How To Grow The Schefflera Plant
The Schefflera plant, also called the Umbrella plant, is a tropical plant that makes a wonderful indoor plant. It is large, growing from 6 to 15 feet high, but fortunately takes well to pruning if one only has a 9 or 10 feet ceiling. A plant this size naturally requires a reasonably large container.
The leaves of the Schefflera plant are long, oval shaped, and a very shiny green, befitting a tropical plant. The leaves droop, umbrella fashion, from the stalk of the plant. Some homeowners opt for the Dwarf Schefflera plant, a somewhat smaller version, featuring leaves that are also some what smaller, but still a bright and shiny tropical green. The Schefflera plant will bloom, but usually only if grown out of doors. It rarely sets flowers indoors. The flowers are not true flowers, but red tentacle-like growths that are nevertheless very attractive.
Plant Care - As is the case with most tropical indoor plants, the Schefflera plants like it moist, but you don't have to keep the room hot and damp. A bedding of moist compost solves part of the problem, and occasionally misting the plant and keeping it well watered generally takes care of the humidity issue.
The Schefflera plant will thrive in room temperatures, but if placed in a cool room, where the temperature may drop below 60 degrees, the plant will not do well and may complain by dropping its leaves. If placed back in a warmer environment the plant will usually recover, even if it's lost most or all of its leaves, in which case recovery may not occur until the following spring. The plant does not go dormant during the winter months but does not require quite as much fertilizer or water. During the summer growing season, the Schefflera needs to be given a feeding at least twice a week to be at its best.
The plant usually requires repotting on an annual basis, but some owners wait longer and allow the plant to become root bound, with the intent of slowing its growth. Most Schefflera plants that are grown inside peak out at around 6 feet, but if given an ample container, and fertilized regularly, the plant could attain a height of 12 to 15 feet, though 10 feet is the highest most will reach.
Propagating the Schefflera Plant - Propagating the Schefflera plant is an interesting process and is usually done by air layering. The stem of the plant is too thick to easily take root if cut and placed in soil. The approach is a somewhat unusual one of bringing the soil to the stem. The stem is not severed, but only has a notch cut into it, at a depth of about a third the thickness of the stem. This is where the roots will form if you follow these simple rules.
Wrap moistened sphagnum moss around the notch that has been cut into the stem, making certain the notch is completely and well covered. Use enough moss to give the roots, as they develop, something to grow in. Then, place an airtight plastic wrap around the moss covered notch, the purpose of the plastic wrap being to retain the moisture in the moss. Use tape or rubber bands as appropriate. A rooting hormone can be sprinkled on the notch or moss before wrapping, but this while helpful in encouraging rooting, isn’t absolutely necessary. Then it's a matter of waiting for 4 to 6 weeks for the roots to develop, at which time the stem is completely severed and placed in a starter pot.
The typical household may only be able to accommodate one or two Schefflera plants, but one can still do some propagating and give plants to friends, or open up a Schefflera plant business.