Schefflera Plant Cuttings: Tips On Propagating Cuttings From Schefflera

Schefflera Plant Cuttings: Tips On Propagating Cuttings From Schefflera

By: Anne Baley

The schefflera, or umbrella tree, can make a large and attractive accent in a living room, office, or other generous space. Propagating cuttings from schefflera plants is a simple and inexpensive way to create a collection of impressive plants for gifts or home décor. Like with many other bushy plants, schefflera plant cuttings will create a perfect clone of the parent plant, with no chance of mutations as you would encounter with planting seeds. Propagate your schefflera with cuttings and you’ll have a collection of plants healthy and growing within a month or so.

How Can I Root Schefflera Cuttings?

How can I root schefflera cuttings? Rooting a schefflera cutting is pretty easy. Clean a sharp knife with an alcohol pad to prevent any possible spread of bacteria to your plants. Clip off a stem near the base of the plant and wrap the cut end in a damp paper towel. Cut each leaf in half horizontally to reduce the amount of moisture it loses during the rooting process.

Fill a 6-inch (15 cm.) pot with fresh potting soil. Poke a 2-inch (5 cm.) hole in the soil with a pencil. Dip the cut end of the cutting into rooting hormone powder, place it in the hole and gently pat the soil around the stem to secure it in place.

Water the soil and place the pot in a place that gets steady light but not direct sunlight. The stem will begin to grow roots within a few weeks. When the plant begins to grow new green shoots on top, nip off the top of the shoots to encourage branching.

Additional Schefflera Plant Propagation

Rooting a schefflera cutting is not the only way to go about schefflera plant propagation. Some growers have better luck with layering when they want to produce one or two new plants.

Layering creates new roots along the stem while it is still on the parent plant. Remove the bark in a ring around a flexible stem, near the end and below the leaves. Bend the stem down to force it into the soil in another nearby planter. Bury the cut part, but leave the leafy end above the soil. Hold the stem in place with a bent wire. Keep the soil moist and roots will form around the spot where you damaged the bark. Once new growth occurs, clip it from the original tree.

If your stems aren’t long enough to bend into another pot, damage the bark in the same manner, then wrap the area in a clump of damp sphagnum moss. Cover the baseball-sized lump with plastic wrap, then secure it with tape. Roots will grow inside the moss. When you see them through the plastic, clip off the new plant below the plastic, remove the covering and plant it in a new pot.

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Rooting Schefflera Cuttings

Once your equipment is prepared, it's time to gather your schefflera cuttings. Measure back 4 to 6 inches from the tip of the stem and make a straight cut through the stem just below a set of leaves. Remove the leaves from the bottom half of the cutting and dip the base of the stem into a rooting hormone powder, which will help hasten the rooting process. Poke a planting hole in the moistened growing medium and stick the hormone-treated end of the schefflera cutting into the hole then press the soil firmly around the stem so it stays upright.

Schefflera cuttings need bright light and high humidity to root. Cover the pot with a large clear plastic bag held up by a wooden skewer to keep the plastic from touching the leaves. Set the pot near a window with bright light but no direct sun exposure. Roots form best at temperatures between 70 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit, according to Texas A&M AgriLife Extension. Set the pot on a heating coil or propagation mat to maintain the soil temperature.

Keep the growing medium moist but not soggy by adding water only when condensation stops forming inside the plastic bag. Schefflera cuttings can take several months to root. Start checking for roots in a month by looking at the drainage holes at the base of the pot. Once you see the thin white roots in the growing medium, remove the pot from the heating coil and take off the plastic bag.

Issue: February 21, 2004

A friend asked a question about propagating the Dwarf Schefflera - she called it an Arbicola (sic). Can she take a cutting and root it, or is there some other preferred method?

The search for the answer to your question led me on a merry chase through the names of the schefflera. The name has been changed from Schefflera arboricola to Heptapleurum arboricola. Other scheffleras have had their name changed to Brassaia in the event you to search the Internet as well. You will find this plant referred to as Schefflera arboricola, Brassaia arboricola, and as Heptapleurum arboricola. There's an even greater number of common names applied to the plant.

Even the recommendations for propagation varied. In general, the answer is that it may be propagated from seeds (if you can get them), by cuttings, and by layering. Commercially, propagation by cuttings is the preferred method. For homeowners, the layering process may give the best chance for success. Seeds seemed to be the least favored method.

