How to Transplant Schefflera

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The tropical schefflera benefits from periodic transplanting.
The tropical schefflera benefits from periodic transplanting. (Image: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

The tropical Schefflera actinophylla, also called the umbrella or octopus tree, grows to 40 feet or taller in tropical climates. However, dwarf species exist and the larger ones remain smaller when you grow them as houseplants or potted plants for outdoor decorating. Requiring little care, the schefflera will provide attractive foliage for many years. The most common species is native to Australia, New Guinea and Java, but today it's grown in Hawaii, Florida and other warm climate zones and has earned the invasive designation due to its prolific seeds.

Things You'll Need

  • Knife
  • Clippers
  • Potting soil
  • Large pot

Transplant your schefflera to a larger pot at any time of year when it becomes root-bound. The root system of this plant is strong and aggressive and will fill the pot in time, making it difficult to give it enough water due to the absence of soil in the pot.

Remove the schefflera from its current pot by sliding an old kitchen knife around the sides of the pot to loosen the roots. Lift it out and then rinse off the old potting soil with a stream from your garden hose. Loosen the roots and examine them.

Cut off roots that are soft or damaged from root rot. Also search for borer insects and cut off any roots that show signs of insect damage.

Set your schefflera into the new empty pot to gauge how much potting soil to insert before transplanting: if the top of the plant sits 2 inches below the pot’s rim, add 2 inches of standard potting soil before you set the plant into the pot.

Set your schefflera into its new pot and distribute the roots evenly around the base. Then fill with potting soil to within 1/2 to 3/4 inch of the rim. Water until water runs out the drainage hole and allow the plant to adjust in an area with filtered sunlight and not full sun for up to one week. Then move it to a spot with medium to bright light.

Tips & Warnings

  • Water your schefflera the day before you transplant it to enable easier removal from the pot.

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