DENVER — Some people fear doing something wrong to their plants so they don't do anything. At times, however, action is called for.

My proteges and I tackle some lanky umbrella trees (Schefflera). They tend to stretch out and get leggy. 

This popular houseplant can easily be brought back to looking good.

Cut it back. That will encourage it to branch out. 

Root the pieces you cut back in water or in soil. A rooting hormone brushed on the leaf nodules will encourage new roots to form along the stem. The leaves can also be rooted to form new plants. Break them off cleanly from the main stem (don't cut), dust the ends with rooting hormone and insert them in soil. They will form new plants in four to six weeks.

With care, your umbrella plant can regain its former glory and live to a ripe old age. 

RELATED: Proctor's Garden: Make a new resolution inspired by gardening

RELATED: Proctor's Garden: Shopping at local garden centers for last-minute gift ideas

RELATED: Choosing creative gifts for gardeners

RELATED: Proctor's Garden: Caring for your cuttings

SUGGESTED VIDEOS | Feature stories from 9NEWS