Houseplant Care Tips

Various Houseplant Care Tips Including Watering and Lighting Requirements.

Houseplant Care Tips

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Schefflera Plant Care

Schefflera, Umbrella Tree

Common Name: Schefflera (Amate, Diana, Dwarf, Gold Capella, Umbrella Tree, Trinette)
Scientific Name: Schefflera Species
Lighting: Bright to Moderate
Water: Moderate to Low

The Schefflera is characterized by foliage arranged in groups of 3 to 7 at the end of the stems, similar to spokes on a wheel or umbrellas. Schefflera's make great houseplants due to their low need for maintenance.

Schefflera's require bright indirect light. If plant is not receiving enough light or is too far away from the light source, the Schefflera will become spindly by stretching towards the light source. Do not place this houseplant in direct sunlight or you may burn the foliage. If foliage begins to drop and turn yellow, the plant is not receiving enough light.

Watering requirements for this houseplant are pretty much the same as many other common houseplants. Allow the soil to dry in between watering; however do not allow it to stay dry for long periods of time. On the opposite end, do not allow the plant to sit in water either, so be sure to allow proper drainage. If the foliage begins to drop and turn black in color, you are overwatering or do not have proper drainage in place. If the foliage tips begin to curl or wrinkle, you are probably under watering the plant.

Do not be afraid to prune your Schefflera back into shape if it gets out of control. This is one houseplant who will bounce back better than ever after a nice complete pruning.

The Schefflera does have one enemy that can be pretty common: Spider Mites. To prevent Spider Mites from taking over, once a week or more give the plant a nice misting of a soapy water mixture. If Spider Mites become present, try this soapy water misting twice a day. If this does not work, visit your local garden center for a safe alternative.

Schefflera's are toxic if eaten. Like so many other houseplants, it is included in the list of poisonous houseplants.

Common Schefflera Varieties:

Common Name: Amate Schefflera
Scientific Name: Brassaia actinophylla
The Amate variety features larger green foliage with a glossy surface. Plant looks wonderful when using a leaf shine product on the leaves leaving them dust free.

Common Name: Dwarf Schefflera
Scientific Name: Schefflera arboricola
The Dwarf variety usually does not reach any taller than 4 feet in height. Otherwise it looks just like other Schefflera varieties.

Common Name: Schefflera Gold Capella
Scientific Name: Schefflera species
This variety is characterized with the same appearance as other Schefflera’s except foliage is in beautiful gold and green colors, adding drama to any rooms décor.

Please share your tips for this common houseplant!


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Blogger tam said...

can anyone please tell me how to start the schefflera, from one i already have>

1:24 AM  
Blogger drayas said...


I had to do some research on this one. I have never tried it. I found a variety of answers. Below are 2 URLs I found with some information.

The first talks about the different methods for propagating Schefflera and the other towards the middle of the page talks about the air layering technique to use with cuttings.

Please let me know what method you try and how it works out. I'm definitely interested in giving it a try on my Schefflera now too!


8:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I tried the cuttings method with schefflera arboricola: Although I did bother with rooting it in a water first, but it didn't take long.

11:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I live in Tennessee. Can the arboricola trinette be planted outside and survive year-round?

12:31 PM  
Blogger drayas said...

Living in Wisconsin I never put much thought into moving my houseplants outdoors. However, I have read about Schefflera being outside year-round in Florida. So I guess it depends on how cold the winters are in Tennessee. They are a tropical plant so warm climate is a must.


8:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I live in Denver and I started my Gold Capella from a cutting in a small jar of water (about a pint). I didn't even use much care with it; I tore off a 6 inch section from a plant at work and after I got home, made a clean cut at the bottom, broke off the lower leaves, leaving about five leaf clusters at the top, plopped it in a pint size jar of water and placed it in the southeast corner of my apt. where it would get bright, indirect light all day. It seemed to take forever for roots to start, and then they went nuts! I potted it in Miracle Grow potting soil and after a couple of months, it finally has a new leaf coming out of the top. It seems to take a while to adjust to change (a couple months to start roots, a couple months for new growth after potting) but have feeling it's going grow like mad now!

11:35 AM  
Blogger drayas said...

Thank you for sharing how you were able to start another Gold Capella.


7:06 PM  
Blogger Shira said...

I have a question for the experts. I have a Schefflera plant that I would like to place in my Bathroom (In order to hide some hedious pipes...). The room has a small window, wich is quite high, and when the door is close it is dimly lit. It the plant prosper under this conditions, or should I find a better solution to hide the pipes?

2:40 PM  
Blogger drayas said...


I would give it a try. Even though your bathroom has lower light, if bright light comes in through that window you may be OK.

If the houseplant begins to get spindly and reaching for light, then you'll need to move it back and find a different solution.


12:37 PM  
Blogger Shira said...


Thank you for your reply. I will give it a shot, and hope for the best :)


1:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi I have a golden capella that I bought about three months ago at the beginning of summer, and I recently noticed that its leaves are falling off at a rapid rate. It's down to a small number of clusters. Some of them look okay, but others seem to be drying up. I'm certain that I'm not over watering it...but then again - I'm pretty unsure of the cause. Its leaves fall off with the slightest touch. Can any one give any hints with what might be causing it?

4:38 PM  
Blogger drayas said...


Are the leaves yellowing to an extent? If so, then your Schefflera isn't receiving enough light. If they are blackening or curling/wrinkling, then you are overwatering the plant. My guess is you need to adjust the lighting.

You don't have your plant near any drafts do you? I have to watch mine by a patio door. Now that it's fall in Wisconsin and yet it's nice to leave the doors open later, the draft can hit my plants hard.

Please let me know how things work out.


10:27 PM  
Blogger Erin said...

I just moved into a new house and the previous owners left a large schefflera plant behind. I have two concerns:
One, the leaves on the plant has brownish orange flaky bumps. I've looked around and can't seem to pinpoint what it is and how to fix it. I think it might be scale bugs?
Second, the plant has dozens of stems coming out a rather small pot. How much room does it need to feel comfortable and should I attempt to transplant it? And if so, how?

