Tips for Pruning an Umbrella Plant

Umbrella Plant Pruning

Umbrella plant (Schefflera Arboricola) is a beautiful houseplant many people choose to grow in their home. One great thing about this plant is that it is very easy to grow. It can thrive even in less than ideal conditions. For example, it tolerates moderate light conditions and can even grow under the artificial light. It is also relatively strong and susceptible only to a few pests. All these things make umbrella plants good candidates for those who wish to have gorgeous houseplants. Even beginners can care for an umbrella plant without a problem.

However, there is one thing to keep in mind. Since umbrella plants grow so fast, they might require pruning. This is particularly important to do if your umbrella plant becomes too large or scraggly. While not all umbrella plants will need to be pruned you never know if and when your own plant will need pruning.

Why Pruning is Important

Pruning is the only way to make your umbrella plant looking good and to keep it under control. It is also an important thing to do to keep it healthy and thriving. This is why it is important for all owners to prepare themselves that pruning might be needed. This is important to do even before you decide to buy an umbrella plant for your home. If the idea of pruning seems like too much work for you this plant might not be the best choice for you.

However, keep in mind that pruning is a relatively easy job. It is much less complicated than it sounds and you can master pruning easily. This is particularly true for pruning of umbrella plants. These plants tend to grow fast and are very resilient to pruning. You can almost go no wrong with them: it is almost unheard of to over-prune an umbrella plant. Whatever you do, chances are that it will develop a new growth the next spring. Therefore, do not stress about it. Pruning your umbrella plant is a surprisingly easy job to do, once you understand the basics.

Check Your Plant

Before you prune your umbrella plant it is important to identify areas that need to be pruned. This is an essential step you need to take so never skip it. This is also the only way to be fully satisfied with the pruning after it's done.

Start by inspecting your umbrella plant. Identify how many stems it has. Some umbrella plants have a single stem while many have two or more stems. This will influence the pruning style. Those plants with more than one stem typically give you more options when pruning. These tend to grow bushier and fuller because there are more places where leaves grow. It means that you can prune more with them.

Umbrella plants with only one stem, on the other hand, will probably look tall and thin. It leaves less option for pruning. At the same time, these plants are easy to make shorter because all you need to do is to cut a bit of the top growth.

The difference between umbrella plants with one and multiple stems makes difference between bushy plants and tall, thin plants. Both are beautiful but you need to know which look you prefer. This is one of the main things to consider when choosing your umbrella plant in the first place. If you want a full, bushy umbrella tree, do not choose the one with only one stem, and vice versa. Pruning can only go so far in changing the natural appearance of your umbrella tree.

How Do You Want Your Plant to Look?

Before pruning, decide how you want your plant to look. Obviously, umbrella plants with more than one stem will look bushy while those with one stem will be tall and thin. It is best if you choose to keep this shape and simply prune your plant back to maintain this natural shape.

One of the most important things to keep in mind when pruning is the plant's natural shape and growth pattern. You will want to follow this natural growth pattern. This will make pruning easier and quicker. Fighting this pattern, on the other hand, will make your job much more difficult. It is therefore best to follow the natural growth and simply shape and trim where necessary to keep your plant neat.

It is always best to determine how you want your plant to look in the future. Trimming and pruning makes the plant grow in certain ways so you need to know what you actually want to achieve before you start cutting. It is vital to make a decision where to cut before you make any cutting.

This is the only way to avoid any mistakes and prune too much. Again, over-pruning will likely not harm your plant but it might result in a look that you do not want. It is therefore important to decide where you want to prune before you start.

Additional Things to Remember Before Pruning

There are some other things you need to do before you start pruning. One of these is to identify where the growth nodes are. They are typically located at the point on the stems where the leaves sprout. Since umbrella plants generally have many nodes to trim and abundant growth, it is important to figure out which ones you want to cut. Again, this will affect the future look of your plant so make sure to think about this.

Another thing you need to do before you start pruning is to check your plant's general health. Make sure that your plant is healthy and properly potted. It needs to be in good, healthy and moist soil. In case the potting conditions look less than ideal you may consider repotting your umbrella plant before pruning.

This is particularly important to do if you suspect that the roots are crowded. Repotting in this condition will promote growth and make your umbrella plant look much better.

Also, make sure that the leaves are healthy. In case they look discolored or if they are getting brown it might be a sign of an underlying problem. The most common issue is over-watering though it can be something else, such as a lack of nutrients in the soil. Keep in mind that over-watering and soil that is too moist are bad for umbrella plants. If you notice this issue, allow the soil to dry out between waterings and see if the condition improves. In case nothing happens, consider changing the soil. It is important to do all of this before you prune your umbrella plant.

Photo credit: Carol VanHook

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