Your Schefflera (umbrella plant) was a happy and healthy plant, but suddenly they are starting to drop their leaves and you can’t seem to stop it!
As the Schefflera becomes old, it is very natural for them to lose a few leaves. But if this is not the case then your plant is in grave danger. The Schefflera will need your help to get out of this situation. And for this, you have to identify what is causing the dropping of Schefflera leaves.
Improper Sunlight, Imbalanced Watering, Compact Soil, Cold Temperatures, Wrong Fertilization, Low Humidity, Repotting Stress, Pest Infestation, And Natural Aging are 9 potential causes why the Schefflera plants are losing their green leaves.
Now, there is no need for you to worry. Because in this article I am going to discuss all these problems with their simple solutions to help you get your Schefflera plant back to its beauty.
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How To Stop The Schefflera Plants From Dropping The Leaves
1. Improper Sunlight
Schefflera plants thrive in bright but indirect sunlight. Since Scheffleras are mostly kept as houseplants, sometimes they don’t receive enough light. You see, in low light conditions they start dropping their leaves and the plant becomes leggy. Moreover, the whole plant starts to lose its green color and becomes yellowish.
When the growth of Schefflera is very low and the leaves look droopy it means they are not getting enough sunlight. You can keep your Schefflera near any window to get some morning or afternoon sunlight. But remember that your umbrella plants don’t like direct sunlight for longer periods
On the other hand, If they receive too much sunlight then they can also shed leaves. So 3-4 hours of exposure to direct sunlight is enough for them.
When the leaves look scorched or burned it means they are getting more sunlight than they need. In this case, remove the scorched leaves from the plant and move the plant away from sunlight.
2. Imbalanced Watering
Both overwatering and underwatering can cause leaf drop on Schefflera plants. So you have to figure out which one of them is causing the leaf drop in your one.
If they are overwatered the leaves will turn black first and then fall off. Moreover, the soil will smell bad if the rot of your plant has started to rot. The plant will keep dropping the leaves as long as the overwatering situation continues.
And if they are under-watered then the leaves will turn yellow and start dropping. In addition, the leaves will look wilted and dry. And the soil will also be very dry.
Schefflera don’t like wet soil so water them only when the soil is dry. Always remember to let the excess water drain from the pot.
It’s really important to avoid overwatering because it causes root rot. And root rot is very dangerous and fatal to the Schefflera plant.
During winter cut back on watering and make sure the water is at room temperature. Otherwise, the roots will go into shock if the water is very cold.
Now you might be wondering about how much to water. Well, there is nothing fixed. You have to water your Schefflera according to:
- Soil condition
- Pot size
- Weather conditions
You can easily avoid the watering calculations with the help of a moisture meter (Our pick: Atree Soil Soil Tester Kits with Moisture, Light, and PH Test for Garden).
3. Compact Soil
Having the right kind of soil is very crucial. Because when the soil type is wrong no matter how carefully you water them the Schefflera plants will drop leaves.
If the soil is too compact or clayey it will hold water and make a waterlogged condition for the Schefflera roots. As a result, the roots won’t be able to function properly and the plant start dropping of leaves
Get a good potting mixture for your Schefflera if you think the soil is the issue behind the leaves falling off. If the soil seems too compact then change the entire soil of the pot. Mix sand or perlite to the soil mixture to improve aeration. You can also purchase good-quality houseplant potting mixtures (our pick: Miracle-Gro Indoor Potting Mix).
4. Cold Temperatures
Schefflera plants are tropical plants and they prefer the temperature between 60-80 ºF to thrive. But when the temperature goes below 50ºF they get stressed and start dropping their leaves.
They are not very cold-hardy. If you are growing it on your balcony or porch, during winter you must bring them inside your home.
Schefflera usually grows well in indoor temperatures. But in the winter you have to protect them from freezing cold temperatures. Regulate the room temperature within their preferred range. And keep it away from the window to protect it from the cold breeze.
5. Wrong Fertilization
Schefflera needs very little fertilizers every few months. This is one of the reasons why they are so popular among houseplants. But overfertilization can burn their root system. As a result, the leaves will turn brown and start dropping.
Overfertilization can also turn the leaves pale green to yellow. In addition, an overfertilized Schefflera plant will produce very small leaves.
When you have overfed them it’s time to water the soil generously so that excess fertilizers can leach out from the pot. But meanwhile, make sure all the excess water drains through the drainage hole of the pot. Because waterlogged conditions will make the situation even worse.
Get a well-balanced houseplant fertilizer and dilute it to half of its strength (our pick: Aquatic Arts Indoor Plant Food). Apply a light dose every two months since Scheffleras are not heavy feeders. But you have to totally stop fertilizing in the winter.
