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Why Is My Chinese Evergreen Turning Yellow – 4 Possible Reasons

Chinese evergreens (Aglaonema) are one of the easiest indoor plants to grow. They are renowned amongst plant enthusiasts for being tough and can make anybody look like a true green thumb.

Their speckled, variegated foliage can create a great focal point in your home. Because they grow in almost any location, you’re sure to be able to find a spot for them in your home as well. 

But why is my Chinese evergreen turning yellow? Sometimes, this is just a natural process and nothing to worry about, but other times, it is cause for concern.

Why Is My Chinese Evergreen Turning Yellow
Chinese Evergreen Turning Yellow via Reddit

Why Is My Chinese Evergreen Turning Yellow?

1. Soil moisture levels

Chinese evergreens need rich, free-draining soil to maintain good health and avoid leaf yellowing.  

Always use a good quality potting mix with lots of organic matter in your pots or container for the best start to your plant’s life.

You should also regularly repot your Chinese evergreen to prevent them from becoming root-bound. 

A pot that has plenty of room for new roots to grow well and is made up of quality soil will allow moisture to move freely. This will mean that the moisture is readily available to your plant’s roots and is also able to drain away when needed. 

When it comes to moisture, Chinese evergreens need to be watered regularly. A good rule of thumb is that the top layer of your soil should always be dry before it needs to have another soak. 

On the other hand, and most importantly, make sure the soil in your pot never becomes too wet or stays water-logged for longer than a day. 

Good draining soil and watering at the right frequency will help stop waterlogging. It is also a good idea to remove any plates or saucers beneath your pots so that they can fully drain, instead of letting the plant sit in water. 

Why Is My Chinese Evergreen Turning Yellow 2
Why are some leaves on my Chinese evergreen are turning yellow – via Reddit

3. Too much direct sun

Chinese evergreens prefer low to medium indirect light. Dappled sunlight through an open window is ok as well. 

You can confidently sit them in a dark corner, and they will be relatively happy. 

Why is my Chinese evergreen turning yellow then? Extended exposure to direct sunlight is something that Chinese evergreens won’t tolerate. This is especially so during summer.

Direct sun on your Chinese evergreen for too long can cause sunburn damage, which will cause your plant’s leaves to yellow off rapidly.

Sunburn on leaves will look like yellow or white spots or patches. It usually happens suddenly and will coincide with hot days. 

4. Humidity levels

Chinese evergreens have evolved in tropical conditions, and they do not do well in low-humidity and low-temperature environments.

Leaves will begin to brown at the tips and become yellow if the plants are left in these conditions for too long. 

Humidity levels in your home are most often influenced by your local weather conditions but can be affected when you use air-conditioners, heaters, or fires as well. 

These appliances dry out the air and lower the humidity, so you’ll need to artificially increase the humidity around your Chinese evergreen plant to counteract them.

You can increase humidity by adding things like ‘pebble trays’ or small humidifiers, and by regularly misting the leaves of your plants with a spray bottle.

Fanximan Mini Battery Powered Cordless Humidifier
Fanximan Mini Battery Powered Cordless Humidifier – via

You can also move your plants to a part of your home where the air is more humid, like your bathroom, kitchen, or laundry. 

5. A Natural Process

A regular part of all plant’s life cycles is the die-back of older leaves and stems. New growth comes off as old-growth dies.  

These leaves will change color and eventually fall off the plant harmlessly. 

Why is my Chinese evergreen turning yellow? Is it natural or is it being caused by something else?
You can tell the difference between normal yellowing and causes for concern by where and when it happens.

Natural yellowing will only occur on older growth and happens regularly and evenly across the plant, generally at the same time each year. 

Yellowing which is not happening as part of the plant’s normal life cycle happens suddenly and in specific parts of the plant, or across the entire plant, even on new growth. 

To wrap up

Chinese evergreens are really tough indoor plants that make even the brownest thumb look green.

There are a few things which they don’t like though that can present as yellowing leaves. 

So, why is my Chinese evergreen turning yellow? Have a look over your plant and look for the following. 

  • Check the moisture levels in your pot. Soil that is too dry will stress your plant. Soil that is too wet can start causing issues with root rot and poor oxygen uptake.
  • Have a look at where your plant is in your house. Plants near air conditioners or heaters may suffer from low humidity, and you will need to increase the moisture levels in the air around them.
  • Plants sitting in direct sunlight may be getting too much light and may experience sunburnt leaves. Move your plant to a location where it’s not sitting in the hot sun. 
  • Look at which leaves on your Chinese evergreen are turning yellow. If it’s the older leaves, then it’s probably nothing to worry about and is just normal yellowing. If it’s happening on the newer leaves though, you’ll need to check for other causes. 

If you do happen to get yellowing of your Chinese evergreen leaves, unfortunately, there’s no turning back for them.

You’ll need to prune your plant to remove all these leaves and to encourage new growth.

Pruning is always a good time to repot and fertilize your potted plants too, so they can begin their recovery in the best conditions possible.

What about you? Any thoughts on these? 

Let us know if you have any other causes for yellowing leaves in Chinese evergreens.