Spruce up your Dwarf Umbrella Tree with Keiki Paste
This three-step tutorial shows how to boost growth in your Dwarf Umbrella Plant (Dwarf Scheffler/Heptaplerum arboricolum) using Keiki Paste.
Keiki paste contains plant hormones called cytokinin that encourage cell division in plants. It can encourage your plant to grow new shoots, stems, and leaves more quickly than it would otherwise.
The Dwarf Umbrella Tree is native to Taiwan. With its sprightly bursts of foliage, the umbrella plant will bring cheer into any home. The Dwarf Umbrella plant used for this tutorial is a variegated variety with pale yellow markings on the leaves. The variegated plant is indistinguishable from the normal non-variegated variety except for the foliage color.
In the wild, the Dwarf Umbrella Plant can grow as either free-standing trees or as epiphytes that cling to the trunks and branches of other trees. As an epiphytic species, it has pliable stems that can be bent into different shapes very easily. You can use Keiki Paste to achieve a bushier Umbrella Plant ready for pruning and training.
Step 1: Find nodes
First, select ‘nodes’ to apply the Keiki paste to. Nodes are parts of the plant where new leaves emerge from. Keiki paste contains growth hormones that encourage cell division in the nodes.
Stem nodes on the Dwarf Umbrella Plant appear as little notches or indentations along the stem. You will see stems already growing from some of them. The photos below mark some of the nodes on my plant.
Keiki paste is more likely to work on nodes that are lower down the stem but it also produces results on nodes higher up.
Step 2: Apply Keiki paste to nodes
Score the nodes slightly with a needle, pin, or knife, making sure not to sever the plant or damage it. This will make a slight wound.
Scoring the stem will expose the plant better to the hormones contained in the Keiki paste.
Dip a cotton bud in the Keiki paste and dab the paste onto the scored nodes. You only need a tiny amount.
Step 3: Wait
The Keiki paste can take up to a month or two to work. During this time, place the plant in optimal conditions for growth.
The Dwarf Umbrella Tree likes bright, indirect light. A good position would be a South, East, or West-facing window with net curtains that will filter the light. The temperature should be between 60°F and 75°F.
The Dwarf Umbrella Tree needs soil that is always slightly damp - don’t ever let the soil dry out completely. This does not mean that you should saturate the soil however. Just stick your finger into the soil occasionally to check that the soil has some moisture in it.
Humid conditions will help the Keiki Paste take effect. The Dwarf Umbrella Tree is a tropical plant and prefers high humidity anyway, but it is especially important while it pushes out new growth. Ideally, humidity around a plant treated with Keiki Paste should be 60%. Mist the plant heavily every day using a spray bottle or place the pot on a tray of pebbles half-filled with water. Make sure the pot is not touching the water however, since this will waterlog the soil.