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donna_tefft

Overgrown Shefflera

Donna Tefft
last month

I have a Shefflera plant that has sentimental value as it was given as a wedding shower gift 40 years ago. I am not well informed about house plants, so trying to understand what I can do with this one as it is now at least 8' tall and stretches 5' wide. I would like to start another plant from it as a gift to a family member, something I have done several times over the years. However, now it is so big, I don't know how to manage doing so. Should I be cutting this back in order to make it fuller?

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!


Comments (5)

  • ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5
    last month

    in theory.. if you root some cuttings... you will still have the same plant.. just in a smaller form ... so at a min.. that would be my goal ... and be done with the old giant ..


    i cant quite focus on the pot.. but when is the last time the media has been changed ... but omg... its lovin life so who are we to say thats a problem ...


    and if rooting is the eventual goal.. i dont see any reason why... after the cuttings get rooted .. you can not do some pruning on this one .. and if you screw it up.. who cares ....


    in other words.. im talking about timing ... and fail safes .... just remember... a cutting is the same heirloom plant ...


    ken


    https://duckduckgo.com/?q=schefflera+propagation&t=ffcm&iax=images&ia=images

  • Donna Tefft
    Original Author
    last month

    Thank you for your response! I repotted 2 years ago with new soil and a larger pot...seemed to like it because it just keeps growing. I will try to root some cuttings. Some things I read say I need to wait and do this in the spring - what is your wisdom on that? Can I try the cuttings now or do I need to wait.

  • ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5
    last month

    wisdom.. i dont know about that.. lol ...


    but you have a monster .. its not like you have limited cuttings available ... i might just go ahead and try 2 or 3 and see what happens ... i like to prove the naysayers wrong .. sometimes i lose.. whatever ....


    i didnt watch the vids... but i would get a quart pot ... and put 3 prepped cuttings in a pot of damp media .. and then put the pot in a gallon baggie with the opening up and left open ... just a humidity tent if you will ... but still air ... scale it up based on what you see as to cutting size in the vids ...


    and in a month. i would gently tug on them to see if they have roots ... if not.. they will come right out.. reinsert and give it another month ... if there is any resistance.. its rooted ..


    then figure out the plan from there ...


    ken



  • Donna Tefft
    Original Author
    last month

    Thanks again! And good point - I have a lot to work with here. I'm going to try it! Really appreciate the information and suggestions!

  • tapla
    last month

    Hi, Donna. There is no reason to discard the plant or even start cuttings, though taking cuttings now still offers a high % of success if done correctly. Cuttings taken in Nov-May have a significantly lower probability of success due to the fact that stored energy reserves will soon start to wane as day length and light intensity decrease, and will be at their lowest in early spring, making late fall through mid-spring a span of time where hard work (hard pruning or repotting) is best avoided.

    The largest obstacle you currently face is the fact that now is not a good time to prune the tree back hard. That should be done in June if you live in the Northern Hemisphere, and June is the most favorable month to repot scheffs and most other trees commonly grown indoors, citrus and other fruiting trees being the notable exceptions. A repot is more involved than potting up, as a repot includes bare-rooting, root pruning, and a change of grow medium. Potting up ensures the lions share of the stress caused by root congestion remains a limiting factor until the point in time when a pair of hands actually get into the center of the root mass to relieve the congestion and fix/ remove problem roots. A repot completely eliminates all stress associated with root congestion and provides much greater opportunity for the plant to realize a much larger fraction of its genetic potential.

    Here's a repot story with a happy ending:

    Tree brought to me by someone from our church:


    After it was pruned back hard:


    Bottom 2/3 of root mass removed


    Large roots under the stems/ trunks removed. The encircling roots at the perimeter of the root mass were also cut back to a root radiating outward from the trunk:


    The plant in its new home:

    Somewhere, I have a pic of the plant as it was starting to back-bud, but I can't find it. Found it, even if it's not a good image:

    The interesting thing about what happened with this tree is pretty cool. I had been helping people with their trees on another site, and a guy that had been looking for help contacted me by email. He said that his fiance had entrusted him with the care of her scheff while she was out of the country, and unwittingly he had killed it. What he was actually hoping is that I could somehow help him resurrect it, but there's only one degree of 'dead'. What I suggested was that he check with her to see if the one I had worked on would be an appropriate replacement, and if it was, I'd send it to him. After all, the pictures had been published on the other forum and the tree had some degree of notoriety. ;o) At any rate, I ended up shipping it off to New York or Boston (I now forget), some place in the EAST, and a few weeks later I rec'd a nice TY note and a picture of the plant just getting settled in its new home:


    My suggestion would be to do some minor pruning now, if you must, to bring the plant back in bounds; then, wait until just before Father's Day or the summer Solstice to repot and prune hard. In the meantime, you could make sure you're watering/ fertilizing regimen is on target. A healthy tree will respond to hard pruning with a degree of enthusiasm commensurate with its level of vitality.

    Al