Watering Schefflera (Umbrella Plants): Essential Tips for Optimal Plant Health

Also known as umbrella plants, Schefflera have fabulous foliage and several amazing uses and benefits. However, these evergreen houseplants must be watered correctly to grow at their best. In this article, I’ll explain when and how to water Schefflera plants.

Watering Schefflera (Umbrella Plants): Essential Tips for Optimal Plant Health

When and How to Water Schefflera – The Essentials

Water Schefflera plants whenever 50 to 75% of the soil has dried out completely. This usually means watering every 10 to 14 days during the summer. Water around the base of the stem and collect any excess water in a saucer before tipping it away. Always use room-temperature distilled or filtered water.

How Often to Water Schefflera

The key thing about watering Schefflera plants is knowing how frequently to water them. Schefflera plants should be watered whenever the soil in the pot is almost dry. Usually, this means watering umbrella plants every 10 to 14 days.

Sometimes it can be challenging to gauge precisely when your Schefflera needs watering. Thankfully, you can look for signs indicating when your umbrella plant needs a drink.

Soil Moisture Level

The easiest way to determine whether your Schefflera plant needs a drink is to monitor the soil moisture levels. Most umbrella plants should be watered whenever 50 to 75% of the soil in the pot is completely dry.

The easiest way to check soil moisture levels is to use a moisture meter (Amazon link). Simply stick the metal rod into the soil and check the reading. If the gauge reads 3 or 4, then your Schefflera needs a drink.

If you don’t have a moisture meter, use your finger instead. Push your finger deep into the soil and check how much soil sticks to it. If there’s no soil, then water your plant. However, if some soil sticks to your finger, let your plant dry out a little more. This method also works with a stick.

Brown Leaf Tips

If the tips of your umbrella plant’s leaves start turning brown and crispy, check if the soil feels dry. If it does, then water your Schefflera plant. Should the soil still feel moist, your umbrella plant may be getting too much direct sunlight.

Leaves Dropping Off

If your Schefflera plant’s leaves start falling off, check how the soil feels. If it feels moist, then the problem may be caused by cold temperatures rather than a lack of water.

How to Water Schefflera Plants

How to Water Schefflera Plants

Watering your Schefflera plant incorrectly leads to serious problems. Always aim your watering can at the base of the stem and soak the soil thoroughly. Place a saucer underneath the nursery pot to collect any excess water. After about ten minutes, tip the excess water away.

How Much Should I Water My Umbrella Plant?

When watering umbrella plants, use enough water to thoroughly soak all the soil in the pot. Once excess water starts dripping out of the drainage holes, stop watering.

What is the Best Time of Day to Water Schefflera Plants?

Water your Schefflera plants early in the morning whenever possible. This provides plenty of time for the water to thoroughly soak the soil before temperatures rise. If you water during the afternoon, the water may evaporate too quickly rather than soaking into the soil.

What Type of Water is Best for Schefflera Plants?

Umbrella plants don’t like cold temperatures, so always use room-temperature distilled or filtered water. Tap water often contains chemicals that could harm your Schefflera plant. Rainwater also works well.

When NOT to Water Your Schefflera Plant

Overwatering is a common problem that can severely damage umbrella plants. Only water your Schefflera plant if 50 to 75% of the soil feels completely dry.

Schefflera plants suffering from overwatering are more susceptible to pests and fungal diseases like root rot. Look out for the following symptoms of overwatering:

Yellowing Leaves

Limp, yellowing leaves are one of the main symptoms of root rot. Remove the affected leaves and let the soil dry out more before watering.

Leaves Falling Off

If your Schefflera plant is losing leaves, it may be suffering from overwatering. If the soil feels waterlogged, let it dry out or replace some of it with dry soil. Allow the rest of the soil to dry out before watering again.

Things to Consider When Watering Schefflera Plants

Things to Consider When Watering Schefflera Plants

Seasonal Changes

Schefflera plants require different amounts of water depending on the season. During the summer, umbrella plants usually need watering more frequently. Due to cooler temperatures during the winter, Schefflera plants should be watered less frequently.

Temperature and Humidity

Temperature and humidity fluctuations can affect how much water your Schefflera needs. Umbrella plants prefer warm temperatures between 60 and 80ºF and humidity levels between 50 and 60%. In hot, dry conditions, water your Schefflera plants more frequently.

Sunlight Levels

Schefflera plants grow best in bright, indirect light. However, if umbrella plants are exposed to more direct sunlight, you’ll need to water them more frequently. If your umbrella plants receive more shade, water them less frequently.

Soil Conditions

Umbrella plants thrive in fertile, well-draining soils that still retain some moisture. These drought-tolerant plants can survive even if most of the soil drys out between waterings. However, Schefflera plants hate being waterlogged.

How to Water Propagated Schefflera Cuttings

Schefflera cuttings can be propagated either in water or soil. If you’re propagating Schefflera cuttings in water, change the water at least once a week. When propagating cuttings in soil, keep them moist and water whenever the top inch or so of soil feels dry.

Watering Umbrella Plants After Repotting

Schefflera plants should be repotted every two or three years. When removing the plant from its previous pot, soak the root ball in some room-temperature water. Then transfer it to a new pot and water it approximately once a week for a few weeks.

What to Do Between Watering Cycles

Schefflera plants don’t require much care in between watering cycles. Make sure that your umbrella plant receives plenty of bright, indirect light. Maintain moderate humidity levels using a humidifier or pebble tray. Wipe the leaves with a moist cloth every so often to remove any dust.


Watering Schefflera Plants FAQs:

How Do You Water a Schefflera Plant?

Water Schefflera plants once every 10 to 14 days when approximately 50 to 75% of the soil is dry. Always water around the base of the stem and allow excess water to drain into a saucer.

Should I Bottom Water My Umbrella Plant?

Bottom watering can work for umbrella plants but may increase the risk of overwatering. You may get better results by using a watering can and a saucer.

Do Schefflera Like to Be Misted?

Misting is an inefficient way of increasing ambient humidity around your umbrella plant. Use a humidifier or pebble tray instead.

How Do I Know if My Schefflera Needs Water?

Schefflera plants need watering once 50 to 75% of the soil has dried out. If your umbrella plant’s leaves drop off or develop brown tips, water it immediately.

Why Do Schefflera Leaves Fall Off?

Your Schefflera plant’s leaves may fall off if your plant doesn’t get enough water or gets too cold. Check the soil and water if it feels dry most of the way through.


Wrapping Up

Schefflera plants should only be watered if 50 to 75% of the soil feels completely dry. Usually, this means watering umbrella plants every 10 to 14 days. Use a moisture meter or your finger to check the soil. Always use room-temperature water.

For more, see our in-depth guide on where to position schefflera plants for optimal growth and feng shui benefits.


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