Schefflera dying?

funnyCAT140

Established Member
Hello everyone! I have a Schefflera actinophylla that’s been struggling lately lol. I’ve been searching through plant forums but since dwarf umbrellas are more popular it’s harder to find an answer, so I thought I would turn back to this forum for some help. I know it’s been ages since I’ve posted anything lol. It started dropping leaves when I forgot to water it....oops. Ever since then it’s just (like I said above) been struggling. I’ve had it for 2 years now, and it’s not in an enclosure. It has had mites since I got it, and I’ve been treating it with neem oil spray. I think what happened was I let it dry out and the mites attacked while it was vulnerable, idk. The leaves were dropping and I fixed that, but now the base of the stalks are starting to turn black. The last image is a pic of one of the mites. I was informed previously on this forum that it was a type of spider mite.
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funnyCAT140

Established Member
So one of the stems that turned black at the base fell off, and it was all dried out with no sap going to it. Could this be from me forgetting to water it?
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jamest0o0

Chameleon Enthusiast
Hmm. I'm not a plant expert other than knowing what does and doesn't work with the species I have. I have 2 of these and IME are pretty hardy. My one has absolutely thrived (almost 6 feet tall and that's with me trimming it). They do well under good light, warm, humid, and frequent waterings. The one is in a cham enclosure with always moist substrate and It grows out of control, so I'd imagine tropical conditions are ideal. Even when my other dried out a few times it just drooped some though. Any pests attacking it? I've had problems with aphids many times, but they rarely kill a plant.
 

funnyCAT140

Established Member
Hmm. I'm not a plant expert other than knowing what does and doesn't work with the species I have. I have 2 of these and IME are pretty hardy. My one has absolutely thrived (almost 6 feet tall and that's with me trimming it). They do well under good light, warm, humid, and frequent waterings. The one is in a cham enclosure with always moist substrate and It grows out of control, so I'd imagine tropical conditions are ideal. Even when my other dried out a few times it just drooped some though. Any pests attacking it? I've had problems with aphids many times, but they rarely kill a plant.
Thank you. I’ve had it for 2 years and haven’t changed anything other than letting it dry out. Like I said above it has the mites but I’ve pretty much gotten rid of those. I’ve been talking with people and they think it could have been caused from being in front of the heating vent in the house. Which makes since because it hasn’t really been on until recently.:unsure:
 

jamest0o0

Chameleon Enthusiast
Thank you. I’ve had it for 2 years and haven’t changed anything other than letting it dry out. Like I said above it has the mites but I’ve pretty much gotten rid of those. I’ve been talking with people and they think it could have been caused from being in front of the heating vent in the house. Which makes since because it hasn’t really been on until recently.:unsure:
Just re read your post, idk what kind of rush I was in where I missed the entire part about mites lol, my fault. The dry air could definitely be a factor, if it had mites, it may just be dropping some branches/leaves after the fact in response to the stress.
 

Thehippie

Chameleon Enthusiast
plants need a stable climate, any drastic changes in uvb, humidity or temperature is going to stress the plant out. it is most likely dropping leaves because of the humidity change.
 

funnyCAT140

Established Member
Thanks for the help guys! After I made my original post I realized that my dwarf Schefflera was dropping leaves too. So Ive pretty much decided that it’s either the heat, the mites, or a combination of both. That’s the only things the 2 plants have in common since they’re both in pretty much the same spot and they both had the mites (I’ve pretty much eliminated them at this point). I closed the air vent the other day and I haven’t noticed the plants getting any worse.
 

pmdaggett79

Member
Thanks for the help guys! After I made my original post I realized that my dwarf Schefflera was dropping leaves too. So Ive pretty much decided that it’s either the heat, the mites, or a combination of both. That’s the only things the 2 plants have in common since they’re both in pretty much the same spot and they both had the mites (I’ve pretty much eliminated them at this point). I closed the air vent the other day and I haven’t noticed the plants getting any worse.
If it was super dry before you noticed the mites it’s possible that they could have been able to get into the root stock and laid eggs. Judging by the pic of the ate up branch I would say they went to town for a while. A possible solution is to repot the plant with new soil bedding. While you are repotting inspect the base of roots on top and bottom for signs of damage. Another thing is that the PH levels will change when using any kind of insect control. It absorbs a lot of nitrogen in the soil. If you live in a warm climate I would also leave it outside for a while and use miracleGro plant food(the liquid) once every other week
 

funnyCAT140

Established Member
If it was super dry before you noticed the mites it’s possible that they could have been able to get into the root stock and laid eggs. Judging by the pic of the ate up branch I would say they went to town for a while. A possible solution is to repot the plant with new soil bedding. While you are repotting inspect the base of roots on top and bottom for signs of damage. Another thing is that the PH levels will change when using any kind of insect control. It absorbs a lot of nitrogen in the soil. If you live in a warm climate I would also leave it outside for a while and use miracleGro plant food(the liquid) once every other week
Yeah, I would put it outside but it’s currently too cold out. Thanks for the tips! So should Schefflera be allowed to dry out or should there always be moisture? I usually let the top inch dry out before I water.
 

pmdaggett79

Member
Yeah, I would put it outside but it’s currently too cold out. Thanks for the tips! So should Schefflera be allowed to dry out or should there always be moisture? I usually let the top inch dry out before I water.
You definitely don’t want too much moisture so I think what your doing is fine. I water my indoor plant 3 times a week. Lowe’s sells a light/humidity/ph gauge for $8. Its worth the buy.
You maybe watering too much. You have to make sure there’s proper drainage otherwise it could cause root rot. Don’t let the plant dry out completely. Instead keep the soil moist constantly. After researching a little it’s hard to diagnose the black on the stem roots. But I was correct about repotting. Leave it in a place in the house that doesn’t have too much ventilation. Cold temps are a real problem for these plants.

Hope that helps.Heres the link that has a ton of resources for umbrellas. https://www.flowershopnetwork.com/blog/leaves-falling-schefflera-help
 

mBuxx

Established Member
Sorry to butt in here. But I also have a the same plant in my setup. It’s always dropping leaves (but also sprouting so many more and growing like crazy lol) so I’m beginning to wondering about watering. Is the mist king going off 4 times a day enough to keep this plant alive? It’s hard for me to tell if the soil is moist or dry because I have the plant in a pot with rocks, soil, more rocks on top to prevent my Cham from getting into anything he shouldn’t down there.
 
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