Why Are My Schefflera Leaves Turning Yellow?

Schefflera Leaves
Schefflera Leaves (Source: Pinterest)

Is the ghastly sight of yellowing leaves on your Schefflera plant bothering you?

If not yet, then it should, because yellowing Schefflera leaves are not normal.

However, this is not an uncommon problem! Anyone who has potted or repotted a Schefflera plant may face this issue at least once.

Schefflera leaves turn yellow due to moisture stress caused by over or under watering, transplant stress, improper lighting, pest problems, and lack of nutrients.

Yellowing Schefflera Leaves
Schefflera Leaves (Source: Pixabay.com)

In fact, 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 proliferating throughout the plant!

Is it Normal for Schefflera Leaves to Turn Yellow?

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

Suppose there is new growth on your plant, and yellow leaves are particularly present at the bottom; it may suggest leaves are turning yellow because of natural aging.

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

Unless you catch these problems early, you are less likely to turn them green once again.

What Causes Schefflera Leaves to Turn Yellow?

Schefflera plant leaves turn yellow for many different reasons.

The causes of yellowing leaves and their appropriate solutions and preventions are mentioned below.

CausesSolutionPrevention
Overwatering1. Let the few inches of topsoil dry before watering again.

2. Throw away the drained water from the saucer.
1. Water once a week in the growing season (spring and summer.

2. Cut back on watering in winter to once every fortnight.
Low Humidity1. Install a humidifier in the room.

2. Add multiple houseplants.

3. Mist the plants occasionally.
Keep the humidity levels slightly high, in the range of 65 to 80 percent.
Direct SunlightRemove the plant from direct sun and 3-feet away from the window that received direct sunlight.Provide 4hr of indirect sunlight every day.

Rotate the plant once a month for even sunlight.
Pests1. Use rubbing alcohol or soapy solution to remove pest infestation.

2. Use pesticide or Neem oil.
Avoid bringing garden plants inside and keeping close to Schefflera.
TemperatureRemove the plant from the room with an air conditioner.
Limit indirect light intake only up to 4hr a day.
Ensure that the temperature is between 65°F to 80°F during the day and around 60°F or above night.
Over Fertilization1. Stop fertilizing until the problem subsides, and only resume it after a week.

2. Limit fertilizing to once a month during the growing season.
1. Use mild, diluted plant feed if in case you are fertilizing every week.

2. Use organic feed for the Schefflera plant.
NaturalPrune away stale, old, and yellowing leaves throughout the growing season.Fertilize once a month, water correctly, and provide optimum indirect sunlight

1. Overwatering Issues

Overwatering is a significant concern for houseplants like Schefflera that reacts to waterlogging quickly with yellowing or spotted leaves.

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

Overwatering house plants
Overwatering House Plants (Source: Unsplash)

Too much water prevents roots from getting soil nutrients. On the other hand, underwatering will turn the soil dry and choke the plant’s roots.

In any case, yellowing leaves are the first sign of overwatering problems.

Solutions

  • 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 few inches of soil whether it has dried out before watering again.
  • Avoid too soggy soil. Check the surface for dark brown soil as opposed to light-grey soil.
  • In an underwatered plant, do not suddenly start to drown it in water to compensate, instead gradually increase the amount intake to 1.5 liters.

Preventions

  • Schedule watering to once a week in growing seasons; spring and summer.
  • Provide about ¼ to ⅓ the pot’s volume of water or 1.5 liters.
  • Let the top ½ inch soil dry out between watering.
  • Cut back on watering to once every fortnight in fall and winter and limit the water to 1 liter.
  • Use plant containers with drainage holes.
  • 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 as it allows the plant stem and soil to remain moist. Thus, a lack of humidity 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 in the air, causing plant leaves to wither and turn yellow.

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

Solutions

  • Install a humidifier in the room as an immediate solution.
  • Set the room humidity to 65-80 percent.
  • Mist the plant a few times a week until the yellowing subsides.

Preventions

  • Add multiple houseplants inside the room to spike up the humidity.
  • Run humidifier regularly during spring and summer.
  • Remove heating unit and air conditioner from the room.
  • Use a pebble tray with water instead of an empty saucer during summer.

3. Direct Sunlight

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

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.

Sunlight hitting the leaves
Sunlight hitting the leaves (Source: Unsplash.com)

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

Solutions

  • Remove your plant immediately from direct sunlight.
  • Remove them from the window that receives direct sunlight, and place them at least 2-3 feet away.
  • Limit the indirect light intake to 4 hours every day.
  • Do not place the plant under the sun to compensate for low lighting.
  • Trim away the affected leaves by plucking with your finger or a disinfected pruning shear.

Preventions

  • Schedule daily light intake to at least 4 hours every day.
  • Rotate the plant once a month to ensure full and consistent growth.

4. Pests Problem

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

Pests and insects are natural predators of houseplants that often suck out Nitrogen, moisture, and soil microbes, leaving the plant with yellowing leaves.

Spider mites
Spider mites (Source: Unsplash.com)

Pest infestation may also cause wilted or springy leaves, black spots, and tiny holes.

PestsProblems
AphidsAphids suck out the Nitrogen for chlorophyll that causes yellow mottling leaves.
Yellow scaleThey eat leaves and fruits, and heavy infestation may cause yellowing and dropping leaves.
Spider mitesThey are common in outdoor plants during monsoon. Heavy infestation may cause yellow and brown spots on leaves.

Solutions

  • Use warm soapy water to wipe the plant off the spider mite, or use miticide spray such as Grower’s Ally Spider Mite Miticide.
  • Use aphid-control pesticide to remove aphids from plants’ leaves and stems, or wipe down the plant with rubbing alcohol.
  • Use Yates nature’s Way Vegie And Herb spray to remove yellow scales.
  • Alternatively, use Neem oil to remove and control pest infestation.

