Umbrella plants are fairly easy-to-care-for plants that are low-maintenance. However, these plants can still develop problems if they are not cared for correctly, and some of these issues can cause the leaves to drop off the plant.
So, what are these problems?
When your Umbrella plant begins to drop leaves, this can be caused by several factors, including overwatering or underwatering your plant, keeping your plant in improper lighting, keeping your plant in cold temperatures, and more. All these issues can kill the plant if they are not fixed.
If your Umbrella plant is suffering, you need to act fast as this plant will only start showing signs when it’s almost too late to save the plant.
So, let’s go through all the problems that can cause the plant leaves to fall and how you can fix them!
Why Would An Umbrella Plant Drop Leaves?
Umbrella plants are gorgeous plants that have become popular over the years as they are evergreen plant that is low-maintenance and hardy. Umbrella plants are fast-growing and can bring a lovely pop of color into your home.
However, these plants can have some issues if not kept in the right growing conditions. Some of these problems can cause the plant’s leaves to start falling off at a rapid pace, which can be quite alarming for the plant’s owner.
Unfortunately, figuring out what the problem could be can be a challenging task as there are multiple causes to this problem, and your plant could be suffering one or more of them at once. Here are the possible causes of your Umbrella plant losing its leaves:
- Improper Lighting Conditions
- Overwatering or underwatering your Umbrella Plant
- Your Umbrella plant could be stressed
- The temperature may be too low for your Umbrella plant
- The humidity may be too low for your Umbrella plant
- There could be problems with your Umbrella plant’s soil
Many of these problems can lead to the death of your Umbrella plant if you do not treat the problem as soon as you identify it. Let’s go through these causes of Umbrella plants losing their leaves more in-depth, so you can identify them easier and treat the cause.
1 – Improper Lighting Conditions
Umbrella plants can tolerate a wide range of lighting conditions for a short time, but you should try to keep them in their preferred sunlight conditions as much as possible as this will cause fewer problems with the plant’s health.
Umbrella plants prefer bright but indirect sunlight conditions to thrive and maintain good health in your home.
If you keep your Umbrella plant in low-light conditions for too long, this can cause the plant’s leaves to fall off rapidly, and the plant will begin to grow spindly and leggy, which is unattractive for the Umbrella plant.
Low light conditions aren’t the only light conditions that can cause your Umbrella plant to lose its leaves. Keeping your plant in direct sunlight can also cause the plant’s leaves to fall off. Not only will the leaves drop, but the plant could also be burned by the sun, causing permeant damage.
As you are keeping your Umbrella plant indoors, you need to ensure you place your plant in the correct location in your home, where it will receive its preferred lighting conditions.
So, bright natural sunlight is suitable for your Umbrella plant if you provide it with adequate protection from direct sun rays. You can place Umbrella plants near a window to receive some morning or afternoon sunlight.
Then protect the plant from direct sun rays by covering the window with a sheer curtain. If you see burning or scorching on your plant, you can move it a few feet away from the window to help protect it from the sun.
As an Umbrella plant can tolerate low light conditions, you may pot to keep the plant further indoors and not next to the window. This is not advisable as the plant will struggle to maintain its health in these conditions.
The Umbrella plant can struggle in low light conditions for a while before you suddenly see the plant shedding its leaves rapidly. So, if you are no longer noticing new growth on your Umbrella plant, then you may need to move it to a brighter location before your plant starts losing its leaves.
2 – Overwatering Or Underwatering The Umbrella Plant
Not watering your Umbrella plant correctly is one of the main causes of leaf loss in the plant. Both underwatering and overwatering your Umbrella plant can trigger leaf loss in your plant.
To help your plant, you need to ensure you diagnose the problem correctly, as underwatering and overwatering your plant will require different solutions. A good sign that you are overwatering your Umbrella plant is if the leaves turn black before they fall off the plant.
If this occurs, this could also mean that there is a problem with the roots of your Umbrella plant that could kill the plant if you do not fix it; this is root rot.
Even though Umbrella plants can tolerate drought conditions, underwatering your Umbrella plant can also stress your plant to the point where it begins to lose its leaves.
This will happen as the plant is too dehydrated to sustain the number of leaves it currently has, so it will drop a large number of them to ensure it can survive for a little bit longer.
You need to know how to water your Umbrella plant correctly, as prevention is always better than trying to fix a problem later.
So, with Umbrella plants, the rule is, when the top inch of the plant’s soil is dry, you should water the plant thoroughly and let any excess water run through the plant pots drainage holes to help flush the soil.
Remember that Umbrella plants prefer medium, moist soil, but they will handle drought conditions better than if their soil is too saturated with water.
If you have overwatered your Umbrella plant, you need to unpot your plant and inspect the soil for any foul-smelling or mushy roots, as this indicates root rot. If you see these indications of root rot, you will need to repot your plant with fresh soil and carefully trim off any infected roots.
To avoid overwatering your Umbrella plant, you should follow the directions above and cut back on your watering during the winter. When you water your plant, ensure you use room temperature water as cold water can shock the plant’s roots.
