Chinese Evergreen Yellow Leaves: 8 Most Common Reasons

Chinese evergreen plants are one of the ornamental plants that are on the favorite list of many people around the world. This plant is easy to grow, easy to care for, and can adapt to many different living environments. Chinese evergreen plants are also resistant to many pests and blight diseases.

However, Chinese evergreen yellow leaves are also one of the most common problems you will encounter when growing this plant. There are many reasons why the leaves of Chinese evergreen plants turn yellow all at once. To learn detailed causes and solutions, please follow the article below.

Yellow Leaves On Chinese Evergreen: Top 8 Basic Causes

The leaves of Chinese evergreen plants turning yellow are related to many problems such as improper temperature, over or under-watering, and humidity too high or too low. In addition, some other causes include inappropriate lighting, lack of nutrition, pests, or leaf diseases. In addition, excessive stress due to transplanting or sudden changes in habitat also causes the leaves of plants to turn yellow all at once. Below are specific causes related to this problem.

Inappropriate Temperature

The most common reason why the leaves of Chinese evergreen plants turn yellow is due to improper temperatures. This plant is native to tropical forests in Asia, so it prefers warm temperatures. When the temperature drops too low, Chinese evergreen plants will be overly stressed and the leaves are the first to react to this stress. Therefore, the leaves will turn yellow all at once. The ideal temperature range for this plant is between 65 and 75°F. If the temperature drops below 55°F, the plant’s metabolic activities will be severely affected and lead to changes in leaf color.

How to prevent

  • Maintain the ideal temperature for Chinese evergreen plants by placing them in a warm place.
  • Avoid placing potted plants in areas with hot or cold winds.
  • You should not place potted plants in hallways, near windows, or ventilation holes because cold wind will also cause excessive stress to the plant’s leaves.
Chinese evergreen yellow leaves

Watering Too Much Or Too Little

Lack of water is also the reason why the leaves of Chinese evergreen plants turn yellow. This condition often occurs in the summer with high temperatures. When temperatures are high and water is lacking, plant leaves will stop photosynthetic or metabolic activities due to insufficient energy. Therefore, they will dry, curl up, and turn yellow because the cells have been destroyed.

In addition, overwatering will also cause the leaves of plants to turn yellow. Waterlogging or root rot and leaf rot diseases will also appear if excess water cannot escape from the pot. Waterlogging causes brown or yellow spots to appear on plant leaves.

How to prevent

  • Check the soil before watering, only water when the soil is about 2-3 inches dry.
  • When you notice the leaves showing signs of drying and curling, you need to water them continuously until the plants have regained their vitality.
  • Do not water when the ground is sticky and the leaves are drooping around the pot.
  • Do not water the leaves to avoid moisture and create favorable conditions for fungi to grow.
  • You should let the soil dry slightly between waterings to avoid excessive wetness, which can lead to waterlogging.

Inappropriate Humidity

Chinese evergreen plants originate from tropical forests, so they prefer a humid environment to grow healthily. The ideal humidity range for this plant to grow best is from 60 to 70%. Therefore, if the humidity is too low, plants will have difficulty in metabolism and prevent the growth of cells. Leaves will discolor, droop, or develop brown spots. If the humidity is too low for a long time, Chinese evergreen plants will grow stunted and gradually die.

How to prevent

  • Maintain ideal humidity by using a humidifier. You can use a small humidifier to maintain the ideal humidity for a space instead of changing the humidity of a large area.
  • Place the potted plant next to a mini fish tank, pebble tray, or water tray to take advantage of the moisture rising from the water and maintain humidity.
  • Use a mini greenhouse to create the most ideal living environment for plants.
  • Group potted plants next to each other to take advantage of respiration and maintain humidity.

Too Much Or Too Little Sunlight

Sunlight is an indispensable element for plant growth. Too much or too little sunlight will seriously affect plant growth. The leaves of Chinese evergreen plants will turn yellow if they lack sunlight. This plant will grow best if it receives indirect sun or partial shade.

However, living in complete shade will cause this plant to grow stunted and be susceptible to pest attacks. Besides, lack of sunlight will affect the photosynthesis process of leaves, so the leaves will turn yellow all at once. Besides, the leaves of Chinese evergreen plants also turn yellow if they receive too much sunlight. Continuous high-intensity sunlight will burn the leaves and form yellow or brown patches on the leaves.

How to prevent

  • Place the potted plant in an area that gets warm sunlight in the morning and shade in the afternoon.
  • You should pot the plant about 1 meter away from the window facing east or southeast to absorb indirect sunlight from the sun.
  • Do not place the potted plant in direct sunlight for many hours or in an area that lacks sunlight completely during the day.
Chinese evergreen yellow leaves 1

Fertilizing With Inappropriate Dosage

Any plant species needs nutrients to grow best. Therefore, fertilization is an indispensable job in the process of planting and caring for plants. However, fertilizer content and dosage also affect plant health issues. Fertilizing too little or too much will cause the plant to become unduly stressed.

