Schefflera plants, also commonly known as Umbrella Plants due to the shape of their leaves, are a definite favourite of ours. They are fairly painless to look after but propagating them can be a little bit of a challenge so it’s important to know exactly what the process is as well as what things to look out for.
In this post we’ll guide you through the complete Schefflera propagation process; the various ways you can propagate your Schefflera as well as the dos and don’ts, what tools/equipment you’ll need and lastly things to look out for to ensure a successful propagation.
Why might you want or need to propagate your Schefflera plant?
There are several reasons why you might choose to propagate your Schefflera. Firstly, they don’t always grow how we want them to! They sometimes grow sideways, too leggy or even too tall and end up hitting the ceiling. Pruning is the best way to keep your Schefflera in the desired shape but instead of just throwing away those incredible cuttings, why not propagate them and create new plants.
You may also need to propagate your Schefflera out of necessity if you find that it’s starting to die. We recommend trying to diagnose the issue and fixing it first but if things keep getting worse you might need to propagate it to save part of the plant. If this is the case, you need to make sure that you are propagating part of the plant that is healthy. Any issues will transfer onto your cutting and lead to an unsuccessful propagation.
And lastly, our favourite reason to propagate Scheffleras; get free plants! Propagating is the best way to multiply the number of plants in your home without actually having to spend any more money. Schefflera cuttings also make great gifts for friends and family if you already have enough plants.
Tools/ equipment you will need to propagate a Schefflera plant
Let’s start this guide with the easiest part. It’s important you have all the right things before taking the first Schefflera cutting!
Healthy and mature Schefflera plant
Fresh soil and water
Newspaper or plastic sheet
What methods can be used to propagate a Schefflera?
Whilst there are a few different ways you can propagate your Schefflera, including growing from a seed and air layering, the most successful method is stem cuttings. In this guide, we will only take you through the stem cutting method as the others not only take an unrealistic amount of time to grow, but the success rates are very low when grown at home.
Below you’ll find a step by step process to make sure you’re taking the stem cuttings in the right way when propagating your Schefflera.
How to propagate a Schefflera through the stem cutting method
Locate the healthy stems on your Schefflera
When taking a Schefflera stem cutting you want to make sure that the part of the plant you are cutting is healthy to give you any chance of success. Most mature Schefflera plants will have several stems but less mature plants may only have one. You can choose whether to take one or more stem cuttings from your plant, it doesn’t impact the process.
Make the cut
This is the scary part! Now that you’ve located the section of the stem that you want to propagate, you need to cut it off! Use clean scissors/ shears or a knife to make the cut diagonally across the stem. This increases the surface area and encourages more root growth. You also want to make sure your tools are clean to avoid passing on any bacteria into the stem wound.
Remove any lower leaves
As you’ll be placing your stem cutting in water for several weeks you want to carefully remove any leaves on the lower part of the cutting that may end up sitting in the water as they will start to rot very quickly. If your Schefflera cutting only has a few leaves then skip this step and just make sure the water level isn’t super high.
Fill up a clear container with water
Next, you want to fill up a glass with fresh temperate water to place your Schefflera cutting into.
Avoid hot or cold water as this will shock/burn your stem cutting and can often mean your cutting will quickly wilt and die. We like to use a transparent container not only so that we can see the roots growing, but it allows you to spot any issues early.
Place your Schefflera cutting in water
Make sure that the lower part of your cutting is sat in water. Avoid placing too much of it in as it can increase your chances of stem rot. Place your glass in bright but indirect sunlight. Intense light will damage the Schefflera cutting and might mean your propagation isn’t successful.
Change out the water regularly
It’s super important that you keep the water in your Schefflera propagation station fresh so we recommend switching it out every couple of days. This keeps it free from bacteria and stops it from stagnating and smelling.
Now that your stem cutting is safely in water and you’re switching it out regularly, there’s nothing left to do but continue and be patient.
Don’t worry if this process takes several weeks or months as that is totally normal!
Plant your Schefflera cuttings into potting mix
Once the roots on your Schefflera cutting have matured well and reached about 5-10 centimetres in length, they are ready to be pot into soil. Use a high-quality well-draining mix to give your plant the right nutrients and helps to avoid problems caused by waterlogged soil.
