How to Water Umbrella Plants

Umbrella plants (Schefflera) are beautiful, easy care houseplants that live for many years if they’re watered and cared for the right way.

There are many factors that determine how often you need to water your umbrella plant including the location of the plant, temperature, size of the pot and the type of potting soil.

In this article I’ll share my tips for watering umbrella plants so you can keep them healthy and happy for many years.

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watering an umbrella plant

How to water umbrella plants

Water your umbrella plant thoroughly when the top layer of the potting mix dries out, then let the soil dry out slightly before watering again.

Umbrella plants are flexible about watering, but more tolerant of dry soil than overwatering. 

They don’t like wet feet, so empty the drainage saucer after watering.

Umbrella plants need good quality, easily draining potting soil so that the soil doesn’t become waterlogged.

If you have an older umbrella plant that hasn’t been repotted recently it’s best to re-pot the plant into fresh well draining potting soil.

Umbrella plants need regular watering but if you overwater them they are more likely to be affected by fungal diseases.

watering schefflera plant

How often to water umbrella plants

Umbrella plants should be watered once or twice weekly depending on how warm the temperature is.

During the summer months, watering twice a week should be sufficient, but you may need to water every couple of days during very warm weather.

During the winter, water every week to ten days.

The trick is to make sure that the soil doesn’t dry out completely, but also to avoid overwatering the plant.

Larger containers will retain more moisture than smaller pots, so if your plant is potted in a large pot it will require less frequent watering than a plant in a small pot.

To know if your umbrella plant needs more water, check the soil with your finger. If it’s moist about an inch down then wait a few days before watering.

If the soil feels dry an inch down then you should give the plant a thorough watering.

You can also tell if your umbrella plant needs to be watered by picking up the pot. If it feels light, it’s time to water.

Umbrella plants don’t need regular fertilizer, but for faster growth, you can add a small amount of liquid houseplant fertilizer to the water once a month during the summer months.

umbrella plant

Overwatering / Underwatering umbrella plants

If you notice the leaves of your Schefflera are curling, changing color or dropping off, it’s a sure sign that it’s getting either too much or not enough water. [1]

Overwatering Umbrella plants can lead to root rot and cause the leaves of the plant to turn yellow.

Underwatering will cause the leaves to droop and eventually fall off.

Can you water umbrella plants with tap water?

It’s always best to use filtered water or rain water that you’ve collected for umbrella plants and other indoor plants because in most areas tap water contains chemicals including chlorine and fluoride that can damage the plants.

If tap water is all you have available, leave it to stand for a day or two to help the chemicals disperse.

Can umbrella plants be bottom watered?

Umbrella plants can be bottom watered every month or so to give them a thorough watering.

All you need to do is place the plant in a shallow container or sink with an inch (2.5 cm) of water.

Over a few hours the plant will absorb as much water as it needs and it benefits the plant by encouraging the roots to grow towards the bottom of the pot.

Can you mist umbrella plants?

Umbrella plants grow best in a humid environment so it’s beneficial to mist them, especially during summer when the air is hot and dry.

Keep the leaves dust-free by wiping them with a damp cloth or sponge and then mist the leaves using a spray bottle to help increase the humidity level in the room.

I like to mist my houseplants in the morning so that the water has time to evaporate before the temperature cools down in the evening.

misting umbrella plant


So there are my tips for watering indoor umbrella plants. 

Umbrella plants are gorgeous indoor plants that are easy to care for and if they’re watered the right way they’ll stay healthy for many years to come. 

Do you have any other tips for watering or caring for umbrella plants? Let me know in the comments below.

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Kelly Martin

Hi, I'm Kelly Martin, a landscape gardener and designer with over 10 years experience. I have a passion for small space gardening and I love designing and creating beautiful outdoor spaces that maximize the potential of small urban gardens. Read more

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