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

Chinese Evergreen is a beginner-friendly houseplant that is extremely forgiving and can tolerate different conditions. If you are thinking of getting one or already have one, it would be best to learn about the Chinese Evergreen’s light requirements.

So, in this article, we shall discuss all about how much light does a Chinese evergreen needs.

Chinese evergreen grows well when kept in low to medium intensity indirect light for at least 8-10 hours a day. However, you must keep them away from direct sunlight to prevent sunburn. Also, some variegated varieties of Chinese evergreen will need brighter light to thrive.

You can grow some species of Chinese Evergreen that don’t get enough natural light as these plants can do well even in artificial lights.

Now let’s understand all the factors related to Chinese Evergreen’s light requirements in this article.

Chinese evergreen low light

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Importance of good lighting for Chinese Evergreen

Although many Chinese Evergreen species can be called low-light plants as they not just tolerate but do well in low light conditions, they still require enough light to survive.

All plants require light; otherwise, they will not photosynthesize or function properly. So, don’t think your Chinese Evergreen will not require any light at all.

Chinese Evergreen or Aglaonema comes from the tropical regions of New Guinea and Asia. In these areas, Chinese Evergreen plants got enough sunlight for photosynthesis.

Photosynthesis is how all plants produce their food, and it is no different for Chinese Evergreens. By low-light, we don’t mean that the plant will not require any light at all.

If your Chinese Evergreen doesn’t get enough light, it will tell you by turning its bottom leaves yellow. 

A plant placed in bright indirect light will do better than one in low light. Keep it in mind before deciding where to place your Chinese Evergreen.

What kind of light does Chinese Evergreen need?

Chinese Evergreen, like most houseplants, needs indirect bright light. If you don’t have enough natural light, you can grow your Chinese Evergreen with the help of artificial lights.

Since Chinese Evergreen plants do well with fluorescent light, you can keep them in your office area without enough natural light.

Always keep an eye on your Chinese Evergreen to see how it’s reacting to the light it is getting. If the plant doesn’t get enough light, you’ll need to move it to a brighter spot.

However, never keep your Chinese Evergreen under direct sunlight. These plants can’t tolerate direct sunlight, which will scorch the leaves and cause sunburn.


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What is the difference between direct and indirect sunlight?

I understand that you might be a novice indoor plant gardener, so you might not understand the difference between direct and indirect sunlight. I am here to help.

If your Chinese Evergreen plant is close to a window with no curtains and gets bright sunlight, it is probably getting direct sunlight.

Along with this, check the shadow of the plant. If you notice a strong and clear shadow, you can be sure that the plant is exposed to direct sunlight.

On the other hand, if the Chinese Evergreen plant is placed a few feet away from the window, it should be getting indirect sunlight. Windows with curtains or blinds also provide indirect sunlight.

If your Chinese Evergreen gets indirect sunlight, the shadow will be softer.

This is how you distinguish between direct and indirect sunlight. You can even place your hand between the plant and the light to understand the difference.

In the case of direct sunlight, you’ll feel the heat in your hands. But if the light is indirect, the heat will not feel intense.

Does Chinese Evergreen need sunlight?

Chinese Evergreen requires bright indirect light for best growth, but it might also do well in low light conditions.

You need to experiment with your Chinese Evergreen to understand where it is doing best. It can even survive with little sunlight or artificial light.

What it does not need is direct sunlight.

Where do you place Chinese evergreens?

You can keep your Chinese Evergreen plant in any area with enough indirect sunlight. If enough natural light is available, I recommend keeping the plant in a bright spot.

If you don’t have enough natural light, use artificial lights. Even fluorescent light will work well for these plants.

Therefore, you can place your Chinese Evergreen in a shady part of the garden or balcony if you want to keep it outside the house.

Inside the house, place your Chinese Evergreen near a window that gets enough indirect sunlight but make sure that curtains filter the light. You can keep it a few feet away from the window if there are no curtains.

