Schefflera, also known as umbrella plants, are a superb choice for bringing robust, exotic vegetation inside. These hardy plants can withstand some neglect, but it’s not unusual for them to drop fallen leaves under stress.
Knowing why your umbrella tree dropping leaves makes all the difference and can help you avoid panic. Schefflera dropping leaves in the later stages of life on an umbrella plant is natural, although excessive leaf loss is usually caused by stress and anxiety.
If you see your Schefflera is losing leaves, this can be triggered by over- or under-watering, low light, temperature extremes, repotting, or moving to a new location. Luckily, your indoor plant can recover with some proper plant care.
In our guide, you can learn more about why you have fallen leaves from your indoor plants. By the end, you’ll know the reasons and also what Schefflera plant care you need to fix the problems of falling leaves and get your plant back to full health. (Learn How To Make Snake Plants Grow Tall)
Why Is My Umbrella Plant Dropping Leaves
When Schefflera are exposed to poor growing conditions, they lose leaves. Monitoring should be done for the following:
- Watering issues
- Lighting problems
- Soil type
- Soil nutrients
- Pests or disease
- Physical stress
First, it is normal for Schefflera to shed leaves occasionally. The leaves naturally deteriorate with age, die, and then fall. It’s a sign of a more serious problem, though, if you see your Schefflera is losing lots of leaves.
The most common reason for Schefflera leaf loss is probably improper watering. Leaf drop will lead from either overwatering or underwatering this houseplant. Schefflera generally prefers damp soil, in general. However, plant health issues can result from soggy and overly dry soil.
Over-watering can harm Schefflera because if the soil is consistently wet, several plant problems could occur. First, when there is too much water in the soil, the roots cannot access the nutrients, and you get a loss of leaves following nutrient deficiency.
Persistent over-watering will promote the growth of pests and lead to root rot. Reduce watering if the soil is more than just damp; you might notice that the leaf loss stops and new leaf growth starts. Blackened leaves or spots without the leaves drying out are signs of over-watering.
The bottom of your pot must have drainage holes because even infrequent watering can lead to watering symptoms, as the soil and roots may never dry out properly. (Learn How To Get Rid Of Tree Fungus)
Even though the Schefflera plant can withstand some drought conditions, it still has limitations. The leaves of your umbrella plant will dry out and eventually fall if the soil is left too dry. Crinkly leaves and hard, dry soil are sure signs of under-watering.
Since Schefflera dislikes being over-watered, consistent light watering instead of excessive water can be the best remedy for under-watering.
Umbrella plants prefer bright, indirect light as this comes from their original habitat, which is the jungle. Thus, leaf loss can occur if your Schefflera plant receives too little or too much direct light.
Even through a window, direct light in the middle of the day will overstress your Schefflera, while bright light in the early morning and late evening is fine. Dry, crispy leaves without water stress and, of course, leaf loss signs.
Make sure your Schefflera has midday shade by moving the plant away from a window to remedy the improper light. Or, if the lovely plant receives little sunlight, think about moving it closer to a window or other area to receive indirect sunlight.
Lighting will be more vital during the winter, so ensure you have a sunny spot indoors.
Schefflera requires soil that dries out reasonably quickly and drains well. However, the water will remain in the soil for a very long time without drying if the soil is too compact. The umbrella plant’s new growth will be much more difficult as roots can’t spread in compacted soil.
Repotting your Schefflera to more well-drained, lighter soil is probably worthwhile if the soil is simply too compact. Don’t be tempted to add new soil because a Schefflera’s roots may poke through as it grows. Early in the growing season, repot the plant to give it time to recover.
In contrast, severely rootbound Scheffleras may drop leaves if the pot is too small; a constrained root system can only support so much foliage. Schefflera can flourish in a relatively small container and won’t lose leaves.
Schefflera typically gets all the nutrients they require from potting soil. Underfeeding them too much is more common than feeding them too little. However, umbrella plant leaf loss can lead to both a lack of nutrients and a surplus of nutrients.
Too Much Fertilizer
Brightly colored, splotchy leaves are a sign of too much fertilizer. This can occasionally be observed in leaves that are dry but moist. Overfeeding could cause leaf loss if you recently fertilized your Schefflera or changed the soil.
Water the soil deeply and quickly to remedy the issue. Repeatedly flush with water until the drained water runs clear. An alternative would be to repot your umbrella plant in lighter potting soil. (Read Mushrooms Growing In Mulch Guide)
Plants will drop leaves because of nutrient shortage. Undersized leaves and leaves with light color are signs. Water in or top dress a light fertilizer mixture to remedy. Because the signs of both overfeeding and underfeeding are similar.
