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Umbrella-Tree.jpg

Umbrella Tree

While visiting St. Petersburg, Florida, I saw an umbrella tree in bloom. Does it have to be a certain age to do this? I've had one in a pot for years, but it's never flowered. 

A common indoor plant for most gardeners the umbrella tree (Schefflera actinophylla) is often used as a landscape tree in zones 10 and 12.  Northern gardeners struggle to keep the plant alive and can only wish for blooms while those in Florida are asked not to plant this tree in the landscape.  Its aggressive roots, ability to reseed and take over, and leaf litter have placed it on the undesirable list. But things are quite different when growing these plants indoors.  Scheffleras like many plants need to be mature to bloom.  Houseplants that become potbound often create the effect of maturity and increase the chance of blooming.  Ideal growing conditions encourage flowering while those teetering near death will often bloom to insure survival of the species.  So keep the plant slightly potbound, switch to a flowering plant fertilizer, and grow your plant in a sunny window when indoors.

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