6. Low Humidity
Your tropical umbrella plants are adjusted to high humidity. So when the humidity is lower than normal they get stressed very easily.
Low humidity is one of the most common reasons for dropping leaves in houseplants. This is because the air conditioners make the air very dry. And when the air is continuously too dry for a long time the Schefflera will start dropping leaves.
You can easily fix the issue by getting a humidifier(our pick: AquaOasis Cool Mist Humidifier). You can also keep a water-filled saucer under your Schefflera plant. The water from the plant will evaporate slowly and increase the moisture level in the air.
You can mist the plant from time to time. It will increase the humidity around the plant. But be careful, because if you mist too much your Schefflera will get infected by fungus.
7. Repotting Stress
Sometimes when the plant becomes larger they need to be transferred to another pot of large size. But it’s stressful for them when the roots are uprooted from the soil and planted in another pot. The roots need some time to get comfortable with the new soil. So, until that happens the Schefflera keep dropping their leaves.
Yet, you might wonder if there is any need to re-pot them. Yes, there is! Because the pot is too small for the plant the soil will get compact and put pressure on the roots. As a result, the leaves will be falling off.
While repotting, be very careful with the roots. And do not fertilize for 3-4 weeks after repotting. Because fertilizing at this time can burn the roots. It’s best to re-pot during the growing season so that the plant can recover gradually.
8. Pest Infestations
Sap sucking insects like spider mites are very common enemies of Schefflera plants. This plant is resistant against some pests but still, severe infestation weakens them a lot. As a result of the feeding of spider mites and other insects, the Schefflera starts to drop their leaves.
Keep an eye on the plant leaves, especially on the underside. Because that’s where they are mostly found. But the bad news is spider mites are very tiny and they always attack silently. So they’ll be harming your Schefflera plant for a long time and you won’t even know it.
Start by cleaning the leaves with a strong stream of running water. And then apply a good insecticide that is safe to use for houseplants (our pick: Bonide (BND951) – Systemic House Plant Insect Control).
You can try horticultural oil and neem oil, etc to get them under control. They are pretty easy to make. The recipes are given here:
#Recipe 1:-Horticultural Oil Recipe
- 1 teaspoon of liquid dishwashing soap
- 100 ml of any cooking oil (olive oil\vegetable oil\soybean oil etc)
- Add the dishwashing soap and oil together in a bowl and mix very well
- Store this solution as a stock mixture in a bottle.
- Add 2 teaspoons of this mixture with every 200 ml of water and pour it into the sprayer.
- Spray on your Schefflera plants every week.
#Recipe 2:- Neem Oil Recipe
- 1 teaspoon of neem oil
- 500 ml of water
- Mix the neem oil very thoroughly with water
- Spray on the Schefflera plants every week
- You can continue to spray it as a preventive measure against pests.
#Recipe 3:- Three-In-One Insect Spray Recipe
- 1 small bulb of garlic
- 1 small sized onion
- 1 teaspoon of dry pepper powder
- 3 teaspoons of liquid dish soap (optional)
- Put the garlic and onion in an electric blender and blend them into a paste
- Now, add a spoonful of dry pepper powder to the paste
- Combine them together and let them sit for a few hours preferably overnight.
- Strain the mixture with a cheesecloth
- Then add the liquid dish soap and mix very well
- Make it a solution of 2 liters by adding water
- Put some of it into the sprayer and start spraying on both sides of Schefflera leaves.
- Wear gloves while spraying with this solution because it contains hot pepper.
- Avoid contact with skins and eyes.
Note: Sometimes all types of homemade solutions don’t go well with the particular plant. So before starting to apply any homemade insecticide spray solutions, try it on a small leaf of the Schefflera plant first. If the leaf seems okay then apply to the whole plant.
9. Natural Aging
As the plant matures, it starts to drop a few leaves as a sign of aging. It’s nothing to worry about unless the number of dropping leaves is too many.
A healthy Schefflera plant will drop leaves and it will grow new ones in their place. But keep an eye on the number of dropped leaves. If you think the Scheffleras are losing too many leaves then you have to start to care for them at once by cross-checking the other reasons that I mentioned above.
Schefflera are very hardy tropical houseplants. If you take care of them correctly they will swiftly bounce back to normal from dropping their leaves. With the help of this article, you can easily figure out what’s wrong with them and how to solve the problem.
There are many types of Schefflera including dwarf umbrella, Hawaiian Schefflera, alpine Schefflera, etc. And the good thing is the control measures in this article will cover all the types of Schefflera plants and even other houseplants.
Give us feedback about your experience and don’t forget to share this article to help other house plant enthusiasts.