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Can Chinese Evergreen Get Too Much Sun? (Aglaonema Got Sunburn)

Chinese evergreens or Aglaonema is a lovely indoor plant that can thrive in almost every condition with minimal care. Aglaonema is valued chiefly for its lush foliage, and no wonder it is heartbreaking to find sunburn on them.

So, in this article we shall learn, Can Chinese evergreen get too much sun? And How to fix a sunburned Chinese evergreen.

In general, Chinese evergreen thrives under bright indirect lighting conditions, but too much sun or direct sun can lead to droopy leaves and sunburn. To fix the problem of sun damage in Chinese evergreen, move the plant to a shadier spot and increase the humidity around the plant.

If you plan to grow Aglaonema, you must get a fair idea about its light requirements, and that is precisely what we have covered in this article. Let’s find out how much sun is too much sun for the Chinese evergreen.

Chinese Evergreen Brown leaves

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Does Aglaonema need light?

Chinese evergreens need medium light conditions or indirect sunlight.

The dark leaf varieties of Aglaonema can tolerate low light or even low light exposure. In contrast, the red and others with bright variegation on the foliage require medium to more light exposure.

No matter what species you have picked for the house, this plant species should never be placed in direct sunlight as it will burn in no time with irreversible damage.

Can Chinese evergreen get too much sun?

Sunburn is caused chiefly by exposure of the plant to intense solar radiation and high temperature.

This kind of damage generally occurs when plants acclimated to lower light intensities are suddenly exposed to much higher intensity direct sunlight.

With a preference for low to moderate light exposure to indirect sunlight, Chinese evergreen typically gets affected when subjected to direct sunlight.

Also read: How Much Light Does A Chinese Evergreen Need? (Light Requirements)

Effect of sunburn on a Chinese evergreen

Chinese evergreen sunburn

Your Chinese evergreen may experience several damages when exposed to direct sunlight for an extended period. Here are some common signs hinting at the typical sunburn in your Aglaonema.

Curling leaves

Chinese evergreens are low-light tolerant. An extended period of high-intensity light exposure or continuous, direct sunlight can scorch the leaves, causing them to curl.

It happens primarily due to increased temperatures that enhance the transpiration rate. As a result, the leaves lose extra water, become dry, curled, and crumpled.

It can also be a strategy taken by the plant to protect itself against sunburn.

Also read: Why Are My Chinese Evergreen Leaves Curling? (Causes+How To Fix)

Drooping plant

Chinese evergreen species grow faster in bright indirect light. Incorrect illumination and intensified light exposure draw out water from the plant. 

As a result, the plant experiences a remarkable decrease in turgor pressure and the plant droops.

Also read: Why Is My Chinese Evergreen Drooping? (Possible Problem+Fix)

Browning of leaf margins

Direct sunlight affects the living cells adversely, and the foliage starts to dry up from the edges of the leaf blades. It starts by browning the leaf margins that slowly spread towards the inner area.

Yellowing or darkening of the leaves

As the foliage starts to dry, areas between the central veins appear yellow or dark due to the death of living cells in those zones.

Also read: Why Is My Chinese Evergreen Turning Brown? (Possible Problems+Fix)

Brittle leaves

Due to intensified light, direct exposure to sunlight, and extreme water need, dried-out leaves become fragile. These brittle leaves wither away easily.

How do you save a sunburned Chinese evergreen?

Chinese Evergreen in bright light 2

Once you identify the possible signs of sunburn in your Chinese evergreen, the next step is to try out the possible ways of reviving your plant from that state.

Here are some basic remedies that you can try out.

Move the plant to a shadier space: You can’t skip this step as this is the most obvious action to move the plant to a shadier space where it is away from the direct sun but gets sufficient diffused light.

Reduce watering: Cut off the watering frequency if your Chinese evergreen has lost many leaves due to sunburn. It doesn’t need as much water as it required before.

Water the plant slowly until you see water coming out from drainage holes. Once you see new leaves appearing on your sunburn plant, increase the watering frequency to meet the growing water needs.

Fertilization: Sunburnt plants already experience a lot of stress. Putting an extra nutrient load on the already damaged plant can never be a reasonable solution.

Avoid fertilizing the plant if it loses leaves due to sunburn.

Removing damaged leaves: Pruning or clipping off dead leaves is generally not needed as sunburned dried-out leaves eventually fall off on their own.

