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Why Is My Umbrella Plant Dying? (5 Common Causes)

Why Is My Umbrella Plant Dying? (5 Common Causes)

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Umbrella plants are beloved for their lush, verdant foliage. When it starts to wilt and decline, however, the sight can be heartbreaking. This begs the question, “Why is my umbrella plant dying?”

If your once-thriving plant is looking worse for wear, don’t worry about it; the reasons behind this are usually easy to identify and fix. 

From watering issues to pest infestations, this comprehensive guide will delve into the common causes of umbrella plant distress and provide actionable tips to help you revive your beloved plant. 

5 Potential Reasons Your Umbrella Plant Is Dying

Here are the five most common culprits behind umbrella plants wilting and dying: 

1 – Watering Issues

Wet Leaves On An Umbrella Plant

First and foremost, you should know that umbrella plants don’t need to be watered frequently. Watering an umbrella plant too much is more likely than watering it too little so long as you’re paying attention.

It’s true that umbrella plants like moist soil, but you shouldn’t make the soil soggy. You need to let the soil dry out a bit before you choose to water the plant again.

The soil might need more time to dry out depending on weather conditions and other factors. This means that it isn’t wise to water your umbrella plant without checking the condition of the soil first.

You should use your fingers to see if the soil is starting to get dry. When it does get a bit dry, you’ll want to water the plant until the soil is moist.

Remember, umbrella plants aren’t tolerant of “wet feet” either, meaning you can’t allow the plant to sit in water, and it means you’ll need to empty the saucer when you’ve finished watering it.

If your plant has started to turn yellow, there’s a good chance watering it too much is to blame. An umbrella plant could die due to being watered too little as well, but it’ll be more tolerant of drought than it will be of over-watering.

2 – Using Bad Water

Tap Water

Not all water is going to be well suited for watering plants. 

Many people make the mistake of using tap water to water their plants. This can be bad because many plants are sensitive to the chemicals in tap water.

The majority of people in the United States will have water that contains fluoride and chlorine. If you water plants with standard tap water, you can encounter certain issues.

Some people even wind up watering their plants with hard water!

Note: Your tap water could be hard water if it contains a lot of minerals, and you surely know if you have hard water because it’s not very pleasant.

You might cause the plant to not be able to absorb nutrients properly if you water it with hard water. Eventually, a mineral layer will form on the soil due to being watered with tap water that contains too many minerals.

This is why it’s simply better to use distilled water to water your plants. You can go out and buy water from the store to keep things from going bad.

If you don’t have hard water and you’re only worried about fluoride and chlorine, then you can make some changes. 

Place the water in your watering can a day before you plan to water your umbrella plant. Allowing the water to sit out in the sun for a day will get rid of any chemicals present in the water. It will then be safe to use that water on your plants.

Getting rid of hard water is going to involve installing a powerful filter. It might be expensive to solve a hard water issue in many circumstances, but you’ll likely want to look into it so that you’ll have a more pleasant experience using your water at home.

3 – Sunlight Issues

An Umbrella Plant In Direct Sunlight

Umbrella plants love sunshine, but not directly. 

Direct sunlight is a bit too harsh for an umbrella plant, and this means that you could scorch the plant and cause it to die if it’s exposed to direct sunlight and really hot temperatures.

Conversely, an umbrella plant can also struggle if it is placed in extremely low light conditions. 

Generally, an umbrella plant is good at adapting to light situations, but the plant will need some sunlight to be able to thrive. You’ll notice issues with the plant if you abruptly change the amount of sunlight that it’s getting. You should try to ensure that your plant receives at least a few hours of bright indirect sunlight each day.

It’s also a good idea to turn the plant if one side seems to be doing better than the other. Paying a bit more attention to your plant and giving it optimal sunlight conditions can help to turn things around.

4 – Pests

Spider Mite Close Up

It’s possible that a pest infestation could kill your umbrella plant.

For instance, spider mites can suck on your umbrella plant and cause it to look unhealthy. A severe infestation could eventually kill the plant, but usually, you’ll just notice that the plant will start drooping.

Other pests can bother umbrella plants as well. Aphids and scales are two other types of pests that you might need to look out for.

If you suspect your umbrella plant is having issues with pests, you might want to treat it with insecticidal soap. This can help to get rid of any bugs that are bothering the plant.

5 – Fungal Diseases

Umbrella plants can also have issues with certain fungal diseases. If the leaves are falling off of your plant, then this could be what is going on.

When umbrella plants are going through fungal disease issues, you’ll notice black or brown spots on their leaves. These infected leaves will fall off and it’ll cause the disease to spread throughout the plant.

You want to remove infected sections of the plant before things can spread. This gives you the best chance of saving the plant.

It might be prudent to treat the plant with fungicide in certain situations as well. Sometimes it might not be possible to save an umbrella plant if a fungal disease is advanced and you didn’t catch it in time.

Seasonal Considerations

Though umbrella plants are relatively low-maintenance, their care requirements can vary depending on the time of the year. Understanding these seasonal changes can help you keep your plant thriving all year long. 

During the active growing season, typically spring through fall, umbrella plants will require more frequent watering and fertilization to support new growth. 

Accordingly, you should aim to keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged and to apply a balanced liquor or granular fertilizer every 2-3 months. 

As winter approaches, growth will slow down and the plant’s watering and feeding needs will decrease. During this time, you should allow the soil to partially dry out between waterings. You may also want to limit fertilizing until the following spring. 

Umbrella plants also benefit from increased humidity during the drier winter months, so consider running a nearby humidifier or misting the leaves regularly. 

Nutrition Considerations

Umbrella plants require a steady supply of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, along with micronutrients like iron, magnesium, and calcium. 

A high-quality all-purpose houseplant fertilizer applied every 2-3 months during the growing season can help ensure the plant gets the nourishment it needs. 

Be cautious not to over-fertilize, as this can lead to salt buildup and root damage.

In addition to regular fertilization, monitoring for signs of nutrient deficiencies is important. Yellowing leaves, stunted growth, and poor coloration can indicate a lack of essential nutrients and a need to adjust your fertilization routine. 

Final Thoughts

Now you know all about the factors that could cause your umbrella plant to die. Hopefully, you’ll be able to use this information to make changes that will help you to save your plant.

Umbrella plants are great houseplants to own because of how nice they look and how easy they are to take care of. For the most part, it should be possible to make subtle adjustments and get good results when caring for umbrella plants.

Just do your best to avoid watering issues and try to ensure that the plant is getting enough sunlight. Try to stay on top of things such as pest issues and fungal disease problems so that you can take action before things get really bad.

If you’re a proactive person who pays attention to plants, you’ll have better luck. Even if your umbrella plant does die, you’ll be able to know what to do next time so that you can take care of things better.

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