Why Do Chinese Evergreen Leaves Turn Yellow? (How to Fix)

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Chinese Evergreen is a very popular household plant, for its attractive foliage and also because it is known to improve air quality, by removing toxins from your home or office air.

When its leaves go yellow, this is sometimes a result of overwatering. Read on to read about the best care for your Chinese Evergreen plant.

Reasons why your Chinese Evergreen plant leaves are yellow

  1. Bad drainage or dry air. If leaves are dropping, curling, and yellow, the air may be too dry?
  2. Crispy, shriveled yellow leaves may mean that the air is too dry for this plant. Grow Chinese Evergreen in a shallow pot and give it warm and moist air. Mist the leaves more in winter to avoid yellow leaves.
  3. Mealybugs may be lurking, so check the underside of leaves.
  4. It may be time to re-pot your plant. Check when and how to do this below.

Also check: Snake Plant Leaves Turning Yellow

What do you do when Chinese Evergreen leaves turn yellow?

When your Chinese Evergreen plant is healthy and thriving, it has long, pointed, glossy, green leaves which are almost waxy in appearance.

Some have variegated leaves with white or yellow patterns and their leaf shape is elongated with long green stems.  It is famous for being able to tolerate low light conditions, even fluorescent lighting.

Therefore, if its leaves turn yellow, you may need to alter its watering system, lighting conditions, and perhaps its soil.

For crispy, yellowing leaves; check the following list.

  1. Your Chinese Evergreen plant may be underwatered. Check the season! Although this plant needs a lot less water in winter, when you should reduce the water from November to February, these symptoms suggest that you need to water your plant a bit more. Try extra water from March to October and see if it recovers.
  2. Possibly your Chinese Evergreen plant is in a drafty location. These plants need a minimum temperature and they also like the air to be moist. So check the location which may be the answer to the discolored leaves. Is your plant in a cold, drafty area? Move it into a location with a steady temperature.
  3. Moisture. Chinese Evergreen loves its leaves to be moist, so mist them regularly.
  4. Bugs. Mealybugs love this plant and if you spot them on the underside of the leaves, make a mixture of dish soap and water and apply this with a sponge or soft cloth to remove them. Keep your eye out for a recurrence!  It is also possible that Red Spider Mite is attacking this plant so check carefully for any unwanted bugs and clean them off with a soapy mixture and a cloth.

For leaves with yellowing and browning at the edges:

Your plant may be in a place where the air is simply too dry. This coupled with overwatering could lead to root rot. Read on to fix this.


Why are my Chinese Evergreen leaves turning brown?

Usually, brown leaves indicate overwatering.

So, it may be best to re-pot your plant if the leaves are really brown. If in addition to the yellow leaves, you can see yellowing or browning stalks, then your plant may have root rot.

It may mean that because there is too much moisture in the pot, root rot is set in. If your plant is wilting along with brown leaves, this often happens because too much water in the soil does not permit the plant to gain essential nutrients from the soil. Read on to fix this.

More: How to Revive Bamboo Leaves Turning Yellow?

How do I fix an overwatered Chinese evergreen?

  1. To check if root rot has set in, first carefully remove the plant from its pot. Check the color and texture of its roots. If the roots are brown, this may be root rot.
  2. Next, hold the plant carefully under water and wash the roots well.
  3. After this, you will need to become a surgeon and remove any parts of the root that smell bad and look brown, not healthy white. Use sharp secateurs and ensure you wipe down the blades after each cut, to avoid spreading the disease to healthy roots.
  4. Finally, select a well-draining soil and allow the roots to dry out before you replace them in the new pot. Water sparingly from November to March but other times of the year, water well. As long as there is good drainage, the excess will drain away.
  5. The temperature needs to be a minimum of 60 degrees Fahrenheit in winter.
  6. Watch your plant very carefully for the next few months. Fingers crossed.

Is there a reason for curling leaves on my Chinese evergreen plant?

A Chinese Evergreen plant with curling leaves means that your plant is probably located in a draft and that the temperature could be a bit too low for it.Chinese Evergreens need a minimum temperature range between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

They will tolerate lower than this but they really enjoy moist, warm conditions so to get the best from it, give it some warmth.

If your Chinese Evergreen has curling leaves, you can surround the pot with some damp peat, mist the leaves regularly and ensure no drafts are making the temperature fluctuate.

Curling leaves could also be a sign that some nutrients are not present and therefore your Chinese Evergreen plant needs to be re-potted. Ensure that the soil is good for drainage. You can include sand and perlite to potting compost to ensure this. Re-pot your plant every 3 years at a minimum.

More: Why is My Cactus Turning Yellow? (8 Things to Check)

Should I cut yellow leaves off Chinese evergreen?

Yes, you can cut off yellow leaves but prune very carefully.

If you prune from the growing center of the plant, the crown, you can kill your plant completely! Learn how to do it properly in the FAQs below.


How often should I prune my Chinese Evergreen plant?

Pruning. This is not something to do regularly.

You may need to prune off any dead leaves, and that is fine. Start your pruning from as low down as possible, ensuring that you do not prune from the growing center of your plant. Stick to the outside edges of the plant and watch for flowers.

After flowering. When the Chinese Evergreen plants flowers, it is normally early in the year, in springtime to early summer. Your Chinese Evergreen plant puts a lot of energy into flowering and the blooms are striking and white, encased in a creamy white petal somewhat like the Peace Lily.

I find these spectacular, whereas other gardeners tell me they are nothing special so it all depends on your own personal taste. Once the plant has flowered, it will now try to produce seeds, which again can cause stress.

If you are feeling adventurous, you could try to save the seeds to try growing new plants from seed. If you prefer to keep your existing plant healthy, then do prune the flower shortly after the seed tries to form.


Be careful with Chinese Evergreen plants! They are toxic to children, their parents, and pets.

Make sure no little curious mouths feed off these.

Propagate new plants from seeds formed from the flower or dig up little plants which form in the soil in the pot. First and foremost, check if they have roots and then pot them on. The best time to do this is in summer.

Mike Smith

I love Gardening and this is my site. Here you will find some really useful plant-related tips and tricks.