However, you can remove the leaves with more than 50% damage to make the plant more presentable.

You can even hang blinds or cardboard to reduce reflective heat if your Chinese evergreen is damaged due to direct sun and high-temperature stress.

How to prevent sunburn on the Chinese evergreen?

Chinese Evergreen placement ideas

Prevention is always better than cure. Why get into trouble when you can easily manage a healthy atmosphere for your Chinese evergreen. Let’s talk about it.

Here’s how to protect your Aglaonema from sun damage.

Cover the plant: Covering your Chinese evergreen at outdoor spots is one of the best ways to avoid sunburn. You can use sheets, towels, beach umbrellas, or a cloth to serve this purpose.

Just make sure that there is no direct wind to dislodge the installed shade-creating object.

Proper plant placement: Never place your Chinese evergreen on an open windowsill that gets direct sunlight. Try to keep a few inch distance. To serve the indoor purpose, you can even use fluorescent light sources.

Hindering direct sun rays: If you want to keep your Chinese evergreen on a window sill without affecting it by sunburn, try to install objects like semi-transparent curtains or frosted glass to prevent high-intensity light from hitting the plant directly.

New growths are more vulnerable to excess light and heat. To prevent the new growths from such damage, you can apply the anti-transpirant spray.

Misting the Chinese evergreen can help prevent sunburn, especially during the summer months. Misting the plants will eventually reduce the transpiration rate, keeping them safe from drying out.

When we talk about the effect of excess sunlight on Chinese evergreen, it is also necessary to know the consequences of insufficient light in this species.

In most instances, indoor plants require comparatively more lights than trees or plants. When such indoor species fail to reach their needs, they die easily.

Depending on the species, light requirements vary in Chinese evergreens.

For instance, Japanese Maple or Chinese Elm thrive well in indoor environments with proper sunlight, whereas white-flowered Aglaonema requires full sun during summer for optimum growth.

Red leafed Chinese evergreen grows fully under fluorescent light.

How to meet the light requirements of Chinese evergreen?

Chinese Evergreen Misting
  • Grow your Chinese evergreen in a sunny or partial sunny room but never in a downright shady zone. 
  • Check for white-colored leaves on your Chinese evergreen. If you see any such growth, it indicates that your plant is not getting adequate light. In that case, move your plant to a brighter spot.
  • Move your Chinese evergreen away from windows from time to time to prevent excessive exposure to light and heat.
  • You can opt for an automatic timer to set the exact amount of time your plants need soaking light.

Final words

In general, Chinese evergreens thrive lavishly in cool lighting. If you use artificial light sources, try to purchase energy-efficient lights that do not produce much heat.

Excess heat from the direct sun can easily kill your plant. Be extra careful with fluorescent lights as it can sometimes be too much for your needs.

In terms of heat, these species prefer room temperature slightly warmer than the outside climate. But the direct sunlight raises the temperature that adds to the sunburn and dehydrates your Chinese evergreen.

The best you can do for your Chinese evergreen is to keep it away from the direct sunlight so that you don’t have to see sunburns on it in the first place.

4 Effects Of Sunburn on a Chinese evergreen You Must Know


While dealing with sunburn Chinese evergreen, people often get confused with so many thoughts. Here we have cleared a few of those confusion-creating issues.

Can a Chinese evergreen come back from sunburn?

This entirely depends on the degree of damage. Unfortunately, leaves damaged by sunburn do not revive. It is best to clip them off.

If the damage is less, the plant will survive and regrow. But if the damage has spread above 50%, the plant is less likely to survive.

How do you know if your Aglaonema is getting sufficient light?

The leaves are the actual spot to understand if your plant is getting sufficient light or not. If the leaves begin to dry, yellow or brown, your plant is probably getting too much heat, light, and not enough water.

Excess light can cause wilting among these species. And fixing this problem is not a challenging task. We have already discussed it earlier.

Aglaonema species need little care for adequate light exposure. Failing to understand their light requirement will result in an unhealthy, drooping plant.

The best possible way is to place these plants in some shady outdoor spot or an indoor window pane. Without proper sunlight, your plant will not do well.

You can trim the ends of the lower branches. This will allow proper air circulation and sunlight for the healthy growth of the plant.

Reference: WikipediaNasa clean air study, Missouri Botanical Garden, The University of KansasNC State University.

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