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Question
Leaves turned yellow than black fell off loads of them.  Some upper branches which were still green got black tips which would continue down the branch.  Cut that off 2in behind the black but it still progressed down the branch but only some branches had this not all.  Lower branches not affected as much no black on branches.  on and off would get new stems but would either dry up or eventually curl up wilt and be taken off.  What to do, any ideas had the plant for years.  Last 2 taken outside from late spring to late summer saw a lot of growth repot 2 years ago

Answer
Hi Dave,

"Umbrella plant" is a name applied to several different plant species, most commonly to Schefflera arboricola. I will go on the assumption that is what you have. Let me know if that is not the case.

When new growth at the upper ends of stems turn black, that is almost always a sign of badly damaged roots, usually from not allowing the soil to dry out properly between waterings. Repotting into a larger pot with added soil is often a common cause of inadvertent over watering. The reason is that the added spoil acts like a sponge and retains water for too long before drying out properly.

Plants outdoors use a lot more water than the same plant moved indoors where light and air circulation are greatly reduced. Failure to make a proper adjustment in watering when the plant is moved back inside is also a common cause of inadvertent over watering.

Unfortunately, there is no real cure for root rot. By the time foliage symptoms show, the root damage is pretty severe. All you can do is to keep the plant in a warm, sunny location and allow the soil to dry about a third of the way deep into the pot before adding a small quantity of water. At best, recovery will be very slow and the plant will probably never recapture its former glory.

I have written articles on repotting, moving plants outside and on Schefflera care that I will email for free to you (or anyone else) who emails a request to me at wcreed@HorticulturalHelp.com.

Please let me know if any of this is unclear or if you have any additional questions.

If this information has been helpful, please click the Rate Volunteer bar below and enter a rating and nomination for me. I am a volunteer on this site so Ratings are the only compensation I receive for answering plant questions.

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Regards,
Will Creed, Interior Landscaper
Horticultural Help, NYC

Visit my website at: A link to HorticulturalHelp.com  

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Will Creed

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I am the only expert in this category with professional hands-on experience and knowledge of all indoor plants. I can answer questions regarding light, water, fertilizer, repotting, pruning and humidity and temperature requirements. I can identify plant pests and provide information on safe, effective treatments. My answers are based on 35 years of professional experience and scientific research and are clear and easy to understand. I do NOT use search engines to find answers to your questions. If you read my previous posts here, you will get a good idea as to how thorough and professional my answers are.

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I have over 35 years of professional indoor landscaping experience caring for plants in homes, offices, building lobbies, stores, restaurants, and other adverse environments. I have written extensively on the care of indoor plants, including a 260 page book. My specialties include Ficus trees, low light plants, repotting, pest control, and re-blooming holiday plants. Be sure to check my ratings and nominations to learn why I am the top-rated indoor plant expert. I am the only House Plant expert consistently ranked in the AllExperts Top 20.

Education/Credentials
BA, Amherst College

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