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Schefflera Project

Posted: Fri Sep 12, 2008 10:50 pm
by bonsaiboy
This schefflera was one that I got about 1 and a half years ago. I have currently done very little training (as it has not grown much), exept encorage a few branches to grow in that period of time. I plan to let the branches grow out a bunch, and then defoilate them and cut them back. This will encorage secondary branches to form. My main goal is to get it to grow sort of a flat broom like structure, as other rain forest trees do. This is a picture of what it looked like when I first got it:


I had the trunk wrapped at the base to try and get some airial roots to grow. And this is what it looks like now:



I currently have it growing in a training pot, and it is kept in a terrarium to help it grow more adventitious roots.
So, what do you guys think? I will post a few more pictures I guess when I have it right were I want it.

Posted: Sat Sep 13, 2008 12:01 am
by Gnome

It looks like you are off to a good start. I was going to ask about the aerial roots and how you got them to form so high considering where you had it wrapped. I read later that you are keeping it under glass. Have you concluded that the moss is unnecessary if humidity is high enough?

I am just getting started with this species and could use any information you have to offer as it looks like you are managing yours well. Mine is very small, little more than a cutting, and is outside for now but I'll have to bring it in before too very long. Thanks for posting it.


Posted: Mon Sep 15, 2008 7:50 pm
by bonsaiboy
My advice is simply these two things. First, scheffleras are in many respects, just like the ficus. The only cultural diffrence is scheffleras tolerate a wider range of soil mosture, although they prefer it (from my expiriance) to be on the moist side. Second, the big myth about scheffleras is that they don't look tree like when trained, mostly because they don’t branch. The solution to this is often overlooked. What one must do to get a schefflera to branch, is defoilate it before you trim it. Otherwise, it will just start sending out a branch from the tipmost bud, but defoilation can allow you to get it to branch quite a few buds down. Make shure when you do this, though, that you time it to where all the main branches are to the point where they need to be cut back, other wise they will continue to grow straight with no branches. And, if you defiolate one branch and no others, this may kill that branch, so best time it to where you must defoilate the whole thing. Hope this helps.

Posted: Mon Sep 15, 2008 10:38 pm
by Gnome

Yes that is helpful, thanks.


Posted: Tue Dec 02, 2008 6:22 am
by kluni
bonsaiboy wrote: What one must do to get a schefflera to branch, is defoilate it before you trim it. Otherwise, it will just start sending out a branch from the tipmost bud, but defoilation can allow you to get it to branch quite a few buds down.
Hi I found your forum and must say it's full of useful info.
Could you tell me, what should be a time difference between defoilating and trimming.

Posted: Fri Jan 02, 2009 2:37 pm
by bonsaiboy
I would say admediatly. One doesn't need to wait after defoilation for one to prune it. Sorry about the long time before the response.

Posted: Tue Jun 09, 2009 12:40 pm
by Big Vine
Looks like it's been a while since any updates, bonsaiboy.
Got anything new to share with us on this Schefflera of yours?

I've begun to 'specialize' in growing Schefflera for bonsai purposes, and I'm very eager to learn all that I can from any additional info./insights you might provide.

Tree looks good, by the way. :wink:

Posted: Thu Jul 02, 2009 9:41 pm
by bonsaiboy

I have put my Schefflera into my greenhouse. It has lost all of its original leafs due to the transition from north light to near full sun, but it is putting out more at a rapid rate (will try to get pictures). Once the branches are long enough I will defoilate them and prune them back to the desired length. My goal is to have it trained into an umbrella-shape, as this is how many rainforest trees grow (with slight variations, but you know what I mean :lol: ) After that I will move it back indoors, my theory being that trees that naturally grow as understory trees in the wild don't live as long in bright light as they do in considerable shade (take coffee trees as an example...)

Posted: Thu Jul 02, 2009 9:59 pm
by bonsaiboy
Okay, here is the picture of the schefflera now...


I know its kind of sorry-looking and appears to be in bad condition, but that is only temporary.

Posted: Fri Jul 03, 2009 12:15 pm
by IndorBonsai
You have some nice branching going on Bonsaiboy :) . My baby schefflera is just starting to get some small main branches, with trimming I should be able to get my main branches to grow like yours.

Once I get my main branches the length I want them, is that when I should defoliate to promote secondary branching?

Posted: Fri Jul 03, 2009 4:14 pm
by bonsaiboy
I plan to let the ones on mine grow out further than I want them before pruning because when you cut them back it promotes more vigorous branching and I can the use the extra growth as cuttings to grow more scheffleras.

Posted: Mon Aug 03, 2009 2:36 pm
by bonsaiboy
A heat wave came by and destroyed the growing tips on the scheffleras branches, burning them to a crisp. I therefore decided to cut back and defoilate sooner than I had planed. Some of the branches are not as long as I had hoped, but that should be fixed in the grand scheme. Here are a few pictures of what it looks like now.



Posted: Mon Aug 03, 2009 10:28 pm
by bewildered_nmsu
Very cool.

Posted: Thu Nov 19, 2009 4:51 pm
by maveriiick
Awesome Info, I have a Scheff and was wondering how to get it to branch. will have to try this soon. Thanx Bonsai Boy!