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How to prune an umbrella plant

Is your umbrella tree overgrown? Here is our complete step-by-step guide on how to prune an umbrella plant – the right way!

Umbrella plants have become one of the most common and popular houseplants.

Also known as Schefflera, they have vibrant foliage and have a tree shape combined with tropical leaves. They are beautiful, easy to care for plants – which is why they are so popular!

Considered a plant that mostly takes care of itself, it is the perfect choice for many households, especially those just getting started in the world of plants and gardening.

Nonetheless, there are still some umbrella plant care tips you need to know so that you can keep up with their water and light requirements, fertilizing, good soil and drainage, and pruning.

Today, we are going through the subject of umbrella plant pruning – understanding what pruning is, how to utilize your pruning tools properly, and giving your plant a refreshed look.

Keep on reading to find out how to do that!

how to prune umbrella plants

Printable Umbrella Plant care guide

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Umbrella Plant plant care guide

What is umbrella plant pruning, and why is it important?

Pruning is a part of the maintenance process of every plant. It includes carefully inspecting the greenery and the foliage and strategically removing some parts that get in the way.

This is an important step because it can serve more than the sole purpose of the plant looking neat.

Here are the benefits of pruning a plant:

  • You get to shape the plant in any form you like
  • You remove all the damaged and wilted parts of the tree, providing space for new ones to grow
  • You control the size of the plant
  • You encourage the growth of stronger, healthier, and bushier parts
  • Cuttings can be rooted to grow new umbrella plants!

All in all, umbrella plant pruning is how you make your plant look good and keep it in shape.

This is a relatively easy job to do, and anyone can do it once they learn a few tips and tricks.

Now, let’s see what you can do to master the art of keeping your plant in order.

close up of a potted umbrella plant on a shelf

Inspect the umbrella tree

The first thing you need to do is inspect the umbrella tree properly. Identify all the places that need some trimming. Think of this as the first essential step toward making a positive change to your plant.

Check how many stems the plant has – in some cases, it may be just one, in others, there may be more.

If it has more than one stem, it means that you have more umbrella tree pruning options.

These plants tend to grow bushy and require more time to prune, so don’t expect that you’ll do it in a couple of minutes.

Remember that pruning is a practice that will help you change the natural appearance of the umbrella plant trees and promote new and healthy growth. Therefore, it’s important that you don’t rush the process and do the job carefully.

On the other hand, those plants that only have one stem look thinner and are not as bushy as the first ones.

You will have an even easier job dealing with these since you only need to cut off a little bit from the top and the side maybe.

close up of a potted umbrella plant on a shelf

How do you want it to look?

Another thing to keep in mind is the shape of your umbrella tree to look. Would you prefer it to be short and bushy, or maybe thin and tall?

We recommend keeping it simple and pruning the plant following its natural shape.

As a plant parent beginner, it’s important to follow its natural growth pattern. Otherwise, it can result in doubling your work, making the job a lot more difficult than it is.

Therefore, we recommend you follow the natural shape of the plant and prune accordingly.

Trim anything that looks out of ordinary and keep the plant in shape instead of pruning too much and ultimately harming it.

potted umbrella plant

Other things to keep in mind

Before you start sprucing up your umbrella plant trees, there are some other things to consider.

First – you should identify where the growth nodes are.

You can find them at a certain stem bump where the leaves start sprouting. It is important to identify which ones you want to cut, as this will affect the look of the entire plant.

Moreover – check the overall plant’s health. If it looks happy and healthy, then it is okay to begin the umbrella plant pruning process.

Remember, pruning is something that will give the umbrella tree some stress, and it will need some recovery afterward. Never heavily prune a plant that is already in distress!

Finally, don’t forget to prune the leaves, too. If you notice some discoloration, then it might not be the right time to start pruning your greenery.

Leaves that have lost their natural color might indicate watering issues, so make sure that you have your plant in check before you begin trimming it. 

close up of a potted umbrella plant on a shelf

Umbrella tree pruning techniques

Once you are ready to start pruning your umbrella tree, you need to become familiar with a few different techniques.

Here are the most popular ways to prune an umbrella tree:

  • Trimming – shortening the tips regularly controls the height of the plant and results in bushier growth.
  • Thinning – chopping off some leaves to give the shrub some air circulation and make it look less dense
  • Removing – all dead leaves and branches are removed so the plant can thrive in optimal conditions
  • Rejuvenating – when the plant starts getting droopy and all over the place, cutting the main stem down in half controls the untidy appearance and boosts growth.

It is worth considering all these options before you start the umbrella plant pruning process.

Don’t forget to first determine what kind of appearance you are looking for. Review your goals and start working toward achieving them.

You might need to prune the plant a few times to get there, but with a lot of confidence, a little bit of determination, and a pinch of patience, we’re sure that you’ll do it right!

Any more questions about how to prune an umbrella plant?

Thanks for reading!

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