Schefflera are tropical plants grown as houseplants due to their elegant look and low-maintenance nature. Many Schefflera plant owners wonder if they can braid the stems of their Schefflera plant, which is what I will address today.
To braid a Schefflera:
- Get 3 or more umbrella plants.
- Repot them in the same pot.
- Prune all the lower branches and leaves.
- Take one stem and cross it over another. Take the other stem and cross it. Keep doing this alternatively.
- Use a cloth to tie the braid or stakes to hold the braid in place.
This article will be your guide to explaining the step-by-step process of braiding your umbrella plant, along with tips on the right time to braid, maintenance, and so on.
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Can Schefflera plants braid themselves?
When you look at a braided Schefflera, it may look like they grow braided on their own, but it is not so.
They cannot braid themselves.
We must manually do that by taking 2 or 3 stems and a string to tie them up.
Braiding can be done more easily on young stems because they are softer, more flexible, and thinner than older plants where the stems begin to harden.
You can braid the plant with as many stems as you want, mostly 3 stems, but you can also do it with 5 or 6 stems to give it the shape you want.
Is braiding a Schefflera plant compulsory?
Those who do not know much about braiding and have only seen it somewhere may wonder if braiding the umbrella plant stems is compulsory for its better growth and looks.
However, let me tell you that braiding the Schefflera is not a compulsion.
Your Schefflera can flourish equally well without braiding.
Braiding enhances its aesthetic looks and provides better support to the plant.
If you prefer the natural unbraided form of your Schefflera, then do not braid it.
Braiding is a personal choice and a very recent trend in indoor gardening.
But if you are smitten by the intriguing braids on the plant stem and wish to do it on your plant, this article will provide you with all the related information.
Why should we braid a Schefflera plant?
Firstly, to begin with, you might wonder if braiding has any benefits or why people braid their plants.
Before we begin discussing this, remember that braiding the plant results in a shock in the plant, so the plant requires time to adjust to the braided pattern, and you must be patient and gentle with the plant.
Let us discuss why some owners prefer to braid their plants instead of keeping them unbraided.
To get a fuller look
Schefflera plants have beautiful glossy leaves that form an umbrella-shaped pattern, which is also why these plants are known as umbrella plants.
The Schefflera plants grown in the wild have thicker trunks that look full, but those grown indoors have thin stems.
So braiding the trunks together will make the plant look fuller.
Since these plants are of tropical origin, they tend to have clusters of leaf canopy at the top of the stem with minimal or no leaves at the bottom.
As a result, they tend to look tall and wispy with very thin trunks.
So when multiple plants are planted together, and their leaves are tied in a braid, the body looks fuller, and the spread of the foliage is lusher.
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To add support
As we have discussed above, Scheffleras have a very thin stem, and the foliage looks quite heavy compared to the plant’s stem.
This is why the plants often cannot take the weight of the leaf clusters and begin to droop and bend under pressure.
This makes it vulnerable to damage while moving the plant or under the wind.
The chances of stem snapping during repotting, relocating, etc., increase.
Braiding the stems would make them thicker, making them stronger to take the plant’s pressure and decrease the chances of damage.
To make it look aesthetically pleasing
At first glance, the aesthetic appeal of the braided Schefflera is what catches our attention.
An elaborately braided Schefflera with twisted or woven stems gives a unique and exotic look rarely seen and adds a spark to the indoor space.
It also makes this plant a brilliant gift for any purpose.
When should I braid the Schefflera plant?
Braiding must be done to a young umbrella plant because its stems are thinner and more flexible.
Therefore it will be easier for such plants to cope with the braided pattern.
The Schefflera that you wish to braid must be healthy because if the plant is not healthy and strong, it might collapse under the stress of braiding.
The plant must be flexible and healthy enough to cope with the new braiding pattern.
If the plant is already not healthy and dealing with stress, braiding may cause more stress.
Even when you braid a healthy tree, it faces some challenges initially and takes time to adjust and bounce back.
You might see it droopy and wilting after braiding, do not worry about that and give the plant some time to recover from the shock.
However, if you see your plant still looks stressed for an extended period, you must check and fix the issue.
Can we braid a mature Schefflera plant?
If you have been growing your Schefflera for quite a few years and it has reached a mature stage, and you now want to braid the plant, it might not be the right thing to do because, as the plant matures, its stems begin to get hard, woody and less flexible.
Now, if you want to braid this plant, it might cause severe damage because it becomes used to growing in a certain way.
Braiding it at this point can damage the stems of the plant.
If you look at braided plants closely, you will notice the stem at the bottom is brown and harder than the stem at the top.
This means the plant was braided at a younger age, and the stems grew that way.
The stem of a mature plant is harder and more resistant to bending.
This is why it is not recommended to try braid mature plants, as you may injure the plant.
If you want to get a braided Schefflera for your home, you can buy a new plant and start braiding it when it is young or propagate a new plant from your existing Schefflera and braid it as it grows.
Can we braid a young Schefflera plant?
The best time to braid the Schefflera is when it is young, and the stem is green and not woody.
Once the plant matures, you should no longer braid the plant.
When the plant is young, you can mold its shape and pattern.
The stem after that will grow following the braided pattern.
However, if your plant is older, you can propagate a new plant from it and then braid it.
To propagate the plant, you must cut a healthy stem with a few leaves at the top and remove the bottom leaves.
Then dip this stem in a glass of water or light potting mix.
Wait for 4-6 weeks until you see the cutting start having roots.
How to braid a Schefflera plant?
I will explain the process you must follow to braid your umbrella plant.
1. Get the plants
The first step to beginning the braiding process is to choose a few Schefflera plants that are young and healthy.
You can plant multiple plants in one pot, ensuring all plants have tender stems and no pests or diseases.
Some gardeners choose 3 plants, while some choose 5 plants or more.
You can play with the numbers of your choice.
Remember, the more the number of plants, the more support the plant will get.
If you are repotting the plants from other pots, be very gentle in removing them from their existing pots and check the roots well for any damage.
Remove any rotten or dead leaves.
2. Choose the right pot
Choose a pot of an appropriate size.
Remember it has to accommodate multiple plants but do not choose an excessively big pot as that can be harmful and run the risk of overwatering.
An extremely big pot holds more water than needed leading to root rot and fungus growth.
Also, ensure the pot has drainage holes at the bottom, as without that, the excess water will not be able to escape.
3. Prepare the soil mix
The next important thing after selecting the pot is the soil mix.
Remember, Schefflera is very sensitive to overwatering.
It does not survive in wet and soggy soil and requires loamy airy well-draining soil.
4. Prune the unwanted stem and the lower leaves
Now take the plants you wish to braid and check the stems well.
If leaves or branches are at the lower part of the plant, prune them off.
Use sterilized pruning shears for this purpose to prevent the spread of germs.
Do not cut the leaves at the top of the stem as they will not disturb the braiding process.
Only cut those on the lower parts.
If you wish to propagate any cuttings, you should take those cuttings now.
5. Begin the braiding process
Next, you can begin the braiding process but be very gentle as you do not want to be too harsh with the Schefflera.
Remember to keep the braiding loose because as the trunks mature and get thicker, the braiding will get tighter.
So if you pull the braids too tightly, it may damage the plant.
If you have taken 3 trunks, take one trunk from the side and lay those on top of the other two, then take one stem from the other side and put it on top of these two.
Continue this alternating between the two sides until done.
If you have taken more than 3 trunks, then just group the trunks on each side and continue the braiding pattern.
Braid your way up to around 2/3 of the trunk and leave out the top portion.
6. Tie off the braid
Once you are done braiding, secure the ends with a strong but soft tie so that the braids stay in place and do not open up.
You can use a piece of cloth or garden tapes.
Once done with it, the plant may seem to be leaning on one side.
Then put two stakes on either side of the stem and tie them with the plant to support the plant.
7. Maintain the plant
Since braiding puts the plant under some stress, adjusting will take time.
After about a month or two, the plant should be able to adjust to the braid pattern.
Then you may cut the tapes or strings you have tied them with, and the plant should be self-sufficient.
If side stems appear to grow anywhere in the braided parts, prune them off to maintain a clean appearance.
Make sure to provide the perfect growing condition to the Schefflera, including the correct amount of water, light, and food.
How to keep the Schefflera plant braided?
Your Schefflera will take time to adjust to the braiding pattern, so you must be patient.
The plant’s trunk will continue to grow in this braided pattern as it adjusts.
If you see the new growth has opened up from the braids, then repeat the braiding pattern with those parts and tie them up with tape.
Once the plant reaches the height of around 15 inches, you might no longer need to braid it.
By this time, the stem will harden up and become woody, and the braids should become permanent.
What to do if one of the trunks in the braid dies?
One challenging part of the braiding plant is maintaining the health of all the plants.
If one trunk falls sick or dies, it must be removed immediately.
Otherwise, it will make the other plants in the braid sick too.
You might wonder how some stems can fall sick while others remain fresh.
This could happen depending on the health of the plant you have propagated it from.
This is why it is important to use healthy cuttings or plants to braid.
So if you see any sign of rotting or fungus growth in one stem, it can spread to the other healthy trunks that can kill the entire plant.
Get a sterilized pruner, trim the dead and rotten parts of the trunk, and pull out the trunk from the braid.
If it does not come out, use pruners to cut the braid off and take it out.
Then take the healthy stems and repot them in fresh soil mix them in a fresh pot to avoid any infestations.
How to keep the Schefflera healthy?
The care routine of your braided Schefflera is the same as a regular Schefflera.
|Light||Keep the plant at a spot where it receives bright indirect sunlight.|
|Watering||Always check the soil before watering to monitor the moisture content. Do not water until the top soil is dry.|
|Feeding||Feed the plant with an NPK 20-20-20 fertilizer or compost during the growing season.|
|Soil||Always use light, well-draining soil for your Schefflera that will not hold too much water,|
|Humidity||Remember to give this plant good humidity because tropical plants cannot tolerate dry air. You can use a humidifier or mist the plant with a spray bottle to increase humidity.|
|Pruning||Prune the plant during the growing season to encourage more foliage growth.|
Caring for a braided Schefflera is no different from a single Schefflera plant. Take proper care of your braided Schefflera and let it fill your indoor space with a dash of exotic appeal.
So after reading this article, we hope all your questions about braiding your umbrella plant have been answered.