Scheffleras, which are known by the scientific name Schefflera actinophylla or Brassaia actinophylla, are popular plants often used in tropical landscapes or as houseplants. They're also called umbrella plants because they're shaped like umbrellas due to their spoke-like leaflets, which originate from the plant's center stem. The schefflera is easy to grow, either outdoors or indoors, although this plant is hard to propagate, notes Schefflera.org.
The schefflera comes from Australia and the Pacific Islands, according to Schefflera.org. In the United States, they grow outdoors, year-round, in tropical areas of South Florida or Southern California, says the University of Florida. Because it's a tropical plant, the schefflera needs warm temperatures to grow outside, although it can be grown indoors in cold regions.
Colorado State University says to water scheffleras only when the soil surface is dry. These plants need a thorough watering; allow at least 10 percent of the water to run through the container holes. Extra water that accumulates in the pot's bottom should be removed and discarded.
Fertilize scheffleras once every two months in high light once they are grown. Plants grown in medium light can be fertilized once every three months.
Schefflera plants generally aren't propagated from cuttings. Instead, seeds and tissue-cultured plantlets, which are contained in a tissue culture prepared to be transferred, are the most two common methods for propagating scheffleras. The seed of the umbrella plant has a 67 percent germination success if it's planted immediately, notes the University of Florida.
Because schefflera roots grow slowly, propagating a schefflera from cuttings is difficult, but it can be done. Schefflera.org recommends cutting at least 8 inches of stem from the existing potted plant. Then remove the set of lower leaves of the stem, placing the cut end at least 3 inches deep in the soil. Ensure the soil is well drained so there's no water logging that can harm the plant. Keep the soil moist, but don't overwater. Finally, place the plant in a warm, bright location, allowing a few weeks for roots to form.
Dwarf Schefflera Propagation
There are several ways to propagate a dwarf schefflera (Schefflera arboricola), which is the smaller version of the umbrella schefflera. According to Colorado State University, dwarf scheffleras can be propagated from seeds, cuttings or air-layering, which is removing a branch of trunk section to create a new tree. Once the propagation process has begun, the young plants can then grow in full sun for producing dense, full foliage.