What is wrong with my Shefflera?

Mama_OtterSeptember 3, 2012

I've never had problems with my shefflera before. In fact, this one is the offspring grown from a clipping from "the mama" I gave away because it had grown too large for my place.

Shade, sun, indirect light... never a problem until now. In the last two weeks or so, many leaves are weakening, turning blotchy, fading, and falling off. I don't see any signs of pests or disease, etc. Don't think it's been over/under watered.

It's 2-1/2 feet tall. Whatever is affecting the plant has not affected it's growth; two new top leaves in the last 2 weeks. The top nine leaves look healthy AND it is sprouting brand new babies along the bottom of the trunk!

The smaller sister plant next to it (in the same pot) is doing the same thing.

Is it a seasonal thing? Do I need to top it?

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Looks like it's over watered, but maybe someone with more experience with this particular plant will chime in

    Bookmark   September 3, 2012 at 3:35PM
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I don't think it is possible to over water these since they grow stream side on stilt roots when they have to. A plant rooted in a heavy potting soil that is kept wet might look like this. When grown outside they generally like well draining soil.
It looks like the plant is out of nutrients. This could be because the plant needs to be repotted or it could be an insect is sucking the life out of it.

If it just needs repotted, that is easy to fix.

Look up chlorosis and see if that might apply.

Also, look at the roots. Anything like white fuzzies down there? These plants also get scale, although I don't see any on this one.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2012 at 5:14PM
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I'd agree that the problem is in the roots. Either too wet, too much salt build up in the pot, or some sap suckers on the roots. These plants often grow as epiphytes on other trees, or as lithophytes on rock faces. They get a lot of water from their rainforest environment, but it drains very fast and there's good air circulation around the roots. They don't have a high mineral nutrient requirement, but a little bit helps.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2012 at 6:24PM
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-"A plant rooted in a heavy potting soil that is kept wet might look like this."-

Thanks for your help. All three of you mentioned too much water, and now remembering that I had transplanted this one into a larger pot about a month ago. So it is not root bound. But, I used MG potting soil with moisture control, and... kept it watered. Duh. Of course when it started looking sick I gave it more food and more water. Lately I've been letting it dry out.

Yes, it seemed to do better when I "forgot to water it."

The new leaves sprouting from the bottom is a good sign.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2012 at 6:46PM
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