If the plant is healthy, Schefflera will respond to light feeding during the growing season. Once a month, half-diluted balanced fertilizer boosts their growth. In the fall and winter, stop feeding your plants. To avoid burning the new, delicate roots after repotting, wait a few weeks before fertilizing. Fresh soil typically contains enough nutrients.
Spider mites, powdery mildew, and other fungal infections are common indoor pests and illnesses. Most pest infestations can be controlled if you keep your plant well-watered and in a healthy location.
Bugs are easy to identify through visual inspection. If you have an insect problem, lightly mist the leaves with an insecticide like neem oil.
Bacteria or fungus
Signs of fungus and bacteria include black spots on leaves and powdery growths on leaves and stems. Remove and dispose of the infected leaves. Try an over-the-counter anti-fungal or anti-bacterial product if this does not work.
Physical stress is susceptible to Schefflera plants. Leaf loss can be caused by cold, drafts, motion, repotting, and other factors.
Being moved can be sensitive for Schefflera, especially significant changes like repotting. Give your summering plant some time if you discover leaf loss after reporting it or moving it indoors.
Your umbrella plant will eventually acclimate and resume healthy growth if the new location or pot is suitable. If the move results in cold leaf loss, your plant isn’t getting enough water, light, nutrients, or warmth. (Learn How Fast Does Aloe Vera Grow)
Scheffleras or umbrella plants are native to tropical climates; they suffer if the temperature drops too cold. All-green types have more cold tolerance than variegated cultivars.
Being too close to a window or living in a home that is too cold in the winter can cause cold stress. To see if the problem with leaf loss is resolved, try moving your plant away from a cold window and closer to a heater. Be as gentle as you can when moving your Schefflera to avoid shocking the plant further.
The umbrella plant, like most houseplants, doesn’t like a cold stream, such as you’d get from a draft. To avoid this, think about moving the Schefflera farther from exterior doors. Or fix any leaks in your house that allow cold air to enter.
Umbrella Plants (Schefflera Arboricola) And Leaf Loss
Warm-climate shrub Schefflera Arboricola, also known as the Dwarf Umbrella Plant, has gained popularity as a hardy evergreen houseplant, and some of the fast-growing tropical plants come with white or gold variegation.
They can tolerate various conditions but prefer bright indirect light and moist soil. The bottom leaves are typically the most affected. Be aware that dropped leaves won’t usually grow back in the same spot and may prematurely give the plant an “umbrella” appearance. Address leaf loss early if you prefer a bushier style.
Schefflera thrives in bright indirect lighting. However, low-light conditions can cause leaf drop and spindly growth. Bright natural light indoors is fine if the plant is protected from direct rays.
Morning or late afternoon sunlight is usually fine. However, if leaves scorch, move the plant away from the window or increase its protection with midday shade. Schefflera can tolerate low light but be vigilant. The plant can struggle with insufficient light before it will shower leaves. Consider increasing their light if you don’t see healthy new growth.
Over-watering or under-watering can cause leaf loss, but you must diagnose the problem correctly. Schefflera prefers moist medium but does well in a drought when the top inch of soil dries; water Schefflera and let the excess drain through the holes to flush the soil. Ensure you avoid partial watering, as this can be misleading of the soil’s wetness.
If leaves turn black before dropping, that signifies over-watering and sodden soil. If this occurs, unpot your plant and look for mushy, unpleasant-smelling roots in the soil. Root rot is fatal, and your plant may not show symptoms until it’s too late. Cut back on watering during the cool season. Instead, water the plant just enough to prevent drying out. Also, ensure the water is at room temperature; cold water can shock their roots.
A Schefflera prefers dry soil to a soggy pot, although underwatering stresses the plants also. Remember that bone-dry soil doesn’t absorb water as quickly, soak the plant carefully after a prolonged drought. Use a potting mix combined with cactus soil for good drainage.
Schefflera, tolerate dry air in homes. Low humidity isn’t ideal, but it contributes stress to leaf drop, not its cause. Increasing humidity won’t bother your plant and can increase its resilience. Humidifiers work great, but you can improve air moisture by putting water trays near the plant. Putting a pebble-filled saucer under a pot is a common solution.
Grouping with other plants increases humidity, although misting plants doesn’t raise humidity effectively.