Leaves Falling on Indoor Tree - Knowledgebase Question

Carol Stream, IL
Avatar for Revo63
Question by Revo63
November 7, 1997
We received an indoor tree as a gift and the leaves are falling off! They called it a parachute tree and another person called it a schefflera. What should we do?

Answer from NGA
November 7, 1997
Many houseplants go through a period of shock when they are brought indoors. They are grown outdoors or in a greenhouse where they get lots of sun and, sometimes, high humidity. When they are brought indoors they have to get used to much lower light levels. This time of year can be especially hard, since the days are getting shorter and there is even less light available than in summer.

If the leaves are turning bright yellow before dropping, check to see that the plant hasn't dried out. You want to keep the soil evenly moist but not saturated.

If possible, put the plant in a sunny spot for a while, to slowly get it accomodated to indoor life. Then you can gradually move it to a place with slightly lower light levels. It won't, however, survive in a dark corner. A north-facing window should be fine though.

If the tree is dense with foliage, you can also help it along by removing some of the heavily-shaded interior leaves. Unless the plant is in a very bright spot, it will probably lose these leaves anyway, since they won't get enough light to photosynthesize efficiently. Inspect the plant for signs of insect and disease, just in case it arrived with something.

Hopefully your tree will adapt soon!

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