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Why are the leaves of my Schefflera turning brown and crispy?

The leaves on your Schefflera could be turning brown for a number of reasons, but don’t fret! We’ll get to the bottom of this.

schefflera plant

First, let’s clean up your plant. This allows the plant to direct its energy to new healthy growth.

  1. Remove entire brown leaves (they will not turn green again) or the affected portion with a pair of sharp scissors or pruning shears.
  2. Wipe the blades of your scissors with rubbing alcohol between each snip.
  3. You may need to trim your plant in stages because you never want to remove more than 20% of the affected leaves at one time–this could shock your plant.
  4. Now, let’s get your Schefflera on the road to recovery. 

Incredibly dry soil

Your Schefflera prefers a thorough watering when 50-75% of the soil volume is dry. That said, periods of prolonged drought can cause foliage to brown and dry. Be sure you’re not over or underwatering your plant.

If you accidentally let your Schefflera’s soil dry out completely, you may see leaves go limp, droop, and possibly start to brown and curl. If the soil is extremely dry all the way through the pot, a thorough soak is in order.

Here’s how to soak-water your Schefflera:

  1. Place your plant in your sink or tub without the saucer. Fill your basin up with about 3-4″ of water. Make sure the water isn’t hot! 
  2. Allow your plant to soak up water through the drainage hole in the bottom of the pot for at least 45 min. 
  3. Feel the top of the soil after your plant has been soaking–has the water reached the top 2-3” of soil?
  4. If not all the soil feels saturated, water your Schefflera slightly from the top of the soil to help speed up the saturation.
  5. When your plant’s soil is evenly damp, drain the sink/tub and allow the plant to rest while it drains thoroughly. Place the plant back on its saucer and back in its proper spot. 

Increase the humidity

While these plants do fine in normal household humidity, extremely low humidity and dry soil cause leaves to brown on their edges and eventually yellow. Mist, add a pebble tray, or place a humidifier nearby.


Make sure your plant is not in a drafty area or in the path of heating and cooling vents. Leaves will brown and drop if the plant is cold or excessively dry from constant airflow.

Need more help?

We're confident your Schefflera will be back to normal in no-time, but if you've followed the steps above and things just aren't improving you can contact us here.