Houseplants forum: Umbrella Plant growth / pruning & shaping ?

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Boston Ma (Zone 6b)
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BeanieBoy
Jan 31, 2018 4:48 PM CST
hello - I have an umbrella plant that was started from a cutting. I have had it for about a year now and it is nicknamed "Rocky" due to it being knocked over several times while rooting in water, suffering loss of new roots and still it kept coming back !! Ultimately it was potted and though it took a little while it did settle in and has been doing fairly well. Now it is over 1 ft. tall and has new growth at the top of the plant. Ive read these can grow quite tall ( many feet if allowed ) but can also be pruned and shaped to the desired size. Right now it lives as a kitchen counter plant but has reached max height for that location. So i am faced with either moving it and allowing it to grow vertically or attempting to control its height in hopes it will fill out in the lower bouts.
Any experience with this plant & shaping / pruning ?? Shrug!
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Greece (Zone 10b)
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Faridat
Jan 31, 2018 5:31 PM CST
I have pruned mine and it's doing great. I cut off two of the main stems to a height much lower that the plant had before, as I wanted a more bushier look to it. Don't worry, it will actually do it good and it will give out many leaves afterwards. I put some charcoal dust to the cut stem, helps greatly in healing and preventing diseases to the wound. I also got many new cuttings from the old cut stem, which have rooted so I got another plant from them!
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Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL 🌵🌷⚘🌹🌻 (Zone 8b)
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purpleinopp
Jan 31, 2018 5:53 PM CST
Hi & welcome! Rocky looks awesome! He doesn't have any branches yet, but will. He currently has a single stem, and his leaves are compound. If you snip off the new leaf that is forming at the tip, that will redirect the flow of auxins and send a "branch out" signal to the plant. This alone almost always leads to bifurcation of the tip.

To further guide development, increase the number of new branches and where they develop, remove the leaves where you want new branches to grow.

If you would like a more fast-growing plant on which to experiment, Coleus can teach pruning very quickly. They are easy to find in the spring with the annuals (although they are tropical shrubs and can be kept alive indefinitely in the captivity of a pot.)

These are the most basic of pruning techniques. Bonsai literature can guide you into more detail.
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Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
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WillC
Jan 31, 2018 6:31 PM CST
Pinching out the growing tip repeatedly will maintain it at its current height. Pinching may or may or may not cause it to push out branches further down the stem.

Pruning off a top section is the best way to shorten a plant that has already gotten too tall.

Neither pinching or pruning will affect the overall health of the plant. They just affect the appearance of the plant.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Boston Ma (Zone 6b)
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BeanieBoy
Jan 31, 2018 7:54 PM CST
Great advice guys, Im all ears ! I'm all ears! If you see the plant has branched off near the top portion where he was originally stunted when started as a cutting.
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Though not 2 stems per-say but more of an extension of the original. Apparently these guys are one of the hardiest plants out there and very hard to kill.
Ive done some research and interestingly these are often trained as bonsai trees as well. Im not necessarily interested in trying that with this guy and I'm not sure if he'd be suited for it given his current body & growth etc but its fascinating nevertheless. I am interested in a technique i heard of where you sort of notch into the trunk directly above a node to encourage a new sprout ?Came across a brief mention of it in a video but I'm hesitant to try anything before having a full grasp on the technique. Anyone know of this notching technique ?

Boston Ma (Zone 6b)
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BeanieBoy
Jan 31, 2018 7:59 PM CST

Hi - purpleinopp
When you say this -
"To further guide development, increase the number of new branches and where they develop, remove the leaves where you want new branches to grow."

I understand you to mean that i would cut off a full leaf at its base and this would hopefully encourage the growth of a new "branch" supporting multiple leaves ? If so that sounds good ! Thumbs up
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
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tarev
Feb 1, 2018 10:25 AM CST
Hello BeanieBoy, that is a lovely schefflera. I think it still looks okay kept like that, I would not do any pruning right now. Typically the growth of this plant is limited by the amount of light and the amount of root area it can spread itself. Once it is repotted into a bigger container, then it will certainly grow much bigger, then it will require pruning.

If you want, reposition that plant nearer your window to get a bit more light, it may pout a bit, but it will eventually acclimate to the change.

Here was mine before, and how a change in container size will really make it bigger. As it got much bigger, that is the time we had to trim out some longer branches since it is going to hit the wall of the house.

If you do plan to repot, delay it to mid Spring when your temps are much warmer.

