise your plant’s health and growth rate.
Foul smell emitting from the soil: If the soil mix retains too much moisture, the roots’ oxygen supply and airflow will stop.
Without air, the roots will be unable to breathe and remain fresh.
Tiny breathable pores in the roots get clogged due to overwatering or heavy soil.
This leads to root rot.
Root rot emits a foul smell and is extremely dangerous for your plant’s health.
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Choosing the right potting mix for your Schefflera plant
By now, you must have understood that soil plays an important role in determining your Schefflera’s health and life span.
Thus, compromising on the potting mix means compromising your plant’s health.
Here are some soil recipes to create the ideal potting mix for your soil.
Perlite or sand will improve the soil’s drainage, and compost will help retain the required moisture, while peat moss will help the soil hold the nutrients the plant needs.
Mix the ingredients well, which should make an ideal potting mix for your umbrella plant.
Another very easy recipe will be to mix:
Mix the ingredients in equal parts and use it for your Schefflera.
Can you use succulent soil for your Schefflera?
Succulent soil mixes are ideal for succulents that grow in dry areas.
These plants don’t require much moisture and can tolerate long days of dryness.
The succulent mix contains many well-draining elements, which is the succulents’ priority.
However, Schefflera, or umbrella plant, is a tropical plant that needs moisture and using succulent soil will not keep the plant happy.
If you use succulent soil mix for your Schefflera, you will notice:
- The soil is drying up too fast
- You have to water your Schefflera too frequently
- The plant is dehydrated and droopy if you are not watering it on time.
Therefore, it is best not to use succulent soil for your umbrella plant.
However, if you still decide to use succulent mix, you must make some amendments to the soil.
You can add elements like peat moss, compost, and coco coir to the succulent soil to help it hold the required moisture for the Schefflera.
Where should I put my Schefflera?
Other than preparing the ideal soil mix, Schefflera will require the correct pot to stay healthy.
The 3 factors you need to consider here are:
- The size of the pot
- The drainage of the pot
- The material of the pot
If you are repotting your umbrella plant, always get a 2-3 inches bigger and wider pot than the previous pot.
If you want to ensure proper drainage, get a pot that drains the excess water out of the pot by making drainage holes in it.
And as far as the material goes, you can get a pot of any material as long as you provide the right care.
For instance, if you use a plastic pot, the Schefflera will need less watering, and if you use a clay pot, it will need more water.
How do I know my Schefflera needs repotting?
There are certain signs that the plant gives out when it needs repotting.
- Roots coming out of the drainage holes
- Roots showing up on the soil surface
- Dehydrated plant
- Stunted growth
- Discolored leaves
These signs tell you that your umbrella plant has outgrown its current pot and needs more space, so you need to repot it in a bigger pot.
How to repot your Schefflera?
Let’s understand how you can repot your Schefflera or umbrella plant.
- Start by watering your Schefflera a day before repotting. This will allow the plant to come out of the pot easily.
- Get a 2-3 inches wider pot.
- Prepare an ideal soil mix by following any of the recipes mentioned earlier.
- Add some pebbles before adding soil to the pot. This will prevent the soil from draining out with the water.
- Fill the pot halfway with the soil.
- Now, take your Schefflera out of its pot by holding the stem and pulling the pot gently. If your Schefflera is rootbound, you can use a knife to loosen the soil from the pot.
- Check the roots thoroughly after taking the plant out. Untangle the clustered roots and prune any damaged or diseased roots that you notice.
- Now place the plant inside the pot and add soil from all sides. Tap the pot and let the soil settle.
- Water the Schefflera after repotting to help it settle and reduce the repotting stress.
Soil is an important factor, and you should never get soil without considering the plant’s requirements. You should get evenly moist soil that doesn’t hold excess water for a Schefflera plant.
I have mentioned some ideal mixes that you can prepare easily for your umbrella plant. Use any of them and never use too heavy or too loose soil.