Plant Care

How to Grow Umbrella Plants I

Umbrella Plant

Umbrella trees are many people’s favorite houseplants. They are relatively easy to grow so you can make your umbrella plant thrive without much trouble. Even beginners can enjoy these gorgeous plants to the fullest. However, as a beginner, you need to understand that umbrella plants need pruning. This is not so much of a problem, though, so it’s possible to say that umbrella plants are easy to care for.

These are large plants that typically grow to the height of about 6 feet indoors. They are known for their unusual, 8 spoke style foliage that looks like an umbrella (hence the name). If you wish to grow this plant in your home you need to know that it doesn’t bloom indoors but there are many gorgeous varieties with splendid leaf markings that look amazing indoors.

It is not difficult to care for the umbrella plants so even beginners can do it. However, it is important to follow the care instructions carefully in order to prevent injuries to your plant and to ensure that your umbrella tree grows strong and healthy.

The first thing you need to understand about umbrella plants is that they are very fast growers. They can grow very tall in just one growing season. This is ideal for those who want their houseplants to be large and attractive. However, this is something you need to keep in mind because you need to provide your plant with enough space to grow.

Umbrella Plant

Growing Conditions

There are some essential growing conditions that you need to provide to your umbrella plant to make it thrive:

  • Soil. Umbrella trees thrive in peat moss-based potting mixes. The best choice is a mix that is 2 parts peat moss and 1 part perlite.
  • Light. This plant will thrive under bright but indirect light. It is best not to subject it to any direct sunlight. However, even a bit lower lighting conditions will not harm your umbrella tree. They will simply slow its growth but it will not seriously harm it. As noted above, you should not subject your umbrella plant to direct sunlight. A few hours per day maximum is tolerable, but not more than that. Too much light may make the leaves burn. Sometimes, the light is not equally good from all the directions. You will notice this if the plant grows more on one side than the other. If this happens, make sure to turn the container to the other side so it receives more sunlight.
  • Temperature. Your umbrella plant will thrive on the average room temperature between 60 and 75 degrees F (15 to 24 degrees Celsius). However, make sure to never grow this plant in a room that has a temperature lower than 55 degrees F (13 degrees Celsius) or higher than 75 degrees F (24 degrees Celsius). It is also important to avoid any cold drafts and sudden temperature drops.
  • Watering. It is very important not to over-water your umbrella tree. It is best to only water once the top of the soil becomes dry. Lack of water tends to be less of an issue than over-watering. Over-watering can make the plant’s leaves to turn yellow. Under-watering, on the other hand, may cause leaves to drop. To provide the proper amount of water and avoid over-watering it is best to wait until the top of the soil is dry before you water your plant again.
  • Fertilizer. It is important not to over-feed your plant. It will just cause problems. If you want to feed your umbrella tree from time to time, give it a diluted fertilizer once per month from spring to fall. It is also important to remember that you should fertilize even less often once your umbrella plant reaches the size you want it to be. If you keep feeding it often, it will grow more. Fertilizing an adult umbrella plant several times per year is ok, as long as the plant has reached the size you want it to be.
  • Humidity. Umbrella trees need average humidity levels inside the homes. In case the air is too dry in the room it might cause some problems so make sure to increase humidity levels in the room where you keep your umbrella plant. If the air in your home is extremely dry it is best to mist the leaves of your umbrella plant from time to time. This will provide your plant with a bit of humidity it needs. Also, this is a good way to make sure that the dust doesn’t accumulate on the leaves of the plant. Raising the humidity levels can also prevent pests from attacking your umbrella plant, so this is another thing to think about.

Photo credit: Forest and Kim Starr via photopin cc