I had 3 stems of schefflera plant but 2 of them died and I was left with one. It was doing well but the roots were minimal and I found some worm in the soil that may have damaged the stem right above the root. I washed it and cleaned it and repotted it in new soil.

Then I read cutting the the top part of the plant right above the node will stimulate it to grow further and I did that as you can see in the second image. However since then its branches have been droopy and are wilting. Is there anything else I can do about it? I do no want it to die as it is from a dear friend. I'm keeping it under good sunlight for 8 hours and at room temperature.

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This is a week after repotting and finding the worms. This is how the root looked like. Is the white stuff fungus?

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This is how much roots it has:

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This is after I washed it off the soil so we can have a clearer look at the roots ans the stem:

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Can I cut off the lower part and hope for it to revive and build a new root system? This is what I did with the side branches:

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Update: Ok, instructions followed and my fingers are kept crossed for any new growth from any of them, pics attached.

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Will follow up with pics as soon as a new root or develops or otherwise in 6 wks hopefully. Thanks a lot:)

So heres an update after a week of cutting up the stem as per instructions followed.. in hope new roots will be made and the other severed stem was cut into half and put in water.. but all results are drastic. The mainnstem left in the soil was shrinking and getting a peau d'orange appearance ( the dotty skin appearance of oranges) as.. it was rotting away slowly and so did the stems i kept in water. Images attached..this was the end of.my.schefflera plant.. i wish i did not decide to cut the top of it as it was doing well till then. [ this is the main stem left in soil.. most of it turned yellow]. (https://i.stack.imgur.com/6TKOt.jpg)

this is the skin of the other half of the stem that i kept in water.

Regarding the side braches of leaves that i have put in water for roots to grow...its still has no roots but its green and thriving well.

  • How long ago did you chop the top off and what did you do with it, just binned it?
    – Bamboo
    May 31, 2018 at 11:35
  • And precisely when did you wash and repot the plant, how long ago? And what soil did you use to repot it into?
    – Bamboo
    May 31, 2018 at 11:41
  • My friend sent it to me almost 6 months back. I repotted it using indoor soil that i have bought from the store around one week back and thats excatly when i trimmed off the top which was underneath a node. The top stem i cut was very short and tiny.. i removed the side branch hanging from it and put it in water in hope itll make roots..
    – user21844
    Jun 1, 2018 at 10:25
  • Good, you're trying to root the top - it might work, but fill that bottle up to the top and keep it topped up, stand it on a windowsill that doesn't get much sun. Reduce the length of the longest stem, back to a node or a ridge on the stem - you want the stem to be about 3-4 inches only when trying to root them. Usually takes about 6 weeks for roots to form, but usually more successful if its the main stem, not a side shoot from it.
    – Bamboo
    Jun 1, 2018 at 12:08
  • Rooting compound (some variant on indole acetic acid) sometimes works wonders. Sometimes not. Look it up for schefflera. Jun 7, 2018 at 14:09

2 Answers 2


Something has caused the roots to die back, but there is hope - those thin white roots in your penultimate picture are healthy. However, the top is wilting because there isn't enough root material to support its growth as it is, so cut that main stem down to the second leaf joint from the bottom. You can try rooting the part you cut off - it might not work, but it's worth a try. Cut the severed stem into two sections and pop the bottom ends in a bottle of water, like you've done with the side leaves you saved.

I'm not sure whether you have once again removed the plant from its pot, or these images are from before you repotted it, but leave it alone in its pot, don't take it out again. If you did remove it again, repot immediately. Keep watered but allow excess water to drain freely away from the bottom of the pot and empty out the outer container after 30 minutes. Water when the surface of the soil in the pot feels just about dry to the touch, but not so dry it's shrunken from the sides.

I suggest you find a saucer or a small tray to stand the pot in - that cup or white pot you've used isn't deep enough by the looks of it, which means water will be sitting in the bottom not in contact with the plant, which isn't healthy. And neither is it a good idea to keep the water level topped up inside the white pot so that the soil is in contact with it - rot is likely to result. While the plant is recovering, limit its sun exposure to morning and evening only, or stand it somewhere it receives one or the other. Once it starts growing healthily again, by all means move it back to a sunnier spot.

  • Thanks bamboo for your efforts in answering. Lol i did remove it again today.. it was a week post me repotting it so i wantednto see how its doing..unfortunately not well. By bottom 2nd leaf joint.. u meant above the 2nd leaf joint ( node) ? And then the long stem that comes off is the severed one u mean? And i shud cut them into sections u meant into another half and pop each one in bottle? Wat about the leaves on them.. should i remove it while i keeping it in water? And in regards to the root stem i l thought ill cut off the bottom part cz it looks rotten with some holes n whititsh stuff
    – user21844
    Jun 1, 2018 at 12:49
  • Okay, I mean cut the whole thing back to just above that second leaf stem - that seems quite drastic, but it will give the plant the best chance of recovery if it hasn't got to support too much topgrowth. And yes, cut what you've removed into two and pop in a bottle, and don't remove the leaves, so make your cuts such that there's a good couple of inches of bare stem to put in the bottle. You might need to remove one leaf just to get the mainstem in the water, but otherwise, leave 'em alone. And No, do not cut the root- repot carefully so as not to break those fragile white roots.
    – Bamboo
    Jun 1, 2018 at 15:09

Chopping off the top is not your problem, it is the water in the pot. I would get rid of the rock on the top, transplant this plant into sterilized potting soil. If the roots are circling and massed use a pot 2" larger in diameter. Break up some of those roots.

I'll bet if I pulled the pot up out of the other pot I would find pond scum and alien organisms? Grins. Cutting that top would not hurt this plant at all. Do try to cut it a little closer to the junction of that leaf; leave 1/8 inch, versus 1/2 inch. Leave it alone. It is no big deal.

Need to look at the roots, the soil and watering. Have you ever fertilized? Thanks.

  • the rocks are for decoration and to support that lonely stem, but i definitely can get rid of that. As i.mentioned in my question, i just threw off the old soil and did find worms so i transplanted it to a new pot with new soil and i also sterilizse everything i use on the plant. Im.kinda.OCD so cleaning in and out is my.thing. the stem has hardly 3 long roots at the bottom. I can remove it again and send a pic of the root system if that will help. In regards to fertilization i did it the day i repotted it. I hope so that i dint hurt it cz it looks like its dying on me :/
    – user21844
    Jun 1, 2018 at 10:33
  • Looks like that soil was really wet, garden soil, no drainage. Did you smell anything as you repotted? Stinky? You did well. I think you should ask another question about how to clone this plant and/or look up other questions on how to start new plants. Water roots aren't for soil...depends on the plant of course. Your stem should be close to the windows, not in direct sun and do not soak all of that soil. Just moisten the soil around the roots, keep moist but not soggy. No fertilizer yet. Watch your stem for buds. Too few roots for that amount of soil. Water deeply later when more root
    – stormy
    Jun 2, 2018 at 3:32

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