What Causes Brown Spots on Umbrella Plant (Schefflera) Leaves?

The most frightening experiences is spotting brown spots on the leaf of the Schefflera.

They do not just affect the appearance of the plant however, they could cause health problems for the plant. danger. What could be the root of your umbrella plant’s problems?

Root rot and fungal leaves are among the most frequent causes of dark brown marks appearing on Schefflera leaves. Take away leaves that are stained and apply a fungicide that is appropriate. Improve air circulation, stay clear of excessive watering, and avoid splashing leaves to prevent damage. Exposure to direct sunlight, pests and physiological problems could be the cause.

In this article, I’ll explain the steps to recognize and address each of the reasons.

What Causes Brown Spots on Schefflera?

[1] Fungal Leaf Spots

If your Schefflera is characterized by massive dark brown marks, they’re likely to be fungal leaf spots. Most often resulted from the fungal fungus Alternaria panax These spots develop over the leaves and can also have an orange halos.

Alternaria Leaf spot diseases typically is a problem for mature leaves near the ground or in the vicinity of the top of Schefflera. The fungal species thrives in warm, humid conditions, and is likely to be a problem in the early spring.

It is often seen first as tiny brown spots that are often bordered by yellow. The spots will expand and then bleed into another, forming massive, uneven dark brown spots. In certain instances the spots could create a ring-like target pattern.

The overcrowding of your plants can trigger the development to Alternaria leaf spots, since the spores of the fungus spread through inadequate management of the plants and garden equipment, water splashing, and even irrigation.

Additionally the fungus responsible for the disease can be able to re-infect your plants year upon year due to the fact that the spores are stored in plant waste.

Insufficient air circulation and excessive watering could also play a part in the development or spread in the spread. This is because fungal spores thrive in areas which experience long periods of humidity.

As the fungal infection progresses and the spots begin to enlarge, they may appear and the entire leaf could turn yellow or brown and scorched.

The central part of the area could also die and fall, leaving shot-holes left behind. In extreme cases, Alternaria spot disease can be spread to the stems as well as other parts of Schefflera.

At the end of the day, the leaves that are afflicted by the severe damage will begin curling upwards, and then wilt and then fall off.

schefflera umbrella plant leaves

How to Manage and Control Schefflera Fungal Leaf Spots

Eliminate and dispose of the affected plant material and leaves immediately.

In the spring Use a copper-based commercial fungicide to control and stop Alternaria leaves spots forming. (Check the most current prices at Amazon right here)

A good sanitation system and preventive measures can be beneficial, and can include:

  • Get rid of and dispose of all debris, leaves, and dead plants that may have fallen on the soil’s surface.
  • Pruning off old leaves to ensure that air can pass through.
  • Planting your home’s plants.
  • Beware of overwatering and splashing water all over the leaves.

[2] Bacterial Leaf Spots

Imagine that your Schefflera is showing irregular brown spots on the backside of your leaves. If that is the situation the bacterial leaf spot disease is the most likely cause. The bacterial cause of this disease is by the bacteria Xanthomonas campestris, pv. hederae. The pathogens typically spread through the transplant process and by poor irrigation methods.

The first indications for Xanthomonas leaves spot is water-soaked, dull spots on lower and older leaves. Small, irregular, corky spots on the lower edges of leaves can be seen. They can also appear across the foliage.

As the bacterial infection develops, the lesions transform to brown marks. The process of browning spots is caused by high temperatures and humidity. They may also expand to a size of 14 inch.

The mature Xanthomanas leaf spots generally light brown or tan in the middle, and have a the yellow halos.

If the humidity level is not sufficient the spots can fade and then fall into the soil creating shot-holes in the leaves. Additionally the bacterial leaf issue could cause leaves to change to yellow or even completely brown, before they fall from the Schefflera.

Your Schefflera could be susceptible to bacterial infection if it is not addressed promptly.

Control and Management of Bacterial Leaf Problems in Schefflera

Xanthomonas Leaf spot is nearly impossible to treat once it’s become an infection that is full-blown. And, what’s more, there’s no cure that can be found for the condition.

