Originating in the humid surroundings of Taiwan, Australia, New Guinea, and Java, umbrella plants (Schefflera) are known for being low-maintenance and easy to care for plants. They can be grown indoors, much like any other houseplant. Coming from hot and dry regions, umbrella plants also like a little extra humidity, but do they like to be misted?
Umbrella plants like to be misted. Hailing from a naturally humid environment, they thrive if misted with lukewarm water. These plants require humidity, and regular misting helps provide that humidity, especially in cold and dry regions.
Misting umbrella plants is not only good for the plant, but studies have shown that the benefits pass on to their human companions as well. In this article, we will delve a little deeper into understanding the benefits of misting umbrella plants.
Umbrella Plants Require Humidity
In general, umbrella plants do quite well in environments that have between 30% to 40% humidity. Homes in cold and dry regions, and places that have extremely harsh winters, however, may not be able to provide this level of humidity.
The humidity of your home depends on a lot of factors such as the climate, your living conditions, and your lifestyle even. Homes that use air conditioning are likely to have drier air around the house. Most homes in these regions will have to make that extra effort to ensure that the humidity requirements of these umbrella plants are being met.
You can test the humidity level of your home using a hygrometer – an instrument that measures the amount of moisture in the air. The ThermoPro TP50 Digital Hygrometer is a great option I found on Amazon. The hygrometer ensures that you are always aware of any changes to the temperature and humidity levels in your home with just a quick glance at the device.
Regular Misting Your Umbrella Plant Helps Overcome the Lack of Humidity
Most houseplants like regular misting and the umbrella plant is no exception. As these plants come from naturally humid environments, they love moist air. Misting these plants is one sure way to provide the humidity that these plants crave for. There are other methods of adding humidity to the air around the umbrella plants, but these umbrella plants especially like to be misted as it mimics the natural surroundings of their origin.
Misting the leaves on a regular basis has many benefits for the plant. It encourages growth in the plant, keeps insects and infestations at bay, and is also likely to increase the foliage of the plant. Regular misting keeps the leaves from drying up.
There are many kinds of mist spray bottles available in the market. You can purchase them at your nearest nursery or order online. The Electric Plant Mister can be found on Amazon and has a handheld spitzer with an adjustable spout that allows you to adjust the rotary nozzle according to your needs.
Misting Your Umbrella Plant Helps Combat Excessively Dry Air
The humidity levels in an average household are often sufficient for an umbrella plant to thrive. However, there are places that have excessively dry air. Some regions have harsh, cold winters, which again leads to dryness in the air. This often leads to loss of moisture from the umbrella plant resulting in the leaves to droop. Excessively dry air may also lead to pests like scale and mites infesting the plant.
To combat the dry air, it is important to increase the humidity level around the foliage. This provides the required increase in humidity for the plant. As an added advantage, misting also ensures that dust does not accumulate on the leaves of the plant.
This video from Apartment Therapy shows how to grow and care for an umbrella plant:
Use Tepid Water to Mist the Umbrella Plants
Umbrella plants love lukewarm water. When misting, use slightly warm water to sprinkle on the leaves. The droplets will fall on the leaves like warm rain. This is what the plants are used to.
Misting should ideally create a fine fog of moisture that surrounds and covers these plants. Not just the leaves, but even the surrounding air should be moist, and the leaves should look as if light dew has settled on them. Try sprinkling the mist in the morning so that the plant has enough time to dry out during the daylight hours.
Umbrella Plants Like to Be Misted a Few Times a Week
It will vary from one region to another, but indoor plants such as the umbrella plant do exceedingly well if it is misted two to three times a week. Umbrella plants are not very demanding, and they can survive very well with minimum care. However, misting helps increase the plant’s health, and it can be seen in the bushy foliage that some of these plants develop when they get that little bit of extra care.
Rinse the Leaves of Your Umbrella Plants Twice a Year
Umbrella plants love water, albeit with moderation. Twice a year, you could either rinse the leaves of the umbrella plant or simply spritz some heavy mist on the leaves and then wipe the water with a soft sponge.
This not only provides the umbrella plants with moisture but also helps prevent spiders and mites from infesting the plant.
Misting Often Works Better Than Humidity Trays
Humidity trays also help in adding moisture to the air. These trays are made filling a waterproof plate or bowl with polished stones, pebbles, or marbles. Water is then added until it reaches just about the top of the rocks. The plant is placed on top of this humidity tray. This allows the humidity created in the water below to rise to the plant slowly.
While the humidity tray is also effective, it involves a lot of work. Additionally, one needs to be extra careful that the water in the humidity tray does not touch the bottom of the pot, as this could lead to root rot.
Misting, on the other hand, is far easier as all you will need is a misting jar and water. Also, the water gets directly showered on the plant leaves, and the mist also creates a fog of humidity around the umbrella plant. Using a humidity tray is more suited for plants that cannot be misted because of their fuzzy leaves that are susceptible to leaf spotting and rotting, such as the Saintpaulia and the Tolmiea.
Misting Your Umbrella Plant Is a Preventive Measure Against Pests
Umbrella plants can be susceptible to spider mites, scales, and other such pests that tend to infest houseplants. Most of these pests like dry environments. Misting the plants is a good preventative measure to help avoid this problem.
Misting Has Health Benefits for Both Humans and Plants
Umbrella plants that are misted a few times a week tend to thrive. But the benefits are not for the plants to enjoy alone. There are health benefits that the human companions of these plants also get to enjoy.
Misting is a nice way to have increased interaction with the umbrella plants. A study published in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology states that interaction with plants help enhance job satisfaction in the office, reduce psychological stress, improve moods, and enhance cognitive health in humans.
Umbrella plants generally do very well in average household humidity, but they will definitely benefit from any added humidity that can be introduced to their environment. This can be done by occasionally misting the plants with tepid water. Wiping down the leaves of this plant will also ensure that the plant is rid of any mites or other such insect infestations.