How to Trim Schefflera

Pruning back a 'leggy' one

By: Sandy Feather 2009
Penn State Extension

Q. I have a large schefflera plant that I would like to prune. There are three individual stems in the pot. Two of them are about three feet tall and are nice and full; the third is about five feet tall and starting to lean out of the pot, and the bottom three feet is bare of leaves. I would like to cut the tall stem back to the height of the other two. Will the bottom leaf out, or should I just get rid of that stem altogether?

A. It would actually be better to cut the tall Schefflera stem back much shorter than the other two because it is unlikely grow new leaves on the bare portion of the stem. The new growth will catch up to the other two eventually and will have leaves all along its length instead of just at the tip. Sheffleras tend to be vigorous plants, and it is no problem to cut the leggy stem back to about six inches.


Correcting the 'leggy' problem

That stem may have started to grow leggy because your schefflera may not be getting enough light. If that is the case, the other stems may start to lean toward the light and drop their lower leaves, too.


Scheffleras are best in very bright, indirect sun. An east-facing window, or just back from a south- or west-facing window is ideal. If possible, move your plant into brighter light and rotate it every few days so that all sides of the plant are exposed to as much light as possible.

This helps all the stems grow more evenly. You can also use grow lights positioned directly above the plant to encourage it to grow more upright. If you use grow lights, keep them on for about 12 hours a day.

Schefflera bonsai
Schefflera bonsai created
through careful pruning


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