How can I propagate false aralia?
Schefflera elegantissima (syn. Aralia elegantissima, Dizygotheca elegantissima, Dizygotheca faguetii) or false aralia is a delicate, indoor, foliage plant that grows to 4 to 6 feet in height and prospers in strong, indirect sunlight.
This plant is normally propagated from seed, by cuttings or by air layering.
If your plant produces seed, for best results sow them is moist, sandy soil, uncovered by soil, in a warm environment (65 to 75° F), in summer. Sadly, they will not reliably produce strong, healthy plants.
Softwood cuttings can be taken from the top 10 inches of the aralia in the summer, removing the majority of the leaves (but leaving a set or two) and stripping the outer layer of bark from the cut end. Paint the cut end and the wounds where leaves have been removed with rooting hormone and pot upright in sandy, moist soil. You can cut the remaining leaves in half to reduce transpiration. Cover the cutting with a plastic bag to retain humidity.
Air layering is typically employed on thick-stemmed plants that have become leggy due to leaf loss and produces a new compact plant from a healthy shoot. In spring, cut the external layer from a 1/2 inch section of stem no more than 2 feet from the tip of the aralia and no more than 4 inches below a healthy leaf; then paint the cut with a commercial rooting hormone. Pack the cut with moist sphagnum moss and encase the wound and moss in clear plastic to retain the moisture, tied both above and below the cut. After a couple of months, roots will appear in the moss and the twig can be severed below the roots and, with plastic and moss removed, potted up.
Courtesy of NYBG Plant Information