Why Is My Dwarf Umbrella Tree Dying?

The dwarf umbrella tree needs more recognition as one of the easiest plants to grow. It is an adorable plant that gets its name from the look of its leaves and it is quite easy to care for. The leaves often grow in a group of 5 to 9 in the form of long and shiny oval pointed tips.

The dwarf umbrella tree needs care just like every other plant. However, there have been concerns from plant parents on how to properly care for this plant.

There are certain conditions that can cause dwarf umbrella trees to start dying and you need to be aware of this in order to prevent it. The plant might be easy to care for, but it needs quite a lots of attention and not all conditions are suitable for it. If your umbrella dwarf tree becomes discolored and starts dropping or losing its leaves, then this means it’s dying.

Watering is the common reason your dwarf umbrella tree might be dying, but it is not the only reason. Other issues like pests, low humidity, exposure to poor light, and improper temperatures can cause it to start losing its leaves. In addition, if the dwarf umbrella plant sits in soil that is too dry or overly saturated for too long, it can become unhealthy.

Normally, dwarf umbrella trees should be easy and problem-free to grow, but in an unhealthy situation, they can be really hard to keep alive. Umbrella plants are tropical jungle plants and there have requirements just like every other tropical plant.

Read on to learn about umbrella plants and why they might be dying.

Dwarf Umbrella Tree Plant Information

Why Is My Dwarf Umbrella Tree Dying?
Source: The spruce

A dwarf umbrella tree is a flowering plant that is grown in warmer climates outdoor although it can be placed indoors in some basic indoor conditions but has to be maintained at a manageable size.

It is an evergreen shrub species and to provide what it needs to thrive, you will need the basic information in the table below.

Botanical nameSchefflera arboricola
OriginNative to Taiwan and Hainan Province, China.
LightFiltered indirect light
WateringWater with aged water when the soil surface is dry
Temperature59 °F-70 °F
ToxicityToxic to pets and humans
Propagation StyleOutdoor propagation
FoodBalanced houseplant fertilizer
HumidityHigh humidity
Foliage colorGreen, creamy white, or yellow tinges
Flower ColorBright red, yellow
Susceptible Plant IssuesRoot rot, Fungal infection,  Sparse growth, Yellow/ Brown / Dried Leaves, Pest Infestations

Why Is My Dwarf Umbrella Tree Dying?

The dwarf umbrella tree is a really low-maintenance plant and if it starts dying then you should know it from neglect. It is normally problem-free and easy to grow but it can have unbalanced watering issues and some pest situations if you do not care for it the right way.

Or you are leaving it to dry out for too long. It is pretty hard to pinpoint why the dwarf umbrella tree is dying, so below are common reasons to check out for.

1. Watering Issues

If the watering process is not on track then umbrella plants can start to drop their leaves. The dwarf umbrella tree does not like sitting in water for too long, it is best to water it when its potting mix is nearly dry or the top is dry. Too much or too little water is the thing that can kill this plant fast.

Umbrella plants are not tolerant of wet feet so if the leaves start to turn yellow, the root is drowning in too much water but when the plant stems begin to bend then it’s not getting enough water.

If your umbrella plant is dying from watering, you can remove the yellow leaves and check the soil to know if it’s dry and should be watered.

2. Sunlight Issues

The next important issue your umbrella tree can start dying from is too much or not enough sunlight. Overexposure of a dwarf umbrella tree to sunlight will slow its growth, causing the leaves to turn brown and this indicates its dying.

Not enough sunlight will cause the plant to develop smaller leaves and leggy stems. It needs a few hours of bright indirect sunlight each day and not bright light.

If the sunlight is not enough then you have to bring it outdoor for at least 2 hours a day and you can consider supplementary light for dark home lighting. However, if it is overexposed to sunlight, reposition it to the east/north-facing window so it can get bright indirect sunlight instead.

3. Nutrient Deficiency

If your umbrella tree is denied the needed amount of nutrients and if it doesn’t get that, the leaves can start to show pale green leaves or yellow veins. If dwarf umbrella trees don’t have enough nutrients to produce chlorophyll, the growth can stop as well. You have to apply a balanced fertilizer once every 3 weeks to get it back on track.

4. Diseases/Pests

Some conditions can cause certain pests to drain your dwarf umbrella plant. Watering and uneven humidity are two causes of pests attacking umbrella plants. Prolonged pest damage in turn can lead to diseases such as fungal infection.

Signs that your plant is suffering from pest infestation is that it looks lifeless while diseases should make give it discolored spots and black/gray powdery patches that will continue to spread.

Remove pests with soap and water solution. Prune the sooty mold to prevent them from spreading further and apply natural fungicide to the rest of the leaves.

Woman gardening
Woman gardening

5. Humidity/Temperature Issues

The dwarf umbrella tree is not exempted from getting the right humidity and temperature level. Fluctuations of humidity and temp can make the plant viable for root rot, and attract pests and diseases.

This plant loves high humidity, so the level provided should be around 75% while the temperature should be 50-100 degrees F. Keep the plant away from the drafty areas to help it recover.

6. Stress

The dwarf umbrella tree is a tropical plant so it shouldn’t be surprising that it doesn’t do well with stress. If it is constantly exposed to a draft of cold, hot air from air conditioning, heating ducts, or radiators, it is certain to suffer from damage or leaf loss.

The shipping condition or location can stress umbrella trees as well, so you consider running for new foliage to grow and care for those better.

How do I Fix my Dwarf Umbrella Tree?

The dwarf umbrella tree is a low-maintenance plant and immediately after the reason for its dying is discovered and changed, it should bounce back.

However, you can speed up its recovery by increasing its light and humidity and to encourage growth, the yellow leaves and dead branches have to be trimmed.

Trimming umbrella plant in late summer encourages growth and gets rid of damaged parts. Wait until the soil is dry and thoroughly soak with water and if it has root rot, remove the rotting roots and re-pot it. Place in bright indirect light and use a pot with plenty of drainage holes.

Wrapping Up

One of the things you do need to know as a plant parent is that every plant has its own needs.

A dwarf umbrella tree might be easy to care for, but without the proper requirements, it can get stressed and start to die.

Luckily, it can be fixed. Simply find out why your dwarf tree is dying and fix it by attending to its needs. Underwater or overwatered umbrella plants tend to bounce back really quickly, so you don’t have much to worry about.