Can someone help me by giving me some successful tips on how to root Shefflera Arboricola cuttings?
A few tricks to rooting most any cutting, if the plant in question can be propagated in this manner... remove a few lower leaves from the cutting and insert it into an aerated medium to cover the leafless nodes, keep the cutting in its medium warm with bottom heat, keep the cutting out of direct light or sun, and keep the entire thing barely moist until roots and/or new growth are visible. A humid atmosphere will help, as well.
Patience while roots form on your cutting is important. It will take about 4-6 weeks for roots to form. Failure to root usually is the result of overly wet medium and rotting of the stem.
What Jodi said, and:
You can root tip cuttings in tall containers of screened perlite, screened Turface, gritty mix ..... almost anything that holds a little water and not excessive amounts. I would avoid peat-based potting soil, sand (unless it's much coarser than builder's sand), compost ...... the fine particulates. A little moisture and LOTS of air is most conducive to rooting.
Bottom heat such as that supplied with a propagation mat is helpful up to soil temps around 70*, with soil temps between 65-70* being ideal 0 air temperatures south of soil temperatures by about 10* is also very helpful.
If you stick cuttings vertically, it's important that the height of the PWT in the medium (if there is one) isn't higher than the bottom of the cutting. You need to get air to the cut end or it will promote rotting.
You can also root scheff by laying short internodal cuttings horizontally on top of almost any medium and pressing them into the medium so they are half buried. Think of how a heavy log floats in water - half submerged, & you've got the idea. Partial tenting is also helpful when using this method as it helps keep the soil surface damp.
Thanks Jodi and Al, for the tips. I've tried rooting cuttings from my Sheffs several times to no success. I probably kept the soil too wet, because I've always had problems with rot.
What is the best way to keep the soil damp without allowing it to get too wet?
Al, I didn't catch what you meant in your post concerning: "0 air temperatures south of soil temperatures by about 10* is also very helpful," could you please explain to me what you mean by this?
Also, which of the 2 ways noted are the more successful, rooting cuttings, or rooting them on top of the medium?
Moisten the soil before use... then place some in the pot, poke a nice hole with a pencil about as deep as the cutting will be placed, insert the cutting, and very gently press the soil around the cutting to make contact between plant and medium.
You can place the whole thing, pot and all, inside a large plastic bag to help maintain humidity.
There is conflicting information floating around as to the viability of rooting hormone powders... some say it actually reacts with plant cells and prohibits root formation... others say it works... I say 6 of one, half a dozen of the other. I don't use it. I have very good success rooting without it. I do believe bottom heat is what promotes the roots to grow, mimicking spring warming of the earth, the soil.
You're very welcome for the tips... we're always happy to help! :-)
Bottom heat such as that supplied with a propagation mat is helpful up to soil temps around 70*, with soil temps between 65-70* being ideal, and air temperatures south of soil temperatures by about 10* is also very helpful.
If you can keep soil temps in the 65-70* range and air temps about 10* cooler than that, along with bright but indirect light - it's about perfect.
The best way to keep soil damp is to use a coarse medium in which water won't perch. Coarse perlite, screened & rinsed is a very good medium. The gritty mix works very well for starting cuttings & seeds. Screened calcined DE would also work well. Adding a wick to the bottom of your containers helps remove any perched water.
Both types of cuttings root easily. I think one of the main considerations that determines whether or not you'll be successful is how much stored energy the cutting has. The best success & fastest rooting will occur in the summer months, especially if you've had your plant outdoors. This is because the energy reserves in the material you're propagating will be higher than at any other point in the growth cycle - July is probably the best month, unless you've been growing under lights.
Tip cuttings about 6" long will yield a single-stemmed plant, while 3" long horizontal cuttings are apt to produce 2 or more stems per per cutting. These horizontal cuttings don't have to have leaves on them, BTW. Much of the stem tissue in schefflera retains plenty of chlorophyll, so the pieces of stem can actually carry on some degree of photosynthesis, even w/o leaves.
What Al says...
I'd begin with cuttings taken from a very healthy plant. Your chances for success will be greater as a healthy plant has better energy stores, I'm thinking.
From what has been said, I should probably just wait on trying to root any cuttings until later when the temps are warmer.
If I prune them now, before the growing season gets started, will cuttings from the new growth root as well as cuttings from last seasons growth?...or should I just wait on pruning them till weather conditions are more permissive for rooting?
Looks like Plant lover lives in a warm zone. I made cuttings of a Pachira, last month and it has rooted already.
Cut a branch to the desired height:
Stuck it in the pot with the big plant:
Less than a month later, the cutting has leafed out:
The cut branch has leafed out two back buds:
Different plant, but same method. I'll move the cutting when it is fully rooted and leafed.
No muss, no fuss...just good sunlight and springtime.
Coincidentally, I have just rooted a variegated Schefflera cutting I took from work. About 6 inches long, inserted in a pot of standard bought potting compost and placed in my heated propagator. I just happened to have it running at the moment for seed sowing. If it was not on I would have used a plastic bag over the pot and a warm windowsill. It has rooted in about 3 weeks. I have never used any rooting compounds so can't compare with or without.