I am not sure what is wrong, the plant seems to be rotting and withering from the top down. The tag says that it is a bush but it has grown to 5 feet or more in height. I tried trimming back the withering parts but the withering is continuing. The leaves start getting dull and then darken and then fall off. It is still trying to grow the baby leaves even on the bunches that are starting to wither. I have tried moving it into more sun but it hasn't seemed to help. I am afraid I will eventually loose the whole plant and I have had this plant for years,

2 Answers 2


Turn it out of its pot - see how much root material there is, whether its all waterlogged, whether there's any pests or invaders in the compost. It might just be totally rootbound and unable to hang on to sufficient water/nutrients to keep going. If there is some good root material, repot into fresh compost, using a larger pot if necessary, cut down the top growth by at least half, water only when the surface of the compost is dry to the touch but not shrunken from the sides of the pot (after you've done a good water when repotting). Keep out of direct sunlight, but leave in a well lit (natural daylight) spot. Empty any outer pot or tray 30 minues after watering. Feed with a proprietary houseplant food intended for foliage plants (Baby Bio in the UK) 2 weeks after repotting and if regrowth occurs, feed weekly, or whatever it says on the feed you buy.

  • thanks i did as you suggested, now i just wait and see if it helps. Aug 12, 2012 at 21:06

A picture really helps in diagnosis cases. With Scheff's there are more and less likely causes:

  • most likely, root rot from overwatering. The soil may have been fine when you first got it but over the years it has compacted. Add some overwatering in low light and rot will set in. Normally I see the lower leaves die first while the top ones are the last to go. Solution: take cuttings and try rooting them in water
  • insects like scale, thrip and spider mites can also produce dying leaves. All of these will hang out on the underside of the leave. Examination with a magnifying glass will reveal the insects or with thrips the frass that they leave.

Less likely for a well established plant is some kind of fungal/bacteria/virus. Indicators would be spots on the leaves, sunken lesions or brown mushy spots on the trunk.

Take a picture of the underside of a leaf that is still green and another closeup of the plant and we can help you more.

  • thanks i will see if i can get my camera working and get back to you Aug 10, 2012 at 12:15
  • i would like to add pictures but cant figure out how. and i am not sure if i have a completely healthy branch to take cuttings from. i also looked and found nothing on the leaves other than them slowly dieing. Aug 10, 2012 at 20:43

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