2011-2012
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Has been repotted around 2014 and now growing by the west facing side of our side yard.
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[Last edited by tarev - Feb 1, 2018 10:27 AM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1632581 (7)
Name: Will Creed
NYC
Professional indoor plant consultan
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WillC
Feb 1, 2018 4:34 PM CST
BB - That is a good example of what happens when you prune off the top of the stem. Typically, you simply get new growth just below the cut and it does become an extension of the original stem.

Notching is tricky. You have to make the notch about a quarter of the way into the stem. If you cut too deeply, the stem will weaken and may fall off. If it is not deep enough, it will not trigger new growth at that point. And it doesn't always work even if you do it correctly.

Tarev - I think your environment is very different than BB's. As I'm sure you know, light is the key factor in the growth of any plant. Yours appears to have a lot of sunlight so it has grown rapidly and needed a larger pot. In reduced light indoors, plants grow much more slowly and that includes their root systems. Specific environments make a huge difference in caring for the same plant species.
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
www.HorticulturalHelp.com
I now have a book available on indoor plant care
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
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tarev
Feb 1, 2018 5:49 PM CST
Will, of course my growing environment is much different than BeanieBoy, that is why I am suggesting to him to move the plant closer to the window, for more light, not telling him to bring it out right now since he is in Boston, for sure not the right time to do it.

I am also showing BeanieBoy how appropriate light levels affects the overall growth of the plant. Looking at his plant, it is still quite young, no need yet to do any pruning at this time. Repotting is up to him, if he wants too, though if need be delay it to mid Spring. A little more growth due to improved lighting can enhance the shape of his plant without doing any pruning yet at this time.



Name: Sally
central Maryland
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sallyg
Feb 2, 2018 7:56 AM CST
"I understand you to mean that i would cut off a full leaf at its base and this would hopefully encourage the growth of a new "branch" supporting multiple leaves ? If so that sounds good ! Thumbs up"
i didn't want that to get lost in the shuffle; removing one leaf (with its five or so leaflets) will NOT cause a branch to emerge there.
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Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL 🌵🌷⚘🌹🌻 (Zone 8b)
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purpleinopp
Feb 2, 2018 4:50 PM CST
Sally, I've seen this result in response to my actions countless times. I did not make this stuff up, it comes from reading books about bonsai. Here are just a few examples.

2013, one was halved, one was tip-nipped and leaves removed where I wanted new branches to grow.
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2017, both are multi-stemmed entities, not much taller than original size. The halved plant still has a "chopped" look.
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Coleus:
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2013, false Aralia. Several individuals potted together.
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2015, bifurcation was achieved by nipping the tip of this one in 2013.
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2016, further manipulations have resulted in more side branches.
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2017
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2014, 2 individuals potted together, each with no side branches.
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2017, after many purposeful manipulations.
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👀😁😂 - SMILE! -☺😎☻☮👌✌∞☯🐣🐦🐔🐝🍯🐾
The less I interfere, the more balance mother nature provides.
👒🎄👣🏡🍃🍂🌾🌿🍁❦❧ 🍃🍁🍂🌾🌻🌸🌼🌹🌽❀☀🌺
☕👓 The only way to succeed is to try.
Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
Charter ATP Member Native Plants and Wildflowers Region: Mid-Atlantic Composter Region: Maryland Birds
Cat Lover Dog Lover Region: United States of America
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sallyg
Feb 2, 2018 6:50 PM CST
I was visualizing removing a LEAF ONLY some where along the side of a main stem, and had understood that would not encourage branching at that node.
But I can certainly be corrected! Do you think if poster takes individual leaves off this plant, a branch may emerge at that node? Confused
..come into the peace of wild things..-Wendell Berry
Life is a buffet (anon)
Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL 🌵🌷⚘🌹🌻 (Zone 8b)
Houseplants Organic Gardener Composter Region: Gulf Coast Miniature Gardening Native Plants and Wildflowers
Tropicals Butterflies Garden Sages Cactus and Succulents Plant Identifier Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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purpleinopp
Feb 3, 2018 7:13 AM CST
Generally yes, if the tip is nipped at the same time, and there is enough light. There are no guarantees for any particular individual, but the ways in which woody entities respond to various types of pruning is more reliable than not.
👀😁😂 - SMILE! -☺😎☻☮👌✌∞☯🐣🐦🐔🐝🍯🐾
The less I interfere, the more balance mother nature provides.
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☕👓 The only way to succeed is to try.

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