Wrapping Roots Around a Hawaiian Umbrella Tree?

I have a lovely Hawaiian Umbrella tree, it lives indoors, and is approximately 25 years old and quite healthy.

Recently, while visiting a local mall, I saw another Hawaiian Umbrella with the roots wrapped around the trunk: a banyan effect, but not random, and besides being quite attractive it had the added benefit of supporting the (by no means sturdy) trunk.


Mine is about due for transplanting and I'm wondering if I can take some of the (very long) roots and wrap them around the trunk without losing the tree (I do realize roots need some degree of moisture).

Any advice/suggestions would be most appreciated.

Hardiness Zone: 3a

Thanks and regards,
Rose Anne from Calgary, Canada

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By Lynda (Guest Post)
November 13, 20060 found this helpful

You know, I lived in a Banana Grove in Hawaii for three years, gardening my heart out with every plant I could find, but never heard nor saw a "Hawaiian Umbrella Tree". Does it have any other name? I'm very curious just what it could be. Does it bloom, fruit, or vine? Are the roots straight down? Perhaps the Hawaiians have a different name for it? Let me know if you know, o.k.? : )

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November 14, 20060 found this helpful

Hi, Linda.

The Latin (proper) name for my tree is Arboricola schefflera, although mine isn't the dwarf variety. (Sorry about that; I should have thought to mention it, before.)


No fruit, no bloom (not in the 25 years I've owned it) and no vine. The roots are quite, quite long and thin and grow almost exclusively around the perimeter of the pot: around and around and around. I hope this description helps you identify it.

You lived in Hawaii? Lucky you! Gardening every day. How wonderful that must have been!

Rose Anne

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By Lynda (Guest Post)
November 19, 20060 found this helpful

This is known as the Dwarf Schefflera, and is considered one of the easiest plants to grow indoors.
It is tropical, grows wild up trees in Taiwan, Hawaii,
Austrailia, and perhaps itself? this accounts for the long "tendril" like roots, I suppose. lol I have one which I rescued from curbside back to health, but now have to rearrange my entry into a Winter greenhouse once again.


After 25 years, yours MUST be potbound, needing to be repotted. It is a judgment call whether or not to wrap the longest roots up it's trunk. It might do some strange things? I'd be more inclined to train it and it's tendrils into the tree form and train the roots to cling to a large wooden support of perhaps a 3" diameter rough
Cedar post?, tying it all the way to the very top and:

pull off any black/dry leaves,
watching that it doesn't get too moist, nor too dry
keeping an eye out for mites or scale
and perhaps feeding it a few used coffee grounds,
or Sea Kelp on its leaves.
It can be pruned back, if desired/needed, too, I understand from all I have read..and will recover well.
You must be doing all the right things to have kept it alive this long? Don't do too much that is drastic.

Yes, my days in Hawaii are mixed emotions, with the


fragrances of wild blooming trees and plants in abundance YEAR AROUND, growing every sort of plant there, seeing what we call ordinary Ivy growing to two foot wide leaves as high as the Mango trees were tall, right in our back yard, wtih the sounds of Hawaiian music heard 24 hours a day because Hawaii
seldom sleeps.

Once one gets used to the beauty and strangeness, it becomes more apparent that island living is both dangerous during a Tidal Wave/Tsunami or fire from Volcanoes, or shark
attacks in the surrounding waters for swimmers/surfers, and giving feelings of complete isolation from the world!

Yes, gardening there is a paradise, and it's where I studied Botanical subjects from the local Library for two of three years, day/night, attending Honolulu Beauty College the other year, when my husband was gone in the Military for months at a time.


It is a great place to visit but living there once is enough unless one is extremely wealthy and has their own plane/shipping line. lol It's a hard act to follow and few places ever satisfy you for a vacation once you've lived in Hawaii.

I saw several varieties of the Dwarf Scheffs with berries on Google Images, and yet, unless you want to take the chance, I'd be inclined to not try to force it to bloom with blooming food. Just see how well it grows with a few used Coffee Grounds and sprayed on liquid Sea Kelp.

Mine really likes both and perked up over night. I'm trying to figure out whether or not it has a multi-trunk
or is several plants in one pot, but hesitate to repot it just yet.

Good luck and hope this encourages you somehow.
God bless you. : )

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November 20, 20060 found this helpful

I'd love to chat with you at greater length, Lynda. You sound fascinating! My personal e-mail is wordswork AT if you'd care to be in touch.


Thanks kindly for the recommendations (particuarly the coffee grounds and kelp spray). I have repotted the thing several times over the years, but I still wonder about the 'dwarf' nomenclature as it 7 feet tall. I'm not sure about the mult-trunk aspect either, but that's neither here nor there at the moment.

When I consider wrapping the roots around the trunk, my principal concern is the roots dying. What portion should remain in the soil? Just the last, say, 3 feet? What I'm wondering about is simply this. Can I take the thing from it's pot, untangle all the roots, wrap them around the (several taller) trunks and then stick the last few feet of root back into the dirt? (Fresh pot, fresh dirt, of course.) Do I pack on some kind of growth medium (moss) and tie it over the exposed roots and keep it well moistened?

I'm asking a lot, I know. But I'd hate to lose the thing as it adds quite a nice feature to my home.

Rose Anne

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