Facts About Umbrella Plants
Umbrella tree may mean one of the following:
- Schefflera actinophylla
- Magnolia tripetala
- Terminalia catappa
- Musanga cecropioides
- Polyscias murrayi
Schefflera actinophylla is a tree in the Araliaceae family. It is also called as the Octopus tree. The tropical rainforests in Australia (eastern Queensland and the Northern territory), Java and New Guinea abound with these species. The tree can grow upto 15 meters. It is evergreen and has compound medium green leaves in clusters of seven. This tree depends on mechanical support on other rainforest trees. The tree is multi-trunked and flowers exist at the treetop. Inflorescences having a length of 2 meters and enclosing almost 1000 small dull red flowers are part of the tree.
This flowering starts in early summer and continues for many further months. The flowers create a large quantity of nectar. This entices honey-eating birds. The fruits of this tree are devoured by several birds and animals like Musky Rat Kangaroos, Red-legged Pademelons and Spectacled Flying Foxes. The Bennett’s Tree-Kangaroo likes to consume the leaves.
Magnolia tripetala can be categorized as a deciduous tree. It is found in the Appalachian mountains in the southeastern United States. The large shiny leaves are 30-50 cm in length and the stems are stout. In autumn the leaves become yellow. The tree can grow to a height of 15 meters. The flowers are 15-25 cm in diameter. These have a large red style and 6-9 creamy-white petals. The fruit is red and 10 cm in length. This has many red seeds.
Terminalia catappa is a large tropical tree and may have originated in India, Malay peninsula or New Guinea. It is also called as the Indian almond, Bengal almond, Malabar almond, Tropical almond, Sea almond or Singapore almond. This tree can grow to a height of 35 meters. When full grown, it has an upright, symmetrical crown and horizontal branches. As it ages, the crown flattens to have a spreading, vase finish. The leaves are 15-25 cm in length and 10-14 cm in breadth. They are leathery, glossy dark green, ovoid and broad. The color becomes pinkish-reddish or yellow-brown just before falling. The flowers are 1 cm in diameter, white to greenish and are seen on axillary or terminal spikes.
The fruit is 5-7 cm in length and 3-5.5 cm in breadth. Its color changes from green to yellow to red. It contains a single seed.
The Musanga cecropioides is the African Corkwood tree found in secondary forests. It is also called as the Parasolier, Doe, kombo-kombo, musanda, N’Govoge, musanga and Govwi. This tree is generally found in Africa from Sierra Leone to Angola and eastward to Uganda.
Polyscias murrayi is known as the Pencil Cedar is a very common rainforest tree of eastern Australia.A small to medium size tree, growing to 25 metres tall and with a trunk diameter of 50 cm. It is unbranched at the end of the main trunk, then breaks out into a many branched crown. The cylindrical trunk is mostly smooth, greyish or brown. The base of the tree is not flanged, fluted nor buttressed. Leaves are alternate and pinnate with 8 to 30 leaflets. Opposite on the leaf stalk, entire or toothed, ovate lanceolate in shape, 8 to 15 cm long. However, leaves may be much larger on younger trees. Leaf stalks up to 120 cm long, leaflet stalks 3 to 8 mm long. Between each pair of leaflets on the leaf stalk, a gland may be seen. The midrib is white or paler green, raised under the leaf. Leaf venation is more easily seen on the top of the leaf. Creamy green flowers form on stalks on umbels in the months of February to March. The fruit is a blue drupe, usually with two lobes, sometimes three. Fruit matures from April to June. Germination from fresh seed is slow.
Fruit is eaten by a variety of birds, including Brown Cuckoo Dove, Lewin’s Honeyeater, Rose Crowned Fruit Dove, Satin Bowerbird and Superb Fruit Dove.
This term may mean one of the following:
- Darmera peltata
- Podophyllum peltatum
- Cyperus alternifolius
- Schefflera arboricola
- Eriogonum longifolium
Darmera peltata is also called as Indian rhubarb. In late spring, the flowers bloom before the leaves. These flowers have rounded cymes of many five-petalled white to bright pink flowers. The leaves are coarsely-toothed, deeply lobed, rounded, dark green and conspicuously veined. These become red in autumn.
