Schefflera, also known as Umbrella plant, are popular houseplants with attractive leaf clusters similar to an Umbrella. Schefflera are easy to care for, but their leaves will start drooping if they are stressed.
The primary causes of droopy leaves in Scheffleras are overwatering and underwatering. While underwatering dehydrates the plant and makes it droopy, overwatering leads to root rot which damages the roots and leads to dehydration. Correct your watering technique to fix the issue.
In this article, I will briefly discuss the reasons that cause droopy leaves in Schefflera. I will also explain how to fix each issue. So, let’s get started.
Table Of Contents
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Why is my umbrella plant drooping?
Schefflera needs a suitable care regime to prevent problems like drooping, yellowing, curling, etc.
Droopy leaves on Schefflera indicate that they are stressed and unhappy.
If your Umbrella plant begins to droop, you must try to fix it as soon as possible.
But before you take any step, find out the exact cause of the problem so that you successfully help your Schefflera to thrive again.
Do not worry if you find the older leaves drooping and falling off, as it indicates the end of their life cycle.
However, if the young leaves are drooping, then this can happen due to the following reasons:
- Poor drainage
- Improper light
- Low temperatures
- Low humidity
- Transplant shock
- Root-bound problem
- Pest infestation
Let us now discuss all the above problems in detail.
Overwatering is the most common reason for droopy Schefflera leaves.
Consistent overwatering causes the soil to remain poorly aerated and wet for a longer time.
When the spaces between the soil particles remain filled with water, the oxygen can’t get to the roots, leaving them vulnerable to deadly diseases like root rot.
Infected roots will fail to perform their basic function of carrying water and nutrients to the plant, due to which the leaves will get dehydrated and will start drooping and falling drastically.
Many factors such as low light, poorly drained soil, pots with no drainage holes, and low temperatures can encourage overwatering.
Due to overwatering, the lower leaves will turn yellow, the younger leaves will get brown edges, and a foul odor will come from the soil.
Overwatering is a serious problem, and if corrective actions are not taken within time, the Schefflera can even die.
How to fix an overwatered Schefflera plant?
If you have an overwatered Umbrella plant, follow the steps given below to fix it:
- First, take your Schefflera out of the pot to inspect its root system. If the roots look crispy and white, your plant is healthy. You can fix the plant easily by watering it less and keeping it in a bright location for a few days to dry out the excess water.
- But after inspection, if you find that the roots are brown, mushy, and smell bad, it indicates the plant has root rot, and immediate treatment is required.
- Start by removing the damaged roots with sharp and sterilized pruners. After that, apply fungicide to the healthy roots to kill the remaining pathogens.
- Take a clean terracotta pot with drainage holes and fill it with suitable potting soil.
- Carefully repot your Schefflera in the new pot. Keep it in bright, indirect sunlight and water when the soil is dry.
- Make sure you don’t choose a pot that is too big since the excess soil in the pot will hold more water and will suffocate the root system.
- Always check the moisture level of the soil before you plan to water your Schefflera. Touch the top layer of the soil. If it feels damp, then wait for a few days before watering again. Water the plant only when the top layer of the soil feels dry to touch.
- You can also use a moisture meter to check the soil’s moisture level.
- Make sure to reduce watering during the autumn and winter season.
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Poor drainage system
A poorly drained soil and a pot with no drainage holes can cause the leaves of your Schefflera to droop and fall off.
A pot without drainage holes will not let the excess water drain out from the soil.
Also, if you use a soil mix that is too heavy and tight, it will hold more water than required, leading to a waterlogged condition.
Soil mix that contains more clay has higher chances of overwatering issues.
How to improve the drainage for Scheffleras?
You can fix the drainage problem by following the steps given below:
- Always choose a pot that has a good number of drainage holes.
- If the soil mix isn’t draining well, add perlite so that it helps the water to flow out easily from the pot.
- You can add some pebbles at the bottom of the pot so that the drainage hole will not get blocked by the soil.
If you underwater your Schefflera, the soil will turn dry, due to which the leaves will wilt and droop.
