Umbrella Plant propagation is easy and has a high success rate. Take cuttings from the appropriate part of the plant and you’re on your way to making a new Umbrella Plant.
An Umbrella Plant is also known as Schefflera Arboricol, Dwarf Schefflera, or a Dwarf Umbrella Tree, but that is all a mouthful so we’ll refer to it by its common name. Umbrella Plants prefer to be grown in soil but starting the propagation process in water is recommended.
The best time to propagate your Umbrella Plant is during the Spring growing season. This is not to say that you can only propagate in Spring, but this time of year is best.
If your original plant is large enough, I recommend propagating a couple of stem cuttings at one time just in case one does not survive.
The Anatomy Of An Umbrella Plant
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This part is important so you understand where to cut your plant in order to obtain the best results when propagating. The main thick portions of the plant are what we’ll call the main stem or what I like to call the stalk. They resemble a small bamboo stalk and the leaf nodes shoot off in different directions forming the bushy plant.
As the plant ages, the stalks will shoot up and you will lose the symmetrical shape of your plant. Pruning your Umbrella Plant will help you maintain its beautiful shape and this is the perfect opportunity to propagate a new plant. You want to select a healthy stalk when planning your cuttings. Think of the stalk as the trunk of a tree.
Several “branches” will shoot off of each stalk. The branches will have clusters of leaves on the end. When propagating, you want to cut a piece of the stalk, directly between two branches. You want to cut a pretty hefty piece because most of the leaves and branches will be removed from the stalk. These are not technical terms, but rather an easier way to understand how the plant grows.
If you want a taller plant, rather than a bushy plant, prune from the outer edges rather than the top. The photo indicates how to keep your plant full and bushy.
Now it’s time to propagate your Schefflera cuttings.
How To Propagate Umbrella Plant
The best way to propagate an Umbrella plant is to start your Umbrella Plant cutting in water first. You generally will not probate from young plants as you will need a healthy stalk with ample leaves for propagation.
- Find a healthy stalk from your mature plant and cut an entire piece off of your plant using clean and sterilized pruners. Wash your pruners or scissors and wipe them with rubbing alcohol to sterilize them prior to cutting.
- Remove “branches” from the bottom of the stalk working your way up until you only have about 5 to 6 branches with clusters of leaves left at the top. Each place where you pulled off a branch is also called a leaf node.
- Place the stalk in a container of water covering at least three or four nodes. Use filtered water if your area has bad water. You can place two cuttings in one container if you plan to plant both of them in one pot. If you want two separate plants, plant each stalk in separate containers so the roots don’t intertwine. If you have rooting hormone gel, you can dip the stalk in the rooting hormone before placing it in the water.
- Place your cuttings in a window that gets indirect light. This would be a window that gets light but the sun doesn’t shine directly in. Indirect light provides enough light for your cuttings to grow without burning the leaves.
- Change your water as frequently as possible. Daily is recommended but if you forget, change it every few days. New roots will begin sprouting in as little as a week.
- Once you see about 2 or 3 inches of roots growing, it’s time to move your cuttings to the soil. The rooting process in water will take anywhere from 4 to 8 weeks.
Soil For Umbrella Plants
The easiest way to maintain an Umbrella Plant is to plant it in a proper potting mix. Regular household potting mix will work fine with more perlite mixed in to help with drainage and proper airflow to the roots. Perlite is especially helpful when you’re initially transplanting your cuttings. I like to use 25% perlite and 75% household potting mix.
High-quality fertile soil may contain peat moss and other nutrients to get your cuttings off to a good start. It’s a good idea to invest in good quality potting mix in order to promote proper root growth.
Once you select a new pot, air layering your soil works great with many indoor plants. You achieve this by layering pebbles in the bottom, a couple of inches of soil and perlite mixture, another layer of pebbles, and then repeat until your pot is full.
Pots For Umbrella Plants
Be sure to use a container with drainage holes or your plant may get root rot. Potting mix can plug up drainage holes so put a layer of pebbles or small rocks in the bottom of the container before adding soil to keep this from happening.
Choosing a container with a saucer is helpful for indoor plants so excess water can drain out.
Proper Care For Umbrella Plants
They are low-maintenance plants to grow which makes them a favorite amongst plant growers. Your plant will grow best in moist soil but not soil that is overly wet. They don’t grow as much during the winter months so you may notice that they will need less water during the winter and more in the spring.
If you press on the top of the soil and it’s no longer feeling damp, it’s almost time to water. These tropical plants love high humidity and have been known to grow directly in water, but they don’t like soggy soil. For this reason, you don’t want to give them too much water.
If you notice your plant getting yellow leaves, too much water may be the culprit. Cut back on your watering or use a plant water meter to tell you when your plant needs water.
The humidity level is not an extreme concern for indoor plants. They will also grow indoors in a dry climate. Every couple of weeks, hold your plant at an angle over the kitchen sink and wash the leaves to prevent spider mites. Giving the plants a rinse and rubbing the leaves gently will keep them at bay. Spider mites are common problems with a lot of indoor plants.
Other Important Notes
Some Schefflera plants have a variegated pattern. This pattern from the parent plant doesn’t always carry over to the new plant. When propagating a variegated umbrella plant, be sure to select a piece of the stalk that has variegated color to it. You’ll generally find this towards the top of a plant where new leaves are growing.
Enjoy watching your new Umbrella Plant grow. It’s so satisfying to see successful propagation and it’s also a fun learning process. Watching the new growth on your Umbrella Plant is extremely satisfying. Once your new plant gets larger, you can propagate it again!
You can see more of my home and houseplants on my home decorating at craft blog, Hootshack.