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JustinBoi
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Schefllera Arboricola

I have noticed many posts about Schefflera growing and such. I was wondering what kind of Schefflera you need to grow it as a Bonsai? Or is it any kind? Because I've noticed I have like 4 or 5 bushes of Schefflera. How do you start taking care of one? Well how do you even start? Do I need to cut off some of the schefflera stem? Not sure. I need some help with this project because I'm now devoted to doing this. Also, how long does it take to make a Schefflera Bonsai?


Hope you can help me,
-Justin
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bonsaiboy
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Most all of your questions have no definitive answer. Schefflera can be started many ways; cuttings, air layerings, seed, and division are just a few. THere is also no average amount of time it takes before a schefflera is bonsaied; it all depends on the type of bonsai you wish to make and how fast the plant naturally grows. You may or may not want to cut off some of the stem, depending on the style you want to make.

Scheffleras just need to be given adequate water and fertilizer every now and again. Light isn't as important as the others, as they can survive even in a north facing window, or in a room almost entirely artificially lit. The type of schefflera you wish to use all depends on personal taste; I myself like to work with non-variegated, compact kind.

Before you start to bonsai a schefflera though, you may want to read a book or two on bonsai. Not only can you gain more knowledge from a book than I could possibly type out here, but most include an abundance of pictures that would hopefully inspire you, and show you in more detail how bonsai are done (a picture's worth a thousand words...)
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JustinBoi
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How do you do the right cuttings and what's air layering? I'm going to be going to the library this weekend to learn more. Do I take cuttings and put them in soil and water it?
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I have successfully rooted scheffs with just water. I had the top of one that I had chopped down and I simply put it in a glass of water. About two months later it had grown substantial roots and is now growing out in a pot. IMO this is a lot easier than air layering, and if you've already got large healthy ones i think that they should take to rooting very easily.

There's a lot of great reading online as well as on this forum.

https://www.bonsaihunk.us/info/ScheffleraBonsai.html

https://www.fukubonsai.com/3a3b.html

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JustinBoi
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I took some clippings. I don't know what kind of Schefflera this is. Maybe you can help?

[img]https://i1126.photobucket.com/albums/l612/Justin_Broughton/ScheffleraProject003.jpg[/img]
Bottom of the cuttings into the water.

[img]https://i1126.photobucket.com/albums/l612/Justin_Broughton/ScheffleraProject002.jpg[/img]
Top of the leaves and cutting. Its inside of a cut bottle with water.

[img]https://i1126.photobucket.com/albums/l612/Justin_Broughton/ScheffleraProject001.jpg[/img]
Picture of the top of leaves.


-Justin
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Justin,

I don't think your cuttings are going to take. You have apparently only taken a leaf and no stem. I know that it appears that you have included stem but this species has what is known as compound leaves. This means that the portions that appear to be leaves are only leaflets and the portion that appears to be a stem is only a leaf stem. To root these, your cuttings will need to include a portion of the actual stem, not just the leaf stem or petiole

In bonsai, one of the classic techniques is to cut a larger plant down. This helpst to give the impression of a more robust plant. Schefflera is a species that responds well to hard pruning but there are some specific tricks you need to know before you act.

Norm

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JustinBoi
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Oh wow. Okay well I'm going to have to get better cuttings that actually will work. Hopefully the library can supply me with more knowledge than I can learn in one post.
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Justin,

Can you post a picture of the entire plant?

Norm

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JustinBoi
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Thats no problem Gnome. Also where would you cut for the right amount of cutting?

[img]https://i1126.photobucket.com/albums/l612/Justin_Broughton/ScheffleraProject004.jpg[/img]
The whole bush.

[img]https://i1126.photobucket.com/albums/l612/Justin_Broughton/ScheffleraProject005.jpg[/img]
The thing I believe is a stem.
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bonsaiboy
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You would cut it where you see the stem (like in the picture). However, if you are still unsure as to where the stem is, just cut it where there is bark on the plant (the brown as appose to green area). Hardwood cuttings root just as well as softwood cuttings do.
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JustinBoi
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Alright sounds like a plan. Also what's better to put it in, bonsai soil or plain tap water?
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bonsaiboy
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Usually I plant all my cuttings in soil. However, from what I've heard, schefflera cuttings will do equally well in water. So my guess is that it doesn't matter which one you use, although it might be worth mentioning that cuttings struck in soil will initially develop a stronger root system.
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JustinBoi
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Would it be okay if for now I have it in water then after I see roots to put in soil? Also is there any particular cutting tool needed to do this or just clean scissors
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bonsaiboy
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Once it develops roots plant it in soil, yes. Any clean scissors will do fine for the job.
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I have used nice brand new cleaned scissor and it took forever to cut this off because of the wood like feature on the outside. I do have pictures :)

[img]https://i1126.photobucket.com/albums/l612/Justin_Broughton/ScheffleraProject007.jpg[/img]
The cutting in water.

[img]https://i1126.photobucket.com/albums/l612/Justin_Broughton/ScheffleraProject008.jpg[/img]
Wood like substance on outside.

