Umbrella plant yellow leaves are usually an issue because of problems like poor soil, water stress, improper lighting conditions, insect attacks, and disease infections.

Umbrella Plant Yellow Leaves

Fortunately, you can treat this yellowing and bring the natural colors of leaves back by such actions as watering correctly and making sure the plants receive the correct amount of light.

Read on to learn what causes umbrella plant leaf yellowing and how you can easily fix the problem.

What Causes Umbrella Plant Yellow Leaves?

What causes umbrella plant leaves to become yellow are mainly poor soil conditions, like an imbalance of pH, compactness, poor drainage, etc. Furthermore, excess or lack of water and light also leads to yellowing. In some cases, insects and disease attacks also cause leaves to become pale and yellow.

– Poor Soil

The leading reason behind the yellowing of umbrella leaves is poor soil health. Soil is bad when it has poor drainage, unsuitable pH, and aeration. When the drainage is poor, water will stay around the roots for a long time, causing fungal attacks.

Furthermore, an imbalance of pH locks the nutrients, and roots cannot take them up even if you apply more fertilizer doses. When there is poor aeration, roots will face oxygen stress and be unable to function properly. These issues are caused by bad soil and can lead to umbrella plant leaf yellowing.

Similarly, dwarf ymbrella, scientific name Schefflera arboricola, needs a proper growing medium to have proper shape and color. So, when the soil has an imbalance in pH, compactness, and deficiency in minerals, these Schefflera plants will face problems. The biggest impact will be visible on Schefflera leaves, which will turn yellow.

– Overwatering and Under-watering

Watering issues are another reason that can turn the leaves of an umbrella or Schefflera plant yellow. We all know that water is critical for roots to smoothly uptake nutrients from the soil. So, when you add it adequately, nutrient absorption will occur as it should, leading to complications.

Furthermore, water is also crucial for internal physiological functions. So, when roots can’t absorb it, these functions will be disturbed, and leaves will start getting yellow and eventually drop off.

Similarly, when you over-water umbrella plants, their roots will stay wet for a long time, which can invite fungus to attack. The common fungal problem that arises due to overwatering is root rot. In this disease, roots start rotting, ultimately harming the whole plant.

It is because moisture and mineral uptake depends on roots. So, when they are damaged, plants will become water and nutrient-stressed, eventually yellowing leaves.

Reasons of Umbrella Plant Yellow Leaves

– Not Enough or Too Much Sun/Light

Umbrella plants need to get around four to five hours of light every day. When they don’t, the photosynthesis process will decline. When this happens, plants will be low on energy. If this problem persists, the leaves will become yellow.

More light is needed for plants too. This light will raise the temperature around the plants, which will cause the moisture to evaporate. Hence, the leaves will get dried up and curl. This will also cause the yellow spots to emerge. Furthermore, excessive light with high intensity can also cause leaf burn. In this condition, leaves will have big yellow and red spots.

– Nutrient Deficiency and Toxicity

Umbrella tree yellow spots on leaves can also be due to nutrient deficiencies. Plants and trees need nutrients to perform photosynthesis and energy generation. So, when the nutrients are unavailable, they will be low in energy. When this happens, leaves become weaker, and big yellow patches appear.

Due to all the negative effects nutrient deficiencies have, growers are always concerned about the status of the mineral in the soil. Inexperienced ones even add more fertilizers than required, which causes Nutrient toxicity. In this condition, nutrients build up to an extreme level, and soil eventually locks them up. So, when the roots cannot absorb them, the plants will face similar stress as nutrient deficiency.

– Insect Infestation

When there is severe insect infestation, you will see the Umbrella plant dropping leaves. These insects (usually aphids, spider mites, and scale) feed on the cell sap, making them weaker. But before dropping, the leaves become yellow. Cell sucking causes the loss of chlorophyll, which makes leaves lose their green color.

