How to Care for Schefflera Houseplants

Hi Judy,

We have a house plant that unfortunately has not received enough love lately. Between our 18 month old picking its leaves off and insufficient space near good lighting – we’ve been stressing this plant out! One of the stems has lost nearly all it’s leaves; the other is fairing a bit better. We’ve finally arranged our kitchen to move this plant to an area with more sunlight. We are always good at weekly watering, but wondering if you may have any tips for us on how we can bring this plant back to its health. We’re not sure what type of plant it is so unclear on where to start. Should we get rid of the stem that has lost its leaves or do you think it has a chance of reviving? Anything else you would recommend?


Hi Jacob,


Your plant is called a Schefflera, nickname is Umbrella Plant. Scheffleras are slightly poisonous houseplantsIn her new book, Don’t Feed Me to Your Cat!, plant care professional Judy Feldstein shares information about twenty-five common houseplants, each with various levels of toxicity, and the possible consequences if your pet or child snacks on them. so please keep it away from your small child. Here are some tips for caring for Schefflera houseplants.

Light: Schefflera houseplants do well in medium light, but grow faster and develop more leaves in bright indirect lightVery few houseplants should be placed in direct sun. High light refers only to bright indirect light since direct sun often burns the leaves of indoor houseplants. An area that is too hot and dry encourages Spider Mites and causes blooms to quickly fade. A northern exposure really doesn't provide enough light for high light plants. These plants need to be placed directly in front of an east-facing window, within 1-3 feet of a west-facing window, and within 5 ft. of a south facing window. A high light area has over 300 ft. candles of light.. The Schefflera Amate variety needs less light than regular Schefflera houseplants.

Water: Allow the top 25-30% of the soil to dry out before watering Schefflera houseplants. Green leaves drop off and new growth turns black when Schefflera Plants are over-watered. Yellow leaves indicate a Schefflera houseplant is being under-watered.

Feeding: Fertilize Schefflera houseplants monthly in the spring and summer when they are actively growing with a basic houseplant food at 1/2 the recommended strength. During the fall and winter feed Schefflera plants every other month but only if the plant is producing new leaves.

You can read all my care tips for a Schefflera in the Popular HousePlant section of the website.