Although your plant will not die if you forget to water it every once in a while, consistent underwatering will make the plant dry, causing droopy leaves.
Curly leaves, crispy leaves, and leaves with brown tips and edges are some symptoms of underwatering.
How to fix an underwatered Schefflera plant?
If you have under watered Schefflera plant, follow the above steps given below to fix it:
- If the soil has become dry and compact, start by aerating the soil. Take a stick and poke some holes into the soil.
- Do not give the soil plenty of water at once. Otherwise, the water will run through the pot without soaking the soil. Instead, add less water at a time so that the soil gets enough time to soak the water.
- You can also put your plant in a sink filled with a few inches of water so that the soil can soak water from the bottom.
- You must keep your umbrella plant in a place where you can see it regularly so that you can remember to water it.
- You can use a self-watering pot for your Schefflera so that it can grow without personal attention.
Schefflera likes to grow in bright, indirect sunlight, and if you keep them in a shady spot for too long, then their lower leaves begin to droop and fall one by one.
In low light, the process of photosynthesis slows down, and the plant doesn’t get the energy to function properly.
As a result, the plant becomes weak, and its stem and branches become leggy.
Also, Scheffleras will get droopy leaves if you expose them to direct sunlight.
They will suffer from dehydration due to increased transpiration rate, and the leaves will droop due to loss of excess moisture.
How can you provide the ideal light for Schefflera?
You should place your Schefflera in a spot where it receives several hours of bright indirect light every day.
Do not place the plant directly next to a window since the direct light coming from it burns the leaves of your Schefflera.
During winters, when light levels are low, you can bring your plant near a window so that it can make use of the limited sunlight as much as possible.
If the light levels are too low for your Schefflera, use artificial light.
Also read: What Kind Of Light Does A Schefflera Need?
Schefflera are a tropical plant that grows best in temperatures of 65-90°F but can tolerate temperatures of as low as 35°F.
If the temperature level falls below 35°F, Schefflera will experience severe cold damage-causing droopy leaves.
The cold stress will freeze the roots system and won’t allow them to carry out physiological processes.
The roots of Scheffleras are strong, and the plant can recover if it gets protection from freezing temperatures.
The plant will grow back new leaves once the temperature improves.
Do not keep the plant near an open window, air conditioner, vent, or freezing temperatures to prevent cold damage.
Also, try to provide it with optimum temperature requirements by keeping it in a warm room.
Schefflera, being tropical plants like to stay in a humid environment.
The plant needs at least a 60% of humidity level.
If the humidity level falls below 60%, the leaves will get dehydrated and turn droopy.
When the surrounding area around the plant is dry, the transpiration rate increase, which results in huge moisture loss from the leaves.
Crispy, dry, curly, droopy, brown leaves are all signs of a low humidity problem.
If you think your plant is facing this problem, you can use a hygrometer to identify the exact humidity level around it.
How to raise the humidity for Scheffleras?
You can raise the humidity around Schefflera by following the steps given below:
- Mist the leaves of your Schefflera with a spray bottle twice a week to increase the humidity around them for some time.
- Use a humidifier to maintain the right level of humidity inside the house.
- Fill a tray with pebbles and water, and place your potted Schefflera on top of the pebbles. The water from the tray will evaporate and increase humidity around the plant.
- Keep your Schefflera with other houseplants to increase the humidity level through transpiration.
- Move the plant to a humid room such as the bathroom, laundry room, kitchen, etc.
Schefflera can get stressed when it is repotted in a new pot.
In a new pot, the roots will stop functioning temporarily due to disruption in the growing environment.
Also, the plants will get stressed if you move them to a new location in your house.
A sudden change in temperature and lighting conditions will cause the plant to go in shock.
Once they are settled in their new environment, the new growth will eventually replace the old foliage.
How to reduce stress in Scheffleras?
Since Schefflera are more resilient than other houseplants, you can improve their health by providing proper care.
Give the plant some time, as it will take a few weeks to adjust to the new environment.
Avoid repotting the plant during this period and also avoid keeping it in a location where it has to face cold air.
