Hawaiian Umbrella Bonsai Care [Schefflera Arboricola]

There may be no one in this world who doesn’t like greenery around them. The relaxing feel offered by green plants has been there for centuries. People love to have gardens and plant pots at their homes and even offices to have a pleasant feel. Just like in any other thing, people have different likes and interests in plants as some like flowering plants, others like the one that has beautiful leaves.

If you are one of the people who like to have tropical plants at your home that too as a bonsai, you should definitely give Hawaiian umbrella bonsai a try.

If we talk about its elegance, beauty, and the way it removes the emptiness of a place, Hawaiian umbrella bonsai can charm any area of the house while making it a piece of decoration as well as a tool for relaxation. If you are going for Hawaiian umbrella bonsai, it is more than a good idea but there are some things that should be understood so that you can have an efficient experience.

SpeciesSchefflera Arboricola
Average Height20 – 30 cm
Average Spread8 to 12 inches
Origin CountryTaiwan and Hainan
Flower Bloom TimeDoes not flower at all
VarietiesDwarf umbrella tree, lava rock
SunlightDim to Medium Light  
MaintenanceLow to Medium

Hawaiian umbrella bonsai history

Hawaiian umbrellas are one of the most beautiful and eye-catching trees in different bonsai options. Hawaiian umbrellas originally originated from two nearby islands, Taiwan and Hainan but now they can be found in almost all tropical and subtropical regions of the world.

It has various species (known numbers are 150) and versions but the dwarf one is considered as the best option to be used as bonsai.

It gained too much popularity in the bonsai market because people wanted to have bonsai that is easy to maintain and can become a source of learning for beginners and the Hawaiian umbrella was the best option at that time.

Hawaiian umbrella bonsai symbolism

It has small-sized leaves that almost look like umbrellas and remain green for the whole year-round. This is the reason that it is named Hawaiian umbrella bonsai but each aspect symbolizes a beautiful thing.

Brussel's Bonsai Dwarf Hawaiian Umbrella Unboxing (Home Depot)

It is one of the most frequently found bonsai trees in China because they think that it brings good fortune to the home. The leaf of the plant symbolizes a positive vibe and gives positive energy as well.

Its umbrella-like shape brings a sense of protection from external issues and attacks while people also claim that having Hawaiian umbrellas tree as bonsai at home attracts wealth to a greater extent. Well, these are just assumptions but one thing is proven that it looks good and gives you a relaxed feel whenever you look at it. 

Hawaiian umbrella bonsai care

Caring and maintenance for your bonsai tree is one of the most important factors because you cannot just place them in a pot and forget it at all. When it comes to the Hawaiian umbrella bonsai tree, it requires almost minimum maintenance as it has the ability to survive in almost all kinds of conditions but some factors need to be taken care of as it still doesn’t survive beautifully in some cases.

Easy bonsai Dwarf Hawaiian Umbrella Tree. Schefflera Arboricola.

Hawaiian umbrella bonsai temperature

As it is said that Hawaiian umbrella bonsai is a tropical plant, it requires the same normal conditions as a bonsai as well. Hawaiian umbrella can grow efficiently in temperatures ranging from 64 degrees Fahrenheit to 72 degrees Fahrenheit.

Hawaiian umbrella bonsai always craves summer as it loves to have a warmer atmosphere. You can keep it near a heater or any other thing that can provide it with warmth, especially during the cold winter days.

One thing that should be taken care of is that it can barely survive in extremely cold temperatures. Bonsai may look good when the temperature is under its normal required range but if it remains for a long time, it can become a dead plant.

Experts recommend that the temperature for Hawaiian umbrella bonsai trees should not go down from 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

Hawaiian umbrella bonsai tree fertilizer

Fertilization is important for better growth and good strength of the Hawaiian umbrella bonsai plant but it should be done in an appropriate amount and frequency.

In normal conditions, when there are no huge pests or insects in the soil, feeding only once a month is the right option.

Make sure that the composition of fertilizers has a low amount of nitrogen in it because high nitrogen can cause issues to the tissue and cells of leaves, stems, roots, and other parts of the bonsai tree.

Apart from this, feeding fertilizers with high nitrogen can also lead to the growth of big bulky leaves which may not look good as well. So, choosing the right fertilizer is the most important part because, after that, you only have to get it to action once in a four-week span.

Hawaiian umbrella bonsai pruning/trimming

Pruning or trimming is extremely important if you want to keep the leaves of Hawaiian umbrella bonsai trees small and beautiful. Pruning the bonsai leaves will boost the process of ramification while allowing many small leaves to grow and enhance the charm of the tree.

You need to prune Hawaiian umbrella bonsai during the initial stage if you want to grow it in some specific shape or patterns because once the branches get a bit long, they can easily break down while wiring or even bending a little bit. Hawaiian doesn’t turn into a hardwood which leaves pruning as the only option for shaping purposes.

When to prune Hawaiian umbrella bonsai?

