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I’m a bit embarrassed to admit that I’ve had one of these plants for a number of years, I’ve always called it an umbrella plant, and just found out the correct name is the Schefflera plant. Whoops !

Either way, this plant has been one of the most popular houseplants for years. It comes in a regular size and a dwarf variety.

Perhaps one of the reasons for the popularity of the Schefflera plant is that it is classified as low maintenance.

That said, it still needs fixing, and if not cared for properly, it won’t be as lush and healthy as it should be.

We are going to look at some of the reasons for an unhealthy plant and how to fix Schefflera plant problems.


What are the main problems of the Schefflera plant?

The reason this plant is low maintenance is that there are really only two things to consider for a healthy Schefflera plant and that is the right amount of light and the right amount of water.


Your Schefflera always needs bright but indirect light. If you notice your plant getting “long”, it’s probably because it’s not getting enough light.

Now that I have decided that the plant will become very little lightdon’t be tempted to move it to a location with bright, direct light, as that will only scorch the leaves.


To ensure your schefflera is healthy, it’s best to water while waiting for the potting soil to dry out and then let it soak well.

One of the main problems with Schefflera plants, and the reason many of these plants die, is that they have been overwatered. Too much water also causes leaves to yellow and drop.

What about pests and diseases with your Schefflera plant?

A Schefflera plantThe beauty of the Schefflera plant is that it rarely suffers from diseases and pests, although, as with any plant, it can happen.

The most common pests to be aware of are mites and Woodlouse. Normally, just washing the plant with soap and water solves this problem.

If the infestation is more severe, you may need to try an insecticide. Neem oil is generally recommended.

One of the reasons for a pest infestation is that your plant is already stressed from too much direct light or too much water.

One of the few diseases to which this plant succumbs is root rot; again, this is caused by too much water and poor soil drainage.

Why are the leaves of my Schefflera plant falling off?

Your Schefflera plant will lose its leaves due to a number of issues, but the most likely causes are:

  • give too much water
  • insufficient drainage
  • Submarine
  • low light levels
  • Stress caused by the above problems.

give too much water

Don’t give up if you occasionally water your schefflera. Nothing bad will happen.

However, if you constantly water the plant, the leaves will fall off because the roots have turned to mush.

Even during the hottest months of the year, your plant only needs water once a week. You need less in the colder months.

If you think you’ve overwatered the plant, it’s best to replace the soil as soon as possible. This is the better option than waiting for wet soil to dry out.

It’s always a good idea to check that the soil is dry before watering the plant. If it’s still wet when you put your finger in it, wait another day or two.


Just as overwatering your Schefflera plant will cause the leaves to drop, so will overwatering. Your plant needs a happy medium to stay healthy.

As with overwatering, the plant will not curl up or die if you let it go without water once or twice.

If you don’t water for long periods of time, like when you go on vacation, you’ll have a sad plant when you return.

The easiest way to check if it needs water or not is to put your finger in the soil next to the stem. Make sure you feel about 2-3cm deep to check the humidity level.

If you find that your plant is completely dry, don’t be tempted to overwater it, as this is also harmful. Your plant does not like to go from one extreme to another.

The best way to keep your Schefflera plant happy is to have a regular weekly or bi-weekly routine. This means it is less likely to fall over and possibly lose its leaves.

insufficient drainage

Although watering is often the main cause of Schefflera plant leaf drop, another cause could be poor soil drainage in the pot.

This is easily fixed by simply adding a little perlite to the mix. This will allow the water to drain faster; make sure the pot you are using has holes in the bottom.

Also, before you even put the new plant in the pot, you will need to add some pebbles to the bottom.

Indeed, no dirt blocks the drainage holes and the water can easily flow out.

Another point to keep in mind, and indeed most plants, is that plastic pots do not allow water to evaporate.

Whereas a clay pot is porous and water drips down the sides allowing the soil to dry out.

If you like this article, check out our article on Why are my croton leaves hanging down?

Why are my Schefflera leaves turning black?

A Schefflera plantIn most plants, especially the Schefflera plant, black leaves are a sign of cold injury.

There are other causes of leaf blackening, namely too much water, mold and high humidity, all of which will promote root rot.

Keep in mind that too much hot air can also harm your plant by stripping moisture from the leaves. This is made visible by blackening the leaves.

Occasionally your plant may suffer from pests which may manifest as black or dark leaves, although this plant is not as susceptible as many others.

Parasites are eliminated by rubbing a cotton swab soaked in alcohol on the parasite or by washing the leaves in a solution of soap and water.

The easiest way to solve this problem is to pay attention to:

  • Relief
  • water routine
  • humidity level
  • Plagues and diseases

Why are my Schefflera leaves turning brown?

The reason for brown or yellow discoloration is usually caused by pests and diseases. If you don’t take care of it at first, you’ll notice the leaves turning brown within a few days.

However, with the yellow areas, keep in mind that this is part of the natural coloring of the Schefflera plant and yellow is part of it.

No More Schefflera Plant Problems


A common problem with most plants kept indoors, and the schefflera also suffers from it, is leaf ‘droop’. This is where the tips of the leaves tend to dry out and turn brown.

There are several factors that cause tipping, one of which is excess water. Another reason for tipping is excessive use of chemicals and fertilizers.

Dry, stagnant air and humidity caused by excess water aggravate this problem.


Although Schefflera plants are more resistant to insects than many others, they can still be attacked by spider mites and scale insects.

These will feed on the moisture in the plant and appear on the tips of the dry, discolored leaves.


This plant is strongly influenced by the humidity in the room. This makes the difference between a healthy plant or a diseased plant.

The Schefflera plant likes high humidity and will do well if it reaches 85%. High humidity helps the plant retain moisture in the leaves.

It can be difficult to control the humidity in the room. Spraying the leaves two or three times a day can help control the levels.

Another way to maintain humidity is to place a container under the pot filled with water. For additional attraction, you can place beautiful pebbles in the water.

Place the pot on the stones above the water, not in it, and you will see a wet area develop around the plant.

How often should a Schefflera plant be watered?

The best way to tell if your plant needs water is to put your finger in the soil. You will most likely find that you only need to water it once a week or even every two weeks.

These plants will also do well with a little liquid fertilizer added. They prefer the 20/20/20 type during the growing season and a medium strength mix changed every 2-3 weeks thereafter.

Here’s something you might not have heard of. Your Schefflera plant loves “aged” water! How do you do that? Simply leave the water in the tray for a few days before watering your plant.

Final Thoughts: How to Troubleshoot Your Schefflera Plant

A Schefflera plantAlthough these beautiful plants are rarely affected by insects and disease, several environmental issues will affect their beauty.

Improper watering, low humidity and lighting make the leaves less than perfect, they may even fall off.

Fortunately, all Schefflera plant problems are easy to fix, and there’s no reason you shouldn’t have a beautiful specimen in your home for years.

Before you go, here are some more related articles that I encourage you to read below to solve more of your gardening problems:

How to fix your Kalanchoe diseases?

What are common problems with a pilea?

Top 10 Common Fatsia Japonica Problems

Written by: Valerie Holyoak

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