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Why Is My Schefflera Turning Yellow? (Causes+How To Fix)

Schefflera can thrive in almost any situation as it does not require too much maintenance. But if you notice yellow leaves in your Schefflera, it is obvious that the plant is experiencing some health issues.

Overwatering is the primary reason behind yellow leaves in Schefflera. Poor draining soil or not having enough drainage holes can lead to overwatering. To fix the problem, stop watering the plant, let the soil dry out completely, prune the yellow leaves and repot if necessary.

The plant can easily return to its healthy form once you know the exact problem and address it. This article will explain the possible problems that lead to yellow leaves and how you can deal with them.

Schefflera turning yellow

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Why is my Schefflera turning yellow?

It is common to see old leaves turning yellow and falling off the plant.

You don’t have to worry about this if this is the reason.

But if you notice many leaves turning yellow, there is something wrong with your plant.

There are various reasons behind yellow leaves in Schefflera.

  • Overwatering
  • Underwatering
  • Incorrect lighting 
  • Temperature fluctuations
  • Low humidity
  • Poor soil quality
  • Improper fertilization
  • Pest problems
  • Repotting stress
  • Natural aging 

Let us further discuss all the reasons in detail.

Overwatering

Schefflera soggy soil and overwatering

Schefflera, doesn’t like frequent watering.

This plant must be watered only when the top soil is 75% dry.

Overwatering is one of the most common reasons behind yellow leaves in Schefflera.

If you notice any leaves turning dry, droopy, and yellow, you have overwatered your umbrella plant.

A waterlogged situation blocks the oxygen supply inside the soil, making the roots suffocate and giving rise to root rot disease.

Such damaged roots can’t absorb minerals, nutrients, and moisture from the soil necessary for the growth of the plants.

This makes the plant weak, and the leaves start to appear yellow.

If this situation is not treated promptly, root rot disease can kill your Schefflera. 

Solution

  • Stop watering immediately and wait until for the soil to get dry. 
  • Keep Schefflera in a bright location to dry up the soil quickly. 
  • If your Schefflera is undergoing root rot, repot the plant by removing all the infected roots and damaged parts.
  • Use a pot that can drain enough water so the extra water doesn’t remain in the soil.
  • Always check the moisture level of the soil before watering the plant. You can check by inserting the index finger inside the soil or using a moisture meter

Also read: Root Rot In Schefflera: Signs, Causes & How To Fix


Looking for a readymade indoor plant soil mix that you can open and pour? Check out rePotme. They offer a wide range of readymade soil premixes for all your indoor plants.


Underwatering

Schefflera dry soil

If you are not providing enough moisture to your Schefflera, it can experience dehydration.

Due to insufficient water, the umbrella plant fails to receive the moisture and nutrients from the soil.

This makes the plant unhealthy and weak, resulting in dry, crispy, and yellow leaves.

Forgetting to water or skipping it too often can make your Schefflera underwatered and dehydrated.

Solution

  • Start watering your Schefflera slowly.
  • Make sure you don’t drown the entire plant in water, as it can cause sudden shock. Instead, water it gradually.
  • Avoid keeping your Schefflera in direct sunlight. This will dry up the soil faster and make the situation worse.
  • Try to use soil to retain enough moisture to avoid watering issues frequently.
  • Use self-watering pots if you don’t have the time to water your Schefflera.
  • Maintain a calendar to remind you to check the soil and water the umbrella plant as per its requirement.

Also read: How Much Water Does A Schefflera Plant Need? (Watering Guide)

Incorrect lighting

Schefflera low light

Schefflera grows best in bright indirect light.

If this plant receives low or too much light, the leaves can turn yellow in both conditions.

When the plant is exposed to extreme light, the leaves lose moisture due to increased transpiration.

This causes dehydration in the plant, which leads to yellow leaves in Schefflera.

On the other hand, when your Schefflera fails to get enough light, the chlorophyll, which is responsible for the green pigment on the leaves, starts getting reduced.

Hence, the absence of chlorophyll results in yellow leaves. 

Solution

  • At first, prune all the damaged leaves from the Schefflera. This will help the plant to focus on new and healthy growth.
  • If a plant is getting excessive light, try to place it near a shady spot or provide shade by using curtains or sheer drapes. 
  • Always keep the plant 5-6 feet away from the window.
  • In case of low light, change the current location of Schefflera to a brighter location. You can place it near a south-facing window but make sure you filter the direct light. 
  • You can also use artificial light if natural light is insufficient for Schefflera. 
  • The best place to keep your Schefflera is near an east-facing window. In this spot, the plant will get enough bright indirect sunlight.

Also read: What Kind Of Light Does A Schefflera Need?

Temperature stress

Schefflera low temperature

Schefflera is a tropical plant that enjoys warm temperatures. The ideal temperature for this plant is 65-90°F.