[img]https://i1126.photobucket.com/albums/l612/Justin_Broughton/ScheffleraProject006.jpg[/img]
The top of the cutting with all the leafs.

Any suggestions?
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Justin,
Any suggestions?
Yes, a couple.

Change the water every couple of days. Be patient, it may take some time. Try to get permission to work on the larger one. And by 'work on' I mean destroy, at least that's how non-bonsai folk will see it.

Your cutting is going to take some time to root and even more time to get some branches started and put on some girth. By starting witht the larger one you will be that much further ahead.

There are several threads showing progressions of this species in the Photo Gallery section of the forum, including one by myself.

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=18867

Norm

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JustinBoi
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I can do the changing of water. Also by saying
And by 'work on' I mean destory
What does that mean? And also at nights would it be okay if I used the plant light?
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Justin,
What does that mean?
I mean cutting it down to around 6 or 8 inches and stripping every leaf from it. I know that sounds extreme but by drastically shortening a decent sized trunk you will have a much more presentable image that much quicker.

The defoliation is necessary with this species because they have a strong tendency to only grow from the tips. By defoliating and removing every growing tip you will force the plant to put out new branches lower on, and closer to, the trunk.

Before you get too serious about this I have to say that altough I have taken such action on my standard green S. arboricloa I am not certain how a variegated variety will respond. There is even a different species that is called umbrella tree but is larger than the ones I am familiar with. Some more research, and perhaps persuasion, is in order.

Norm

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JustinBoi
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I have gone and done research but no help has come up.
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Gnome,
Variegated ones will respond just like the normal ones.

JustinBoi,
Before you go ahead and rip into the larger one, you should have some idea as to the form of the bonsai you wish to create in the end. Just remember, if you want it to branch more, defoliation is a must.
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What I'm worried about is the cutting I took off and if its going to grow roots. And then for the bush, that's my parents plant. :wink:
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It should have no problem growing roots Justin. All you need is a stem section that include about 5 or 6 nodes (where the leaves attach) and 2 or three of the nodes need to have leaves on them that remain out of the water, just as shown in one of your pictures above. That plant should root just fine for you.
Put it in a sunny location and change water when it gets yucky with algae and in a couple of weeks you should see tiny roots start to appear. Give them time to lengthen and then plant in potting soil and it will do fine.
I have quite a few Scheffs. of the arboricola variety and most of them are in
"forest plantings". I like the look of this plant in that venue but you can grow them into nice Bonsai using single, double or just about any type you like. The Aboricola just have smaller leaves and so they make more realistic Bonsai in a smaller size. The larger the leave, the larger the tree needs to be to look in balance.
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JustinBoi
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Thanks for the reassurance. This weekend I will be making a platform out of wood like a Table but for outside. I have a lot of Bonsai (5 soon 6) so instead of putting them on the deck and on small tables, I'll make a table of my own. Hopefully by the end of this next week, my Schefflera will sprout some roots and put it in the new MiracleGrow Soil. Spent a good amount of money today :) Also, there's a Plant Nursery near my house and now they know me now as a frequent costumer so they'll be bringing in more Bonsai for a cheaper price for me to buy. They recently got some type of Red Cedar in for me and said it would be a good Bonsai. Any suggestions if thats a good plant for a somewhat beginner like me?

Also, went to that Nursery today, bought really good pruning scissors for like $10 and another Juniper, almost same type but a little different.
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Good luck with your Sheff. I've grown mine from cutting from this beast.

[img]https://i956.photobucket.com/albums/ae50/marsman61/Bonsai/Hunts%20Schefflera/DSC_0001.jpg[/img]
(That's my daughter next to the plant on 3/27/10.)

I just stuck the cutting in soil and kept them moist. Almost all the dozen or so cuttings lived. I've got a couple training as root-over-rock. It's been 9 months since I've pruned the original plant and I've even taken cuttings from the cuttings. They grow very quickly. I trim the tops to keep them growing out, not up.

[img]https://i956.photobucket.com/albums/ae50/marsman61/Bonsai/Hunts%20Schefflera/Scheff4-26-10.jpg[/img]
(4/26/10)

One cutting, showing the growth:

6/27/10
[img]https://i956.photobucket.com/albums/ae50/marsman61/Bonsai/Hunts%20Schefflera/DSC_0012.jpg[/img]

1/10/11
[img]https://i956.photobucket.com/albums/ae50/marsman61/Bonsai/Hunts%20Schefflera/67921607.jpg[/img]

It's not in a bonsai pot, but it is in good bonsai soil.

I need to take some current shots of the R-O-R's.

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I only threw mine in a cut half of a water bottle and put some tap water in it and giving it sun. I just bought some soil, should I put it in the soil now?

Also, the first picture is very beautiful, It looks amazing (to me atleast).
I also like the smaller schefflera in the round pot. Looks very nice like that.

I'm also very worried about the weather because it's getting very windy here and I'm afraid I won't be here while at school and it will be knocked down.

Any suggestions on what to do? :?
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Sheffs will do fine indoors. Mine spend the summer outside on the bench, but I pull them inside for the winter. The one pictured above in the round pot is at work and sits in the office window getting full sun all day.
Last edited by Marsman on Mon Jan 10, 2011 8:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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JustinBoi
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I mean its not typically like this all windy and everything. Its like 70 degrees out. And now during the summer, no sun comes in through the day indoors.

