How to Bring My Plant Back to Its Beauty
I need to know what to do to keep my Schefflera healthy. The leaves are turning yellow and droopy. I've lost a lot of leaves. I received this plant after the loss of a family member. I really need to keep this plant.
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
If the leaves are yellowing, then the plant is receiving too much water.
Just for clarification. Super Thrive is NOT a fertilizer. It is more a vitamin tonic to help restore once lost vigor. It is made for just such situations as the above in the question. I am the son of an 87 year old horticulturist, both indoor and outdoor, not to mention one amazing farm grown lady that could grow pineapples on concrete. She has taught me much over the years and raising Scheffleras successfully is just one feather in her cap. You certainly can add Super Thrive to fertilizer to enhance it in many cases. However, this is not one of those. It should be added to the watering water alone. For checking soils moisture in the pots or even outside. I use a moisture meter with the longest probe end on it that I can find. That way I can reach down into very deep pots, as well as use it outside to get a reading down deep in the root system home of the plants. There are some good points in the above note and I do not discount them, just clarifying things so as not to confuse the person needing help.
As an interior horticulturist, I've taken care of hundreds of scheffleras. If they are being overwatered, they get dark brown tips on the ends of the leaves, often the brown extends down the sides of the leaves, then the leaf starts to get yellow, and falls off. If, however, the leaves - older leaves especially - are simply turning yellow, and falling, the problem is too little water. This could also be a result of being extremely rootbound, but that would take years and years. Before repotting an already unhappy plant, I would try to get the water right. They like to be nearly dry - or almost totally aerated is another way to say it - before they are watered again, and you need to check all the way to the bottom of the pot. Use a kebob skewer as if you were testing a cake. When you water, water enough that water runs through and at least 1/2" collects in the saucer. If you have been consistently underwatering, why don't you try a serious hydration treatment - set the pot in a big bucket, or the bathtub, and let water come up all the way to the top of the pot, and let it soak for an hour, then let all the water drain away, and proceed with watering as per above. Superthrive is a good idea to add to your water, although normally you don't want to fertilize a plant that is suffering from under or over watering.
If the pot you have your plant in does not have any drainage holes in the bottom, then I would transplant it immediately into one that does. Perhaps transplant it into a bigger pot even if the one it is currently in does have drainage holes. It could be a sign of it becoming root bound. Once you have it transplanted, water it in lightly and add a teaspoon of a product called Super Thrive to the water. This will help the plant to fight any shock that may be bothering it from overwatering or any other stressor cause.