If cuttings are used, some sources recommend the basal portion of each cutting as the preferred plant portion others prefer cuttings from higher on the stem. In both cases, application of rooting hormones (available at nurseries and garden centers) can increase the chance of success and speed development of roots on the cuttings. High humidity and bright (not direct) light are also important. The cuttings should be placed into a good potting soil after the rooting hormone is applied to the cut base of the cutting. To prevent rubbing the hormone off the cutting, pre-form the holes into which the cuttings will be placed, then gently firm the potting soil around the stem.

If only one new plant (or a few) is desired, greater success may be obtained by layering. Wound a stem by scaring or scratching the green epidermal covering, but don't remove the stem from the parent plant. Apply the rooting hormone to the region of the wound, and then bend the stem so that it can be buried in potting soil in an adjacent pot. If the stem cannot be bent low enough to put it into a pot with potting soil while it is still attached to the parent plant, try "air layering". Wrap the wounded hormone-treated portion of the stem with moist, fibrous sphagnum moss, then enclose it in a plastic wrap to prevent drying. In a few months new roots will have formed, and you can severe the new plant from its parent and then pot it in its own pot with a good potting soil.

Marisa Y. Thompson, PhD, is the Extension Horticulture Specialist, in the Department of Extension Plant Sciences at the New Mexico State University Los Lunas Agricultural Science Center, email: [email protected], office: 505-865-7340, ext. 113.

For more gardening information, visit the NMSU Extension Horticulture page at Desert Blooms and the NMSU Horticulture Publications page.

Send gardening questions to Southwest Yard and Garden - Attn: Dr. Marisa Thompson at [email protected], or at the Desert Blooms Facebook.

Please copy your County Extension Agent and indicate your county of residence when you submit your question!

Houseplants forum→My Schefflera plant stalk looks like withered skin

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Can someone help me? I recently (maybe nearly a month ago) trimmed my HUGE Schefflera plant because I relocated. I immediately placed the three longest and the one shortest cuttings in dirt. I've done it before, so I felt comfortable. So shorter ones I put in water. The shortest one is doing well and is actually budding. Of the two taller ones I have left, they are struggling. The skin on the stalk is starting to look drawn up, whithered, like old wrinkly skin. I thought maybe it needed more water, but after some research today, I am thinking over watered in one - and too much heat for the other. The one with too much heat also have leaves that are dropping. Actually looks almost like a closed umbrella. Any suggestions? I would really like these cuttings to survive. The two that I put in water grew beautiful roots and I put them in dirt last week.
Any suggestions or thoughts would be super helpful.

At this point, my only comment is that older, thicker woody cuttings do not root very readily. Green tip cuttings are much easier to root.

Schefflera Rooted in Water..Now What?

I had a huge spindly indoor Schefflera Plant for 10 years, with leaves only at the top of the stalks. I thought it may be root bound, so I repotted it, and I cut it back to about 2 feet, and assumed that the roots were healthy since it was still producing new leaves.

It gradually dropped the few leaves left at the bottom portion of the plant. I was left with only one healthy piece of only 2 new leaves on 2 small jointed stems. I put the jointed leaves into a shot glass, and it now has 7 roots that are whitish in color, little over 1 inch, and it has just produced a new stem with a tiny leaf in the center of the two jointed stems. This is very small.. It is such a sentimental plant. I gave it to my husband before we married when his mother passed away, and we named it Lillian for his mother’s name. Sounds crazy, but I noticed the new small sprout has one of the 5 leaves in the shape of a heart. I don’t want to lose it, but I’m afraid, and don’t know what to do, or when to actually plant it. The rooting process has taken well over a month. I have attached a few pictures. Can you please help.

I know it probably seems like a long time to you, but to have that much root growth in a month is a good sign. There is no rush to move your rooted Schefflera cutting, but it can be moved to a pot with soil anytime after you have several roots at least an inch long.

Use a small pot no larger than the glass it is now in. Make sure the pot has a drain hole and use a porous, soil-less, peat-based potting mix. Cover the bottom inch of the pot with damp potting mix. Then, hold the rooted cutting over the center of the pot so that the roots are touching the soil in the bottom and fill in the rest of the pot with the damp potting mix while you hold it upright. Tamp the potting mix down firmly so that the cutting stays upright. Then, water the soil until some water runs through.

Keep your Schefflera close to a sunny window. Water it whenever the top quarter of the soil feels barely damp. Be patient and allow the rooted cutting to completely fill the pot with roots before moving it into a pot that is one size larger. Do NOT rush this process.

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