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 process; the various methods you can use 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 plant. 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 plant in the desired shape but instead of just throwing away those incredible cuttings, why not use them to create new plants.
You may also need to propagate your Schefflera out of necessity if you find that it’s starting to die. If you spot issues such as yellow leaves, brown leaves, a drooping plant or if it’s starting to lose leaves, these suggest that your plant is starting to suffer. We recommend trying to diagnose the issue and fixing it first but if things keep getting worse you might need to take cuttings to save part of the plant. If this is the case, you need to make sure that you are using a part of the plant that is healthy.
And lastly, our favourite reason; get free plants! This is the best way to multiply the number of plants in your home without actually having to spend any more and you can even give cuttings as presents. So the list is endless…
Tools/ equipment you will need to propagate a Schefflera plant
It’s important you have all the right things before you get started.
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 plant, 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.
How to propagate a Schefflera through the stem cutting method
Locate the healthy stems on your Schefflera
When taking a 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 your cutting and might mean your propagation isn’t successful.
Change out the water regularly
It’s super important that you keep the water 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 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 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.
Ideally, you want to start at the beginning of spring for the best chance of success. Schefflera propagation can be a little slower than other houseplants as you are forced to use 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.
Unfortunately, you can’t 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.
Common problems when propagating a Schefflera
It 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.
It won’t be 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.
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.
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 and root rot, if they are dry it’s often underwatering.
We hope you’ve found this complete guide 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.
Written by Joanna Turner