Umbrella Plant Leaves Turning Brown and Falling Off – Causes and How to Fix It

Your Schefflera’s leaves may be turning brown for a variety of reasons, but don’t worry! We’ll find out what’s going on. Due to their distinctive leaves, Schefflera plants, also known as umbrella plants, are growing in popularity as houseplants because they require little maintenance.

However, if you notice that the leaves on your Schefflera are turning brown or yellow, this is typically a sign that something is wrong with their environment or care regimen. The most frequent causes of browning or yellowing on Schefflera plants are overwatering, underwatering, extremely high or low temperatures or chemical sensitivity.

What’s Causing My Umbrella Plant to Turn Brown?

What's Causing My Umbrella Plant to Turn Brown?

The most lovable indoor plants are umbrella plants, also known as umbrella plants because they are relatively simple to grow and care for. Finding brown leaves on your umbrella plant is disappointing, though.

Overwatering, extremely high or low temperatures, sunburn, and excessive fertilization are frequently the causes of brown leaves in umbrella plants. 

Make sure to water the plant when the top soil is dry, maintain them at a moderate temperature away from direct sunlight, and fertilize them as required to resolve the problem.

Brown leaves on the umbrella plant indicate that you missed the problem’s early stages and that you now need to take quick action to fix it.

Is Browning and Crispiness in Umbrella Plant Leaves Common?

Any indoor plant’s tips, edges, or entire leaf turning brown or yellow should and will prompt you to ask, “What am I doing wrong?”

The umbrella plant leaves should not become brown and crispy unless there is a natural cause for this, such as aging. The umbrella plant increases the growth of new leaves and shades the bottom leaves as a sign of natural aging.

By removing the browned leaves, you can encourage new growth. If the reason for the brown and crispy leaves is not a natural occurrence, you must find the root of the problem and address it.

Why are the leaves on my umbrella turning brown?

Umbrella leaves are small, glossy, and green leaves with occasional cream variegation. However, if they don’t have a good growing environment, the leaves will become discolored.

It can be challenging to maintain growing conditions that are comparable to their natural habitat, and this is where the issue appears. To fix the plant before it is too late, it is critical to earlier identify the causes of discoloration.

I’ve listed a few of the factors that lead to brown leaves in Schefflera below:

  • Overwatering
  • Faulty Drainage
  • Underwatering
  • Direct Sunlight Lack Of Illumination
  • Minimal Humidity
  • Chemical Vulnerability
  • Overfertilization
  • Diseased Pest Infestation

Let’s Now Go Over Each Of The Aforementioned Points In More Detail.

1. Overwatering

Schefflera are tough plants that won’t perish if they occasionally get too much water.

The roots of your umbrella plant will start to rot if you continue to overwater them for a long time, and their leaves will eventually turn brown and drop off. Overwatering regularly keeps the roots wet, which promotes root rot.

Damaged roots prevent the plant from receiving water and nutrients, which makes them unstable. Their foliage will droop, darken, and eventually fall off.


  • If you think you may have overwatered your umbrella plant, check the roots. If the roots appear healthy, you can spread the soil over them and leave them in direct sunlight to dry.
  • Pruning should be done to remove any brown and mushy roots, leaving only healthy ones. After cleaning the sound roots with fungicide, repot the umbrella plant in new, nutrient-rich soil.
  • Before you start watering again, give the plant time to recover from the stress.
  • Check the soil’s moisture content before watering the umbrella plant. Wait a few days until the soil dries if the top 2 cm of the soil feels damp. Only water the plant when 50 to 75% of the soil is dry.
  • To monitor the moisture content of the soil, you can also use a moisture meter.

Check Out: Umbrella Plant Watering Guide

2. Poorly Drained Soil


Overwatering and underwatering can both result from poorly drained soil. Brown leaves will result from overly compacted soil that retains moisture for an extended period and hinders the root system.

Additionally, if you use soil that drains quickly and is inadequate at retaining moisture, the plant will become dehydrated and develop brown leaves.


  • Add perlite, sand, and compost to the soil to improve drainage if it is too dense and compact.
  • If the soil is too loose, you can add peat moss, mulch, or vermiculite to improve the soil’s ability to retain moisture.

Pro Tip: The ideal potting mixture should contain perlite, and peat moss, along with sand or some pebbles at the bottom, to ensure proper airflow and decrease water retention.

Also Check: How to Choose Best Soil for Schefflera Plant

3. Underwatering

Underwatering can happen if you forget to water your plant or if you give it inconsistent amounts of water.

The health of your umbrella plant will suffer greatly from a protracted drought condition. The leaves of your plant may start to become droopy, crispy, curly, and even brown if the soil around it has completely dried out.

