Propagating Umbrella Plants for Free Houseplants

Scheffleras, commonly known as umbrella plants, are popular additions to interior displays. They have pretty oval-shaped leaves and can get quite big (up to 6 feet indoors), making a beautiful green statement in bright spots or on side tables. And, like many houseplants, if you have one schefflera, its possible to make more.

I love making new plants from old ones. Recently, I’ve had success with aloe, snake plants, pothos, and peace lilies. It’s a cheap way to get a lot of new plants for free, and seeing new growth for the first time is so exciting. Although I haven’t tried it with an umbrella plant yet, I will after reading Tony ONeill’s tips (below).

With their sculptural, umbrella-shaped leaves, schefflera houseplants make eye-catching additions to any indoor jungle. Luckily, propagating these beauties to make more plants is easy, fun, and totally free.

The umbrella plant (Schefflera arboricola) is one of the most common schefflera grown as a houseplant It’s compact size makes it perfect for desks, tabletops, and small spaces The glossy green, hand-shaped leaves burst off the stem in whorls, resembling tiny umbrellas.

While you can buy young schefflera plants, propagating from a mature mother plant is extremely simple. And it allows you to duplicate treasured plants already thriving in your home’s conditions.

When to Propagate Your Umbrella Plant

Schefflera can be propagated any time of year, but spring and summer are ideal. The active growing season gives cuttings the boost they need to form roots quickly.

Monitor your plant for new growth emerging from the main stem This is where the youngest, most tender shoots will sprout Focus your propagation efforts on harvesting these young stems.

Gather Your Propagation Supplies

Propagating umbrella plants requires just a few simple supplies:

  • Clean, sharp shears or pruners
  • Clear plastic propagation dome or plastic wrap
  • Small pots and potting mix
  • Rooting hormone (optional)

Be sure to sterilize tools with rubbing alcohol before making any cuts. This prevents transmitting diseases between plants.

Taking Umbrella Plant Stem Cuttings

Stem cuttings are the easiest way to propagate schefflera houseplants. Follow these simple steps:

  1. Identify a new shoot emerging from the main stem of the mature plant. Look for one around 4-6 inches long.

  2. Use sterile pruners to detach the shoot as close to the main stem as possible. Cut right above a leaf node.

  3. Trim off the bottom leaves, leaving just two or three nodes bare.

  4. (Optional) Dip the raw end in rooting hormone. Tap off any excess powder.

  5. Poke a small drainage hole in the bottom of a 3-4 inch nursery pot. Partially fill with moist potting soil.

  6. Insert the cutting 2-3 inches deep into the soil. Pat firmly to anchor.

  7. Water well until it drains from the bottom.

  8. Cover the pot with a plastic dome or plastic wrap secured with a rubber band. This creates a greenhouse effect.

  9. Place the pot in bright, indirect light. Maintain warmth and humidity.

  10. Check daily and water when the soil begins to dry out.

  11. Once new growth appears, slowly introduce the plant to normal conditions over 7-10 days.

  12. Transplant into a larger pot with fresh potting mix once fully rooted.

Caring for Newly Propagated Plants

Newly rooted umbrella plant cuttings require attentive care for the first few weeks:

  • Keep the soil consistently moist but not soaked. Check moisture daily.

  • Maintain high humidity with the dome/wrap for the first 2-3 weeks.

  • Grow in warm temperatures between 65-80°F.

  • Provide bright, indirect light to encourage new growth.

  • Transplant into a 4-6 inch pot once the cutting is fully rooted.

  • Pinch back new growth once established to promote bushiness.

  • Hold off fertilizing until the plant matures, about 2-3 months after propagation.

With the right care, your new baby umbrella plant will flourish. Propagating your own scheffleras is extremely rewarding. And it allows you to create new plants from old favorites free of charge!

Troubleshooting Propagation Problems

Even when following the proper techniques, propagation doesn’t always go smoothly. Here are some common issues and solutions:

** stems rotting**

  • Too much moisture – allow more time between waterings
  • Soil mix doesn’t drain well – amend with more perlite

No root formation

  • Old or damaged cuttings – source fresh, healthy shoots
  • Too cold – maintain warm temperature of 65-80°F
  • Insufficient light – provide several hours of bright, indirect sun daily

Leaves falling off

  • Humidity too low – increase humidity with dome/wrap
  • Stress from changes in light or temperature – acclimate cuttings gradually

Leggy or sparse growth

  • Not enough light – provide more bright, indirect light daily

With attention to lighting, temperature, and moisture, your umbrella plant cuttings will thrive. Patience and attentive care is key when propagating any plant.

Alternative Propagation Methods

While stem cuttings are the easiest approach, schefflera can also propagate by:

  • Air layering – Wounding a branch and wrapping with sphagnum moss until roots form. Then detach and pot up.