Early detection, in conjunction with prevention measures and a good hygiene is the best option:

  • Purchase Schefflera plants that are disease-free.
  • Think about using a deep mulch I often employ organic mulching materials like grass cuttings, newspaper, and so on.
  • Stop making use of overhead irrigation.
  • Limit the spreading of pathogens caused by bacteria by increasing the ventilation system and reducing humidity levels.
  • Get rid of infected plant foliage as well as other parts in a safe manner.
  • Make use of a copper-based fungicide spray in the springtime to prevent.
  • It is possible to get rid of the affected Schefflera completely.

[3] Root Rot of Schefflera Due to Overly Damp Conditions

It’s true, Schefflera is a moist-loving tropical beauty. A lot of water however can result in the soil get soggy and ultimately cause the roots to die.

Additionally, root rot can occur due to the reduced capacity to absorb nutrients, which causes your plant to become undernourished.

Root rot is the main reason for brown spots on Schefflera leaves that are trimmed in yellow. Even if the surface of the soil appears dry and the root ball could be covered by a moist or waterlogged soil.

In this case no matter when you alter the humidity, temperature or light levels, as well as other conditions that favor growth, those brown spots still show up.

  • Brown spots on the leaves eventually cause the leaves to turn yellow, fade, and then die.
  • Your Schefflera will appear swollen and sad.
  • Instead of sparkling white roots, you’ll see black or dark brown roots that are soft or soft.
  • The base and roots of the Schefflera could emit an odor of decay.
  • On the surface of the soil there is a possibility of the growth of mold or mildew.
  • The soil is slow to dry out , or doesn’t dry out completely.

How to Fix Root Rot in Schefflera

Check for indications of poor drainage in your Schefflera:

  • Do you think the pot has drainage holes?
  • Is the potting medium loos and well-drained?
  • Does the pot allow adequate drainage?

All of these issues must be dealt with immediately.

Next step would be to refill the Schefflera. This is how:

  • Take your Schefflera from the container and gently pull the roots apart.
  • The soil that is not being cleaned should be washed off.
  • Get rid of any roots that are affected by the rot disease.
  • Hydroperoxide or fungicides is the best option to treat the issue.
  • Utilizing a sterile pruning tool take the foliage that is damaged.
  • Repot in a moist fresh, moist and well-drained growing medium. It is recommended to have a slight acidity (pH 6.0-6.5)
  • Make sure that the conditions for growing are in good condition.

4. Excessive exposure in Direct Sunlight is scalding the Schefflera Foliage

If the leaves on top have spots of brown or ivory white sunburn or sunscald is the most likely reason. The plant that you have an umbrella has likely been exposed to excessive direct sunlight. I’m wondering if it’s in windows that have south-facing.

The brown spots will typically appear in the most hot and humid springtime months, or in the early part of summer. This is particularly true if you quickly move it outside without a gradual transition.

The heat from the leaves can cause the leaves to blister or burn. Dark brown spots may develop as a result of the injury. Additionally, the leaves can turn brown around the edges, or dry out and turn squishy.

How to Fix

The early detection and treatment of sun scalding is crucial. It is recommended to get rid of any leaves that are scorched or brown-spotted because they’re likely to change back to green.

Set the Schefflera in a shaded spot far from the sun. If it’s hot you must put it away from windows facing south or west.

Make sure your Schefflera plant is protected from sunburn by protecting it with a shade cloth.

[5] Frost Damage

Since Schefflera is a species that is tropical, it is unable to endure frost, snow, or temperatures that are below 60degF (15degC). If your plant suffers damaged frost, and is also submerging, you’ll see widespread brown spots, and the leaves will drop quickly.

Other symptoms of frost damage are:

  • Young and tender growths appear to be distorted or puckered in the early stages of frost damage.
  • After this the large brown spots will appear on both the new and old leaves.
  • Because of frost damage The branches of the umbrella tree could start to peel or crack.
  • Schefflera is a yellowish-colored plant.

