The Q&A Archives: Dropping Leaves on Aralia

Question: I recently purchased an Aralia as a houseplant and placed it in a semi-direct sunlight in front of a window. It seemed to be doing fine, but suddenly the leaves began turning yellow and dropping off rapidly. I have tried more water or less water, with no real change in condition. Please advise.

Answer: Leaves on Aralias, and several other houseplants, will turn yellow and drop when the plant is over or under watered. Plants in containers have a restricted root system and are especially susceptible. The older leaves (those farthest down the stem) are usually the first to go. If you repotted the plant when you brought it home, root damage may be a contributing factor.

It is often a while after the water stress conditions before the symptoms appear. So you may have recently watered (or stopped overwatering) but still see the problem. Overwatering contributes to root loss from lack of air and is often complicated by an ensuing root rot. This situation can result in a long term setback for the plants.

Finally, stress from the plant being in a new location, especially if there is a significant difference in light intensity and/or temperature, can result in leaf drop.

Thanks for the question!

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