If Schefflera fails to get its ideal temperature, it can develop yellow leaves.

If the temperature drops below 59°F, it will cause extreme stress to the plant resulting in yellow leaves.

Also, Schefflera cannot tolerate a higher temperature above 105°F.

Extreme warm temperatures can dehydrate the plant, leading to yellow leaves in this plant.

Not just higher or lower temperatures can cause stress to Schefflera, but sudden temperature changes can also shock the plant.

Sudden temperature changes can be very stressful as the plant will fail to adjust to the changes again and again.

Hence, the leaves will start turning yellow due to the stress. 

Solution

  • You can use a thermometer to check the temperature around your Schefflera. 
  • Try not to keep the plant near frequently opened and closed windows or doors to avoid sudden temperature fluctuations. 
  • You can use a thermostat device to maintain the temperature inside the room.
  • Don’t keep Schefflera too close to heating objects like radiators, open fires, stoves, electric heaters, etc.
  • Avoid keeping Schefflera near a frosty door or window during the winter months.
  • Also, don’t keep the plant near a refrigerator or in an AC.

Also read: Schefflera Plant Temperature Tolerance: Ideal Temperature+Problems

Low humidity

Schefflera humidifier

Schefflera needs high humidity to thrive.

This plant prefers humidity ranging between 60-70%.

Schefflera faces many problems in a low humidity environment as the air becomes too dry for the plant to survive.

Because of low humidity, the plant loses moisture from the foliage because of the increased transpiration rate.

This causes dehydration and weakness to your Schefflera, and you see crispy, dry, yellow, brown tips and edges on the leaves.

Low humidity problems mostly arise during the winter, so the plant needs proper attention.

Solution

Try to mist Schefflera regularly to provide moisture to the leaves.

But, this is not a proper solution to increase humidity. 

  • Use a humidifier inside the room to increase humidity.
  • You can keep other houseplants with Schefflera to increase humidity among them. 
  • You can also use a pebble tray method to increase moisture. Take a tray filled with water, place a few pebbles, ensure the pebbles are half immersed in the water, and keep the Schefflera on them. Evaporation will help to increase moisture around the plant. 
  • Avoid keeping Schefflera opposite to ACs and near heating objects as these snatches the moisture from the air. 
  • You can also shift Schefflera in high humid places like the laundry room, bathroom, and kitchen. 

Also read: Should I Mist My Schefflera? (+Humidity Requirement Guide)

Poor soil quality

Schefflera soil

If your Schefflera grows in the wrong soil, it can affect its health.

The soil can have two issues: Draining too slow or too fast.

When the soil drains too fast, the roots fail to absorb a sufficient amount of water which causes dehydration and weakness in the plant.

This leads to dry and yellow leaves.

But when the soil drains too slowly, Schefflera can frequently experience overwatering issues resulting in yellow leaves.

You need to choose a suitable soil mix for your Schefflera otherwise, the plant can suffer from serious issues. 

Solution

  • You can replace the entire soil mix with the new one. Create an even mix by combining 2 parts peat moss, 1 part perlite, and 1 part compost.
  • To increase the moisture retention of the current soil, you can add a little clay, peat mosscompost, or vermiculite. Alternatively, you can simply mulch the soil surface using organic matter. 
  • To improve the drainage of the current soil, you can add manure, compost, gypsum powder, sand, and coco husk chips. 

Also read: What Kind Of Soil Does A Schefflera Plant Need? (+Ideal DIY Soil Mix)

Improper fertilization

Schefflera fertilizer

Schefflera thrives best when it is fertilized with a balanced liquid fertilizer (NPK 20-20-20) every month.

This plant needs essential nutrients like Nitrogen, Phosphorous, and Potassium to stay healthy.

If the plant fails to get all these nutrients, it can lead to weakness resulting in yellow leaves.

On the other hand, when Schefflera is overfertilized, it has a toxic salt build-up inside the soil.

Such toxic salt takes up all the required moisture leaving the plant dehydrated, which causes yellow leaves in Schefflera.

Excess fertilization also burns the roots and invites various pests and diseases.

Let us discuss the symptoms to know whether the plant is overfertilized or under fertilized.

Underfertilization symptoms:

  • Tight and cracked soil
  • Stunted growth
  • Weak stems
  • Pale leaves

Overfertilization symptoms:

  • Crust layer on the soil
  • Wilted leaves
  • Slow growth
  • Dehydrated plant

Solution

  • To recover the under fertilization condition, fertilize Schefflera immediately with a balanced liquid fertilizer in the NPK ratio of 20:20:20.
  • Make sure you never apply the rough fertilizer directly to the Schefflera plant. Before doing that, always dilute the fertilizer with water to make it half-strength.
  • To treat overfertilization, scratch the top of the soil surface to remove the excess fertilizer. 
  • Give a good wash to the soil by watering Schefflera little by little. This will leach the excess salt. 
  • If the situation is still not fixable, repot the plant with a new soil mix.
  • Avoid fertilizing your Schefflera for a few months and wait until it fully recovers.