Resume usual Schefflera care
Now you can continue to care for your new Schefflera plant as you would the mother plant. Soon enough, it’ll be mature enough for you to propagate it all over again.
Schefflera Propagation FAQs
Although it seems like Schefflera propagation isn’t that complex, it’s still really important to understand the basics as these can really impact how successful it is. Below you’ll find the answers to all of your Schefflera propagation questions.
When’s the best time of year to propagate my Schefflera plant?
Ideally, you want to propagate at the beginning of spring for the best chance at a successful propagation. Schefflera propagation can be a little slower than other houseplants as you are forced to propagate through stem cuttings that need to grow a whole new root system so make sure you don’t leave it too late as they will struggle to develop further once autumn arrives.
Propagating in springtime also means your mother plant has the ideal conditions to recover as sometimes propagation can be a little stressful for plants.
Should I use rooting hormone when propagating a Schefflera plant?
Rooting hormone is optional and you can still see strong growth without it. However, rooting powder will help to stimulate root growth, speeding up the process and making the roots stronger at the same time.
You can buy rooting hormone in 3 types: powder, liquid or gel. When using a powder you dip the end of the cutting into water and then into the powder before planting directly into fresh potting mix. Gel and liquid forms work in a similar way but are great when choosing to propagate in water first so we recommend these types for Schefflera propagation.
Can I use a grow light for my Schefflera cuttings?
Grow lights help supplement light levels if your home doesn’t get much natural sunlight. They are great for Schefflera propagation as well as most other houseplants. They can also be used beyond propagation to help some of your mature plants thrive in the darker months of winter. It can be a real life-saver when it comes to preventing leggy and stunted growth.
Heat pads are also a great buy for propagation lovers as they create a nice warm environment that helps speed up root growth. Cool temperatures are damaging to young Schefflera plants so they are a great investment.
Is it possible to propagate a Schefflera from a single leaf?
Unfortunately, you aren’t able to propagate a Schefflera from a single leaf cutting as roots aren’t able to grow out of them. Your leaf cutting will very quickly wilt and die.
When should I fertilise my Schefflera cutting after propagating it?
We always recommend staying away from fertiliser when propagating through stem cuttings until your young Schefflera plant is at least 1 year old. Fertilising too early can be quite damaging to your plant and can cause yellow leaves, stunted growth and a range of other issues.
Common problems when propagating a Schefflera
Propagating plants won’t be successful 100% of the time and it may happen that you come across some issues in the process. It’s important to keep an eye on your cuttings regularly so you can spot the issue early and have the best chance of fixing it.
How long will it take for my Schefflera cutting to grow roots?
Propagating Schefflera plants isn’t as quick as a lot of other houseplants as your stem cuttings need to grow an entirely new root system before having the energy to then also grow leaves. Make sure you’re changing out the water regularly and keeping your Schefflera in a nice warm environment and you should start to see new roots growing eventually.
If you want to try and speed up the process you can use rooting gel or use a heat pad to ensure your cuttings are nice and warm.
Why is my Schefflera cutting soft and mushy?
If you notice that your cutting is starting to turn soft then this means it’s starting to rot. This can be caused by bacteria building up in the water. Try to cut away the soft part of your cutting and see if there is enough left to continue the propagation.
In future, make sure you are switching out the water every few days to avoid this happening again.
Why are the new leaves on my Schefflera cutting much smaller?
If your cutting is starting to grow new leaves but they are much smaller than the leaves on the mother plant don’t worry at all. This is simply due to the root system being less mature so it can’t support such large growth.
Why are the leaves on my Schefflera cutting turning yellow?
Yellow leaves on your new Schefflera plant are usually caused by watering issues. This should only start to happen once it’s growing in soil so take your plant out and inspect the root system. If the leaves are soft then it’s usually overwatering, if they are dry it’s often underwatering.
We hope you’ve found this complete guide to Schefflera propagation useful. It can be a little scary cutting the beautiful stems off your mother plant to propagate but the end result is definitely worth it.
Check out our full Schefflera Care Guide for more information on how to look after your stem cuttings once they have matured.