Umbrella Plants

Umbrella Tree Dropping Leaves

Leema828 added on August 14, 2014 | Answered

I recently inherited an umbrella tree and it has been dropping leaves like crazy. After reading your tips, I believe I have over watered it. What, if anything, can I do to save this tree? I have only watered once a week when the soil began to be dry on top. I've had the plant since July 6th with no new sprouts and many of the leave are turning yellow. The plant is in my living room positioned in a corner in front of my window so it gets light but not lots of light because it faces south.

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Answered on August 15, 2014

Not trying to be a nitpick, but this is a dwarf shefflera, or arboricola. This is important to know because these plants can adapt to a place with much lower light than can a schefflera, commonly called an umbrella tree. Also, if the spot in the picture is where the plant usually sits, it's not in front of the window but off to the side, so the light would at most be called medium light. That will be plenty for an arboricola. Looking at the picture, it doesn't really look like overwatering; with that you would see brown tips on many of the leaves. If the plant is simply losing leaves, yellow or green, it is probably adjusting to the reduced light it finds itself in now. You want to be especially careful not to overwater. If you only feel the moisture/dryness on the top of the soil, you may miss the build up of moisture in the bottom of the pot, where the roots are. You should test the moisture in the bottom of the pot, either with a moisture meter or a wooden dowel or kebob skewer that you can use as if you were testing a cake.
The plant should be just fine as long as you allow the soil to aerate (dry out) between waterings to the point where it feels almost dry.

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