Podophyllum peltatum is found in the eastern part of North America. The stems are 30-40
cm tall. The leaves are 20-30 cm in diameter with 5-9 deeply cut lobes. This tree is also called as the mayapple, Hogapple, wild lemon, American mandrake, Devil’s apple, Indian apple or wild mandrake.
Cyperus alternifolius (umbrella papyrus, umbrella sedge or umbrella palm) is a grass-like plant in the very large genus Cyperus of the sedge family, Cyperaceae. It is native to Madagascar, but is frequently cultivated worldwide. This plant has an evergreen foliage, composed of long stems with involucral bracts at the top. These bracts look like narrow leaves. The umbelliform inflorescence is composed of 10-20 small clusters of green-white tiny flowers. It appears at the end of the stems, on top of the leaf-shaped bracts.
Schefflera arboricola is an evergreen shrub. It may grow to a height of 3-4 meters. The leaves have 7-9 leaflets. Each leaflet is 9-20 cm long and 4-10 cm broad. The umbels are 7-10 mm in diameter and have 5-10 flowers.
Eriogonum longifolium is also called Harper’s umbrella plant or Harper’s buckwheat. For a long period it remains in an immature stage and eventually develops a flowering stalk. Then, it flowers and perishes. Tennessee and Kentucky are the areas where its survival is doubted.
Umbrella Plant Care
The umbrella plant is very easy to care for, which is one of the reasons that makes it so popular. The botanical name of umbrella pla nt is Schefflera arboricola and it belongs to the plant family of Araliaceae. This pretty houseplant, branches out with glossy green leaves and grows up to 8 feet in height. However, the height of the plant can be controlled by regularly pruning.
Umbrella plant looks very pretty in a veranda, or in your garden too. In fact, you will usually find an umbrella plant in most of the gardens.
However, they may differ in looks, as there are many varieties. Arboricola, Renate, Gold Capella, Trinette and Dazzle are some of commonly found types in the umbrella plant. Let’s understand umbrella plant care in detail, so that you can make your garden look beautiful. Read more on umbrella tree.
Light is very essential for every plant, in order to photosynthesize. This is their process of making food. However, too much of sunlight can also be bad for the plant and its leaves. To take care of umbrella plant, keep it in diffused sunlight. Since it’s a houseplant, keep it indoors. Umbrella plant does need a lot of sunshine to grow, but not direct sunlight.
Ironic, but true, that the ‘umbrella’ plant needs wet conditions to thrive! If you are wondering how to take care of umbrella plant, then water the houseplant thoroughly and regularly, but every time you water, see to it that the soil is ½ inch deep dry. Also, you can use fertilizers to ensure a good yield. However, excess watering and fertilizing cause the leaves to lose their glossiness and make them fall out early in winter. Water the plant with caution in the winter season. Read more on soil moisture levels.
Just like we trim our hair to keep them in good shape and condition, plants too need to be pruned from time to time. An umbrella plant grows to about 8 feet in height. To keep the plant in a compact shape and size, cut out the growing tips of the plant. Remove the dead leaves from the plant and trim it into a proper shape. Umbrella plant pruning will keep the plant healthy.
Umbrella plant is usually safe from pests. However, while gardening, do keep in mind that it sometimes, does fall prey to Mealy bugs, mites and scale insects. The infestation will be evident if you turn the leaves over and see tiny white and brown spots. Spray any pesticide, which is normally used for plants, which will help you keep your umbrella plant in a good condition.
The propagation of this houseplant takes place in a various ways. Seeds, cuttings and air-layers are some of the common ways of propagating this plant while practicing indoor gardening. Planting an umbrella plant cutting in abundant sunlight and then shifting it to a diffused light area, will give you a thick umbrella plant.
Shady, I mean with a cool area, in a garden is always a welcome respite on sunny days. Landscaping with umbrella plant gives you plenty of options. Plant umbrella plants on the hedge, slightly away from direct sunlight, as this can make your garden look cozy and cute. The other option is to plant, the umbrella plant amongst all the garden plants, for an ornamental effect.
As umbrella plant care is easy, it is a famous plant used by bonsai makers. It’s sturdy nature, adaptability and easy to maintain, makes it a favorite bonsai plant. I hope, these umbrella plant care tips, help you to plant the seeds to reap its evergreen benefits.