How to grow an umbrella tree from a cutting

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Fans of Schefflera trees -- also called umbrella trees -- often grow these as houseplants. Over time, umbrella trees can grow to heights over 3 m (10 feet) tall, forcing homeowners to cut the plant to make it fit in an indoor space.

Rather than throwing these cuttings away, home gardeners can propagate them to make new umbrella plants for another room or for outside.

Fill a large flowerpot with well-drained potting medium such as sand and vermiculite, or perlite mixed with peat or sphagnum moss. If using your own potting medium, sterilise it in your oven at 82.2 degrees Celsius (180 degrees Fahrenheit) for half an hour. Most nurseries sell pre-sterilised potting mixes.

Water the potting medium until water escapes from the hole in the bottom of the flowerpot.

Take a terminal cutting -- one with a functional growing tip -- from one or more branches. Cut through a stem about 7.5 cm (3 inches) behind a group of leaves.

Plant the stem 2.5 or 5 cm (1 or 2 inches) deep in the potting medium. Set the plant in a bright, humid spot. To accelerate rooting, place the pot over a heating mat.

Place a clear plastic bag or glass jar upside-down over the plant to enclose it and create a humid greenhouse-like environment. If using a plastic bag, secure it with a rubber band.

Mist the plant with water under the bag or jar once daily to keep the plant moist but not excessively damp.

Remove the bag or jar once the umbrella plant takes root in about 6 weeks.