Umbrell plant too much water or not enough?

Asked March 3, 2018, 5:56 PM EST

I moved my umbrella plant from one room to another in front of a window. It was in front of a window before. Both windows face North so it receives Evening Sun. As you can see from the pictures it is quite tall. I received it as a gift in a typical flower shop container pot mixed with other plants so I separated it and just left it with the palm. 7 years later it got that tall. I'm wondering if this is a type of plant that doesn't like to be moved and therefore could that be why it keeps getting yellow leaves and then the leaves turn brown and drop to the floor. Or am I watering it too much or not enough? Or could it be root bound? This is why I wonder if it's root bound.... It has been in the same clay pot for probably four of the seven years and this winter I noticed a lot of the dirt had slowly sank down and it looked like I could see and feel a root. But because it was winter time I could not transplant so I just added more dirt to the top of it. But now because more and more leaves keep turning yellow and dropping which it had never done before moving to the other room, I'm thinking it won't make it until spring. I water it once a week and I test it by sticking my finger in the dirt. If it's not wet up to one knuckle I give it about 2 cups of water. Every 3 weeks I mix just a little bit of the Miracle Grow Crystal fertilizer in a gallon of water to water all of my 21 house plants.

Franklin County Ohio indoor gardening umbrella plant

1 Response

The umbrella plant you refer to is most likely a Schefflera and the palm is most likely a Dracaena. Both are typical houseplants. If your plants were outside for the summer, leaf yellowing and drop are common when plants are brought inside for the winter. Absent any sign of insects like scales, mealybugs, aphids, etc. both plants will suffer from yellowing and dropping leaves if the plant is too cold, the soil is too wet, or the light level is too low. Hot or cold drafts from a heating vent, radiator, window, etc. can also cause yellowing of leaves.
The North facing window may not be providing sufficient light. If possible, move them to a brighter location. I assume the pot the plants are in has drainage holes. If not, then they are both suffering from overwatering, Both plants prefer to dry out before watering. Try cutting back on your watering and fertilizing schedule. Plants growing in reduced light will need less frequent fertilization than plants growing in bright light. Fertilizing once a month should be sufficient, but be sure to follow the directions on your fertilizer. The Dracaena is also sensitive to flourides and bult up salts. Try watering with non-flourinated water.
If the plants have been in the same pot for 7 years, re-pot in the spring. If the Dracaena stem is long and bare, it can be cut off at the desired height and new leaves will grow.
Following are a couple of links to University Extension websites with more information: