Schefflera is a tropical plant usually grown indoors as a houseplant. It is popularly known as ‘the Umbrella’ plant as its glossy, oval leaves grow in patterns resembling an umbrella. However, it would be interesting to know if Schefflera can grow in water. Let’s find out.
In general, Schefflera grows quite well in water. You need to take a cutting from the parent plant and put it in a water container with about 6 inches of water. Place this container in a low-medium light corner. You can expect the roots to grow in 6 weeks and a healthy, new plant in 3-4 months.
In this article, I will explain how you can grow your umbrella plant in water and the factors you need to keep in mind for growing it.
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How to grow Schefflera in water?
Before we start growing Schefflera in water, we need certain tools.
Let’s discuss those tools and know why we need them.
Pruners: It is best to use a sharp instrument like a grating knife or bypass pruner to make a clean slice.
This is because blunt scissors risk damaging the cutting and the mother plant.
Alcohol pads: You must clean the pruners with alcohol pads to prevent any possible bacteria or disease from ruining the plant.
If you don’t have alcohol pads, you can use disinfectant.
You can either spray it on the tools or take it on a cotton ball and clean the pruners before and after use.
A glass jar: It would be ideal to use a glass jar to keep an eye on the root growth.
Also, it’s easy to identify problems, if any, using a glass jar.
Mason jars work great as well.
But in case you don’t have one, you can opt for any other container you come across.
Clean water: As the Schefflera will grow in water, you should use good quality, clean water.
Using regular tap water may hinder the plant’s growth as it absorbs nutrients from the water.
Also, don’t forget to change the water whenever it gets muddy or dirty.
So now that we have all the necessary tools, let’s learn more about growing Schefflera in water in detail.
1. Take a healthy cutting
It is important to make sure that you take the cutting from a healthy stem of a healthy plant.
This would safeguard your Schefflera from any damage in the future.
To choose a healthy stem implies selecting a stem that does not have any infestations or bacterial growth.
This is an extremely crucial step and should be kept in mind while taking a cutting.
2. Include a growth node
The cuttings should include a growth or leaf node.
A growth node is a point on a stem from where growth can occur.
It is located at the point on the stem where leaves sprout.
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3. Make a precise cut
Make sure the cutting is no less than 4 to 6” inches long and has a diameter equivalent to that of a pencil.
As mentioned above, use a sharp, sterilized pruner and cut at an angle of 45 degrees.
These little details are significant as they guarantee a healthy growing plant.
If you make a random, haphazard cut, it will most likely slow the growth of the roots.
Also, in the absence of a clean, precise cut, any chances of bacterial infections get alarmingly high.
4. Place the cutting in water
As soon as you have taken the cutting, put it in a glass or glass jar filled with clean water.
If you are not equipped with a glass of water, do not leave it like that.
Rather, wrap the cutting in a moist paper towel and secure the end.
This would save the cutting from drying out in the meantime.
Things to keep in mind while placing the Schefflera cutting in water
- Place the stem so that it stands straight. Or, use a string or sticks to support the plant and keep it upright.
- The bottom of the stem should be submerged by a generous ½ -inch to an inch.
- The plant would not need much attention. All you got to do is keep an eye on the water getting muddy and change it accordingly.
- Don’t expose the cutting to direct sunlight.
- Make sure there is ample humidity around the cutting.
How to take care of a Schefflera plant growing in water?
One main reason behind the popularity of the Umbrella plant is that it is quite low maintenance.
However, just like any other plant, the Schefflera does need certain conditions for healthy and fast growth.
These conditions include factors such as temperature, water, sunlight, etc.
Before I discuss them in detail, look at the following table.
|Factor||Brief Care Requirement|
|Light||Bright and indirect sunlight|
|Water||Change the water regularly whenever the level goes down or whenever it gets dirty.
Try to go for mineral-free water and not regular tap water.
|Temperature||55 to 75°F|
|Humidity||The humidity level should not drop below 50%.
You can mist the leaves or keep a humidifier if the humidity levels are low in your region.
|Fertilizer||You can add a drop of fertilizer sometimes while changing the water.|
|Pruning||Prune any diseased leaf or root so the plant can focus on healthy growth.|
|Repotting||You can shift the Schefflera to the soil after it grows enough roots. Otherwise, the need for repotting will never arise.|
Now, let us discuss these factors in a little more detail.
The Schefflera would grow best in bright, indirect sunlight.
It is important to mention that this plant can also grow in artificial lighting.
However, a lack of proper, natural light is not ideal for a plant trying to root.