Prevention

  • Never bring leaves, fresh cuts, and garden plants inside the house or keep them close to the Schefflera plant.
  • Keep the room clean and well-ventilated.
  • Indulge in periodic pruning.
  • Use pest controls.

5. Low Temperature

Schefflera plant ideally enjoys a warm and humid temperature ranging between 65°F to 80°F.

Although it survives below 65°F, anything below 60°F will stall the plant’s growth, causing yellowing leaves.

Leaving them outside during winter can invite cold drafts that will contribute to the yellowing of the leaves.

Solutions

  • Remove them from the room that has an air conditioner installed.
  • Limit the indirect sunlight intake to 4 hours a day.
  • Ventilate the room properly to let the plant breathe.

Preventions

  • Do not change the location of the plant, although you can rotate it occasionally.
  • Place the repotted plant in the exact location as before to maintain the average temperature.
  • Ensure the temperature stays between 65°F and 80°F during the day and 60°F during the night.
  • Mist the plant a few times every week to maintain humidity.

6. Over-fertilization

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

Over-fertilizing will turn the soil toxic for the Schefflera plant, causing burned and yellowed leaves.

Soil Aeration with a Pitchfork (Source: thegardengranny.com)

Too much plant feed or a higher ratio of NPK will choke the roots.

Solutions

  • Stop fertilizing immediately and wait until the problem subsides.
  • Resume fertilizing only after the problem subsides and feed the plant once every month during the growing season.
  • Switch an organic Miracle-Gro® Indoor Plant Food for Schefflera plant.

Prevention

  • Use mild, diluted plant feed if in case you are fertilizing every week.
  • Do not fertilize until 6-8 weeks after repotting the plant.

7. Natural Ageing

Also known as natural aging, Schefflera plant leaves may turn yellow on the bottom and drop off to make way for new foliage growth.

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

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

Solutions

  • Prune old and dying leaves and always start from the below.
  • Prune bottom leaves that look pale during the growing season.

Prevention

  • Provide optimum temperature, water once a week, fertilizer occasionally, and maintain the sunlight intake to ensure plant ages naturally.

Related Article: How to Repot Schefflera Plant?

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 will suck up essential nutrients for green foliage and attract pests to decaying or dead leaves.

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

Pruning yellow leaves
Pruning Yellow Leaves

As a solution,

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

Tips to Take Care of Schefflera

By tending to your plant regularly, you can ensure the plant problems remain to a minimum.

Schefflera is a low-maintenance plant that requires weekly watering and fertilization, 4hr of indirect sunlight, and a warm and humid temperature to thrive.

However, consider paying extra attention to the repotted plant to avoid transplant shock and other post-repotting issues.

Here are a few handy tips for caring for your repotted Schefflera plant.

1. Appropriate Watering

Schefflera plant enjoys thorough watering once a week during the growing season, spring and summer.

If you are unsure, you can measure 1.5 liters of water in a can and pour it directly onto the soil. Make sure the top ½ inches of soil dries out between watering.

Use a saucer pan to collect the drained water and dispose of it immediately to prevent excess moisture.

Cut back on watering during fall and winter to once every two weeks. Provide one liter or less, depending on the soil conditions.

2. Appropriate Lighting

Ensure to keep them in a brightly lit place with indirect sunlight for at least 4 hours every day.

Place it at least 3-feet away from the window that receives direct sunlight and avoid places like the patio or garden to prevent leaf burns.

These plants can tolerate lower light conditions but may not fare well with the shady and damp surroundings. A naturally bright room will suffice!

Rotate your plant around once a month to ensure even growth.

3. Provide Warm Temperature

Schefflera is a tropical plant that enjoys a warm temperature.

Ensure to keep them in places with temperatures around 65°F to 80°F during the day and around/above 60°F during the night.

Never place your plant outdoors in fall or winter when the dangers of the cold draft are imminent.

Ensure to ventilate the room during summer to let the plant breathe easily.

4. Appropriate Humidity Level

Low humidity and dry conditions can make your plant leaves brown or yellowish.

Keeping the humidity levels slightly high, around 65 to 80 percent, ensures that plants stay fresh.

Mist the plant leaves a few times a week to prevent them from drying out.

Alternatively, add a humidifier in the room to compensate for low humidity.

5. Fertilize Appropriately

You should fertilize your plant regularly during the growing season to ensure it gets a nutrient boost for a quicker proliferation.

Make sure to use a plant food slightly rich in Nitrogen to boost the green foliage. Use Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium (NPK) ratio of 5-1-1

Schedule fertilizing once a week while watering the plant, but keep the dosage to a minimum to prevent root burns from excessive nutrients.

Alternatively, you can fertilize your plant once a month with organic liquid-based fertilizer Miracle-Gro® Indoor Plant Food or Monstera Plant Food.

6. Prevent Pests

Pests and insects are a less common problem for houseplants, and you should keep it that way.

Look for aphid, mealybug, or scales problems signs such as excessively yellowing or wilted leaves and white substance under the leaves.

Avoid keeping your plant outdoors and stop bringing leaves and stems from the garden into the house as a preventive measure.

Consider wiping the plant with a warm soapy water solution or rubbing alcohol if you encounter a pest problem.

Schefflera Heptaphylla Leaves
Schefflera Heptaphylla Leaves (Source: Pixabay.com)

Conclusion

Some yellowing is typical with Schefflera due to natural aging.

However, it can be a problem when it becomes excessive, accompanied by other issues such as wilted leaves, stunted growth, or whitish substances on the leaves.

Locate the problem with your plant and control excessive yellowing by applying the solutions and preventions mentioned above.

Find out when is the best time to propagate your schefflera and which method will work for you!

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