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Schefflera Leaves Turning Yellow [Causes With Solutions]

Are your Schefflera leaves turning yellow? Anyone who has potted or repotted a Schefflera plant may face this issue at least once, but there are other reasons for this upsetting outcome.

Schefflera leaves turning yellow may result from water stress, natural aging, humidity issues, uneven temperature, improper lighting, pest problems, and lack of nutrients.

The yellowing leaf is one of the first signs of a stressed plant. Thus, if you catch it early, you can stop yellowing leaves from spreading throughout the plant!

Is it Normal for Schefflera Leaves Turning Yellow?

Nope, it is not normal for an evergreen houseplant like Schefflera to experience yellowing leaves.

Natural yellowing should not worry you until there are only 2-3 yellowing leaves every month.

Suppose there is new growth in your plant, and yellow leaves are mainly present at the bottom; it may suggest leaves are turning yellow because of natural aging.
Image represents Schefflera plant with yellow leaves
If the bottom leaves of the plant turn yellow first, it may specify that the plant is aging and completing its foliage cycle.

However, anything exceeding a few leaves may suggest other grave problems with your plant.

Yellowing leaves are the signs of a stressed plant, and it is frustrating to see your beloved plant under stress despite providing enough maintenance.

What Causes Schefflera Leaves Turning Yellow?

Schefflera leaves turn yellow for many different reasons. The causes of yellowing leaves and their appropriate solutions and preventions are mentioned below.

1. Overwatering Issues

Overwatering is a significant concern for houseplants like Schefflera, which react to waterlogging quickly with yellowing or spotted leaves.

Waterlogging can turn the soil damp, causing ‘moisture stress.’ It may lead to slowed root growth, rot, and fungal infestation on Schefflera plants.

Normally, Schefflera needs water every 5-10 days in spring and summer. 

Too much water in the soil causes the roots to get less oxygen and causes root rots.

On the other hand, underwatering will dry the soil and wither the roots.

In any case, yellowing leaves are the first sign of uneven watering.


  • Cut back on watering and misting the plant immediately and wait until the problem subsides.
  • Throw away any drained water collected on the saucer.
  • Check the top half inch of soil for dryness before watering again.
  • Inspect the surface for dark brown soil as opposed to light-grey color.
  • Gradually increase water intake to 1.5 liters without overwatering the plant.
  • Cut back on watering to once every fortnight in fall and winter and limit the water to 1 liter.
  • Avoid using too hold or cold water when watering. Schefflera plant prefers room temperature water (68°F).

2. Low Humidity

Schefflera is a humidity-loving houseplant.

High indoor humidity keeps the plant parts and soil moist. Thus, a lack of moisture in the air may cause yellowing leaves.

Dry air conditions, such as in an enclosed room with a heating unit and scorching heat, may deplete humidity, causing plant leaves to wither and turn yellow.

Schefflera plants demand 60-80% ambient humidity.

The plant can withstand slightly high humidity, but the leaves become yellow in low humidity.

It is more common during winter when a heating unit is on, and ventilations are shut down.


  • Install a humidifier or group your moisture-deprived plant with other houseplants in the room to spike up the humidity.
  • Mist the plant a few times a week until the yellowing subsides.
  • Keep the plant away from air conditioning or heating vents.
  • Place the potted plant on a pebble tray with water to raise humidity levels.

3. Direct Sunlight

Sunburn is the primary concern for sensitive houseplants like Schefflera, where the direct sunlight on the leaves can scorch them.

Direct sunlight or placing the plant close to sunlight for a longer time, such as near a window or patio, may cause patchy yellow leaves.

Provide your Schefflera plant with 3-4 hours of indirect sunlight daily.

Image represents yellow leaves in Schefflera plant
Due to low light, the leaves cannot get enough sunlight to prepare the pigment required to turn the leaves lush green.

Although the plant enjoys filtered sunlight, placing it close to the light source can cause sunburn too.


  • Place the plant near an east-facing window or keep them 3-5 feet away from a south-facing window. 
  • Do not place the plant under the sun to compensate for low lighting.
  • Trim away the affected leaves with disinfected pruning shears to clear the sunlight for the inner leaves.
  • Rotate the plant once a month for even light distribution throughout the foliage.

