Sticky Schefflera leaves – what it means and how to fix it

Last Updated: September 10, 2023

One problem Schefflera parents sometimes have is finding the leaves to be a little sticky to touch. It can be quite unusual and confusing as it’s not one of the more common problems so it’s important to know what it means and how to fix the issue.

Sticky Schefflera leaves are caused by a pest infestation on your plant. This is definitely something to take seriously as the problem can very quickly spread to the whole plant and cause more issues than sticky leaves.

The most common pests found on Scheffleras are aphids, spider mites and mealybugs. If they make your plant their home then they will start sucking and feasting on the leaves. The bugs leave behind a honeydew on the plant’s leaves which is what causes the stickiness.

The reason why pests are so harmful to your houseplants is they will slowly exhaust the plant and kill the leaves one by one. First causing little holes and yellowing leaves and then eventually making the leaves fall off the plant and killing the plant entirely.

Is there a way to stop the pests?

Luckily, there are several things you can do to get rid of the pests. However, this is never a guarantee. If the pests have spread throughout the plant then it can be really difficult to get rid of them entirely. We have had to say goodbye to several plants because the problem was just too far gone. But if you have caught it early and there are no other signs apart from sticky Schefflera leaves then you should have a good chance of returning your plant to full health.

The first thing to do when you spot pests is to move the infected plant well away from any of your other houseplants. Pests can spread from one plant to another pretty easily if they are close so you want to isolate the plant immediately. Then check over the plants that were close to the infected plant to see if there are any visible pests or signs of an infestation on those too.

Then you want to trim off the worst affected leaves and stems. This will help to curb the growth of the infestation in the short term by cutting the number of pests on the plant right down. Be careful with those trimmings though as you want to dispose of them properly and not leave them near any uninfected plants.

Then you want to give your plant a good shower and blast with the hose. This will wash down a lot of the pests on the leaves. Leave the plant to dry off so the excess water doesn’t cause root rot. Now that you have significantly reduced the number of pests on your plant you can begin to treat it with insecticide or need oil.

Another great thing to do is to replace the potting mix. There are probably pests or eggs in the soil too so you want to replace that with fresh soil and dispose of the old carefully.

After treating the plant with insecticide for several weeks you should begin to win the fight against the pests. You want to now assess the damage done to the plant and cut away any lifeless leaves, stems and roots. This will encourage new healthy growth. It may take a while for your plant to grow properly again as it has gone through a lot – be patient!

So pests are the evil cause of Sticky Schefflera leaves. No matter how experienced you might be as a plant parent, pests are the number 1 enemy and you won’t always win against them. Propagating your Schefflera might also be a good option to save some of the healthy and uninfested parts of your plant.

You can find out more about identifying, treating and most importantly preventing pests in our downloadable ebook.

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