Ask a Question forum: Umbrella plant needs help! :)

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Name: Jenny
Hampton, VA (Zone 8a)
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BlueRaccoon
Apr 6, 2018 9:20 AM CST
Hello! When I moved about a year ago this plant lost all of its leaves. It was without proper sunlight for a short time, and it didn't take that well. I didn't give up on it. It lost one of its main branches (the center one), but as you can see there are two left. The plant is doing well now, or at least better. How can I make it look better? Should I try to pull those branches closer to each other? How would I do that? I just feel like it looks very funny! The branches aren't loose. They are very firm and kind of bent the way they are. Any tips would be great! :)

I think it is a Dwarf Umbrella Plant (Schefflera arboricola 'Trinette') ! :)
Thumb of 2018-04-06/BlueRaccoon/0a4c93

[Last edited by BlueRaccoon - Apr 6, 2018 9:22 AM (+)]
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Name: Tiffany purpleinopp
Opp, AL 🌵🌷⚘🌹🌻 (Zone 8b)
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purpleinopp
Apr 6, 2018 1:14 PM CST
If your goal is wide and bushy, I would leave those branches as-is, but trim the 2-3 newest leaves at the tip of each branch, and each leaf along those stems that is pointing up. This should arrest the lateral spread of those branches and inspire new branches to form along the stem. There are no guarantees but removing the leaves pointing up makes it much more likely that the new branches will form where those leaves are removed. At the tips where you removed 2-3 leaves, bifurcation is likely to occur. If one or both of those new branches aren't going upward as they develop, you can cut them off and stick them back in the pot. Same thing with any new branches along the stems that do not develop in an upright direction. When they get long enough, trim them flush with the main trunk & stick them back in the pot (to take root and add to the general mass of leaves.)

If your goal is more columnar, you could either tie the branches together, so they are not leaning away from each other, and leave the tie in place until they have become fixed in that position. If they are already lignified, this may not be very successful.

Another option would be to cut the 2 stems near the soil line and stick them back in the pot. You would instantly have a rounded, more even mound of foliage, and a much shorter plant.

Hope one of these matches what you were kicking around in your mind.

...but as far as its' health, it looks fine. Doing nothing is also an option. No idea what you have in mind that you wish your plant looked like.
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The less I interfere, the more balance mother nature provides.
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[Last edited by purpleinopp - Apr 6, 2018 1:16 PM (+)]
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Name: Jenny
Hampton, VA (Zone 8a)
Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Birds
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BlueRaccoon
Apr 7, 2018 11:11 AM CST
Thank you so much @purpleinopp ! I honestly don't know what I want to do with it. I was just looking for options, and you really helped!! I would love for it to be full and wide, but the only place it can get proper light is at the back door, and there is just not enough room for it!

You said, "Another option would be to cut the 2 stems near the soil line and stick them back in the pot. You would instantly have a rounded, more even mound of foliage, and a much shorter plant." This scares me! Every time I have done this to a plant, it never grows roots, and dies! How do I do this? Do I use the same soil it is already it? Is there anything else I should know? What would happen to the old roots?

Thank you!
[Last edited by BlueRaccoon - Apr 7, 2018 11:11 AM (+)]
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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
Apr 7, 2018 11:29 AM CST
Happy to suggest. You're so right, available conditions like window size often need to be given more consideration than our fantasy of what our plant could look like without those restrictions.

I drew lines on your pic where I would cut these stems, for a shorter, rounded & full look.

Thumb of 2018-04-07/purpleinopp/db90d4

If this was my plant, I would do this in 2 stages if it is all connected to 1 trunk near the soil. If they are separate individuals, doing in stages would have no benefit. It looks like if one stem was trimmed, the other stem would still be able to get plenty of light for a while. From this angle, it looks like the stem with the white line has the fewest leaves on the lower part of its' stem, so I would trim it first. Once removed, remove any leaves along the lower 6-10" of stem, then stick it 6-10" down into the pot with the rest of the plant so that the whole length of naked stem is buried. I always try to aim for a spot where the foliage will fill a void in the current mass.

Doing it like this means you don't need to try to tend a pot that holds nothing but a cutting, a much more tricky endeavor than getting one to root in a pot with an existing established root system. No reason to not try that, there's no guarantee any method will surely work for any cutting, but if you want to be able to do nothing more than tend the pot in the same awesome way you have been to have such a lovely plant, that's likely to work as well for you as it does for me.

Whenever a stem gets out-of-bounds in the future, you can trim again, and again. If you have fun with it, before you know it, you'll be looking for new homes for some of the babies. ;)

👀😁😂 - SMILE! -☺😎☻☮👌✌∞☯🐣🐦🐔🐝🍯🐾
The less I interfere, the more balance mother nature provides.
👒🎄👣🏡🍃🍂🌾🌿🍁❦❧ 🍃🍁🍂🌾🌻🌸🌼🌹🌽❀☀🌺
☕👓 The only way to succeed is to try.
Name: Jenny
Hampton, VA (Zone 8a)
Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Birds
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BlueRaccoon
Apr 16, 2018 9:58 AM CST
Thank you! I appreciate all of your information and ideas! :)

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