Schefflera Bonsai – Perfect Indoor Plant

People like schefflera bonsai because the plant has special features.

Yet, it does not strictly follow several aesthetics rules of bonsai art. I don’t think it will be a good bonsai at all.

I’ll detail my opinion in this article.

First, let’s have a look at below photo of a green Schefflera Arboricola, which is also commonly called Umbrella Tree, or Dwarf Schefflera.

It’s nice green tree, isn’t it? But do you think it has enough styling bonsai conditions?

I guess not.

Schefflera Bonsai

Schefflera Bonsai
Photo courtesy of

So, let’s make this point straight out by making a small contrast:

Schefflera bonsai vs. house plant

I must say that Schefflera has several precious features as follows:

  • It is robust evergreen plant and can live well in fairly low light levels, which makes it to become a great indoor tree. It can even survive in fluorescent light for quite a long time. Additionally, the plant has tiny yellowish white flowers blooming in summer and red fruits. So if you need a house plant at home or in your office, Schefflera is obviously a good candidate.
  • In my country Vietnam, I heard (but haven’t testified myself though) that the plant has a special ability to repel mosquitoes, and possesses medical use according to Eastern Medicine.
  • Schefflera has nice root system, including aerial and surface roots, which really suit for root-over-rock style.
Schefflera Arboricola fruits

Schefflera's fruits

In fact, the umbrella tree matches well with bonsai definition, which means a tree growing in a pot. Yet, I’m afraid Schefflera lacks some conditions to become a standard bonsai:

  • Large leaves together with compound leaf structure (more than one leaflet per petiole or “stem”) makes leaves even larger. That’s why you can hardly create a good mini bonsai with this species.
  • It does not have woody trunk, tough bark, or hardwood core. So you’ll face difficulty in shaping Schefflera by wire. Simply, branches cannot remain at new direction after removing wire, it will quickly return back to previous position.
  • Schefflera easily grows to multi-trunk and rampant foliage, making it hard for training to popular bonsai styles like upright, slanting, cascade… Perhaps, banyan style is mostly the only choice for an umbrella tree.

Okay, though it’s not very beautiful miniature tree, if you choose it as a evergreen plant, you need to grow it well. Here’re some basic technique to …

Take care of Schefflera Bonsai

  • Light: it can tolerate dim light as above-said, but giving it more light will help the tree grow better.
  • Watering: a good practice is thoroughly watering and then let its roots go almost dry before watering next time.
  • Soil: no special requirement, one suggestion is a mixture of bark and inorganic materials
  • Fertilization: you can use diluted houseplant fertilizer to supply adequate nutrition. Remember to water the tree before fertilizing.
  • Propagation: it’s easily done by seedling or cuttings

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