House Plants/Schefflera

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Schefflera
Schefflera  
I bought a schefflera from Home Depot. It appeared to be healthy and in good condition. I put it in a northwest facing corner, that gets filtered light all day from a upper trundle window. I watered about it every seven to ten days. I noticed that it immediately got dark brown leaves on new leaf growth, and eventually, a whole stalk died. It turned dark brown and withered. Two other stalks remained healthy. I returned the plant and got another one.

I was careful not to water the second one I bought until the dirt was dry a knuckle down. (both plants were kept in the same pots). Now again, the new growth has dark brown leaves. I used filtered water and gave it enough water till it ran out of the bottom. I am wondering what is causing this to happen. I never fed either plant, just water.

The lower window is closed during the afternoon, and it has a 3M UV film on it, so I do not think it is getting too much sun. I have other houseplants that are doing great in the same environment.

Also, I noticed that a few lower leaves turned yellowish, which would indicate too much water, though I probably only put in about three cups of water for a 5ft plant.

Any input would be appreciated!

Answer
Hi Kris,

The symptoms you described are generic and don't reveal the precise cause. There are several possible issues here. Discolored new growth usually indicates damaged roots, typically from not allowing the soil to dry properly.

Home Depot is not noted for the quality of its plants or the care of those plants prior to sale, so you may be paying the price of having purchased a poor quality or poorly cared for plant. HD may have kept the soil too moist or may have exposed the plant to cold temperatures.

You mentioned that the window is "closed" in the afternoon. I don't know if that means that the glass is covered with a sheer or blinds. If so, then your Schefflera is not getting adequate light.

Yellowing lower leaves does not necessarily mean too much water. In fact, it is  more likely to occur with inadequate light or not enough water.

You were wise to keep the plant in its nursery pot. That makes over watering less likely. Fertilizer is also necessary.

Here is what I recommend. Provide as much light as possible all day long. Allow the top inch of soil to dry and then apply enough water so that the entire root ball is saturated. Stop when you see a bit of water run through the drain holes into the saucer.

I have written detailed articles on watering 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. I have also written an indoor plant care book in a PDF format that I can sell you if you contact me at my email address.

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

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Regards,
Will Creed, Interior Landscaper
Horticultural Help, NYC

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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.

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BA, Amherst College

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