How to Fix Frost Damage

If you notice that your Schefflera is shedding too many leaves, you can try moving it outside to the spring. Make sure to thoroughly water it.

  • Be careful not to expose your Schefflera to cold or frosty drafts.
  • Maintain soil temperatures above 65degF (18degC).
  • Make a micronutrient mixture that contains manganese, zinc, copper, as well as iron, to the Schefflera. (I like this mix purchased from Amazon.)

[6] Brown Spots are Caused by Pest Damage

The pests that plague Schefflera are not often a problem However, aphids, scales, and spider mites can be particularly problematic when it comes to indoor plants. They love sucking the sap, leaving pits and spots of brown on the foliage as a result.

Most likely, you have an aphid problem if you observe honeydew excretion which produces black sooty mold. Because of malnutrition, the affected leaves may turn yellow and may even fall off. Another sign of an aphid infestation is discoloration of the new growth.

When your Schefflera is located outside it could be susceptible to pests like mealybugs, spider mites fungus gnats, and scale insects. Additionally, spots of brown and sooty mold are likely to develop due to their presence.

How to Treat Pests on Schefflera

You’ll require an alcohol-soaked q-tip to get rid of each. Make sure to reduce the population as little as you can by eliminating as many as you can.

Pruning areas that are infested or using the Q tip methods are both alternatives. A systematic approach is the most effective method to address other problems.

Scale insects possess a tough shell that renders sprays useless against their spread. They consume it when they feed on plants using a systemic substance.

Aphids are among the most frequent insects in Schefflera, so you should treat them with neem oil or an insecticidal soap spray.

The majority of bugs can be removed with a powerful blast of water that is lukewarm. To do this, select an area that is not prone to drafts, either outdoors or in the showers.

If you are dealing with a large infestation, you might require pesticides that are chemical every week.

[7] Too Much Harsh Chemicals in Soil Due to Over Fertilizing or Tap Water

The brown spots on your plant could be due to the accumulation of harmful chemicals such as chloride, soluble salts, fluoride, and many more.

Through causing damage to the roots These harsh chemicals decrease the ability of plants to absorb water and nutrients. Certain of these chemicals can be phototoxic which causes leaf damage and brown spots on leaves.

The excessive fertilizer can be the reason when salt scabs form at the surface of your soil. Additionally the buildup of fluoride or chlorine in tap water may cause brown spots on leaves, particularly on the edges and tips.

How to Fix

  • Cleanse your Schefflera to eliminate the excess minerals and salts that are soluble.
  • Stop fertilizing.
  • Do not drink tap water. Instead use rainwater to irrigate or distillate water.

[8] Underwatering

Another reason that could cause the brown patches on your plant could be the fact that it is underwater. The Schefflera’s transpiration as well as respiration increases when the days grow longer, which causes it to consume and release more water.

Along with increasing the chance of your plant getting drowned, the rising temperatures of soil can also speed up the process of drying out soil. This is why the browning of leaves is an indication of the dehydration process.

Other signs that indicate submersion are:

  • Brown spots of dryness on the leaves
  • The older foliage is beginning to yellow.
  • Stunted growth

The reason for this is usually inattention, excessive sunlight, or an over-crowded pot (i.e. that your Schefflera is now root-bound).

How to Fix an Underwatered Schefflera

It’s simple: soak the Schefflera with warm water. After that, make sure to keep your plant well-watered until you can see the water drip out of your drainage hole.

If you’re lucky you’ll find that your Schefflera will return to normal within just a few days. If not, you might be thinking about moving up the size of your container.

How to Treat Brown Spots on Schefflera Leaves

The best method to treat the brown spots on Schefflera leaves is to determine the root reason. The following steps can be helpful:

  • Treat Root Rot and Other Diseases
  • Let The Soil Dry Out Between Waterings
  • Water Using Distilled Or Rain Water
  • Get Rid of Plant Pests
  • Trim Off the Rotten Roots and Repot
  • Adjust The Care Practices


Went from a bad gardener to a half-decent one over 10+ years. Super happy to share my tips and tricks with you :)