The leaves will become dehydrated and unable to perform various life processes as a result of insufficient moisture, leaving the plant extremely weak and pale.


  • Water your plant a little each day if the soil feels incredibly dry. Don’t water the plant heavily all at once. Otherwise, the water will drain away before completely soaking the soil.
  • Your plant can also be kept in a sink filled with 3โ€“4 inches of water. 30 minutes should be given for the plant to absorb water through the drainage holes in the pot. If the soil is damp, check it, drain the extra water from the sink, and give the plant a rest while it completely drains.
  • You can set a reminder on your phone to remind you to water your plants if you forget to do so.
  • To lessen the likelihood of underwatering, you can also use a self-watering pot.

How To Soak-Water Your Schefflera Is As Follows:

  • Without the saucer, put your plant in the sink or bathtub. About 3 to 4 inches of water should be in your basin. Check to see if the water is warm.
  • Give your plant at least 45 minutes to absorb water through the drainage hole in the bottom of the pot.
  • After giving your plant a soak, feel the top 2-3″ of soil to see if the water has reached that depth.
  • Water your umbrella plant a little from the top of the soil to help the soil become saturated more quickly if not all of it feels that way.
  • Drain the sink or tub once the soil of your plant is evenly moist, and then leave it to rest while it completely drains. Put the plant back in its proper place on the saucer.

4. Direct Sunlight


Indoor plants called umbrella plants can’t stand direct sunlight.

One of the most frequent causes of brown leaves is exposure to direct sunlight, which they prefer to grow in bright indirect light. The edges of the leaves start to turn brown before the entire leaf does, and this condition is a sign of sunburn or sunscald.

Direct sunlight accelerates evaporation, which results in excessive moisture loss from the leaves. The result is that the leaves become dried out and turn brown.

In addition to direct sunlight, umbrella plantsโ€™ hot, dry air from radiators and heating vents can result in brown leaves.


  • Put your umbrella plant where it can get bright, all-day indirect light.
  • Keep every heating appliance at least a few feet away from the plant.
  • Removing the plant’s burnt and damaged leaves will help.
  • Increase the amount of water you are giving your plant and mist the leaves for a few days to restore moisture if the soil has become dry as a result of extreme heat.
  • Wait until your plant has recovered before applying soil fertilizer.

5. Inadequate Lighting

Low light exposure can also slowly turn the umbrella plant leaves yellow and brown. The plant cannot produce chlorophyll in the absence of sufficient light.

The substance chlorophyll is what gives leaves their green hue. In low light, plants turn yellow, brown, or black as a result of chlorophyll loss in the leaves.


  • First, you should move your umbrella plant from the dim area and into a room with natural light.
  • An east-facing window that typically emits bright, indirect light would be the ideal location for an umbrella plant.
  • You can give your plant a few hours of direct sunlight in the morning during the winter when light levels are low.

Read More: About Umbrella Plant Light Requirements

6. Minimal Humidity

If umbrella plant leaves are exposed to dry conditions, they may turn brown.

Being tropical plants, they require a minimum of 50 to 60 percent humidity to flourish. Low humidity problems arise because it can be challenging to maintain the right humidity levels in the home, especially during the winter.

Due to increased transpiration in low humidity, the leaves lose more moisture. The leaves become brown, crispy, dry, and droopy.


  • By misting the leaves several times per week with a spray bottle, you can increase the humidity for the umbrella plant.
  • You can set your plant on a tray with pebbles and fresh water. The water in the tray will evaporate throughout the day, increasing the humidity level around the plant.
  • Keep your umbrella plant near another indoor plant that enjoys moisture to increase humidity through transpiration.
  • Your plant can get a bath by being washed in lukewarm water. In addition to increasing the humidity, this will also clean the leaves and give the soil a good soak.
  • To keep the area around the plant consistently humid, you can also use a humidifier.

7. Chemical Vulnerability

Your umbrella plant’s water supply might contain some hazardous chemicals that result in the browning of the leaves. Tap water contains a lot of salt and minerals like fluorine and chlorine that can build up in the soil.

Tap water used frequently can burn and harm your plant’s roots. The plant’s roots will absorb these chemicals along with water, causing the leaves to begin to burn and turn brown.


  • Rainwater can be collected and used to water your umbrella plant.
  • You can use distilled or filtered water because they have very few chemicals and won’t harm your plant.
  • Once the chemicals have been removed, tap water is safe to use. Gather some tap water and leave it out overnight to allow the dangerous minerals to vaporize and make the water safe to use.
  • Repot the plant in a new soil mixture if the soil has a high chemical accumulation.