Chinese evergreen plants prefer rich, well-drained, and loose soil. Leaves of plants with yellow spots can also be related to nutrient deficiency. When plants cannot absorb enough nutrients, leaves will not have enough energy for photosynthesis, metabolism, and maintenance of health. Some signs of nutritional deficiency in Chinese evergreen plants are yellow leaves, lack of new leaves, and stunted growth.

To help this plant grow best, you only need to fertilize twice a year in spring and summer (Growing season). Therefore, over-fertilizing will also cause excessive stress to plants. Some symptoms of too much fertilization include yellow leaves, brown spots appearing, and leaf tips becoming brown and brittle. Although fertilizers are effective in providing nutrients to plants, they contain chemicals. Therefore, too much fertilization will cause serious damage to plants, especially the leaves and tops of plants.

How to prevent

  • Fertilize plants twice a year during the growing season (Spring and Summer).
  • Use liquid fertilizers to avoid leaf burn due to excessive dosage.
  • Always mix medication according to the manufacturer’s recommended ratio printed on the product packaging.
  • Do not over-fertilize to avoid leaf burn and excessive plant stress.
  • Use organic fertilizers to protect the environment and save costs.

Excessive Stress Due To Transplant Or Sudden Change In Living Environment

Leaves of Chinese evergreen plants turning yellow can also result from transplants or sudden changes in habitat. Any plant species has an ideal environment to survive. If you change your living environment suddenly and the plants have not had time to adapt to that environment, they will have symptoms such as yellow leaves, leaf loss, or wilting. Sudden, improper, and continuous repotting will also cause undue stress to the plant. Leaves will be the first to signal this stress.

Therefore, you should only change pot 2-3 times a year if the plant is growing quickly or the roots are above the ground. You should not re-pot plants frequently because the plant’s root system needs time to attach to the soil and absorb nutrients. In addition, constantly changing positions also affect the health of plants. You should not move potted plants from indoors to the yard or place them in a place with frequent hot or cold winds. All sudden changes in the environment cause the leaves of Chinese evergreen plants to change color.

How to prevent

  • You should only repot when the plant is growing rapidly, the roots are above the ground, the pot is too small, or there are fungal diseases and root rot.
  • Place the potted plant in its new environment for a few hours each day to give the plant time to acclimate.
  • Do not prune too many leaves or branches at the same time to transplant to avoid damaging the plant.

Pests And Leaf Diseases

Pests, insects, fungi, or bacteria that cause leaf blight are all causes of leaf discoloration. Among them, fungal diseases and powdery mildew are the most common diseases in Chinese evergreen plants. Fungal bacteria cause root rot and leaf rot in plants. A humid environment will create favorable conditions for fungi to grow and cause disease.

Insects such as mealybugs and spider mites also attack plants, sucking sap and causing their leaves to turn yellow or brown. When the leaves of plants lose their sap and insect toxins, they gradually die and wilt. All leaves will turn yellow or brown and fall all at once when the stem is no longer alive.

How to prevent

  • Regularly clean both sides of the leaves to remove white patches or insect eggs.
  • Use insecticidal soap or specialized medicine to prevent and treat fungi.
  • Use neem oil as a natural pesticide to prevent insect and fungal diseases.
  • Keep the potted plant in a warm and dry area, and avoid watering the leaves to create a moist environment for fungus to grow.

Leaves Age According To Natural Cycle

Chinese evergreen plants are capable of living for more than 10 years if living conditions are ideal. They grow quite slowly and can last longer if carefully cared for. However, when plants are old and do not have enough energy to continue living, their leaves will turn yellow all at once. If you find new leaves still growing, the plant will continue to grow in a new cycle.

How to prevent

  • You cannot revive leaves that are old and dead. The only thing you need to do is provide the ideal environment for the best new leaves to grow.
  • Be patient and wait for the yellow leaves to fall so the plant can begin its next life cycle.

Should I Cut Yellow Leaves Off Chinese Evergreen?

You can prune yellow leaves, but it’s not necessary to completely remove them in one go. For old leaves that turn yellow, you can prune them or they will fall off on their own without affecting the health of the plant.

However, for leaves with yellow or brown spots, you should not prune too many leaves at once. Too much pruning will create open wounds that allow the sap to flow out or bacteria and insects to attack. Use tools such as scissors or pruners that have been sterilized. After that, you can use specialized drugs to protect open wounds and increase the plant’s ability to recover.


Chinese evergreen plants are plants with healthy leaves and good watering. Their beauty is their leaves with unique veins. Therefore, when leaves turn yellow, it is a serious sign of health problems. Some of the main reasons why the leaves of Chinese evergreen plants turn yellow include improper watering, lack or excess of light, incorrect fertilization time and dosage, too low humidity, stress due to environmental changes longevity, or old leaves.

Chinese evergreen plants originate from tropical forests, so you should place them in an area that gets warm sunlight in the morning and shade in the afternoon. Water when the top 2-3 inches of the soil is dry and let the soil dry between waterings. Maintain an ideal humidity level of 60 to 70% and fertilize at the correct dosage to avoid causing undue stress.

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