9:30 PM  
Blogger drayas said...

Hi Erin,

Take a look at the following page which has Photos of Scale Varieties. Do any of these fit what you see on your plant?

As long as the plant is healthy, multiples stems in one pot should be fine. If it seems like the plant is root bound and should be repotted, do wait until the insects are cleared up. Then simply purchase a pot 2 - 4 inches bigger than the current pot.


9:46 AM  
Blogger Shira said...

Hi, it's me again..
I've recently noticed the same problems described in the two previous posts. My plant has sprouted new leaves, but there are small red spots on them (but not on the old leaves), and they are very frail. Some even fallen off already. I looked at the link about scales, but didn't recognize the spots my plant has. I guess its just a different type. The new leaves are green, but rather curly. Do the scales affect the strenght of the plant, or is it just a 'cosmetic problem'? What should I do to better care for my plant?

2:37 PM  
Blogger drayas said...

Hi Shira,

It is probably some sort of insect. Spray the plant with a soapy dishwater mixture twice a day. If possible, put the plant in your bathtub or shower so you can really cover the foliage at least the first couple times.

If that does not work. Visit your local garden center for an insecticide / pesticide. Be sure to read the labels on whether it's safe for pets, children, etc.

Please let me know how things work out.

Thanks for reading,

4:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have plant that has gotten too big and wide. (it's a tree!!!) I live in North Carolina and the nights are starting to get in 30's at night. I was wondering if I could cut it back. I've cut it back before but it was in the late spring and it rebounded beautifully. It is now November. Does any know if this will kill it seeing how its not in the growing season. This plant is over 36 yrs old any help would be appreciated.

4:17 PM  
Blogger drayas said...

So your Schefflera plant (tree) is outside? If yes, I would wait until late spring, however if any of my readers can assist here. I have limited knowledge in any of the houseplants listed outdoors since I'm in Wisconsin. Today's high was 40.


4:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am in North Carolina and in the last three weeks trimmed one back at my office and the original plant is doing well I put the cut branches [after trimming back] into some water and one already has long roots coming out.

2:37 PM  
Anonymous Shira said...

Hi drayas,

I took your advise about spraying my plant with dishwater, and I also moved it to a window that gets much brighter light. And I think it worked. There are new sprouts now, and they look healthy, without spots.
I'm still not sure that it was scales. Now the old leafs, that were infected in the first place, are strong and sturdy, but all wrinkled and spottedd. Should I trim those leaves to prevent further infection?

Again, thank you very much for your help!

12:56 PM  
Blogger drayas said...


I would trim those leaves off just in case. Better safe than sorry!


10:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a question about my plant. I'm not sure what variety it is but I received it last year from my dad's funeral. I have it in my front window which faces north, so it gets indirect morning light and indirect evening light and it is doing okay, I mean I have new sprouts all over the place. My question is this, how and what do I clean its leaves with? I'm in central Illinois and we are running a humidifier right now and it leaves a white film on everything (due to the lime in the water I guess...I water the plant with bottled water.) I know they need cleaned, I'm just not sure what the right method is.

Thanks for your help!

9:58 AM  
Anonymous Julie said...

After reading about soft scales I have come to the conclusion my huge schefflera has them. It's sticky, and has small brown spots that can be removed. I'd like to try the soapy water thing but am not sure how much soap to use. I'm also going to use a soft tooth brush to try to remove them. Should this save my plant??

10:35 AM  
Blogger drayas said...


Sorry for the late response. I use a leaf shine product made by Miracle Gro to keep the leaves pretty and green. You just spray it on and wipe it off. I think I got my bottle at Home Depot.


11:25 AM  
Blogger drayas said...


Just mix a couple squirts of dish soap into the water bottle and then fill it 3/4 with water. There's no real right or wrong amount. Shake it up and spray. With scales, I have also taken Q-tips or cotton balls, soaked them with rubbing alcohol and washed the leaves that way before I used the soapy mixture.

Scales can be hard to get rid of and they spread, so be sure to keep your Schefflera away from other plants.


11:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for your response about my schefflera. I used the soapy water and it seemed to help. After much wiping of leaves I think I've gotten the majority of the sclaes off. I'm assuming the soap kills them? Now my questions far away from my other plants do I need to keep it. And will these pesky things return??
Thanks for your help!

7:14 PM  
Blogger drayas said...


The rubbing alcohol and the soapy water should kill them. I would keep your Schefflera a couple of feet away from your other plants just to be safe.

The pests may come back, so just keep an eye out so you can catch them early.


12:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is there a right time of year to trim these plants back? The plant I also got as a gift and there are sprouts everywhere. I am keeping it indoors. WHen do you decide to
repot it or how do you know it is rootbound without tearing it apart.
My plant is about 3 feet tall right now. I would like to keep it that size. It looks really hardy and I am keeping it free from a draft. The room now is 68 or so. I live in Michigan and do not intend to make an outdoor plant. I sure would like to keep this plant looking as it does now.Appreciate this blog and it's answers. THANK YOU!!!

11:58 PM  
Blogger drayas said...


I have found that you can trim Schefflera any time of year. You should repot every 1 - 2 years, depending how fast the plant is growing. Usually when the root base is tight or close to the end of the palm. Basically what I do to check is just very gently loosen the soil within the pot and then gently pull up on the plant. It will pull the roots up just slightly enough for you to see how much room there is. Then if it's close to the edges, repot in a pot 3 - 6 inches bigger than the current pot.

Hope that helps!

Thanks for reading,

8:34 PM  
Blogger FuzzyFleischer said...

I was given a Schefflera plant last summer and now the leaves are drooping at the joints. Am I overwatering it? I also think it might be time to repot it. Any suggestions?

3:02 PM  
Blogger drayas said...


I would have to say you may be over watering the plant. Are the leaves plump yet when they drop or are they wrinkling and seem dried out? If they seem dry and wrinkly then you may be under watering the plant.

If the problem is over watering, re-potting will be good for the plant, giving it new non-water logged soil.


1:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi There,
I'm wondering how the heck you trim a plant. I know it sounds simple, but I can't find any good basic guides on where on the stems to cut etc. If I cut a stem, does the plant make more leaves lower down? I'm sorry I know NOTHING about this!!
I've had my "umbrella bush" for almost a year now, and when I got it it was a really pretty bush. I moved it into my apartment and silly me, it didn't get enough sun and dropped many of its lower leaves. I moved it to my sunny solarium. The plant has now bounced back, and isn't dropping leaves, but has grown very tall and lanky and I would like to get that bushy leafy appearance in the lower limbs back. Any advice for a plant-ically challenged grower? thanks!!!

11:38 PM  
Blogger FuzzyFleischer said...

Hi Dryas,

Some of the leaves seem to be wrinkled but none of them seem to be dried out. Coming out from the main stem at the bottom there is a shoot that has become quite large. It's leaves are not drooping and look very healthy. Can I just cut that shoot of at the base, put it in water to root it and then plant it? That way, if the whole plant starts to go I will have saved part of it.


4:33 PM  
Blogger drayas said...


I prune my Schefflera quite a bit, but I did find this answer that gives some better tips.

Question on Dwarf Schefflera.

Keep me posted.


3:55 PM  
Blogger drayas said...


If you read previous comments, a couple of readers had posted regarding starting new plants. One had been successful with water. I had also posted some links to other resources on starting new Schefflera.

I personally have not tried to yet. I really should.

Please let me know which method you try and how things turn out.


3:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


8:29 PM  
Blogger drayas said...


I would wait until the lows are in the 50's.


2:43 PM  
Anonymous Suzette said...

I have a schefflera plant that is growing great on my patio, but my fiance wants me to trim it to grow tall instead of out. I put a few stakes to tie the trunks to force the plant to grow tall. I loved it the way it was, but he has tomato plants and pepper plants he wants to grow and the schefflera plant is taking up alot of room on my patio. Any suggestions?

11:04 PM  
Blogger drayas said...


Staking and trimming are your two options.

You can trim anytime and the plants typically rebound nicely.

Tell him to move the tomato plants!!


2:52 PM  
Blogger klbmarsh said...

I had a small schefflera in an office where I worked, and when I left there I brought it home. My cats liked to dig in it, so I moved it outside. Now, a few years later, I have 2 huge schefflera plants on either side of the front door, and 2 in the backyard, all from this one plant (outside year round, in TX). On one side of my pond, the schefflera is 5' tall, on the other side, 6' away, it's barely 1' tall. I don't know why. But they are very easy to divide after it gets root bound. Just split it up and replant them.

3:25 PM  
Anonymous Kookie said...

Somebody help! Please! I have a dwarf Trinette Schefflera. I just purchased her about 2 wks ago from Home Depot. I can barely touch her without the leaves dropping. The leaves are getting brown spots on them. I can't tell if they are yellowing bcz my tree is variagated. The leaves atop are also crinkly not flat. Is this normal? Some of the roots are appearing @ the base of the tree. Does she need to be repotted? Fertilized. What should I do to save my baby! Please anyone...Heeeelllppp! Thank you! :)

11:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kathy in Georgia wants to plant a schefflera plant outside. She has roots from a cutting inside now. Can this plant tolerate Atlanta year 'round? Also, shade or sun? Thanks, Kathy

6:38 PM  
Blogger FuzzyFleischer said...

I unsubscribed because I couldn't figure out how to answer a question. This is for drayas regarding how I started a schefflera. I cut off the stem that the leaves are attached to and stuck it in some potting soil. That was about 2 - 3 months ago and it is still living so I guess it is going to be alright.


5:56 PM  
Blogger Tamara said...

I have a smaller schefflera plant. I was dusting and moving things around and noticed that the leaves have a sticky substance on them, as well the table it sits on and other planters around it have this sticky stuff on them. It seems to be coming from the plant leaves. Any ideas? I had to move it and put plastic down, etc. I am not sure what to do? What is causing this?

11:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I paid $15 for this then unnamed (no labels) plant at Home Depot, Toronto, Ont. Canada and in a few weeks the leaves started falling off. Someone told me to try plant food, and I did, and thought it was working, but it was not...the leaves started to get black then fall off.

Thankfully, I picked up an Indoor Gardening book and found out today (July 27'08) the name of this plant and was able to get to this site to see that the plant just needs light. The book did not help much otherwise - only other thing was to note that these plants are picky about dust.

I have lost a few plants including a hibiscus, probably due to lack of light. I wish that all Indoor Houseplants sold would have more comprehensive instructions the way they do on most outdoor plants.

The sharing on these sites will probably save some more of my plants...the info. about poisonous houseplants were also helpful.

Will see what happens now that I change the location of the plant.

9:22 PM  
Anonymous Meagan said...

I have a schefflera from my father-in-law's funeral (6 months ago) that started out great, but is now losing a lot of leaves. It started with the leaves turning very dark which I'm told is from overwatering. I've since tried to water much less...waiting until the soil is dry all the way to the bottom (every 3 weeks at the most)...but the leaves are still dropping. I find about 1 leaf on the floor everyday.

I could use some help in determining if it's a watering issue or a light issue. The plant currently sits inbetween an east and west window so it gets lots of indirect sunlight. Unfortunately I don't have a south window to put it in front of and my west window is right near a heating/cooling vent. Help please!!!! Any suggestions welcome :)

10:54 AM  
Blogger Lilac212 said...

does anyone know what I can plant schefflera with ? I would like to plant it together with one or two other plants indoor for decorative purposes.

5:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a tall single stem scheflera and I would like it to bush out a little. How do I do it?
thanks Jen

1:46 PM  
Blogger drayas said...


What do you mean by "I unsubscribed because I couldn't figure out how to answer a question"? I only allow comments and I do have to have them moderated because too many spammers come and post non-sense, thus why you may make a comment and not see it posted right away.

Thanks for sharing your tips!!

3:30 PM  
Blogger drayas said...


The sticky substance is a pest. Rub the leaves down with rubbing alcohol. Then spray the plant twice a day with a soapy dishwater mixture.

Let us know if that works out for you.
- drayas

3:31 PM  
Blogger drayas said...


