Leaves on Hawaiian Schefflera Turning Yellow

Hello Judy! Someone at work left this plant when they moved on to another job and I’ve been trying to take care of it. It has been in low light and I’ve been watering it once a week. It has been healthy and green for almost 18 months, but in the past month the leaves have started to turn yellow and fall off. I haven’t changed anything so I’m not sure why this is happening. I just put it by a window for more light for a week but it seemed to make it worse. Do you know what plant this is and how I might save it?

Thank you!



Hi Laura,

Your plant is called a Hawaiian Schefflera (arboricola). Usually a schefflera gets yellow leaves when it is getting too dry. When you water the plant, be sure to water well enough so that the water comes out the drip holes in the bottom of the pot. Just watering the surface is NOT a good idea. Then wait until at least the top 50% of the soil has dried out before watering again. Another reason a Hawaiian schefflera gets yellow blotchy leaves is a severe case of spider mites sucking the color from the leaves. Do you see fine webbing anywhere on the plant? Do the leaves feel gritty when you rub your finger on them, especially the backs of the leaves? Just in case this is the cause rather than a watering issue, you can a recipe on how to make the “Green Solution” in the Glossary of the website. This is an excellent inexpensive, easy to make, non-poisonous spray that gets rid of most houseplant pests and diseases with the use of toxic chemicals. Click here to read more about it.



Hawaiian Scheffleras usually do best in bright indirect light, not low light. You can read all of my tips for a Hawaiian Schefflera in the Popular Houseplant section of the website.


These plants are considered poisonous and should be kept away from pets and children. Read more about common houseplants that are poisonous in Don’t Feed Me To Your Cat! A Guide to Poisonous Houseplants.