The umbrella plant is one of the most common houseplant you will find that is quite easy to maintain. Taking the following measures will ensure that your plant continues to liven up your home.
Houseplants add a lively atmosphere to an otherwise dull interior. The umbrella plant is often preferred as a houseplant, as it brightens up a home with its rich evergreen foliage, and is relatively easy to maintain.
To know more about how to take care of these plants, you should first know that umbrella plant is a name often used to refer to various unrelated species of houseplants. The plants that share the same common name are:
Cyperus Alternifolius (Umbrella Papyrus)
The Cyperus Alternifolius is a common houseplant which is a native of Madagascar. This grass-like plant is often grown around ponds and pools. It has symmetrically arranged leaves atop long slender stems, which can add an ornamental touch to your garden. These plants can grow to a height of around 3 feet.
- If you want to plant this variety of umbrella plant, you should make sure that they get ample moisture, as they are originally tropical plants. In fact, you can let them soak in water too, as they are one of those rare houseplants that love water.
- They grow best under full or partly-shady sunlight and a humid environment.
- For propagating, you can sow the seeds or place cuttings of the plant with its leafy top in wet soil. New growth is seen within a week.
- Pruning is very important, as these tend to grow and spread very fast. Also, the dry tips of the leaves turn brown, making it unsightly.
- Although they are not affected much by pests, spider mites are of great concern. This can be easily tackled by spraying the plant with some insecticide. You can also use some fertilizer every other month for its successful growth.
Schefflera Arboricola (Umbrella Tree)
This plant is also known as the Dwarf Umbrella tree. These shrubs are originally from the sub-tropical region of Taiwan. They can grow to a height of around 6 feet, and have two variants, green or variegated. In winter, they sport small bright orange berries. However, these shrubs are more appreciated as bonsai.
- They grow well in warm and humid climate, and are best for outdoor planting. But if you want to keep them as indoor plants, you can put them on top of a tray of pebbles and water. The evaporating water will create a humid atmosphere for the plant. This plant is best suited for temperatures ranging between 60 – 75° F.
- They grow best in partial light, as direct sunlight will make them droopy, eventually drying them out.
- Watering is essential, as too little or too much water can wither them. Make sure that they never sit in water, or the leaves will turn yellow, and eventually fall off.
- If the plant is potted, then you need to make sure that there is proper drainage for the excess water.
- In spring and summer, you can water the plants frequently, while in winter, this can be cut back a bit. However, you can mist them with distilled water every once in a while, if the climate is dry.
- Every year, you can give it a half-soluble water fertilizer to ensure its healthy growth. The schefflera are not always bothered by pests, but in case it gets infected by spider mites or mealy bugs, you can wash the leaves with an insecticide soap.
Darmera Peltata (Indian Rhubarb)
The Darmera Peltata is a dramatic looking perennial. They have large rounded leaves with frilly edges atop slender naked stems. Clumps of pretty pink flowers bloom in spring. They can grow up to around 5 feet in height, and their enormous leaves can spread up to 3 feet wide. These plants are preferable only if you want to use them for decorating the waterside or bordering areas. There is a dwarf version of it called the ‘nana’, which is 30 cm in height, suitable for small outdoor gardening.
- The Darmera Peltata does not need much attention, and is pretty easy to grow. They require full shade and thrive in boggy conditions.
- Unlike the other umbrella plants, these plants prefer cool climate, rather than hot and humid surroundings. They can withstand temperatures down to even 5° F or -15° C.
- Although they are usually found in wet lands, they can survive even in sandy clay (but moist), and loamy soil.
- Propagation can be done by sowing the seeds in spring, and also by the cuttings off the rhizomes from which new leaves arise.
- These plants hardly have any pest or disease issues, therefore they are excellent for covering up an unsightly spot in your garden.
The above were some of the most common umbrella plants that are grown as houseplants. There are two more species under this common name, however, they are hardly grown as houseplants.
Podophyllum Peltatum (American May Apple)
These plants are herbaceous perennials, native to eastern North America. Also known as the ‘hogapple’ or ‘devil’s apple’, these plants can grow up to around 3 feet in height. They are known for their medicinal properties, though parts of them are highly toxic. The lemony fruits are edible when ripe. They are low-maintenance, and thrive in partial shade and moist soil.
Eriogonum Longifolium var. Harperi (Harper’s Umbrella Plant or Harper’s Buckwheat)
This plant is only found in the dry shale areas of Alabama, Tennessee and Kentucky. It blooms once in 4 years, and then dries up. The state of Tennessee has listed it as an endangered species, and they are almost on the verge of extinction in Kentucky. However, very little is known about these plants.
One thing to keep in mind about the umbrella plant is that it is poisonous if eaten, so any trimmings should be kept away from children or pets. Apart from that shortcoming, the umbrella plant is proven to be relatively low-maintenance, therefore with minimum care it will continue to add life to your home and garden.