Training and trimming and managing a Scheffleria

albert_135(Sunset 2 or 3)February 14, 2011

I've a Scheffleria that is sprawling all over the plant room. From a single short trunk there four branches that spread out six feet across and three feet tall **. It is quite healthy but not symmetrical or otherwise traditionally lovely. I need to do some serious tree surgery and Scheffleria management. I should like to cause it to grow taller and not so widespread. I would eventually like to see something closer to six feet tall and three feet across.

Do I chop it back drastically? Do I chop it back a bit from time to time? Do I try to prop the longest branch upright and cut the others back drastically or a bit from time to time?

**[As usual I exaggerate. I just went and measured it. It is only 69 inches horizontally and 27 inches tall. ]

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Albert, Until A1 aka Tapla reads this search this forum on Schefflera. There are a few threads were A1 has assisted others with the same problem. The threads have great before, during and after pics and A1 gives specific instructions.
Hopefully the threads are not archived.
Now is not the time especially in your zone, but meanwhile you can read/learn/research on what to do while you wait a couple months.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2011 at 8:31PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

I agree that you can get really good results if you first build up the plant's energy reserves, and then cut it back hard as you're starting into it's most robust growth period.

This is a pretty ugly tree I think someone from church brought to me to 'fix'

So I cut it back hard

then bare-rooted & root-pruned

before putting it in the gritty mix

and waiting for it to start back-budding

A guy from Boston or NY (I forget now) contacted me through the forum while the tree was regaining it's feet & said that he had forgotten to water his fiance's scheff while she was away & he was desperate for help. He was sure it was dead, so I offered him the plant you see above. She said aye, and soon I'd shipped it to them/her. As you can see by the picture she sent, it was still recovering from all the indignity I heaped on it and filling out nicely

If you're willing to follow some suggestions, you can probably have a pretty good start on what you're looking for by summer's end.


    Bookmark   February 14, 2011 at 9:29PM
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Okay. Another great thread I'm going to have to keep up with. And I didn't even think the plant in the first pic looked pretty ugly till I saw last one, al! This one is gonna be fun too. Amy

    Bookmark   February 15, 2011 at 6:33AM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

HEY, Amy! Actually, the last photo I posted above is a plant I tend in the showroom at work. It's a perfect example of what you can achieve under low light conditions if you understand how/when to pinch, how to provide a healthy root environment & how/when to fertilize.

The scheff in the pic is growing in front of blue tinted windows on an east exposure. The windows reflect blue light (which is why they look blue) which is the most important part of the spectrum for foliage growth/foliage plants. In addition, the tinted windows absorb 54% of all available light, meaning only 46% of available light reaches the plants, with most of the blue light missing. Still, the plant looks pretty decent - in spite of the light handicaps.


    Bookmark   February 15, 2011 at 9:44AM
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Ok. Yeah I have not done any pinching on mine. Got it last fall and forgot to tell it " plants aren't supposed to grow in winter" ! Lol.

What I plant do is leave it till spring (have installed wick) and then chop about 1/2 root ball and top -leaving middle stem taller- similar to your
second pic then repot in gritty. What do ya think, al? Btw, Albert , i dont mean to highjack your thread. Just one tiny question then I'll be gone ;0).

    Bookmark   February 15, 2011 at 10:34AM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

I think .......... don't let anyone talk you out of it. That's just what I'd do. You've been paying attention, haven't you? ;o) It's a nice plant - nice & healthy. Good job!


    Bookmark   February 15, 2011 at 4:37PM
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Aawww! Thanks al for the kind words. I had just been watering it for a while, maybe some light fertilizer, plopped in sunny window and suddenly noticed it taking off.
I don't know if I've been paying attention or not, I think it has more to do with the way you describe what and how you do things. I "get it". I hear what you are saying, most of the time lol. And your patience with us newbies scared to "hack away" our beloved plants ;0). Btw, please have some patience in reserves when it comes time to prune my rubber tree. That guy scares me to death!


    Bookmark   February 15, 2011 at 9:41PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

I have tons of patience for anyone trying to increase their knowledge or improve their skills - especially the enthusiastic. ;o) Don't fret about your rubber tree - they really are easy if you stick to an easy to follow pattern .... and you're well on the way to having it all come together for you anyway. I'm impressed.


    Bookmark   February 15, 2011 at 10:15PM
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