I recommend keeping the variegated Chinese Evergreen near bright windows, but if you want one for your office space or any area that has artificial light mostly, get one with greener leaves.

What happens if your Chinese Evergreen gets direct sunlight?

Houseplants, including Chinese Evergreens, are intolerant to direct sunlight. They can do well under indirect sunlight but can’t tolerate direct sunlight.

If your Chinese Evergreen has been exposed to direct sunlight, you’ll notice these issues:

  • Crispy foliage: Direct sunlight dehydrates the plant and leaves, leading to a crisp texture.
  • Brown spots on leaves: When direct sunlight hits the leaves, it burns them, due to which the healthy green parts turn brown.
  • Curling leaves: Since direct sunlight dehydrates the leaves, they curl to stop the remaining water from evaporating.
  • Dry soil: Direct sunlight can also affect the soil by making it bone dry as the water tends to dry faster when exposed to the heat of direct sunlight.
  • Stress: Dehydration and sunburn cause severe stress to your Chinese Evergreen plant.

You will notice that the upper leaves are mostly affected while the lower leaves are healthy. It would be best to prune these leaves or pull these out if possible.

After that, you must move your Chinese Evergreen to a different spot where it will not get exposed to direct sunlight but will only get indirect light.



What happens if your Chinese Evergreen gets low light?

Although Chinese Evergreen is popular as a low-light plant, it doesn’t mean it will not require any light at all.

If the Chinese Evergreen doesn’t get enough light, you will notice these problems.

  • Yellow leaves: If your Chinese Evergreen doesn’t get enough light, the lower leaves will start turning yellow.
  • Leggy plant: Without enough light, the plant will fail to produce enough energy, so they will have unhealthy growth where the stems grow long and slim with very few leaves on them.
  • White leaves: A prolonged low light period can make the leaves turn white and pale.
  • Stunted growth: Low light indicates low energy. Without sufficient energy, you’ll not notice enough growth in your Chinese Evergreen plants. 
  • Leaning: Plants that don’t get enough light start to search for a light source. The stems start leaning towards the light source.
  • Root rot: If Chinese Evergreen doesn’t get enough light, the soil will take longer to dry, and if you water the plant without checking the moisture, the plant will get overwatered and develop deadly root rot.
  • Weak plant: All the problems caused due to low light make your Chinese Evergreen unhealthy and weak.

Without enough light, your Chinese Evergreen will not do well as it will not have enough energy for photosynthesis and other functions.

The soil will remain soggy for longer, and the plant might undergo root rot that can weaken the roots and the plant.

How to provide sufficient light to Chinese Evergreen?

You can follow these to ensure that the Chinese Evergreen plant gets enough light.

  • Place your Chinese Evergreen near a south-facing window that gets the most sunlight all through the window.
  • Use curtains to filter the direct sunlight to avoid sunburns on your Chinese Evergreen plant.
  • If there are no curtains, move your Chinese Evergreen away from the window. Place it at least some feet away from the window.
  • If you want to take your Chinese Evergreen plant outside, keep it in a shady area but not entirely shady as that would provide too low light.
  • Don’t expose the plant to direct sunlight under any condition.
  • If you notice yellow or white leaves, move your Chinese Evergreen to a brighter location as these are signs of low light.
  • If you are using artificial lights, use a timer to ensure that the plant gets enough light and darkness.

Final words

Chinese Evergreen is a beautiful easy to grow houseplant that thrives in bright indirect light and does well in low light. It requires 10-12 hours of light to remain happy.

You must beware of direct sunlight and not keep your Chinese Evergreen under direct sunlight, and you should also not keep it in complete shade or darkness.

Keep an eye on the plant so you know if it receives too much or too little light, and fix the problem by changing its location when required.

If you notice discolored leaves, prune those or wait for them to die and you can pull them out and discard them. Use artificial lights for your Chinese Evergreen if you don’t have enough natural light in your house.


Reference: Wikipedia, Nasa clean air study, Missouri Botanical Garden, The University of Kansas, NC State University.