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Joined: Wed May 14, 2008 5:11 pm
Location: S. California

Schefflera in shock?

It's bad of me to say and I feel really bad but, I forgot to water my schefflera last week, and it got too dry. Some of the leaves at the bottom have died, the green leaves have drooped and are curling in, and the stem looks like wrinkled skin. I watered it today, but there still is no change. It actually looks worse. The leaves have drooped and have curled in more. It's in shock right?? What should I do?? I really love this plant. I don't want it to die.

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Posts: 5122
Joined: Wed Jul 05, 2006 12:17 am
Location: Western PA USDA Zone 6A


I'm not sure that there is anything that you can do except wait and see. The leaves themselves may not recover but the trunk is what's important. Defoliating, in and of itself, is not going to kill your Scheff. A similar technique is used to force this species to branch out since they are normally reluctant to do so.

The method is to remove all the leaves (the leaves are actually the entire 'umbrella' not the individual leaflets) and then remove the terminal buds at the branch tips. These two actions force latent buds to emerge from lower leaf axils.

What happened kind of has you already half way there. Not sure if, in your circumstance, it's wise to take the second step , just letting you know. If you decide to leave the terminal bud it will become dominant and inhibit lower buds so that's your call.

The least stressful path is probably to wait for a few days while not letting it dry again. If some of the leaves recover, OK. If none do then cut through the leaf stems about halfway down and wait.

Be aware that a tree without active foliage will not use as much water as a healthy one so don't overcompensate. It might help to place the whole plant inside of a large plastic bag to keep the humidity up. If you do that the watering frequency will drop even more. Consider it intensive care.


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