I have a Schefflera arboricola (also known as Strahlenaralie in German). I've placed it in my office so that it receives some sunshine, but not directly - I've put it behind a plastic plant (on the right on the photo). The blinds are often closed in the office, particularly in the morning.

I've been watering it with half a glass of water every week, or every two weeks. Currently the ground is a little bit moist.

The plant has been doing OK for around half a year now (I bought it and brought it to the office in the winter). Recently, I've noticed that its leaves have been falling off and it's a little sparser than it used to be.

Is this due to the location? Should I put the Schefflera somewhere else? Or should I water it more often or less often?

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1 Answer 1


If the leaves - particularly the lower ones - are turning yellow before falling (rather than black, which is usually a a sign of over-watering), the problem is almost certainly caused by insufficient light. Although Schefflera can adapt to a wide range of light levels, it prefers fairly bright light, away from sunshine, especially the variegated variety. The position it is in, behind your plastic plant, probably doesn't receive enough light to meet its needs, particularly as the blinds are often closed.

Half a glass of water every week or fortnight doesn't sound enough and, although Schefflera is fairly drought-tolerant, and the leaves are not turning brown and wrinkling, dryness is probably a factor in the leaf fall. I would water the pot more thoroughly (until water drains out of the bottom or, if the compost has shrunk away from the sides and the water is running straight through, you could stand it in a small bucket for ten or fifteen minutes), but drain the pot well and make sure it is not sitting in any water. Water liberally in spring and summer, as soon as the soil becomes almost dry, and sparingly in winter. Schefflera prefers moist - but not wet! - soil. Thorough watering is also important to prevent the plant from surface-rooting in search of water and becoming stressed.

  • 2
    Thanks for the answer! You may be right - leaves were getting yellowish brown before falling of, and this may be due to a lack of sunlight. I've removed the plastic plant next to it.
    – axel22
    Jun 29, 2011 at 11:46
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    You're welcome. If possible, I would move it so that it is no more than five feet away from the window. I would also feed it every two or three weeks and mist it frequently to maintain humidity. If, when you water it, the water runs straight through the compost, this suggests that it is pot-bound (has outgrown its pot) and it will need to be transferred to a pot that is an inch or two larger. If the compost dries out very quickly, this is also a sign that the plant needs to be potted on. Jun 29, 2011 at 12:27

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