The Q&A Archives: Schefflera Losing Leaves

Question: I recently brought my schefflera in from outside. It thrived through the summer, but since I brought it inside it began losing leaves. The leaves start to turn dark in the middle and drop off. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. By the way, I love the website. I've been buying Burpee seeds as long as I can remember.

Answer: It sounds as though your plant is suffering from an abrupt change of climate from outdoors to in. Warm, dry indoor air can take a toll on plants that have enjoyed fresh air outdoors, especially if the change is extreme. Plants adjust to lower temperatures when they occur over a long period of time (such as they do outdoors when the seasons change). This gradual acclimation makes them able to endure cooler and cooler temperatures. If nighttime temperatures were cool and you brought your plant into the house where the temperatures were considerably warmer, it will definitely show signs of stress. A much better course of action is to gradually take your plant indoors for a few hours at a time each day until it's spending more time in than out. This acclimation process should begin in early autumn when outdoor temperatures are similar to those indoors. At this point I'd cut off the affected leaves and reduce watering until the plant has had time to adjust to its new environment. It should recover - schefflera are reasonably hardy plants. When you take it outdoors again in the spring, do so by putting it outside for longer and longer periods of time so it has a chance to adjust to the change.

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