When you see new shoots becoming longer than they should be, pruning is the right option. Young shoots are easy to prune and can lead to good shape but if you let them grow big, they will just break down but will not bring the desired results of pruning.

Experts recommended that a branch or shoot should be pruned when it reaches 3 cm or 1 inch of length. The right time to prune a leaf is when it is gaining size more than a normal one. This will not only look bad in the future but may cover other leaves under it as well.

How to trim a Hawaiian umbrella bonsai tree?

  1. Start by picking bonsai pruning shears and remove all the dying or dead branches and leaves from the bonsai.
  2. Pinch all the new shoots and buds coming out of the trunk, stem, or branches with the help of your finger and thumb. It is necessary as it will prevent unnecessary leaves and branches from growing that too at an unnecessary place of the bonsai.
  3. Remove the top leaves or tip of the stem as it will allow more new branches to grow from that point and enlarge the coverage area of your bonsai.
  4. While trimming down the roots of bonsai, especially if you are repotting them as well. Two things to consider here are; don’t let any dead roots remain intact with the bonsai tree, and don’t trim healthy roots more than just the bottom tip. Going against any of these suggestions can have a bad effect in the long run. 

Hawaiian umbrella bonsai repotting

Repotting is essential no matter what type of plant you are using as bonsai. In the case of Hawaiian umbrella bonsai, it should be done after every two years at a minimum.

Make sure that you cut down all the dead and rotten roots while normal roots should not be trimmed more than 10%.

Cutting or trimming the extra-large leaves is also recommended as it will allow your bonsai to gain the benefits of repotting in a much better way.

The best time for repotting Hawaiian umbrella is a few days before the start of the spring or if you didn’t do that, repotting during the spring is also not a bad idea.

Hawaiian umbrella bonsai pests and diseases

One of the best things about Hawaiian umbrella bonsai trees is that they are one of the few bonsai trees that are not really attacked by insects or pests.

You may notice scales sometimes as they usually occur but not that too often. You can use any normal insect preventer but the most recommended is an oil-based insecticide to tackle scale on your bonsai.

Experts usually recommend spraying the Hawaiian umbrella bonsai plant, especially the trunk, after every few weeks or days as it will not only keep away those minor chances of getting insect attacks but will also make the bonsai tree strong and healthy.

Hawaiian umbrella bonsai soil

Hawaiian umbrella bonsai can easily drive and grow beautifully in normal bonsai mixed soil with its usual three main ingredients in a specific ratio. You may add some moss or pebbles for decorative purposes as well.

Apart from this, Hawaiian umbrella bonsai requires soil that can stay moist and a bit wet for a relatively long time, and adding moss can definitely help you in this regard.

Also, the soil should have all the necessary ingredients and if they are lacking due to any reason, fertilizers can help you out to a great extent.

Hawaiian umbrella bonsai watering

Simple is that watering should be done in an amount that moves through the drainage holes of the container.

It is essential to avoid salt build-up which is common due to adding fertilizers to the plant. You need to keep the soil a bit moist but watering in an excessive amount is not the best option.

You need to think of other options and using a humidity tray along with stones and pebbles can help you out in this regard.

Always ensure that water doesn’t trap and stay at the bottom of the container or especially if you are using a moisture tray because this can effectively lead to the rotting of roots which can result in dead leaves or maybe a dead bonsai as well.

Hawaiian umbrella bonsai sunlight requirements

Sunlight plays an extremely important role for the Hawaiian umbrella bonsai trees not only in terms of their growth and survival but their pattern and shape as well.

Although an adequate amount of sunlight on a regular basis is essential, it can flawlessly survive in dim light, indoor conditions as well.

One surprising fact is that if you provide more sunlight to the bonsai, its stalk will become more compact while it will have leaves of a relatively small size.

If you keep it at a place where light is extremely dim for a long period of time, there are huge possibilities that its leaves will become a bit bigger while its stalk will go long and look stretchy which will definitely ruin the shape and charm of Hawaiian umbrella bonsai trees.

Indoor Hawaiian umbrella bonsai

Hawaiian umbrella bonsai comes from the subtropical and tropical regions. It has compound leaves that remain green for the whole year-round. Its cultivation conditions and requirements make it one of the best suitable trees to be grown as bonsai indoors.

Just like there are various versions and species of Hawaiian umbrella bonsai, there are also various conditions in which it can be grown. Below is a brief discussion about some most important types and conditions as well.

Brussels Hawaiian umbrella bonsai

Brussels Hawaiian umbrella bonsais are really popular among people because of their high quality and inexpensive prices. It is preferred by plenty of people when growing bonsai as they require minimum maintenance and can easily grow in dim sunlight as well.

Dwarf Hawaiian umbrella tree bonsai

The dwarf is just a piece of Hawaiian umbrella tree and it can be said that it is probably the most common type of this tree to be used as bonsai.

Some people also claim that these are just two names of the same bonsai. You can go with all the same practices as you go for simple tree bonsai.

