Chinese evergreens are the most popular houseplants, and they are considered one of the best indoor choices. Unlike other houseplants, Chinese evergreen does not need too much attention or care and can even survive in the worst-case scenarios unless you ignore their basic needs.
If you think your Chinese evergreen is dying, you need to know what wrong you are doing. So, in this article we shall learn why is your chinese evergreen dying and what can you do to save it.
Poor watering schedule, improper lighting, wrong soil mix, inappropriate fertilization, pest infestations, and fungal diseases are some common problems due to which your Chinese evergreen is dying. Look out for signs like yellow and brown leaves, droopy plants, etc., to identify the actual problem.
This article will tell why your Chinese evergreen is dying and the various care tips you can follow to save your plant.
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Signs your Chinese evergreen is dying
Your Chinese evergreen can tell you that it is dying with various signs.
Understanding the signs helps identify the problem your Chinese evergreen is experiencing, as every sign signifies different problems.
The signs you can see if your Chinese evergreen is dying are:
- Yellow leaves
- Brown spots on leaves
- Brown tips on leaves
- Falling of leaves
- Droopy leaves
- Pale leaves
- Wilted leaves
- Stunted growth
- Roots breaking out from the soil
- Foul-smelling soil.
If you notice these, take immediate action and recover your Chinese evergreen before it’s too late.
Why is my Chinese evergreen dying?
There can be many reasons behind your Chinese evergreen dying. Let us check out all the possible reasons which can create troubles for the plant.
- Poor watering technique
- Inappropriate fertilization
- Improper lighting
- Poor drainage
- Wrong pot size
- Lack of humidity
- Pests infestations
- Fungal diseases
- Lack of pruning
Let’s now discuss each point in detail.
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Poor watering technique
A poor watering technique might be one of the main reasons your Chinese evergreen may not survive.
Incorrect watering can create the problem of either underwatering or overwatering. Both problems can induce severe damage to your Chinese evergreen, ultimately killing the plant.
If the soil remains dry for an extended period, the plant will not absorb the necessary water and nutrients to regulate photosynthesis, respiration, or transpiration.
Due to the absence of all these processes, the plant will face difficulty surviving as it will fail to function correctly.
Due to underwatering, you will get to see signs like yellowing of leaves.
Overwatering is more likely to happen as compared to underwatering. Chinese evergreen needs water once every week or 10 days during the growing period. And once every 2 weeks during winters.
If the Chinese evergreen is overwatered, it can cause various fungal diseases in the roots because of damp conditions. The roots will fail to breathe and suffocate inside the soil if this happens.
Due to damaged roots, the uptake of water and nutrients will not occur, reducing the growth of a plant, causing it to die. Droopy leaves are the common signs of overwatering.
Check your Chinese evergreen frequently and inspect whether your plant needs to be watered. If the situation has not deteriorated severely, you can recover the plant.
To solve overwatering, move your Chinese evergreen to a place where it will get enough indirect sunlight so that the soil dries quickly. If the situation has worsened, repot it in a new pot by adding fresh potting mix.
To solve underwatering:
- Water your Chinese evergreen thoroughly.
- Once it looks healthy again, resume the regular watering schedule.
- Don’t give too many gaps in between the waterings.
You can also add some compost to the soil to increase the moisture retention capacity.
Too much light or extremely low light will cause them to die. If your Chinese evergreen is not getting any light, this situation can reduce the growth and kill the plant.
On the other hand, if the Chinese evergreen is getting direct sunlight, the soil will dry up quickly, resulting in a dehydrated plant.
Chinese evergreens can survive even in low light conditions, but not if they receive too much light. Due to rapid moisture loss, the plant will face difficulties growing and can even die.
In case of too much light, move the Chinese evergreen to an area without direct sunlight. Water your Chinese evergreen frequently to keep it moisturized and healthy.
If your Chinese evergreen is not getting any light at all, try to provide it with indirect sunlight by relocating it near a bright window. Ensure the window is closed or covered with a shade-like curtain.
Improperly fertilizing your plant might kill your Chinese evergreen. Both overfertilization and under-fertilization can affect the health of Chinese evergreen.
Almost all plants need certain kinds of nutrients to stay healthy. If Chinese evergreen lacks the nutrients they need, they will fail to grow correctly, and after a particular time, the plant will die.
But make sure you don’t persistently fertilize them. Applying too much fertilizer can burn the healthy roots, which will make it difficult for Chinese evergreen to survive.
If you have over-fertilized your Chinese evergreen, remove the excess fertilizer from the soil by flushing it. Soak the soil in water until the excess water drains out from the soil.
Allow the water to flow for half an hour. You should repeat the process 2 to 3 times at least.
You can also repot Chinese evergreen in a whole new pot with fresh soil.
If you haven’t fertilized, you can add potting mix that contains perlite into the soil or apply a balanced liquid fertilizer. This plant needs to be fertilized during the growing season and not in winter.
If the soil drains too fast or slow, it becomes quite difficult for Chinese evergreen to survive. It happens because it creates a problem of both overwatering and underwatering, which we have already discussed before.
If the soil has a loose texture, the water will not remain in the soil and drain out fast without getting absorbed by the roots. The absence of water and nutrients will make the plant weak and eventually kill the plant.
