Schefflera Help needed

Discussion in 'HortForum' started by Natalie Irvin, Mar 29, 2022.

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  1. Natalie Irvin

    Natalie Irvin New Member

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    I bought my schefflera months ago and it has been doing well up until about a month ago. At one point it had aphids so I gently wiped the leaves with a soap and water and also used neem oil. Now the leaves are turning brown on the stem which then progresses to the leaf. One of our trunks is also turning brown now. I repotted the schefflera to look for root rot and make sure it was in a well draining soil but that doesn’t seem to have helped. I’m not sure what to do next. Any help or advice is greatly appreciated! I have attached photos of the plant too.
     

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  2. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Welcome to the Forums.

    I wonder if the soap and oil treatment is the culprit. A homemade soap solution can cause damage depending on its constituent components. Were these products applied in bright sunlight? That could have phytotoxic effects. The new growth in the last photo does not appear to have been damaged. Perhaps it was too tender at the time and so did not receive a treatment of soap and oil, thus no damage.

    Couple articles with caveats on homemade soap solutions:
     
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  3. Natalie Irvin

    Natalie Irvin New Member

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    It was not applied in sunlight and they weren’t applied at the same time. I did the soap and water first and then a few weeks later noticed it still looked as if bugs were coming back so then I applied the neem oil once.

     
  4. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Some questions:
    1. When did the problem start? If it happened soon after one of the applications, whether soap or oil, then the most recently used product is likely implicated.
    2. Is the damage evident in all plants in the container or just the one individual? The latter is likely beyond saving as its stem is already turning brown and the leaves attached to it are drooping, as seen in the second photo.
    3. When you repotted, did you notice any difference in color and texture of the roots of the individual plants? How much moisture was in the soil at the bottom of the container? Does the container have drainage holes?
     
  5. Natalie Irvin

    Natalie Irvin New Member

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    The problem happened maybe a few weeks after applying the soapy water but the places I applied it were fine, it was the lower stems that started browning first.

    The damage is in two of the trunks. I plan to remove those and try to save the other three.

    No I didn’t see any difference between the roots of each plant. There was soil clumped together at the bottom so there was some moisture at the bottom of the container. The pot does have drainage holes and I repotted it in what I think is well draining soil.
     
  6. Junglekeeper

    Junglekeeper Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    It's rather curious then. The soap would have been my chief suspect but it's unlikely to be the cause if the plant took a turn for the worse after two weeks had passed. It would be slower acting if excess solution had seeped into the soil but then one would expect all plants to be affected. Have a look at the information under the heading 'Precautions on Using Oils' in the document below in order to discount the possibility of the neem oil being the cause. I found this warning in the production guide below:
    The environment is unlikely to be the cause if the plant had been growing well and showing new growth for months in its current location. Had there been any changes prior to the plant showing symptoms?

    The only other suggestion I have is to review the recommended cultural guidelines for potential shortcomings.

    References:
     

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