Plant your Schefflera with other plants that require the same watering and lighting requirements. That will give you the most healthy looking arrangement.

Thanks for reading,

3:33 PM  
Blogger parnelli said...

My parakeet eats my Schefflera plant all the time with no problems--How poisonous could it be?

10:22 AM  
Blogger drayas said...


I can't say, but various sources I used for reference label it as poisonous.

Safe and Poisonous Houseplants - University of Connecticut

Common Indoor Plants Which are Toxic


3:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a question. After moving to a new house 2 months ago my plant's leaves are falling off. Also the higher up the plants are located the worse the condition of the plants. What is the problem?

2:53 PM  
Anonymous Debbie said...

I have old schefflera plant...25 years old ..and it has two stems growing out of one pot. I would like to take the taller gangly one and start a new plant.Any ideas on how to go about it.

9:25 AM  
Blogger drayas said...


I have never propagated a Schefflera, but earlier up in the comments another reader posted:

"I cut off the stem that the leaves are attached to and stuck it in some potting soil. That was about 2 - 3 months ago and it is still living so I guess it is going to be alright."

Hope that helps.

3:58 PM  
Blogger Jim in LA said...

I live in New Orleans, and have a schefflera tree. It was in a plastic pot, the roots busted the pot, and it now grows in the ground. I have to trim it twice a year. It is now over 10 feet tall, and it's winter time. It is about 5 to 6 years old, and has been outside all of this time.

My question is, I have little orange ball like figures growing in clusters on the plant, approximately 50 to a bundle. They are on the older parts of the tree, that get direct sunlight. What are these little balls? My guess, they are seeds, please advise.

10:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Help, please! I have a HUGE Schefflera that has been growing outside, here in Tampa, FL, for about 10 years. It started as a potted house plant, then I planted it next to the house. It grew taller than my house. Beautiful, problem is we had a cold spell this winter and all the leaves fell off. I don't know if it is dead, or what to do. I want to save it if I can. Anybody have any ideas?

1:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a 10+ year old schefflera that has done beautifully up until last fall. Many of the leaves turn yellow and then fall off. I'm at a loss at to what is wrong. It gets the right amount of light and water, it does not need a larger pot as I keep it pruned. Any sugestions?

1:04 PM  
Blogger Marla said...

why is my schefflera plant excreting a sticky sappy substance?

11:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have had my schefflera since I was 2 years old (literally) It is 28 years old now and has certainly seen better days. I've always taken good care of it, but didn't really know what was proper care when I was in my teens. It's now about 6 feet tall but is really leaning hard, has a big curve. I know I didn't have the right place for it in one of my apartments. It does have what I call the baby that's been growing for maybe 12 years, it's really short and hardly grows. I have brought it to a greenhouse for a professional to replant it when I was afraid it didn't have enough room. They suggested not seperating the baby. I have a huge attachment for "my tree" and really want to make sure it's healthy again. How can I best straighten it out and should I have them seperated?

3:55 PM  
Blogger Les said...

Quick question regarding the 'soapy' mixture to get rid of mites. I assume that is what i am seeing flying around my plant that i have owned for only one week! What is the ratio of soap to water? Does it matter what kind of soap? and do i spray the soil and roots, leaves, or both?

7:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, I have a Gold Capella Schefflera plant that is about 2-3 feet tall. I want to know how to prune it and possibly cut part of it and replant it to start a new schefflera. Can anyone give me some tips?

10:12 AM  
Blogger ronwest said...

I have just bought a Yellow variegated Schefflera but have only just noticed in very small print]the words "may cause skin allergy" on the label. I cannot find any reference to this on your plant care page, and would appreciate some clarification. I probably would not have bought it if I had seen the warning.
R Westgarth

7:49 AM  
Blogger PattyCat said...

Lots of interesting info...just wanted to add I live in San Diego, we have outdoor "tree" is approx 25' high!! And every once in awhile, they decide to bloom...a beautiful cluster of purplish flowers. I remember being just awed the first time I noticed that.

2:01 PM  
Blogger susan said...

I have a Hawaiian Schefflera plant for several months and the leaves have fallen off alot. Could you tell me what I have done wrong. I would like to know what I should do and will the leaves grow back full again. As when I first purchased it. I would like to save this plant. HELP PLEASE

12:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, I need some help desperately with my new schefflera plant. I bought it from a local nursary in NJ about a week ago. The store repotted it in a bigger pot when I bought and sprayed with lots of leave shine spray before I brought it home. After 4 days, the plant starts lossing leaves profusly everyday even with the slightest touch. I read some of your post here mentioning scale. I inspected my plant but not very sure if its scale.Not experience at all here. I took some photos and would like to show you, to ask if you could help me to identify if it is scale. HOw could I send or post the photos of the plant please?

8:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi pplz i'm sorry but I can't help any of you i'm just starting out myself SORRY if i could help i seriously would

4:33 PM  
Blogger jimbudaysr said...

We have owned a schefflera for over 30 years. It was in a small pot (about 10") and never grew more than 4' tall with few leaves (sometimes only one branch of 5!)

This Spring we guessed it was pot bound but hesitated repotting it after reading all the horror stories on the net. But we bought a nice 18" pot with a wheeled coaster to put it on and replanted it with tons of new potting soil just barely covering the root ball. We watered like before and it was totally uneventful. No leaves fell off, no leaves turning orange and no drooping occurred like the net warned, but it didn't grow any more either.

Then I bought a new coffee maker that didn't have to be in the kitchen, so we placed it in the dining room where the schefflera is. Being lazy one day, we threw the day old coffee grounds in the scheff's pot instead of the trash since there was 3-4" of room. Did this a few more times.... WOW!!!! Scheffy (as we have always called her) started getting tons of new shoots, even new branches! We now put all our grounds in Scheffy's pot as well as any left over coffee (after it cools of course),

That was 5 months ago and Scheffy is now nearly 8' tall with a stalk nearly 5' and leaves galore. She has never been this beautiful. We now put those magic grounds on the tomatoes and green pepper plants. They like it better than that "Miracle" stuff and though the change is not as dramatic as Scheffy's, they are now producing more veggies! Hope this helps.

5:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you think my schefflera is getting enough sunlight ? It is in western exposure.

6:33 AM  
Blogger Margi Maucher said...

I've had a time with my schefflera I inherited it when my brother passed away 3yrs ago, they were throwing it out and I brought it home. It looked awful. I've been battling scales and recently had to move it out of the sunroom to make room for the Christmas tree. It has not bounced back well.It obviously wasn't getting enough light. Its leaves are wilty some turned brown and fell off some are slightly yellow and not much new growth. It is giving me mixed signals.I fertilized it and moved it back to sun room. Its always sticky and sap gets all over the floor. it still has scales on its leaves and im at my wits end. I love the plant and want it to do well HELP!!!!! where do I begin

8:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If my schefflera is healthy and very large with limbs can I plant it in the ground? I live in the south where winters are mild but does occassionally get below freezing. Any help would be very appreciated.

12:01 PM  
Blogger Donna said...

I'll try to answer a few of the posted questions/problems (I worked for a local nursery & grower for many years and am repeating the horticulturalists' wisdom):

The best way to determine if your plant needs watering is to purchase a moisture meter. This device has two long metal prongs that you stick deep into the soil by which it 'reads' the moisture content of the pot. You can also stick your finger DEEP into the soil but no finger will reach the depth of the meter's prongs, which is much closer to level of the plant's roots. A huge drawback to the finger method is that the top couple of inches of soil can be very misleading (i.e. dry on top but very moist down deep).

Someone posted the possibility of their plant's problem as spider mites. To determine if this is indeed the culprit, shake the plant or offshoot over a white sheet of paper. If you see tiny red specks on the paper, you've got spider mites. Use the soapy water method to treat them. The soapy water works by way of suffocating the insects so don't wipe off right away. I don't know the 'magic' amount of time needed; I've always just left the solution on until I gave the plant a spa day in the shower. If it doesn't look unsightly, don't worry about it. If the leaves look cloudy, wait about an hour or so, I suppose.

If your leaves are falling off after moving the plant from one environmental condition to another (level of light, source of light, store to home, inside to out or vise versa, moist to dry, etc), the issue is most likely the plant's natural mechanism to adjust to the change. For example, a plant will drop it's smaller summer leaves for larger ones in the winter in order for it to capture more of the limited indoor light or the lower angled winter sunlight. Likewise, when you move the plant outside in the spring, to protect itself from scorching, the plant will drop the broad winter foliage and put out smaller, narrower leaves. It's a marvel, really, at how they adapt! To minimize leaf drop, graduate the change as much as possible. My winter-to-spring scenario is as follows: move plants from grow lights in basement to warmer & sunnier conditions upstairs; after a few weeks, when the nighttime temp in our sunporch is consistently above 55, move them there (more sun & heat); when outdoor low temps are consistently 55 or above, move plants outside (no afternoon sun exposure yet); after a few weeks of indirect outdoor sun, they can be moved into full sun. Leaves will still drop, just not all at once, which leaves you a naked plant for what could be several weeks. The less shock, the better.


- While indoors, put your pot in a drainage tray with a deep layer of pea gravel, marble, etc. and fill with water JUST BELOW THE POT'S DRAINAGE HOLES. This provides ambient humidity, which most tropicals crave.

- Whenever a plant is stessed, from an environmental move, pests, over/under watering, propagating, pruning, etc., treat with 'Superthrive'. It's expensive (but you only use 1 drop/gal. water) and the label looks incredibly hokey, but it really does work. Do not use as a fertilizer, but more along the lines of an antibiotic.

- Find a good local nursery that sells tropicals to accurately identify a problem. This does not include big box stores - they do not TYPICALLY employ nursery help that have the education nor credentials to be diagnosing horticultural problems.

Sorry for the LONG reply. I hope this plagiarized advice helps. :)

Good luck to all of us tropically-challenged growers! :)


11:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i have a large schefflera plant. probably 8-10 feet in all directions. i used to take it outside every spring until it got too big to fit through a door. before the last time it came inside for the winter, it got caught in a hail storm and a lot of the leaves were stripped off. it needs pruned badly in order for the plant to look full and healthy again. how much can i cut off without damaging the plant permanently, and can i use the trimmings to start new plants?

10:58 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

I inherited a schefflera plant and now, it is growing what looks like little seeds but it is just in one sprout...overall, the plant is healthy and I am able to provide the proper environment for it (apparently). Any ideas what the "seeds" are....or are they just that - seeds?
Laura from Wisconsin

9:28 AM  
Blogger Diana said...

We have a schefflera plant at our office, it sets in a south window with plenty of am & pm sun. We rotate quarter turn monthly. There is a sticky, gooey substance on the leaves, window sill, and the table. We have applied Ortho econsense insecticidal soap per our lawn & garden center. What is the and what do we do? Thanks

12:46 PM  
Blogger Brandi said...

I have a Schefflera that I bought at a garage sale for a dollar HAH! Anyway, I've never owned a house plant and my thumb isn't as green as it could be. I read that you could prune the plant and I did so around the bottom, it had these tiny leaves coming up and I didn't want the plant to look bushy. I threw the small pieces over the side of my apartment balcony then I got to thinking. Can I use those pieces to start a new plant? If so I need to run my butt down there and grab them. Does anyone know? Thanks!!

7:40 AM  
Blogger pellykate said...


I bought a schefflera a couple of weeks ago. It was doing great in a an East-facing window, being watered only when the soil felt dry enough and still in its original plastic pot. Then I watered it one day and my little son said "animals were trying to get in" my plant. It was actually tiny caterpillars coming out the side drain hole. I repotted it into a mix of 5 scoops potting soil, 3 scoops bone meal, 2 scoops lime, 3 scoops perlite and a heap of diatomaceous earth and about an inch of pebbles from my driveway in the bottom of the pot. My mix stunk and the plant started to go limp over the next few days. I put it outside, no help. Repotted it yesterday into Miracle-Gro potting mix with about 10% of my own concoction mixed into it, no rocks in the bottom, and left it outside. I also pruned it quite a bit. It's wilting on one side, but the other seems okay. The problem that baffles me is the wrinkly stems. The leaves are not firm, but not wrinkly, but the stems kind of look like celery that's going bad. Some of the leaves have holes with brown edges. Another question, aren't schefflera's supposed to have kind of a polka dotted trunk? Brown all over toward the soil graduated to teensy brown polka dots the further up you go until the stalk is nothing but green? I can't find a picture of scales, so I don't know if this is part of the plant or a pest. Please help. I'm really obsessing over this plant now.


9:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a schefflera plant that is 24 years old and is 12 feet high and 6 feet wide. It is too big to keep putting inside in the winter and outside in the summer. It is very healthy with 6 trunks. Anyone interested in making me a reasonable offer.

7:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My name is Paulette...Can you tell me what the best thing is to do with a schefflera plant that has become very spindly? I know what I was doing wrong now but don't know what to do to fix it. It is about 4 ft tall and all the foliage is at the very top.

11:19 AM  
Anonymous Sue said...

We were given a schefflera from my husband's cousin's funeral about 12 years ago. I have repotted it and it's now in a 20 inch pot. It has never been trimmed, but the stems have been staked to grow more up than out. We live in Northern Mississippi and I move it outside in the summer, inside in the winter. Seems to like the humidity and heat.
From reading the prior posts many of my questions have been answered, but one I have is that it appears that the roots are exposed on top now; like the dirt has been removed or something. Also it appears that the roots are growing out the bottom of the pot around the dish. Should it be repotted again; or just add more dirt on top?

3:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi all,

I bought a schefflera plant 2 days ago for my dad for Christmas, and it was in my car overnight.The weather was pretty cold overnight and when I brought it into the house yesterday, it appeared ok. When I returned to the plant this morning, the branches have all drooped as well as the leaves although they still maintain their green colour. Has the plant been badly affected by the cold of the car overnight?

Can anyone please advise me in relation to this. Looks like my dad will be getting a rather limp looking tree for Christmas, oopps.

Any help welcomed.

7:01 AM  
Blogger IceQueen said...

quick guestion. my schefflera is losing its leaves. all turning yellowish brown and falling off the stalk. i have ONLY two leaves left. I thought it was lack of light and moved it to a window and now it gets indirect light ALL day long.

Only watering it once every two weeks if the soil gets dry

what could it be? Could you pls help me Plant Genie?

1:58 PM  
Blogger IceQueen said...

oh.. and the stalk/stem is turning brown from the roots up... :( omg im so sad i want to cry. i love this plant

2:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My schefflera is planted in a pot with no drainage holes. Should I get a new pot, or would it work to give it smaller amounts of water more frequently? Also, there is not much light where I am, so I have been using artificial light from a regular house lamp. Should I consider an alternative?

6:02 PM  
Blogger Harry said...

FHLJR I haver a very old Schefflera which is about 8 ft tall and beautiful, well at least it was until this winter. it was too large and heavey for me to bring inside, i wrapped the root base with a blanket and it survived the south Lousiana winter. during a warm spell i watered it and the next day the temp droped to 25 for about 6 hours. All the leaves fell off, what do I do now?

10:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read that Schefflera will be spindly if too much nitrogen is in the fertilizer, in the comments. What level of fertilizer should be used on Schefflera and how often, for a potted plant?

9:32 PM  
Blogger Lolita.baghdad said...

i dont know what the disease is called which cause sticky leaves of Schefflera with brown egg like material on under side of the leaves. sometimes there is bug like insects hovering around.

6:23 AM  
Blogger Lolita.baghdad said...

Tam question for propagating schefflera is easy. just go to youtube and type in search propagating schefflera it will show u exactly how to do it. good luck.

6:25 AM  
Blogger laura said...

i brought my schefflera home from my office, repotted it, it's doing beautifully, except for what looks like white, fuzzy, fine mold on the top of the soil, is this from the type of potting soil i used? I used the type that retains water, and releases it as needed, Help!!janet

10:20 PM  
Blogger BBlake said...

I've been reading every post and still not quite sure what to do...I have a 4th tall potted Schefflera, which was outdoors (Texas summer 100+ temps, but in a covered area). The plant was being watered regularly, but the leaves started developing dark brown spots, some leaves were falling off, new grow is wrinkled, some leaves are yellow. I thought maybe the extreme heat and partial sun exposure could be causing this so I brought it in today. Doing so I was trimming some of the dying leaves off and noticed some quarter sized brown spots on the trunk. They seemed to have a orangish ooze coming out. Parts of the trunk are also somewhat discolored from the rich green that it was when I received the plant. Do you have any suggestions.? Also do you have any suggestions for trimming, I am still unclear if trimming the dead out of the middle and sides will cause the plant to become to skimpy or if it will continue to grow at the site of the leaves removed? Thanks for your help,

5:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, I have often seen this on the top of my plants soil. I just take a small fork and spread the soil around until it disappears. I suppose it might be from overwatering but I really don't know. Good luck to you, Jeanie

11:44 AM  
Blogger MarkDoc said...

I have a Schefflera that has been with me for over 10 years. I recently noticed the leaves seem to be curling and wrinkling. Mushrooms have also appeared in the soil. Is this an overwatering problem?
Thanks, Mark

5:37 PM  
Anonymous Doriana said...

My schefflera is about two feet high, I just re-potted it as I was hoping to let it get larger. I noticed that the base of the stem from where it touches the soil at the bottom until it starts branching out further is like tree bark. I got my plant about 5 years ago and don't recall if this was the way it was when I bought it, is this normal? I live on Vancouver Island in Canada and I water my plant every week or two, when the soil has dried a bit. My plant had started turning yellow so I have moved it from the window sill on which it used to sit and am trying to find another better lighting situation for it, but there are brown patches developing on the leaves. It's as though the leaves are drying out or burnt, eventually the brown was spreading until the leaf died. Since I moved it from the window it seems to have slowed the browning of the leaves, but I am unsure of what was causing it and I haven't seen another comment that answers this question. I would like to know if I can fix the leaves that are patchy brown and how I can prevent it from happening again, and what the cause was. If anyone can answer some of my questions I would be very appreciative.