Even if you repot, try not to disturb the root system and provide the plant with consistently favorable conditions after repotting.
You can use a digital thermometer to check your plant isn’t facing extreme temperature fluctuations.
Do not place your plant near air conditioners, radiators, or heating vents since drafts coming out from such devices will cause your plant to show signs of stress like droopy leaves.
We often fertilize the plant more out of care, due to which the plant experiences problems like droopy leaves.
Some signs of overfertilization are brown patches, brown leaf edges, and salt build-ups on the soil surfaces.
Too much fertilizer will damage the root system and would prevent them from working.
The salt build-up around the roots inhibits water absorption from the soil needed for the plant’s growth.
All these will cause droopy leaves.
Overfertilization can also take place if you fertilize the plant during the winter season.
The plant remains dormant during winters and doesn’t need fertilizers for growth.
How to fix an overfertilized Schefflera plant?
You can fix an overfertilized Schefflera by following the steps given below:
- At first, scratch the top few layers and add a new layer of fresh soil mix.
- Flush the soil with plenty of water to rinse the excess salts from the soil. Then, place the plant in bright indirect sunlight so that the soil can dry. After some days, you will notice your Schefflera is recovering.
- But if your plant isn’t recovering and the condition remains the same, you will need to repot the plant.
- Prune off the damaged leaves and roots and repot the plant in fresh soil mix and pot. This is a slightly risky process since it may cause transplant shock, but it is the only way to save your plant.
- Avoid fertilizing the plant for a few months until it fully recovers and starts showing growth.
Root-bound plants are more likely to show signs of droopy leaves.
A plant will get root-bound when its roots fill the pot, and little soil is available for their growth.
In such a case, it becomes difficult for the water, nutrients, or air to penetrate through the thick root ball.
If your Schefflera has got root-bound, consider repotting the plant to a pot one size up so that the roots get more space to grow.
Many pests can attack your Schefflera plant, and a bad infestation can cause drooping of leaves.
Mealybugs, scales, spider mites, and thrips are some common offenders.
The pests feed on the stems and leaves and suck juices present in them.
The juices contain nutrients and water that are essential for a plant’s growth.
Frequent piercing by the pests will dehydrate and stress the plants, showing their displeasure by drooping in the long run.
Therefore, it is really important to check your Schefflera regularly for any pest infestation.
Few bugs won’t harm your plant much, but a severe infestation can become a reason for their death.
How to remove pests from Schefflera?
Below are some ways that you can follow to remove pests from your umbrella plant:
- First, isolate your Schefflera in one place to prevent the pests from spreading to other plants.
- Manually remove the visible pests.
- Give a good shower by placing your plant under running water to wash off pests as much as possible.
- Spray your Schefflera with horticulture oil or neem oil. These are safe since they do not have chemicals and will work effectively on your plant. Apply the spray over your plant for a few weeks until the pests disappear.
Hopefully, this article will have helped you get a better idea of the main problems that cause the drooping of Schefflera leaves. If a few of the Schefflera leaves are drooping but haven’t fallen off, then you have caught the issue quick enough to bring it back to health.
Once you have found the cause and rectified the environment, your plant will stop drooping and will begin to show new growth after a few weeks.
Even if your Schefflera has lost many leaves, you should not worry, as, with the right care, there is nothing that can stop your plant from bouncing back.
To avoid droopy leaves on your Schefflera, follow the care tips given below in this table.
|Light||Provide your Schefflera with bright, indirect light, and avoid direct sunlight.|
|Water||Water the umbrella plant when the soil is 75% dry.|
|Temperature||Maintain temperatures between 65-90°F.|
|Humidity||Provide 60-70% humidity to your Schefflera plant.|
|Soil||Use a rich, loose, well-draining potting soil with a slightly acidic pH level for growing Schefflera.|
|Fertilization||Fertilize your Schefflera plant with a balanced (20-20-20) diluted liquid fertilizer once a month during the growing season. Avoid fertilizing the plant during the winter season.|
|Pest infestation||Keep the pests away by spraying neem oil or insecticidal soap.|