  • ** division** – Uprooting an overgrown plant and dividing it into pieces, each with some roots and growth buds.

  • Sowing seeds – Though less common, viable schefflera seeds can be sown in moist potting mix. Provide warmth and humidity.

For the highest success rate, make stem cuttings your go-to propagation method. It’s fun, easy, and produces flawless umbrella plant replicas every time.

Expand Your Umbrella Plant Collection

Propagating houseplants is an enjoyable and cost-effective way to expand your indoor jungle. And scheffleras couldn’t be simpler to multiply at home.

Follow the tips in this guide and you’ll soon have baby umbrella plants sprouting everywhere – for free! Root a few cuttings and share the gifts with lucky plant-loving friends and family.

How to propagate schefflera – in 8 easy steps

Youll need to take cuttings in the spring to propagate your umbrella plant. Make sure you use clean and sharp pruners to do so.

  • Tony tells you to take a 4-6-inch cutting from a healthy schefflera plant. Ensure the cutting has at least two sets of leaves.
  • Remove the leaves from the bottom half of the cutting.
  • Dip the cut end in rooting hormone, he continues. This isn’t mandatory, but it helps encourage faster root growth. A lot of people like the Garden Safe Take Root Rooting Hormone that you can buy on Amazon.
  • Tony says to put the cutting in a small pot with a mix of peat and perlite. The perlite will help ensure the mix is well-draining.
  • Make sure the soil is damp but not soaked when you water the cutting.
  • Put a clear plastic bag over the pot to make it look like a small greenhouse. This retains humidity which aids in rooting.
  • To keep the cutting moist, Tony says to put the pot in indirect sunlight and mist the inside of the bag every couple of days. If you don’t already have one, this Terrain Starburst Cut Glass Mister is beautiful.
  • Tony says that after 4 to 6 weeks, gently pull on the cutting to see if roots have grown. If theres resistance, it means roots have developed. Then you can take the plant out of the plastic bag and care for it like you would a grown plant.

how to propogate umbrella plant

Tony ONeill is an accomplished gardening expert, author, and educator. With a goal of making gardening easier, he has inspired many people through his popular YouTube channel and website, SimplifyGardening. com. Tonys expertise empowers individuals to cultivate thriving gardens and connect with nature.

Remove the leaves from the bottom half of your stem cuttings( credit: Hazrat Bilal / Alamy Stock Photo)

Propagating schefflera in water

Some people like to grow plants in water because it’s easier to see if roots are growing.

It is possible to do this with umbrella plants as long as you don’t make the most common mistakes when propagating them in water. The process is very similar to propagating them in soil. Put the end of each cutting in a small glass of clean water. Do this several times a day. Give them bright light, but not direct sunlight. Once their roots have grown well, put them in a pot with soil.

These tropical plants enjoy bright light and high humidity( credit: D. Hurst / Alamy Stock Photo)

Once your new umbrella plant is growing well, keep up a good maintenance routine to help it thrive. Over-watering should always be avoided, as this can cause root rot. Keep an eye out for houseplant pests, too – and take action quickly should you spot them.

How to Propagate the Umbrella Tree | Schefflera


How do you propagate leggy umbrella plants?

Propagating Schefflera by air-layering To do this, cut into the stem of the umbrella plant from the bottom upwards creating a flat flap. The cut should end just below a dormant bud or leaf. Insert a small stone or damp moss into the cut to keep it from closing up again.

Can I cut the top off an umbrella plant?

Pruning Schefflera plants is not strictly necessary, but if you want a pretty umbrella shape and a certain height, or if your plant has gotten out of control, you can easily trim it. Scheffleras can have a single trunk, but they tend to have multiple stalks that branch off as the plant gets higher.

How do I propagate my umbrella plant?

Cost-Effective: Buying new plants can be expensive. Propagation provides an economical way to multiply your plant collection without breaking the bank. Now, let’s explore the four methods I’ve used to propagate my umbrella plant: water propagation with stem cuttings, soil propagation with stem cuttings, sphagnum moss propagation, and air layering.

How to propagate umbrella plants with stem cuttings?

Soil propagation with stem cuttings is a wonderful way to multiply your umbrella plant collection. It’s a direct approach that allows you to witness the growth process right in the soil. The use of rooting hormone and a heating mat adds extra support for successful root development.

Are umbrella trees easy to propagate?

Keep your umbrella tree plant in a sunny locale out of direct light, and you’re golden! With its palm-like leaves and low-key requirements, the umbrella tree plant creates a tropical ambiance indoors. And what’s more, it is incredibly easy to propagate from cuttings.

How do you root a umbrella plant?

At this point, you should pluck off the leaves at the bottom ot each stem, leaving only those on top. If seeds grow on the stems, brush them off too before rooting the cuttings. Umbrella Plants will root faster in water, and you don’t require special skills or materials.

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