Should I put the Scheff in soil instead of water?
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JustinBoi wrote: Should I put the Scheff in soil instead of water?
It probably doesn't matter, I'd just leave it alone.

As for the wind, with such a small cutting I would just take it to school with you. Or you could just put it in a sunny or bright spot inside. Scheffs can survive, and even grow with a surprisingly small amount of light. You will get better growth, however, with more light.

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Ill leave it alone. Also how do you wire a bonsai? And where can u buy it? Also, where can u buy small round ceramic pots and bonsai soil (even if it doesn't actually have soil in it.
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Bonsai pots can usually be found at nurseries, or over the internet. I don't recommend the latter, because you can't always tell what you're getting. Wire can also be purchased online. As for wiring instructions, you may find this helpful. https://www.bonsaihunk.us/info/ScheffleraBonsai.html
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JustinBoi
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Thanks for the info. When I purchase the red cedar at my local nursery ill probably ask for wiring and the pot. Also, when should I put the schefflera cutting into soil?
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bonsaiboy
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Soon, you should start to see roots emerging from the stem. When these roots are a few centimeters long, you should plant it in soil.
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JustinBoi
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Does the oots come out from the bottom of stem where I cut it from the larger bush? Also, does Red Cedar make a nice Bonsai and is it hard to grow?
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Red cedar will take a while to grow a good trunk. You want to avoid the "stick in a pot" look. Click on my link to Mars Hall below and read my short essay.

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JustinBoi
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Stick in a pot?
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It's a phrase my teacher uses. Here's one of my first 'bonsai' purchases from a local garden nursery and a fine example of a "stick in a pot".

[img]https://i956.photobucket.com/albums/ae50/marsman61/Bonsai/Boulevard%20Cypress/Boulevard-After.jpg[/img]

It has no [url=https://www.bonsaiempire.com/train/trunk]taper[/url]. No [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bonsai_aesthetics#Nebari]nebari[/url]. It's just a skinny stick in a pot.

I can work all I want on the branches, but unless I can coax the trunk to thicken up, this will be an ugly little tree. My best bet would be to stick it in the ground and let it grow for 5-10 years.

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JustinBoi
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Omg that's in better condition than the one I saw. Ill probably let it grow for a few years in the ground. I hope it goes through the seasons. Also, what type of Bonsai do you grow? I see Bonsai in that nice yard of yours
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Justin,

Resist the urge to buy a lot of very young (sticks in pots) material. Better to save a few bucks and get something a little more advanced. I'm not saying to spend hundreds but having a bunch of pots with young, skinny 'bonsai' does not teach you much.

Most of us have gone through a similar stage so don't think I'm trying to be critical but the sooner you get past that stage the sooner you can make some advancements in your new obsession.

Here's a tip for you if money is tight. Check out conventional nurseries rather than specialty shops. You can get a much more impressive piece of stock for less money and during the process of working on it you will actually learn something. Also, look around your neighborhood for plants that may no longer be wanted, you can offer to dig them for free. This benefits you and the homeowner.

Norm

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In the background of that picture is my teacher's garden at [url=https://www.sanctuarybonsai.com/]Sanctuary Bonsai[/url] in East Hartford, CT. I was using that little Boulevard Cypress for a wiring class.

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-Gnome: Money is tight since I do not work (yet) since I'm in 'Highschool'. Also, there is not many nurseries that specialize in Bonsai but there is a few Plant Nurseries like the one I saw the Red Cedar at. There is also another I haven't been too that is privately owned which I will probably visit this weekend. My obsession is growing bigger and bigger but I'm trying to resist oh so lightly. But in the end, I know that I need something I can work with rather than a 'stick in a pot'.

-Marsman: I wish they had something like that around here where I live. It would most definitely help me out but they don't so I'm alone to learn myself.

Everyone:
I just recently (as in 10 minutes ago) took pictures of my.. 5 1/2 plants since the Scheff is only a cutting so far.

[img]https://i1126.photobucket.com/albums/l612/Justin_Broughton/ScheffleraProject009.jpg[/img]
Picture of 4 1/2 of my plants.

[img]https://i1126.photobucket.com/albums/l612/Justin_Broughton/ScheffleraProject013.jpg[/img]
Picture of my first Juniper and my Chinese Elm.

[img]https://i1126.photobucket.com/albums/l612/Justin_Broughton/ScheffleraProject014.jpg[/img]
Picture of my Ficus, My second Juniper, and my baby Scheff.

[img]https://i1126.photobucket.com/albums/l612/Justin_Broughton/ScheffleraProject015.jpg[/img]
All 5 1/2 plants of mine.

[img]https://i1126.photobucket.com/albums/l612/Justin_Broughton/ScheffleraProject016.jpg[/img]
All of mine. The weeping fig has to be tied up so it doesn't fall since it's like a plant kite.

[img]https://i1126.photobucket.com/albums/l612/Justin_Broughton/ScheffleraProject017.jpg[/img]
My newest pruning scissors. ($10.99)
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