If you underwatered your plant, you need to water it thoroughly and use your finger or a chopstick to ensure all the soil to the pot’s base has moisture.
You can do this by sticking your finger or a chopstick into the soil and feeling for moisture, or if the chopstick is wet, then the plant has been watered enough. Avoid underwatering your plant for too long by keeping to a regular watering schedule or regularly checking the plant’s soil for moisture.
3 – The Umbrella Plant May Be Stressed
If your Umbrella plant becomes stressed, it will lose some of its leaves, although this loss of leaves should not be extensive unless it is highly stressed. In which case, you need to treat the plant with the utmost care.
Umbrella plants can become stressed when you repot them, called transplant shock, or move them around your home regularly, especially if your Umbrella plant is new to your home.
If your Umbrella plant is severally rootbound, this can also cause your plant to become stressed as the root system has no space left to grow and develop well, which will begin to affect the plant’s growth.
If your plant becomes stressed when you repot it, this is normal, and you should ensure that the plant is kept in the right growing conditions for the next few weeks to help it recover from the stress well.
If your Umbrella plant is stressed because it is rootbound, you need to repot your plant. As a rule, if you need to water your Umbrella plant more than twice per week, then it’s probably time to repot your plant.
To help avoid any problems when you repot your plant, you should avoid fertilizing your plant for 3 to 4 weeks after you have repotted it as this will ensure that the now tender roots of the plant do not get burned by the fertilizer.
It is also better to repot your Umbrella plant early in the plant’s active growing season in spring, as this will ensure that your plant has enough time to recover before its dormancy period in the winter.
4 – Keeping Umbrella Plants In Cold Temperatures
Umbrella plants are tropical plants that originate from climates that have high temperatures. These climates very rarely drop below 50°F (10°C) even in the winter months.
If the temperature in the room where you keep your Umbrella plants falls close or below this minimum temperature, the cold can begin to stress your plant. If your plant stays in these cold temperatures for too long, this will cause the leaves to drop off the plant.
As Umbrella plants are tropical plants, they prefer higher temperatures. Their preferred temperature range is between 60° and 80°F (16° and 27°C).
If you keep your Umbrella plant close to a window, then it is more likely to suffer from low temperatures as it’s right by an opening to the outside world. If you notice a substantial drop in temperature in the room, you need to try and keep your plant warm.
To do this, you can place a heater in the room, ensuring it is not too close to the plant to burn the leaves. You must ensure that the window is closed at all times as an open window could cause a cold draft which will also harm your plant.
5 – Problems With The Umbrella Plant’s Soil
Umbrella plants can also begin to lose their leaves if there is a problem with their soil. These plants require well-draining soil that is loose and aerated for them to thrive.
If the Umbrella plant’s soil is compacted and dense, this can cause the leaves to fall from the plant; in fact, this is one of the leading reasons people have problems with leaves falling off their plant.
The soil needs to be aerated enough to help preserve oxygen levels around the roots of the Umbrella plant, even after you have watered the plant. This will help your plant avoid root rot or any other problems with its roots.
Thankfully, if you know what you are doing, compacted soil is easy to treat and easy to avoid in the future.
When you repot your Umbrella plant, ensure you only use good-quality potting soil, and then you can also mix in a small amount of perlite into the soil to help prevent the soil from becoming compacted in the future.
There are two factors that you need to keep in mind; these two factors will affect your Umbrella plant’s soil over time; they are:
- There could be a toxin build-up in the plant’s soil due to fertilizer or watering your plant with highly mineralized tap water. To help avoid this, never partially water your plant, always let water flow out the pot’s drainage holes. And give the soil heavy water once every two months with filtered water to flush out the soil.
- You should be careful with the amount of peat you place in your Umbrella plant’s soil, as peat will eventually decompose, which could compact the soil. So, if you add peat into the soil to help with drainage, ensure it’s a small amount and always repot your plant on a two-year schedule to avoid it from decomposing.
6 – Low Humidity
Umbrella plants are tropical plants that prefer high humidity levels, but they tend to tolerate the humidity levels in homes fairly well. However, low humidity levels are not optimal for the Umbrella plant and can cause problems if the level falls too low.
If your plant is already suffering from a different issue, like stress, then low humidity levels can make the problem worse for your plant.
Thankfully, low humidity levels are an easy problem to fix. You can buy a humidifier for your plant’s room, and as soon as you feel the room becoming dry, you can turn it on to offer some relief to your plant.
You can also try to group your Umbrella plant closer together with a few other plants, increasing the humidity around the plants. You could also place some water trays close to the plant or spray the plant with room temperature water to increase the moisture levels in the air.
Many factors could bring about your Umbrella plant losing leaves, and determining what the cause of the problem is can be a challenging task, but if you work through everything mentioned on this list, you should easily find the cause and fix it without the problem damaging your plant further.
Good luck with your Umbrella plant!
Growing up with a mom who filled her home (inside and out) with all sorts of plants, Lisa got her start in gardening at a young age. Living now on her own with a home and yard full of plants (including an indoor greenhouse), she shares all the gardening tips she’s gained over the years.