4. Pest Problem

Although pest infestation is uncommon with the in-house Schefflera plant, you should know about pests that can cause yellow leaves.

Pests are natural predators of houseplants that often suck out plant juices from the leaves and petioles, leaving the plant with stippled yellow leaves.

Keep the pests away using neem oil spray or dipping q-tips in systematic pesticides and dabbing the bugs until the infestation minimizes. 

Image represents pests on the Schefflera leaves
Pests like scales and spider mites are a common occurrence in Schefflera plants.

Additionally, pest infestation may cause wilted or springy leaves, black spots, and tiny holes.


  • Isolated the infected plant from the other healthy houseplants to prevent the spread of infection.
  • Use warm soapy water to wipe pests from the plant parts.
  • Snip off all the infected leaves from the plant and burn the plants down.
  • Never keep leaves, fresh cuts, and garden plants close to the Schefflera plant.
  • Keep the room clean and well-ventilated, allowing air to pass through the plant leaves.

5. Low Temperature

Leaving Schefflera plants outside in winter can invite cold drafts that will contribute to the yellowing of the leaves.

In winter, the air becomes chilly and dry without moisture. This creates water stress in the plant by freeze-drying the leaf cells and turning them yellow.

Schefflera plant ideally enjoys a warm temperature ranging between 65°F and 90°F.

Although Schefflera survives below 65°F, anything below 60°F will stall the plant’s growth.


  • Remove them from the room that has an air conditioner installed.
  • Keep the plant in direct sunlight for a few hours during winter mornings.
  • Place the repotted plant in the exact location to maintain the optimal temperature.
  • Cover the plants with frost blankets during winter nights.
  • Situate small potted Schefflera plants inside greenhouses or indoor terrariums to offer them a steady ambient temperature. 

6. High Fertilizer

Overfertilization proves to be a curse to Scheffleras, that may only enjoy occasional feeding.

Overfertilizing will cause the fertilizer salts to accumulate in the soil and cause progressive yellowing and crisp leaves.

Generally, Schefflera needs a well-balanced liquid fertilizer every 1-2 months in spring and summer. Cut back fertilizer application in fall and winter when the plant is dormant.

Too much plant feed or a higher ratio of NPK in the fertilizer (during dormant times) will burn the roots and affect water and nutrient uptake.


  • Flush out fertilizer salts by running the potted plant under distilled water 4-5 times.
  • Remove the yellow leaves to cope with the nutrient uptake from the soil.
  • Resume fertilizing only after the problem subsides and feed the plant once every month during the growing season.
  • Dilute the fertilizer to 1/2 or 1/4th strength and apply after watering the plant. 
  • Do not fertilize until 6-8 weeks after repotting Schefflera.

Should I Remove the Yellow leaves?

Once the Schefflera plant leaves turn wholly or partially yellow, you are less likely to overturn them.

Yellow leaves can become a nuisance because they suck up essential nutrients allocated for green foliage and attract pests to decaying or dead leaves.
Image illustrates some tips to prune the Schefflera leaves
It’s ideal for removing the entire leaf rather than a single yellow leaflet to reduce the infection and spread of diseases.

Thus, pulling away yellowing or dead leaves will ensure your plant keeps looking its best and make way for new growth.

  • Pull away the old leaves using your fingers.
  • Pluck as close to the stem as possible and dispose of them immediately.
  • Alternatively, use disinfected shears to cut the leaves with the least hassle.

FAQs About Schefflera Leaves Turning Yellow

What kind of soil can prevent Schefflera leaves from turning yellow?

Schefflera plants need porous, rich, and loamy soil with a pH adjusted between 5.5 and 6.5.

This kind of soil can drain the soil water well and prevent soggy soil conditions.

How to water Schefflera plants to prevent yellow leaves?

Water the plant thoroughly on the topsoil until it drains from the bottom drain holes, and wipe water drops festering on the bottom leaves.

You can also try the approach of bottom watering by placing the plant on a watering tray for 15-20 minutes to saturate the soil.

From Editorial Team

Keep the Gardening Tools Clean!
Dirty gardening tools can carry pathogenic spores, making their way to the leaves, stems, and soil during repotting, propagating, and pruning. Always remember to disinfect them before and after the job is done!

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