Also read: How Often Should I Fertilize My Schefflera? (+Ideal NPK Ratio)



Pest problems

Schefflera pests

Pests mostly attack plants that are already weak and stressed.

The common pests that can attack your umbrella plant are mealybugs, scales, aphids, spider mites, thrips, whiteflies, etc.

These pests suck out important nutrients and moisture from the Schefflera, leaving it completely weak.

This causes stress to the plant, which leads to yellow leaves. 

Even if you take proper care of your Schefflera plant but still see yellow leaves, you should check the plant to find out whether pests have attacked it.

The most common hiding place of pests is in the undersides of the leaves, so take a good look at those areas.

Pests are mostly attracted by overwatering, low light, and high humidity conditions.

Try to maintain all these factors to keep the pests away from your Schefflera.

Solution

  • As soon as you notice any pests, quickly isolate the Schefflera in one location so the pests will not spread to other houseplants. 
  • Discard the infected leaves and parts of the plant.
  • After that, handpick the pests that are visible.
  • Then, wash Schefflera with a strong spray to eliminate the pests. 
  • You can use insecticidal sprays but read the instructions before applying them to the plant.
  • If you still notice pests in the plant, you can use a wet cotton ball to remove them. Dip the cotton balls into the isopropyl alcohol and then wipe it off on the infected areas.
  • Use Neem oil or organic pesticide to keep the pests away from Schefflera. You can spray this solution every 2-3 weeks. 

Also read: Schefflera Pest Problems: Common Pests & Diseases+How To Fix

Repotting stress

Schefflera repot

Schefflera needs repotting when it faces a root-bound problem or root rot disease.

Repotting is one of the most important aspects of keeping your houseplant healthy.

Even a slight mistake while repotting can stress the plant.

If you have repotted the wrong way or haven’t looked after the plant properly after repotting, it can stress the Schefflera.

Due to stress, the leaves can start to turn yellow and fall off. 

Also, if you have recently repotted the umbrella plant, it is natural to see your plant face some issues adjusting to the new environment.

Due to sudden change, you might see yellow leaves in Schefflera, which is completely normal.

You should not worry about this as it will recover on its own after you give some time to the plant.

Solution

  • If your Schefflera is already stressed due to repotting, give it time to adjust to the environment. Also, give proper care to the plant. 
  • You should carefully remove the infected roots and parts of the plant while repotting.
  • Make sure you use a pot that is 1-2 inches bigger than the old one, and it should also contain drainage holes.
  • Keep Schefflera in the area where it will receive proper air circulation and bright indirect light. 
  • Try to keep the plant in the same location. Frequent changing in the location can cause sudden shock. 
  • You should repot only during the plant’s growing season, i.e., spring and summer. Avoid repotting during the winter season.
  • Make sure you don’t fertilize for a month after repotting. 

Also read: How To Repot A Schefflera Plant? (A Step-by-Step Guide)

Natural aging

If you notice that Schefflera is having new growth while the lower side of the leaves is turning yellow, then it is natural.

As time goes by, the old leaves start to turn yellow and fall off the plant.

The plant drops all its old leaves to encourage new growth.

This is a natural process of a plant, so if the leaves are turning yellow because of aging, you don’t have to worry about it.

But if you notice too many leaves are turning yellow, try to identify the problem before it gets out of control.

Also read: How Fast Do Schefflera Grow? (Schefflera Growth Rate)

How do you prevent Schefflera from turning yellow?

Let us discuss the ways to prevent Schefflera from turning yellow.

  • Keep Schefflera away from direct light. Try to place the plant in a shaded area where it will receive bright indirect sunlight with good air circulation. 
  • Keep rotating Schefflera frequently to provide light to every corner of the plant.
  • Don’t keep the plant in the dark where the light is extremely low. 
  • Always prune the damaged leaves and branches on time to encourage new growth.
  • Try to keep the soil evenly moist without overwatering it. Always water after checking the topsoil is 75% dry.
  • Try to use filtered water or rainwater instead of tap water.
  • Schefflera thrives in high humid conditions. If the humidity is low, try to increase it by using a humidifier
  • Fertilize Schefflera during their growing season on time with a balanced liquid fertilizer in the ratio of 20:20:20.
  • Always spray neem oil every 2-3 weeks to keep the pests away from your houseplant. 

Reference: WikipediaSciencedirectBritannicaAmerican Society for Horticultural ScienceSchefflera taxonomic history.