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Leaves Are Falling Off My Schefflera – Help!

Ask the Expert: why do the leaves keep falling off of my scheffera
schefflera keeps loosing it leaves, i water it about twice a week – Sue


  1. Hi, My Scheffelera is 7 months old. When I first got the plant I was overwatering it, however, I think I got the watering under control but it is still loosing leaves. The stems and leaves are turning brown and falling off. I’m down to 3 umbrella’s of leaves and they are drooping badly and I have a feeling I’m going to loose them too. I thought that it might not be getting enough light so I recently moved the plant by a south facing window. My plant has never had any new growth. Any suggestions on how I can help my plant?

    Attached Image: DSC06715.jpg

  2. Lynn,

    Let’s try to determine any issue that might be a factor.
    1. Does you pot have drain holes? If not re-pot the plant into a container with drain holes. As you do this check to see if your plant is experiencing rot root. the roots should be white or creamy in appearance. If they are black, you might have rot root. Should this be the case snip the roots back till you remove the black. Then re-pot in fresh soil.
    2. Going the other extreme. Many people who over-water their plants will then go the other extreme and under-water their plants resulting in another stress on the plant. Reading our care tips for Schefflera might help with this.

    Once you have determine which of the above might be a factor, you can take the appropriate steps to correct the issue. However, with a plant this stressed it might take a while for it to recover. Be patience and give the plant a couple of weeks to recover after you have implemented the appropriate solution. Good luck and please let me know if I can help with anything else.

  3. Purple Thumb,

    Can you send me a picture? Are you wanting to top the plant and start a new one?

  4. Becky,

    Scheflerra are notorious for going into transplant shock when moved from one extreme condition to another. The good news is they usually recover if we give them time. I recommend leaving it alone and letting it get familiar with the new environment. You should see it start to recvoer in 2 to 3 weeks. Make sure during this time that you follow normal watering procedures. Good Luck and Please let me know If I can help with anything else.

  5. Jim,

    Check to see if your window is drafty. An extreme drop in temperature can cause this type of issue – even a slight cold draft can damage a schefflera. If the window is a bit drafty simple move the plant 1 or 2 feet further away and the plant should recover in about 2 to 3 weeks. Good Luck and please let me know if I can help with anything else.

  6. My Shefflera has apparently been over watered, & is also probably root-bound. I’ve had it many years, & we had to move temporarily into a different room, because we were painting the room it usually is in. It had been losing leaves before the move, but since then, it’s essentially naked on the bottom 1/2 of the primary stems. The top of the stems, however, look great. Today, I cut 2 of the 3 stems & put them in a vase (for the time being) & I bought some rooting hormone. Is it reasonable to treat the cut stems with the rooting hormone & plant them? I’ve seen where you are supposed to propagate from ??? The actual umbrella leaf part. But you are supposed to get the leaf from the bottom of the main stem–& I don’t have that. Thanks for your advice.

  7. Ruth,

    Usually I top a schefflera to start a new plant. When you say stems was this the stalks of the plant or the leaf stem. Leaf stems usually don’t propagate well – instead top the plant. You will need a 6inch piece. CUt the stem at a 45 degree angle and dip in rooting hormone, then place 2 to 3 inches in the soil and keep the soil moist until the plant roots. Good luck.

  8. I recently received a plant from a funeral but do not know what it is or how to care for it can anyone help

  9. GG,

    Can you provide a photo?

  10. You ought to be a part of a contest for one of the most useful sites online.

    I most certainly will recommend this website!

  11. i need help all around with my pitiful plant. i have a picture that might be easier than explaining all the issues my poor plant has. how can i send this picture?

  12. Tiffany,
    You can send us your picture here: http://www.flowershopnetwork.com/blog/ask-the-expert/ We will try and identify the plan anyway we can.

  13. My Scheffelera is losing leaves. I love this plant and how it looks. This is my second one in less than a year. When I purchased them they were full and healthy. I’ve noticed this one is doing the same thing as the first one did – leaves turn brown then fall off. I re-potted it into a larger pot without holes; (soil must be extremely wet below with no holes in the pot) after reading your answer to some of the post I will re-pot into another pot with holes. I even went out and bought a grow light and a grow light kit. Leaves still falling off. If the leaves keep falling I will take it back to the florist and have them tend to it. I’m neglecting my other plants trying to care for the Scheffelera.

