Answer: I think if you look closely at the undersides of the leaves and the stems, you'll find an insect population. The sticky residue you describe is the result of insect feeding. When mealybugs, aphids and scale insects feed they exude a sticky substance called honeydew. This sticky substance is easily washed off but it will return unless you control the insects feeding on your scheffleras. Most of these insects can be controlled with Neem Oil but you'll want to throughly read the label just to make sure. Use products specifically labeled for houseplant use, not outdoor plant use, and follow label directions. Best wishes with your plants!
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