Skip to Content

Why is my umbrella plant turning black?

Is your umbrella plant turning black? Here are the top causes and easy solutions to get your Schefflera plant healthy again!

Caring for a Schefflera plant is quite easy. But what happens in those cases when you accidentally make a maintenance mistake? Do you just give up on it or start nurturing it back to health?

Today we are looking at the issue of your umbrella tree turning black and how you can get better at care.

Schefflera is a very popular tropical-looking plant, and you can find it in almost every household.

It can thrive under various conditions, making it the perfect option for all those who want some lovely greenery in their home.

However, if you notice that your umbrella tree starts turning black, then it is time to do something about it.

Why is my umbrella tree turning black

Printable Umbrella Plant care guide

Join the (free!) KeepYourPlantsAlive+ community to access this exclusive printable plant care guide! Once you sign up, you can right click & save the JPG care guide. Or keep scrolling for more!

Umbrella Plant plant care guide

Why is my umbrella tree turning black?

If you start looking into reasons, get ready for a longer list. If your umbrella tree starts turning black, there might be an array of reasons why.

It can be pretty much anything – starting from pest infestation and ending with low humidity levels.

Once you notice the umbrella tree leaves turning black, try to find the root cause.

There is always one, and you can easily get to it if you only retrace your steps.

Here are the most common reasons why this is happening to you.

Watering issues

By watering issue, we mean improper watering. This tends to be one of the biggest problems why your Schefflera leaves are blackened.

Think of it this way – balance is everything, this case included.

Umbrella trees thrive best under moist soil conditions, but not too much. Giving the plant too much water will make the root rot.

On the other hand, not giving it enough water will make the root dry out.

potted umbrella plant on a table

Low humidity

Another reason for Schefflera turning black is low humidity levels. After all, this is a tropical plant, and it thrives in areas of high humidity.

If you suddenly place it in a space in which the air is not humid enough, then it will start to lose its moisture.

Once this happens, you will deprive the leaves of moisture, and they will become dehydrated.

The cause of this process may be due to the plant being in the path of an air conditioner, a heater, a vent, and so on.

Not enough light

Scheffleraa thrive under a lot of light. But, be very wary, they don’t do very well under direct sunlight.

Extreme sun exposure can make the plant wilt, dry out, and eventually turn black.

The sun can burn its leaves to a crisp, so ensure that you obtain a perfect spot for your plant to thrive in. 

On the other hand, an umbrella tree turning black can be caused by insufficient lighting. 

Light is a necessary aspect of its optimal health, so make sure it gets it in abundance, but not directly.

Too much fertilizer

Noticing some black leaves on your Schefflera may mean that you have put too much fertilizer in the soil.

Sometimes, people tend to do this because they figure more fertilizer means faster growth.

Well, we are here to tell you this is completely wrong.

Feeding the soil with too many nutrients can overpower the root and can result in too much salt in the soil.

new growth on an umbrella plant

Temperature stress

The ideal temperature for an umbrella plant is between 45 and 105 F.

However, don’t expect a positive reaction if you happen to shock your plant with an extreme temperature shift.

This is how the leaves lose moisture, and you end up dealing with a Schefflera turning black.

You can easily avoid this by not exposing your plant to extremely hot or cold weather.

To ensure you’ve obtained the optimal thriving conditions, place a thermometer in the room and check it frequently.

Pest infestation

Pests and even fungus diseases can be a bore, especially when they attack your favorite plant friend. They can damage it and leave a lot of mess behind for you to clean up.

Be on the lookout for mealybugs, scales, broad mites, spider mites, bacteria, etc.

Some of the tell-tale signs that you’re dealing with an infestation are if your umbrella tree leaves start turning black. 

You can read more about pests infesting umbrella plants and how to treat each here!

umbrella plant cutting

How do you fix a black umbrella plant?

The good thing about your Schefflera turning black is that there is a way to fix it. After you’ve identified the issue, you may continue by choosing the proper treatment.

Stop overwatering or underwatering your plant.

Remember that Schefflera doesn’t like stress, so ensure you water it appropriately.

If the soil is cracked, add some water immediately, and if the soil is extra moist, refrain from watering your plant for at least a couple of days.

Take care of the humidity levels

Grouping your umbrella plant with other house plants can improve the humidity of the environment. In addition, you can also use a humidifier or misting.

Give it some proper light

Notice if the plant is getting enough light or not, and make sure you fix the issue accordingly.

Step away from the fertilizer

If you start noticing signs of overfertilization, refrain from using fertilizer for some time.

This will give both the plant and the soil proper time to recover.

Provide optimal temperatures

Keep the plant away from a direct heat source to make it happy. Also, don’t place it in extremely cold conditions.

The issue of umbrella tree leaves turning black can be easily fixed by pruning all the damaged leaves and encouraging new growth. 

Pests should become history

Isolate the plant if you must, and get rid of all the pests properly (depending on the type). You can use ladybugs, neem oil, or dish soap – the solutions are endless!

Dealing with the case of your umbrella tree turning black is a challenge on its own. We are hoping that we have encouraged you on your mission and shown you that it is not an impossible task!

If you are interested in finding out more, download our free PDF umbrella plant care guide.

new growth on an umbrella plant

Printable Umbrella Plant care guide

Join the (free!) KeepYourPlantsAlive+ community to access this exclusive printable plant care guide! Once you sign up, you can right click & save the JPG care guide. Or keep scrolling for more!

Umbrella Plant plant care guide

Thanks for reading!

About Me Plant picture

Sharing is caring!