  14. Crystal,
    There are a couple of reasons that a schefflera loses leaves.
    Extreme temperature changes. If the plant is used to one temperature an there is a sudden shift in temperature, it will lose its leaves. Is the plant in the path of an air vent? If so, move it where it will stay warm but not exposed to hot or cold air.
    Insufficient light. If the plant isn’t getting enough light the leaves will turn yellow and drop off. Make sure the plant is in bright light. However, directly in front of a window can cause a burning issue with the leaves.
    Water issues. If the plant is too wet or too dry the leaves will drop off. Does the soil feel dry or have you let it get dry? If this is the case, water the plant and make sure you keep it moderately moist. If it is too wet, make should it has proper drainage and don’t water till it is slightly dry.
    Pathogens. If the plant has an issue with insects the leaves could drop off. Check the fallen leaves for signs of insects or sticky substances. You might need a magnifying glass to see the insects. If this is the problem you will need an insecticide.
    Once you determine what is wrong, you can easily correct it. I have seen these plants drop all of their leaves and make a full recovery. The most important thing is to watch for new growth. If the plant is forming new growth, you should be ok.
    We have a plant care page for Schefflera. It might have some information that will be helpful. You will have to scroll down the page to see the care information.

  15. Last October I received my Schefflera plant from my grandma’s funeral. For awhile it has been dropping whole stems and leaves and occasionally just a random leaf here or.there. Some of the stems and leaves were brown and dead looking. About 3 weeks ago I transplanted it into a much larger pot. After transplanting it I read that the brown leaves were a sign of root rot so I cut into the main stem of that branch and it was gray so I removed it as I read to. I was going to unplant and look at the roots but my mom told me that it needs time to acclimate to the new pot, so I should wait. It’s been 3 weeks now and it’s still dropping at least one stem a week along with a couple of leaves. I am unsure what to do but I really don’t want to loose it. :( I believe it is getting proper light as it is by a window that doesn’t get direct sun. As far as water I am unsure if I am watering too much or too little but the pot does have drainage holes. Most of the leaves r dark green or green and yellow. I give it about 16 oz once a week. I was going to post pictures but am unsure how to do that. Finally, in the last few days it looks like a new branch is growing at the bottom of one of the main stem. Please help!

  16. Meghan,
    It could be that your Schefflera isn’t getting enough sun or is being overwatered. Check the water to see if there is poor drainage in the soil. It could also been the plant is infested with pests. Check to see if it has tiny bugs and if so, a light pesticide should help.

  17. A friend gave me a schefflera that she had for 16 years. I told her I would take good care of it. However, the leaves have been dropping off in record number. What can I do to stop this from happening?

  18. Cyndy,
    It can either be that it’s not getting the appropriate amount of sunlight or water. Scheffleras need a medium amount of sunlight, not direct sunlight. They should get enough water, but not too much. Try changing one of these and see what happens.

  19. I have a schefflera that I have had for 10 years. It looks like about 10 different stems were planted and they form a circle in the pot (not twisted). As it has grown the stems have become long and have grown outwards and not inwards to really give a full plant. If I prune, it will result in the middle of the plant being empty (no leaves – a hole in the middle of the plant). Also most of the stems do not have leaves coming out at the bottom of the stems. If I cut too low, it will end out an empty stalk with no leaf stems on it. I am afraid no new leaf stems will form from it.

  20. June can you send a picture to jadams@flowershopnetwork.com. This way I can get a better understanding of what needs to be done.

  21. I bought a gorgeous, and rather large Schefflera Amate this summer. I went on vacation for 1 week and the person who was to come and water my plant forgot. Not only did it not get water for 1 week, but, the outside temperature was about 100 degrees. Many of the leaves turned brown and fell off. Since then, there has been quite a bit of new growth on the top, however, nothing in the middle where the leaves fell off. Will the leaves come back in these areas? I’m happy to send pictures. I’d love to know if/how I can prune it in hopes of it getting back to the fullness it was when I bought it!

  22. Sean,
    Since it does have new growth at the top, it sounds like it is getting back to normal. Prune the dead leaves by cutting to just above the leaf node. Keep in mind that you will get renewed growth at the node where you cut.

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