Why is my Chinese Evergreen dying?

Last Updated: October 4, 2022

Often known as one of the hardier houseplant types, the Chinese Evergreen is by no means immune to the same issues that we commonly face as plant parents. There are several different causes that can each cause your Chinese Evergreen to start dying, some more worrying than others.

Whilst some changes in care or environment can have a very fast negative impact on your plant’s health, others build up over time and could have been going on for a while before you can spot any issues on your plant. 

This is why it’s crucial that you make a fast but proper diagnosis as to why your Chinese Evergreen is dying. Below we will go through each of the most common reasons as well as detailing how to treat the problem effectively and prevent it from happening again in future. 

A dying Chinese Evergreen can suggest overwatering

Overwatering a real concern when it comes to any plant as it is one of the quickest killers and might be why your plant is dying. There are several factors that can lead to there being too much water in the soil, for example too frequent or deep watering, a lack of drainage or a pot that’s too big for your plant.

Any of these factors can lead to waterlogged soil which means the roots will start to rot and your plant will begin dying. It can lead to yellow or brown leaves, soft leaves and stems, a drooping plant or leaves falling off your plant. 

If you think you may have overwatered your plant then you must inspect the soil first before making any changes to your watering routine. You want to make sure that this is definitely the problem as the same symptoms can occur for various reasons.

Carefully take your plant out of the pot and inspect the roots and soil. If the potting mix is soggy and clumpy then it is most likely overwatering that is causing your Chinese Evergreen to die. Rotten roots will also be soft to touch and can be black/dark brown in appearance. 

To solve the issue and revive your dying Chinese Evergreen remove and replace all of the potting mix and trim away any rotten roots. This will allow your plant to begin the recovery process.

Underwatering can also kill your Chinese Evergreen

Like overwatering, too little water can also be harmful to your Chinese Evergreen. Although the issue is slower to cause serious issues, consistent overwatering over a few weeks or months can really impact your plant’s health. 

If you notice that you Chinese Evergreen is losing some of its lower leaves, it may be due to underwatering, as it prioritises new healthy growth over its older leaves. Other symptoms include light brown crispy leaves/ leaf tips and your plant losing leaves. You can also spot underwatering by looking at the soil as it will appear quite light in colour and may be coming away from the sides. 

If you find that your Chinese Evergreen feels very dry, water it a little once a day for a week. This ensures that the soil becomes moist but avoids any stress caused by a sudden shift from dry to soggy soil. 

To prevent underwatering from causing any more problems with your plant in future, adjust your watering schedule so that you are either watering your plant more frequently or you are giving it more water each time you do.

A dying Chinese Evergreen can also indicate low temperatures

Another reason that your Chinese Evergreen might be dying is cold temperatures and drafts. Native to tropical regions, these plants thrive in warm and humid environments. If there is a slight cold draft coming through the door or window then this can impact your plant’s health over time. It won’t cause sudden changes and issues from one day to the next but over time can cause brown leaves to develop and might cause your plant to drop a few leaves every now and again. 

Luckily this is quite an easy problem to diagnose as all you need is a digital thermometer to check for extreme temperatures and fluctuations that might be harming your plant. 

To solve the issue, draft-proof any doors or windows that are close to your plant or move them into a slightly warmer room in your home. It may take a little time for your plant to adjust so don’t expect it to instantly recover but given the right environment, your plant should bounce back and reward you with plenty of new healthy growth come spring.

A lack of sunlight could be to blame

If your Chinese Evergreen is getting too little sunshine, it will become leggy and there will be large gaps between any new leaves growing on the stems. You might also see that leaves become smaller and less variegated so inspect your plant closely to see if you can spot these clues as to why it is dying.  

If you’re struggling to find a spot with better lighting, it could be worth looking into and investing in a quality LED grow light. They are great to help your plants get through the darker months and will also help with propagation so a great investment for every plant parent.

Those are the most common factors that can cause a Chinese Evergreen to start dying. It’s crucial that once you’ve made any changes to either the care your plant is receiving or the environment in which it is living, that you keep a very close eye on your plant throughout the next few weeks.

This way you can know for sure that the changes you have made are having a positive impact on your plant’s health. It will also allow you to spot any further issues as they arise and treat them before they have really taken a hold of your plant. 

To learn more about how to keep your plant happy and healthy, check out our Chinese Evergreen care guide.

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