10:23 PM  
Blogger drayas / Logical Mama said...


Repotting your plant may have sent it into shock a bit, however the patches of brown could have been from too much light. You won't be able to fix the browned leaves already, but moving it to a new location will help prevent further burning.

Nothing changed with the soil correct? Or you didn't try a new fertilizer?


9:26 AM  
Blogger drayas / Logical Mama said...

To all of my readers!!

I mentioned this earlier this year, but comments I'm receiving are not seeing it. I'm honored that my blog has gotten so popular, however I am having an extremely hard time answering all the comments. I will try my best to answer, but will not be able to get to everyone. I am a mother of two children under the age of 6 and work full time. I apologize for not being able to answer everyone. I truly wish I could. I am still here, and I do publish all the comments.

Thank you for reading and I enjoy all of you who love plants as much as I do. I just wish I could help more people out!

Thank you!

9:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, I am moving to a windowless office. Can't bring my plant home, as we have pets who will try to eat it. Can these survive in fluorescent light, or with a lamp using a full spectrum bulb?

Thanks for any suggestions!

9:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i have a gold schefflera and i have noticed brown patches on some of the leaves and then they eventually fall off. Does anyone know what this problem is?

1:46 AM  
Anonymous Moogle said...

My workspace has an umbrella tree that was in excellent condition before the owner left in inexperienced hands. We tried our best to keep it lush and green but after six months it looks like a Charlie Brown christmas tree. We even tried placing it outdoors for a day but have come to the conclusion that the cool alaskan weather placed it into shock and even further into a sad state. Is there any to bring it back to its former glory?

6:36 PM  
Blogger Kate said...

I have a Schefflera that I've had for nearly 6 years. I've dealt with scale, over watering, not enough light, drafts, and other issues.

I've figured out how to save it from all of those issues over the years, BUT :( Now it's leaves are getting yellow and falling off at an alarming rate. I've seen only a few others post the same problem but haven't seen an answer.

Please please please, if you have time and know what this is, please help! I bought this plant when I was going through a divorce and it's the first thing I bought for myself when I moved into my own place for the first time in years, so this plant and I have been through a lot together ... I can't bear not being able to figure out what is going on with it!

The leaves slowly get barely yellow in a veiny sort of pattern, then it gets very pronounced. Some leaves fall off before they get too yellow, and some get very veiny-yellow before they fall off. They aren't drooping, aren't turning brown or black. The plant gets plenty of sun, perhaps even a bit too much direct morning light but that hasn't ever bothered it before. Ugh.

This problem started a few weeks ago, it had just gone through a serious growth spurt so I thought it was very healthy.

Just today I've also noticed some tiny round spots on the leaves where the leaf appears just a bit thinner in those spots and it makes a sort of speckled effect. These spots are barely larger than a millimeter around and aren't scale ... they look more like virus or fungus caused but I don't really know.

Thanks, Kate

11:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regarding the Scale problems: I've found that Bayer Tree and Shrub Insect Killer works great. I had been fighting scale on my houseplants for years. Since I watered with the Bayer product about 2 years ago, the scale was wiped out and hasn't returned. I use 2 to 3 tablespoons per gallon.
It is non toxic nd is safe to use around pets

9:34 PM  
Blogger Tim said...

I'm having some trouble with my schefflera actinophylla....many of the leaves are curling and some of the lower level leaves are yellowing and have recently begun devoloping brown (rotten) spots and have fallen off. I water about once a week but the pot it is in has only one small hole for drainage....could this be the problem?

9:43 PM  
Anonymous Tara said...

I have a Schefflera similar to the one pictured, except it is probably about 5' tall, with 3 main stalks (about an inch in diameter) and plenty of leaves. It has a problem though: The leaves have become sort of wavy and wilted-looking, and the "umbrellas" seem too heavy or far out from the main stalks because their branches/stems are literally bending at the node at the stalk.

To some extent, I think the plant was thirsty; when I gave it a thorough soaking, it perked up a tiny bit over a few days. I also cut some of the super bent branches (they were a lost cause) and put them in vases by the window because the leaves were still plenty intact and pretty. Within a day, those cuttings yielded leaves that were very smooth and erect.

Though it's winter in Missouri, this week we were treated to a few sunny days, and I put my plant right in the window. No change. The branches are still droopy/bent, and the leaves are still wavy at their edges.

On the plus side, there seems to be a lot of small, fresh, healthy growth near the base of the plant. I am actually a little worried it will get shaded out by the plant's upper growth...

Any advice?

3:47 AM  
Anonymous SunnySouthTexas said...

Today, our Sheffy got repotted.

He is probably 40-50 years old and began life as a weed in Florida, who came home in a coffee can. He lived the first 15 years of his captivity in said coffee can(s) until his captor married my Mother - who forced him to donate Sheffy to me.

Sheffy was first repotted into a little pot slightly larger than his coffee can. Every few years, he gets a larger and larger pot... This year's pot is a massive 2.5' across or so.

We live in Southern Texas, and he is happiest living outside on the front patio where he gets filtered light and infrequent, indirect rain. Most of the year, he happily lords over the front porch. When our "Winter" approaches - as soon as the weatherman predicts the evening will drop below 50 degrees - he relocates (*much against his will*) into the house. He pouts, and mopes, and spews leaves and stems EVERYWHERE to voice his displeasure. (We don't keep enough humidity in the house to please His Majesty, apparently.)

He has lived with me for at least 15 years.

I've never thought of propagating him... not sure I need or want another leaf-spewing petulant over-winter'er. But I may try, in a few days when he is over the shock of being repotted yet again. Normally, a few days after his repotting, when I know he's on the road to recovery, I hack and chop his sprawling and gangly limbs back to something that might possibly fit through the front door... ;)

Oh, and in an act of debauchery, when he is repotted, he is subjected to a sloughing "bath" to his root ball. I roll him over on his side, and using the garden hose, gently (HA!) rinse all the expired dirt out of his root ball. He actually seems to benefit from the complete exchange of potting soil. It also lends to relaxing the tight, compacted mass of roots that collect between pot changes.