That would rather lead to droopy stems.
But you must also note that exposure to direct sunlight is not right either, as it can almost burn the plant’s leaves.
Young plants are more sensitive to direct sunlight, so keep the new cutting away.
Also read: What Kind Of Light Does A Schefflera Need?
As stated above, you need to change the water whenever it turns dirty.
Changing it once a week should be sufficient.
Also, don’t forget to maintain the quality of water.
It is best to avoid tap water as it may contain harsh chemicals and salts.
Such substances may end up ruining the developing root system.
Natural rainwater is ideal, but distilled water should also do good.
Once you get the young plant and decide to shift it to the soil, you must water it whenever the topsoil goes dry.
Remember, underwatering is better than overwatering.
The best method would allow the soil to dry out and then soak it in water.
Also, you should mist the leaves of the umbrella plant frequently, especially during the growing season.
You usually would not need to fertilize the Schefflera when grown in water.
But still, if you would like to, a drop of balanced liquid fertilizer once in a while should be enough.
You can add it when changing the water.
Since Schefflera is a tropical plant, it is used to warm conditions.
The ideal temperature for its growth would be 55 to 75°F.
Don’t expose the cutting to excess heat, low temperatures, and hot or cold drafts.
One of the best things about growing plants in water is you need to care less about humidity.
As the water evaporates from the jar or container, it adds humidity around the plant, which helps keep the environment humid.
You can still take a hygrometer and check the humidity level around your Schefflera.
If it is lower than 50%, consider using a humidifier to provide sufficient humidity to your umbrella plant.
Pruning is important to keep the umbrella plant in shape and to help it focus on new and fresh growth.
These plants, however, tend to grow back faster.
So they look all the more lush and fuller after pruning.
How long does it take Schefflera to root in water?
After placing your Schefflera cutting in water, you should notice new root growth within 6 weeks.
After the root growth, you will also notice new leaf growth in the cutting.
You must wait for 2-3 months for a full-blown young umbrella plant.
If you think the process is too long, you can use root hormone.
After taking the cutting, apply some rooting hormone to the end and place it in water.
This should fasten the process.
New roots and new leaves indicate that it is time to shift the plant.
Shifting the Schefflera would facilitate better growth.
Can umbrella plants live in water?
Umbrella plants can survive in up to 6 inches of water.
However, it is best to move the plant to the soil as that is their ideal growing medium.
When living in water, Schefflera plants are deprived of many essential minerals for their growth.
Growing them in water will also show less growth than when you grow them in the soil.
Therefore, it is best to propagate your umbrella plant in water and move it to the soil once sufficient roots have grown.
What are some common problems of growing Schefflera in water?
Although it is easy to grow Schefflera in water, it also has drawbacks.
You must remember these so you can avoid making mistakes.
If you don’t choose a healthy plant, the chances of success will be minimal.
To make sure you choose a healthy plant, you need to check it thoroughly.
You need to check for pests and any other diseases the plant might have.
If you take a cutting from an unhealthy Schefflera, it can lead to fungal infections.
Not changing the water regularly or whenever it gets dirty can also lead to fungal infections.
Therefore, you need to keep an eye on the water and change it whenever needed.
Whenever you come across any unhealthy leaf or root, remove it as soon as possible so the cutting can grow into a new and healthy plant successfully.
What is the life span of Schefflera plants?
In optimal conditions, the Schefflera can survive as long as 25 years.
If you are growing a Schefflera as a houseplant, make sure to provide the ideal conditions, such as indirect sunlight, timely watering, proper feeding, and optimum temperatures and humidity levels.
Taking care of all the requirements will help your umbrella plant thrive.
One more thing you should be careful of is pests and diseases.
It is not impossible to spot pests like mealybugs, scales, and spider mites on your umbrella plant.
You should be ready to tackle them and remove them as soon as possible.
Spraying a Neem oil solution not only helps to remove pests but also prevents them.
But as long as you take care of the plant and provide the right conditions, it should not get attacked by pests.
Schefflera plants can easily grow in water as long as you understand the basics. In this article, I tried to explain everything you must know to grow an umbrella plant in water.
Always choose a healthy plant and a healthy stem. Take a clean cutting with sharp and sterilized pruners. Place the cutting in clean and mineral-free water and provide ideal conditions like indirect sunlight, 55-75°F temperatures, and change the water whenever it goes dirty.
Consider moving the young plant to the soil after growing roots in water. And if you want to continue growing it in water, remember to be okay with slower growth. Happy gardening!