8. Overfertilization


Excessive fertilizer use can result in the salt build-up in the soil, similar to how chemicals from tap water accumulate in the soil.

Due to their low to medium feeding requirements, umbrella plants only occasionally require fertilizer during the growing season. The excess salts from the fertilizers will build up in the soil if you overfeed the plants.

These salts, along with water and nutrients, will be transported by the roots to various parts of the plant. The plant cells will be destroyed by these salts, causing the leaf tips and edges to turn brown.


  • First, remove your plant from the pot to check the health of its roots. If the roots are healthy, you can simply wash the soil with clean water to remove any extra fertilizers.
  • However, if the roots are harmed, you must remove all of the hurt roots before repotting the plant in new soil.
  • After it has recovered, fertilize your umbrella plant once a month in the spring and summer. Wintertime is not the time to fertilize.
  • For your umbrella plant, only use a balanced, diluted liquid fertilizer, as concentrated fertilizers can burn their toots.

9. Insect Invasion

When umbrella plants are exposed to unfavorable growing conditions, they become more susceptible to pest attacks. Pests may be attracted by poor drainage, excessive watering, low humidity, and cold temperatures.

Pests that harm umbrella plants include scales, thrips, mealybugs, and spider mites. All of your plant’s vital nutrients and moisture are sucked out of its leaves by these pests.

The plant deteriorates into something weak, dry, and discolored without food and water.

You must take quick action as soon as you notice the first signs of pests because they reproduce and grow very quickly.


  • To start, confine your umbrella plant to a single location to stop pests from spreading to other houseplants.
  • Look closely at your plant and try to identify the pests that have attacked it.
  • To get rid of the bugs, wash your umbrella plant with clean water.
  • Dip cotton balls in a rubbing alcohol solution. To get rid of any leftover pests, wipe the infected leaves with cotton balls.
  • Neem oil and water should be combined in a spray bottle. For a few weeks, spray the entire plant with the solution until the pest is gone.

10. Diseases


A bacterial or fungal infection is present if there are brown spots and yellow ring-like structures surrounding the brown spots.

The plant’s damp leaves draw fungi and bacteria.

In umbrella plants, two typical pathogens that spread disease include:

  • Yellow spots are produced by the pathogen Xanthomonas campestris on the lower leaves of the umbrella plant. The yellow spots are later identified as bacterial spots and turn brown.
  • Alternaria Panax: In an umbrella plant, this pathogen causes an Alternaria leaf spot. The diseased leaves will exhibit dark brown spots with yellow rings on them.


  • Fungicides with ingredients like chlorothalonil, imazalil, fludioxonil, or thiram can be used to treat Alternaria leaf spots.
  • To stop bacterial growth, you can use copper-based plant protection products.
  • To avoid bacterial leaf spots, you can use some disinfectants that include quaternary ammonia and hydrogen peroxide.

Prevention Techniques

  • Steer clear of soggy soil, excessive watering, and frequent misting.
  • Make sure your umbrella plant is in pest- and aphid-free gardening soil before you pot it.
  • If you like to group plants by pest infestation, be sure to separate the pest-free plants from the pest-infested ones.
  • Schefflera leaves can be cleaned more easily by wiping them or simply wetting them, then letting them dry in direct sunlight.
  • Use ethanol to remove the pests.

Should I Trim The Brown Leaves On My Umbrella Plant?

Browned leaves are unable to turn green once more.

Immediately prune any yellow leaves that have begun to turn brown if the cause of the brown leaves is a fungal or bacterial disease to stop the disease from spreading.

Remove any leaves that don’t appear to be in good health or have lost their color. The brown leaves should not be left behind because they will consume a lot of the plant’s energy that could be used for new growth.

For pruning the umbrella plant, use a pair of clean pruning shears or scissors. Remove the leaves from the completely brown base. Only if the leaf has a greener side should you trim the tips and edges.


Brown leaves are a common issue on umbrella plants. By giving the plant the care it needs while keeping in mind its essential requirements, you can avoid this issue.

Tap water salt buildup and excessive fertilization can burn and brown the leaves. If you give umbrella plants the right amount of water, ideal temperatures, enough light, a moderate amount of humidity, and enough fertilization, they will flourish.

Neem oil should be sprayed on your umbrella plant once a month to keep insects away. When you find lovely green leaves spreading out from the stem of your plant, illuminating your living space, all your effort to keep the plant healthy and happy has paid off.

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  • Vaishnavi

    Vaishnavi is a student of organic chemistry. She is a knowledgeable and enthusiastic gardener who enjoys sharing plant information and ideas. She also enjoys writing inspirational poems. She portrays her love for plants and nature through her poems.

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