So, folks, you can look forward to MANY, MANY years with YOUR Sheffy - if you can stand the litter they make! Messy guys; they are.

Warm regards from Sunny South Texas!

4:45 PM  
Anonymous KathyG said...

My plant is starting to lose leaves and stems rapidly. They are still a healthy green color with no signs of yellowing or browning. I also don't see any signs of insects. I water it only when it gets dry and pour any run-off water out. It gets afternoon sun but is not real close to the patio doors. Any clues what could be wrong? At this rate it will be dead in a few weeks.

10:13 AM  
Blogger Kay Starrs said...

I recently adopted a Schefflera (dark green and beautiful), which was and still is an indoor plant. However, it has developed some king of "sticky and shiny residue" on the leaves!!!??? What in the world is this stuff!? Having lived in S FL for 29 yrs,I'm familiar w/the outdoor (trees)plants but am wondering what this leaf residue is?
PLEASE HELP ME! Thanks 4 your time.

12:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I got my schefflera at Wal-Mart. It was root-bound and when I took it out of it's plastic pot, the roots were crawling with centipedes and nearly invisible tiny spec like bugs (mites?) I ran an insecticide through the root ball and rinsed off a lot of the old dirt before repotting. The leaves are green and look healthy. How will I know if the plant is bug-free without digging it up again? What are the warning signs?

6:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

just repotted my plant in spring and it appears healthy but is growing yellow sponggy looking stuff in soil?

11:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I received a piece of the plant from my land lord, she said just stick it in the dirt it will root on its on. Well it rootrd and is 4 ft tall but not full what do you feed this type of plant?

11:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi i need to know what kind of soil i need for a schefflera house plant. My papa gave me this befor he passed away. It means alot to me.

12:28 PM  
Blogger Rendi said...

I purchased a nice full 12" schefflera plant about two weeks ago. I had it on my kitchen nook table where there is plenty of indirect light. I noticed three days ago the stems are falling off the main stalks with the slightest touch. Most of the leaves are still green and only a very few are turned brown/black. The soil is not dry or wet. It feels damp. When I purchased it there were white water spots on the leaves. I cleaned the leaves off with a little soapy water. Then I sprayed them with leaf shine. I was planning to repot the plant into a larger pot since it is only in a 6" pot, but now am afraid to do it with it being so frail. I did move the plant to the kitchen counter for a little more light with hopes it will help. Also, I live in Southern California and we have to run the air conditioner as it is 100+ degrees, but there was air at the store as well... Any advise?

4:30 PM  
Anonymous bazirel said...

Hi, I saw your responses regarding the dwarf schefflera plant. I have one too and it is experiencing some problems after a pretty good run. Now I have brown scales (saw your advise about the soapy water treatment) but I also have a clean sticky secretion going on and its getting worse! sticky secretion is getting all over the mantle plant is sitting on, getting on other plants nearby, even some on the window plant in sitting in. What is this sticky residue and how do I treat that?

3:11 PM  
Anonymous Gale said...

I left my plant out in the cold and now all of the stems are hanging down. Have I killed it? What to do now?

9:16 AM  
Anonymous Jean said...

I live in England and my Schefflera is in a conservatory. What minimum temperature can it tolerate?

3:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I trim mine ar least once a year. I take the cuttings and remove the bottom leaves and just put in a vase of water and in a few months they are rooted. Then I plant those. It also makes the original plant bushier.

11:15 AM  
Blogger Carl Blum said...

Does anyone know why the main beams (trunks) on a schefflera tree, aprox. 6ft. tall, have begun to deteriorate or dry rot? The leaves are beautiful though, and the plant is around 25 years old. Also, this has been going on for the past 4-5 years. Thank you, Carl

5:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My Fiancé has a Schefflera that was given to his mother while she was undergoing chemo 20 years ago. She has now been gone 15 years and this poor plant had become a tall stem with only a few leaves. I did my research, read up on fertilization, water and light requirements but was only able to get one more branch when cutting the very top off. I decided to try the air layering thing so see if I could get another plant out of it and try to thicken it , only I think there was too much moisture and the base stem started to rot and all the leaves and branches started to droop and die. To try and save the base plant I cut the rotted half off, then all the mushy section from the top half and am trying to air root with spaghmum off the plant, but the base woody part of the stem seems to be dry and hollow? Do I dare attempt to air root that section as well , or will it bounce back on it's own?? Is there any way to save this plant after my horrible mistake??

11:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I purchased a hawaiian schefflera back in February and have kept it in my office since then (6-7 months). I've noticed over the last month or so, the plant has began to droop and is loosing it leaves. Its no longer a full tree but instead looking sickly. My office faces west and I water it probably once a month. I've noticed there is a draft from the A/C thats hitting the plant. Do you believe my plant is still adjusting to the new environment or do you think Im killing the tree. Any help would be appreciated?

10:02 AM  
Blogger Kathleen Johns said...

I have a schefflera that is over 25 years old. It lives indoors in a sunny south facing window. I cut it all the way back this summer and it did begin to leaf out. Suddenly the base of the stems on the new growth (where they come out of the original branch) turned black and the new growth died. Is this overwatering?

1:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have taken lots of cuttings from the mother plant in the office. All with much success. I have put them in water first until a good ball of roots develops.

However the latest one, has rooted well, but there isn't any growth. It is healthy and green. It isn't dying, it isn't dropping leaves, there are no sticky patches. It just isn't doing ANYTHING.
I'm wondering if the plant is simply too old now? Or does it need food?

Any ideas please.

9:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone know if I can plant my schefflera-capella/std. outside? We live in Surrey British Columbia with mild temps.

Thanks for any info.

3:47 PM  
Blogger Bradley Zahrte said...

I have a question about my umbrella tree.. I'm trying to find a way to get new shoots to grow out of it..without killing it.. right now it looks like a tall stick with a couple leaves on the top of it..I have tried pruning the smaller one that was with it with no luck.. it got mushy where I had cut it..then it died off..

1:30 PM  

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