How to Propagate Umbrella Plant: A Comprehensive Guide

Are you interested in expanding your collection of umbrella plants? Perhaps you want to share this beautiful and versatile plant with friends or simply rejuvenate your existing plant. Whatever the reason, propagating an umbrella plant (Schefflera) is a rewarding and straightforward process.

In this article, we will explore three easy methods for propagating umbrella plants: water propagation with stem cuttings, soil propagation with stem cuttings, and sphagnum moss propagation. Additionally, we will introduce a bonus method that may surprise you. So, let’s dive in and learn how to propagate umbrella plants!

About Schefflera Plants

Before we delve into the propagation methods, let’s take a moment to familiarize ourselves with umbrella plants, also known as Schefflera. There are two commonly sold species of umbrella plants: Schefflera actinophylla and Schefflera arboricola.

The former is larger-leaved, while the latter is a smaller-leaved, dwarf variety. Both species can be propagated using the methods outlined in this article.

Water Propagation with Stem Cuttings

Water propagation is a popular and straightforward method for propagating umbrella plants. To get started, gather a few Schefflera cuttings. Using a sharp knife or pruners, snip off the growing tip of each branch.

It’s essential to sterilize your cutting tools with isopropyl alcohol to prevent the spread of diseases.

Next, remove any lower leaves from the cuttings, leaving about 2-3 inches of bare stem. Place the cuttings in a vase or glass of water, ensuring that the bare stems are submerged. Position the container in a warm, bright location, preferably in front of a window receiving a few hours of morning sun.

Root growth typically begins within a few weeks. Initially, the new roots may appear unusual, with white, irregular, bumpy stubs. Don’t worry—this is normal! As the roots grow longer, they will start to resemble traditional roots. Change the water weekly to maintain its clarity and oxygen content.

Once the roots have grown to about 1-2 inches in length, you can pot them up. Use a well-draining potting mix, such as a blend of three parts all-purpose potting mix and one part perlite. Plant the rooted cuttings in a pot with drainage holes to prevent waterlogging and potential root rot.

Soil Propagation with Stem Cuttings

Soil propagation is an efficient method where the cuttings root directly in the pot they will grow in. Start by taking Schefflera cuttings following the same process as water propagation. Instead of placing the cuttings in water, insert them directly into a pot filled with moist soil.

Dip the cut end of the stem in rooting hormone to expedite the rooting process. While rooting hormone is not necessary, it can help speed up the development of roots. Use a small pot with well-draining soil, and ensure the soil remains relatively moist without becoming waterlogged.

Maintaining high humidity levels can aid in the successful propagation of umbrella plants. You can create a humidity tent by inserting a couple of bamboo sticks into the pot and covering it with a clear plastic bag. This helps retain moisture and reduces stress on the cuttings.

Rooting will typically occur within a few weeks, but it may take longer. Look for new growth at the tip of the cuttings or gently tug on them to check for resistance, indicating root formation. Once you observe new growth and roots, your cuttings are ready to be potted up.

Sphagnum Moss Propagation

Sphagnum moss propagation is an alternative method that offers excellent moisture retention and aeration. Begin by taking Schefflera cuttings as described earlier. Soak the sphagnum moss in warm water for a few minutes, then squeeze out any excess water.

Place the moistened sphagnum moss in a pot and insert the cuttings. Pre-moistening the moss ensures it retains moisture without leading to rot. To increase humidity, cover the pot with a clear plastic bag or dome. This helps create a mini-greenhouse effect, promoting root development.

Check on the cuttings after a few weeks. Once the roots have grown to about half an inch to an inch, gently remove any excess moss from the cuttings and transfer them to a potting mix. Sphagnum moss propagation is favored by many due to its ability to retain moisture and promote successful root growth.

Bonus Method: Air Layering

Air layering is a unique method that allows you to propagate umbrella plants without taking any cuttings. This technique is particularly useful for plants with mature, woody stems. While it takes longer than other methods, it places less stress on the parent plant and ensures successful propagation.

To air layer an umbrella plant, follow these steps:

  1. Remove any leaves from the stem, creating a bare area about 4-5 inches long.
  2. Sterilize a sharp knife with isopropyl alcohol.
  3. Carefully remove a thin outer layer of bark around the stem’s perimeter, about half an inch tall.
  4. Dip a Q-tip in rooting hormone and dust the exposed wound on the stem.
  5. Moisten sphagnum moss by soaking it in water and wringing out the excess moisture.
  6. Wrap the moistened moss around the exposed portion of the stem.
  7. Cover the moss with clear plastic wrap and secure both ends with twist ties or twine.
  8. Allow several months for roots to develop into the moss.
  9. Once roots have formed, remove the plastic wrap and cut the stem below the rooted area.
  10. Plant the new plant in a well-draining soil mix.


Propagating umbrella plants is an exciting and rewarding endeavor. Whether you choose water propagation, soil propagation, sphagnum moss propagation, or air layering, each method offers its unique benefits. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can easily expand your collection of umbrella plants or share them with others. So, grab your tools and get ready to propagate your very own umbrella plant!

Remember to take care of your propagated plants by providing them with proper light, water, and nutrients. With a little patience and care, your umbrella plants will thrive and bring beauty to your indoor space.

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