On the other situation, if the soil has a heavy texture, the soil will remain wet for too long, which will cause a problem of waterlogging.
Due to this, the roots will get injured and stop functioning. This can also bring the death of your Chinese evergreen.
Another reason for poor drainage is the lack of drainage holes. Due to fewer holes in the pot, the problem of overwatering will arise, and your plant may die because of it.
If the soil is too loose, add clay or compost soil to improve the drainage. This will help the soil hold enough moisture for a longer period without letting it drain fast.
If the soil has a heavy texture, add manure compost, peat moss, and organic matter into the soil. This will somewhat loosen the soil and provide aeration among the roots. You can also add sandy soil for loosening the heavy texture.
If the problem is with the pot, replant your Chinese evergreen with a pot with suitable drainage holes.
Also read: Do all indoor plants need drainage?
Wrong pot size
If the container is small, it becomes difficult for Chinese evergreen to survive in it. Due to limited space, the roots suffocate and face difficulty in breathing.
Because of the tiny space, the plant becomes rootbound. It happens when the roots inside the soil grow in a mass.
If you notice the roots come out from the soil, it means that the size of the pot is wrong, and you should change it immediately.
You should always choose the correct sized pot to avoid repotting frequently.
Repot your Chinese evergreen into a new pot with enough growing space.
While repotting, cut all the excess and damaged roots and keep only those that are healthy. Gently loosen the roots and avoid trimming the healthy roots.
Make sure you don’t use the old soil and add the fresh one. You should repot the Chinese evergreen once every 2 to 3 years.
Chinese evergreen thrives in a humid atmosphere and requires around 60% and 70% humidity. If the humidity level goes below 50%, it will become too dry to survive.
If the atmosphere lacks humidity, the plant’s leaves will dry up and become unhealthy. The plant will start to get weak and die.
Humidity-loving plants predominantly experience low humidity during the winter months. When the winter arrives, the atmosphere becomes extremely dry and requires extra attention.
Try to maintain humidity inside your house to keep Chinese evergreen healthy.
There is a humidifier device, which you can use to maintain the correct humidity levels inside the house. You can also increase humidity by keeping other moisture-loving plants with Chinese evergreen.
Misting your plant can also boost humidity to some extent.
Various sap-sucking pests cause trouble for Chinese evergreens. When pests suck out the sap from the leaves, it reduces the water and nutrient level in the plant.
Common pests that attack Chinese evergreen are scales, mealybugs, aphids, and spider mites. All these pests cause severe injury to the plant if their attack is enormous.
The sap-sucking area gets severely infected by the pests, injuring the other healthy parts of the plant. The plant struggles to function properly as it becomes fragile and eventually dies.
You can get rid of pests by spraying the Chinese evergreen with a strong spray. You can add neem oil, insecticidal soap, or dish wash soap to water and make the spray.
Spraying your plant with a solution will kill all the pests, and they won’t come back later. Make sure you don’t injure the plant while spraying.
After spraying, you should remove the remaining pests present in the plant with wet cotton balls. Continue spraying till you notice that all the pests have been removed.
Fungal diseases mostly happen due to overwatering. When the plant sits in water for too long, they invite numerous pathogens and fungi infestations.
Because of those pathogens and fungi infestations, various diseases like root rot begin to develop, which can lead to the plant’s death.
Overwatering can cause root rot disease. Too many chemicals inside the soil because of over-fertilization can also cause injury to the roots.
If you notice that your Chinese evergreen growth is getting slower, it might be suffering from root rot. The soil also gets smelly, which makes the identification easier.
Root rot disease is quite difficult to recover if not caught on time, and it will result in the death of your plant.
The only way to recover root rot is by repotting Chinese evergreen into a new pot.
Take the Chinese evergreen out of the pot and remove all the infected roots by pruning them with a sterilized pruner and keeping only the healthy ones. As this process is quite sensitive, be careful while removing the roots. Don’t hurt the healthy roots.
After that, replant the Chinese evergreen in a new pot by using the old soil with a new one. The new pot should contain a sound drainage system to drain the excess water.
Avoid keeping your plant near a heater or radiator, as the humidity is less in those places.
Lack of pruning
If you’re not pruning your Chinese evergreen on time, it can cause issues. Due to lack of pruning, the injured and diseased leaves block a plant’s new growth, and after a certain point, it may die.
Because of pests, the leaves get infected, further infecting other healthy leaves, creating a problematic environment for Chinese evergreen to survive.
Pruning encourages new growth and helps the plant to remain healthy. Avoiding this will stunt the growth, and after some time, the growth stops.
As the growth stops, Chinese evergreen will face difficulty functioning correctly, causing them to die.
As soon as you see any infected leaves, prune them as soon as possible.
If you notice any leggy growth of Chinese evergreen, get rid of them.
Look after your plant regularly and check whether you should prune any parts of them or not.
- Water your Chinese evergreen only when the top layers of the soil feel dry; otherwise, don’t.
- If your Chinese evergreen lacks natural light, you can use artificial light.
- Fertilize the Chinese evergreen during their growing season and avoid fertilizing in the dormant period.
- Spray with the neem oil solution every month to keep the pests away.
- Keep the plant in an area where the air circulation is good.