Caring for umbrella palms — tips for exotic houseplants

The plants from the tropics (Livistona rotundifolia, Livistona chinensis and Livistona australis) develop into stately solitary plants in their homeland. As a houseplant, they can reach a height of up to 2 meters. The member of the Arecaceae family is a decorative interior decorator that quickly conveys a tropical atmosphere. The genus Livistona includes around 30 species that delight with fan-like fronds. The plant was named after Baron Livingston, the greener of Edinburgh’s botanical gardens. With the exotic lookthe green plant is also suitable for offices and business premises. In combination with special vessels, the Chinese umbrella fir is an eye-catcher for many years. The demands on care are not high and therefore it is the ideal species for people without a green thumb.

Useful information Site care Watering Fertilizing RepottingPests & diseases FAQ

Matching products: Buy umbrella palm

Worth knowing about the umbrella palm

Botanical name: Livistona rotundifolia, more rarely: Livistona chinensis and Livistona australis (since 2011 the genus was changed to Saribus)
Other names: Chinese umbrella palm, Livistona, round-leaved Livingston palm, Australian umbrella palm, forest palm, Livistonie, round-leaved umbrella palm
Use: houseplant, indoor greening, conservatory, container plant
Origin: Southeast Asia, Australia Flowers
: rare
Special features: the broad, green fronds grow from the inside of the plant. The stems have sharp thorns. In winter, a bright location with temperatures around 15° C is possible.

In which location does the Livistona feel most at home?

Small plants thrive indoors at temperatures around 20 °C all year round. A place on the windowsill with sun in the morning or in a conservatory is also ideal. Avoid direct sunlight in the afternoon. Basically, the darker the umbrella palm is, the slower it grows. From the end of May, the Livistona can stand outdoors in light shade or partial shade. Avoid direct sun here as well. From the beginning of September you put the beauty back in the house.

Our gardening tip: Make sure you gradually get used to the outdoor conditions. The UV radiation outdoors can lead to unsightly burns if you switch too quickly. A bright, sunny place on the balcony or terrace that is protected from rain is ideal in summer.

How do I properly care for my Chinese umbrella fir?

With optimal site conditions, Livistona are robust and easy to care for. Regular fertilizer applications are necessary from April to August. Demand-oriented watering is a prerequisite for vitality and growth all year round. You can rinse off small specimens in the shower once a year. If the green plants are too large and unwieldy for this, wiping the leaves with a damp cloth will help. This will remove the dust and encourage good development. Proper care also includes removing old, dead leaves. Spraying the leaves with low-lime water is also beneficial.

How do I water my Livistona correctly?

All Livistona species require even soil moisture and must be watered regularly. The tropical plants grow especially in summer and evaporate a lot of moisture through their fronds. For smaller specimens, the immersion method is ideal. Here you place the houseplant in a bucket filled with water and immerse the palm tree until no more air bubbles rise. The advantage here is that the soil and root ball are completely moist. Excess water must be removed directly from the saucer or planter. Waterlogging is not tolerated and root damage occurs quickly. Water large plants once a week. Also make sure that too much water should not be left in the saucepan for more than 15 minutes. In summer, shorter watering intervals may be necessary.

How do I fertilize my Chinese umbrella palm?

In addition to water and light, sufficient nutrients are necessary for growth and vitality. If possible, use a special fertilizer for green plants and palm trees. This contains the most important growth and vital substances and provides your darlings with the best possible care. Weekly application is recommended from March to September. In winter, a gap of 6 to 8 weeks is sufficient. Add the liquid fertilizer to the irrigation water and make sure that it is poured directly onto the roots. You can also fertilize the Chinese umbrella palm with fertilizer sticks for green plants and palm trees. This comfortable long-term fertilization is especially recommended for small plants. With a duration of action of 3 months, you have little trouble and the nutrient supply is guaranteed.

How do I repot my Livistona?

Young specimens do not have to be repotted immediately after purchase. Transplanting is usually required for the first time after 3 to 4 years. It is best if you put your umbrella palm in a larger pot in springgive. Use high-quality special soil for repotting, because this is precisely tailored to the needs of the rarities. Green plant and palm soil has the right pH value of 5.3 and has excellent water retention and high nutrient storage capacity. This makes maintenance easier and the depot fertilizer included provides the palm trees with all the nutrients they need for the first 6 weeks after repotting. Put a drainage layer, for example made of clay granules, on the bottom of the pot and make sure that the plant is not planted too deep in the substrate.

Our gardening tip: Chinese umbrella palms are slow-growing and the new pot should not be too big.

Repotting plants — our tips
Find out in the blog post why and how you should repot your plants.

repot plants

What diseases and pests can the umbrella palm get?

Despite optimal conditions, pests can infest it like other plants. Usually too low temperatures, lack of light and dry air are the causes of problems. The following pests can occur:

spider mites

The affected leaves have silvery dots on the upper side and webs are visible on the underside of the leaves. The infestation often occurs in winter when the indoor air is warm and dry. It is usually sufficient to rinse off the plants and treat them with plant strengtheners. These organic active agents contain natural plant extracts that contribute to the vitalization of the plant. You can prevent an infestation by increasing the humidity. You can do this by misting the leaves or placing an indoor fountain near the plants.


You can find the white structures in the leaf axils especially in phases with less light. Mealybugs are safely hidden under these protective shields and are therefore difficult to combat. As soon as you discover the infestation, you should wipe away the mealybugs. The pests can be controlled biologically with oil-based agents. It is important that the application is carried out several times.

Indoor plant pests our tips
Find out in the blog post which pests there are and how you can prevent and treat them.

FAQ — Frequently asked questions about the Livistona

What can be the reason for brown leaf tips?

Brown leaf tips are often a sign of too much moisture. In addition, leaf damage or dry leaves can occur due to dry heating air in winter. By continuously spraying with low-calcium water, you can remedy brown leaf tips. You can carefully cut them off with scissors. Then it gives a more attractive picture. Full sun usually leads to brown or yellow spots in the middle of the leaf. Therefore, make sure it is in a bright location without direct midday sun.

How are umbrella palms propagated?

A common method of propagation is sowing. Seed germination takes a long time and sufficient warmth and moisture are required before a seedling becomes visible. The propagation is tedious, mostly the members of the Arecaceae family are cultivated in special companies and young plants are sent to green plant companies for further cultivation.

What is the difference between the individual Livistona species?

Mainly Livistona rotundifolia is offered in the trade. The species Livistona chinensis has leaves that are more deeply incised than those of the species rotundifolia. Livistona chinensis tolerates more sun than Livistona rotundifolia.

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