– Disease Attack

Fungal and bacterial diseases can also cause umbrella plant leaves turning brown and falling off. The fungal ones are powdery mildew and leaf spots. In these diseases, stems and roots can also get affected.

Moreover, leaf blight is a common bacterial disease that mainly impacts younger and older leaves. When plants are infected with them, you can see yellowish-to-brown spots or lesions. Fortunately, it is really easy to deal with the yellowing of leaves.

What Do You Do When Umbrella Leaves Start Getting Yellow?

When umbrella leaves start getting yellow you need to apply adequate water and ensure plants receive light for at least 4 hours. It is also crucial to apply fertilizers because a nutrient deficiency can also cause yellowing. Moreover, if the yellowing is due to insect infestation and disease attacks, use insecticides, fungicides, and bactericides.

– Apply Adequate Water

Add sufficient water first when you see leaves turning yellow and bone-dry soil. If you observe that the soil remains moist for a long time, it means the drainage could be better. For this, check the drainage holes. If it is clogged, then use your hands or stick to remove the stuck debris.

If the pothole is already unclogged, then the problem is with the soil. To deal with this, use a shovel to break the compactness and add compost and hydrated lime. You can also remove the upper layer and add well-drained clay soils to improve drainage.

– Make Sure Plants Receive Sufficient Light

Plants should receive proper sunlight, or the leaves will become yellow. For outdoor plants, choose a spot where they will enjoy sufficient light for about four hours. If more light falls, then provide shade.

Managing lighting is easier for indoor plants. You can place pots near the windows or doors, where they will easily get around four hours of light. If you use grow lights, then place plants at an ideal distance from them.

It is because putting them too near can cause sunburn or leaf scorching. Similarly, placing pots far will also cause light stress, which will stop the photosynthesis process. So, how far should you place pots from grow lights? It is recommended to grow plants about 2 to 6 feet from the light source for proper growth.

Solutions of Umbrella Plant Yellow Leaves

– Add Nutrients Intelligently

You should always apply fertilizers for smooth growth. Plants need nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus in high amounts as they take part in major physiological functions. It would be best if you always considered other minerals too.

The top ones whose deficiency causes yellowing are Nitrogen, magnesium, sulphur, and iron. It is because they form chlorophyll, which gives leaves their natural green color. Therefore, it is critical to give plants doses of these nutrients.

The best way is to use organic fertilizers like compost, gypsum, and bone meal. You can also try chemical fertilizers if the yellowing is spreading fast. However, you will have to be careful about their dosage, as adding more of them can lead to nutrient toxicity.

– Use Insecticides

To get rid of unwanted insects, use organic insecticides first. You can make neem oil spray or insecticidal soap and apply them on the plants directly. Baking soda, vinegar, or pepper spray is also a good strategy.

If you want faster results, then use chemical insecticides. However, these are expensive, and you will also have to be careful with their application, as the fumes can damage your health too. Therefore, wear gloves and a mask when you spray chemical insecticides.

– Deal With Diseases Appropriately

You must follow the basic plant care guide if there is a disease attack. You should cut off any infected leaves and shoots to stop the spread. It would be best if you removed any weeds and cleaned the whole garden of debris as fungi and bacteria reside on them.

If the disease spread gets out of control, use fungicides and bactericides. Doing these things will stop the leaves from turning yellow, and the plants will become normal after a few days.

Conclusion of Umbrella Plant Yellow Leaves


Umbrella plant leaves becoming yellow is a serious condition you should deal with as soon as possible. In this article, you learned about all the causes and solutions to this problem. Here are the key takeaways so that you don’t miss out on any important information:

  • Never let plants face watering and nutrient stress or the leaves will change their color to yellow.
  • Proper lighting for at least four hours is necessary for leaves to have proper shape and color.
  • When insects attack, use organic repellents if the infestation is not severe. If the population goes out of control, spray chemical insecticides.
  • Keep the garden neat and apply appropriate fungicides/bactericides to eliminate diseases.

Follow these points, and the leaves will never become yellow again!

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