Hawaiian umbrella bonsai tree in lava rock

Lava rock Hawaiian umbrella bonsai trees are some special varieties of bonsai that are usually patented. It is preferred by various people as they have the ability to remain small and compact. This could be a good choice if you want to grow them indoors for decorative purposes while you want to place your bonsai on a table or desk.

Although the care practices are almost the same as a regular umbrella bonsai, it should be given water-soluble fertilizers instead of solid ones. This factor is recommended as they don’t really need to grow big and don’t require fertilizers with high nitrogen quantity.

Hawaiian umbrella bonsai tree inland water pot

The water pot is becoming extremely popular and is being used very commonly while growing bonsai. It’s like a normal bonsai pot but has a partition making two portions inside a single boundary of the container.

The big pocket of the water pot has all parts of the bonsai tree including all soil and roots. The second small pot is just like a small pool. It is ideally used to mirror the major features of the bonsai in a detailed or explained manner.

It is helpful in keeping the soil moist all the way and an 11-inch humidity tray is considered efficient. Apart from health benefits, a water pot is also used for decorative purposes. You can get an idea by the fact that the branches of a tree will shade on the pool while a toy will be fishing or swimming in the pool pocket of the water pot.

How long does Hawaiian umbrella tree bonsai live?

Well, it mainly depends on what type of condition the Hawaiian umbrella bonsai tree was or is living in.

If you are providing it with its desired conditions and have been meeting all its requirements, experts claim that Hawaiian umbrella bonsai can easily live for more than a century, yes, that’s right for 100 years.

Some most important things that can increase or decrease the lifespan are pruning, fertilizers frequency and quality, and most importantly, the repotting process.

If you keep all these boxes checked perfectly, your bonsai will remain the shine of your house for decades but if you show ignorance in any of these factors, it can cause your bonsai to die within a few months or weeks as well.

How often should I repot my Hawaiian umbrella bonsai tree?

In general, you should consider repotting a bonsai tree if you feel that the roots of the Hawaiian umbrella bonsai are now getting out of the pot from its drainage holes or bottom.

If we talk about delicious trees that are widely used as bonsai trees, they may require repotting every 2 to 3 years as their roots grow in a relatively fast manner.

However, the Hawaiian umbrella tree is an evergreen bonsai tree and its roots grow at a normal speed which means that you will have at least 3 to 4 years before you go for a repotting process. Although this time span is the maximum limit, it is better to repot your bonsai tree every 2-3 years.

How to grow a Hawaiian umbrella bonsai tree from seed?

  1. Having the best suitable soil should be the first step. Fill the container with bonsai soil along with some other mixtures which mainly include sand, peat moss, and loam.
  2. Now sow the seeds in the soil and apply some water with a spray bottle directly at the place of the seed.
  3. Cover the area with a very small layer of sand as it will allow the water to remain in the soil for a little bit more time.
  4. Let the seed germinate inside the soil with a temperature ranging between 68 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit.
  5. Going through these steps will germinate the seed in a much rapid manner and will bring it out of the soil quickly.

How to propagate a Hawaiian umbrella bonsai tree?

  1. Prepare the soil as it is the first priority. You can propagate Hawaiian umbrella bonsai trees inside the soil as well as water.
  2. Now do the stem cutting as you normally do with any other plant. Use a sharp tool or instrument that can cut the stem at one try.
  3. Just above the leaf node, the stem piece should be cut and its length should be about 4 to six inches.
  4. Trim almost all the bottom leaves to make place for propagation. Make sure you leave at least a full set of leaves for normal growth purposes.

Why is my Hawaiian umbrella bonsai losing leaves?

There are not many issues that can lead to the dead leaves and eventually falling down from the bonsai. Below are some of the most common and prominent reasons behind Hawaiian umbrella bonsai losing leaves:

  • Although this bonsai can live perfectly in dim light, blocking light at all can cause leaves to fall.
  • Underwatering as well as overwatering.
  • Unbalanced or heavy soil lacking necessary ingredients.
  • Extremely cold temperature.
  • Hot or cold steam may also be caused if being exposed for a long run.
  • Mistakes in choice or the quantity of fertilizers.
  • Changing climate and soil conditions.
  • Wrong or improper repotting.
  • Infestations.

Is Hawaiian umbrella bonsai toxic to cats?

There is no doubt that a Hawaiian umbrella bonsai tree brings a green look and relaxed feeling to your house but if you have cats or any other pets at home, you need to be a bit more conscious.

Hawaiian umbrella bonsai, like most other plants, are toxic to cats and can cause some long-term as well as immediate reactions to the pets. Some of the major issues may include swallowing, drooling, vomiting, and intense irritation or burning inside or near the mouth area.

Most common problem of Hawaiian umbrella bonsai

There are not many issues in Hawaiian umbrella bonsai as it can survive in almost all kinds of conditions or even in dim light. This thing makes it perfect to be used indoors. But if you are committing mistakes in its care, you may face some issues such as:

  • Yellow or sticky leaves.
  • Pests.
  • Diseases.
  • Dead leaves, branches, or maybe whole trees during extremely cold temperatures.
  • Swollen bark.
  • Spots on leaves.

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