Chinese Evergreen Turning Yellow

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Hi Judy,
You helped me identify my Chinese evergreen a few years ago. It has been growing nicely but is very leggy. I recently put it into a new pot and new baby stems are trying to grow but they quickly die. Also older leaves are a mixture of unhappy and and happy. I would appreciate any advice you could give to help save my plant.


Hi Cassie:

Your Chinese Evergreen plant is turning yellow because its new pot is too large and the roots are staying wet too long.  It’s important that roots have a chance to dry out a bit or they become water logged and start to die. Here are some suggestions on how to help your plant recover.

Take your Chinese Evergreen plant out of the pot and get rid of all of the wet soil, especially any soil on the roots.

Allow the plant to sit out bare root for about 24 hours. Examine the roots carefully and cut off any that are not firm and healthy. A Chinese Evergreen plant is a member of the Araceae family, and all plants in this family, such as the Dieffenbachia, Caladium, Nephthytis, and Peace Lily, are poisonous. Always wear gloves and a long sleeve shirt when trimming any part of the plant.

Repot in a container of fresh, dry, loose soil. Use a well-aerated potting soil that drains quickly. If the soil does not dry out quickly, root rot may develop. The pot should only be  1″-2″ larger than the root ball of the plant and must have drip holes in the bottom so excess water can easily drain out.

When a Chinese Evergreen plant becomes thin and leggy, you need to prune the stems back to where they are bending. Cut the stems directly above a leaf node. The plant will branch out all along the length of the remaining stem and eventually become full and bushy again.

Place your plant in a warm area that gets bright, indirect light, away from drafts and cold air.

Do not water for about 10 days or until the leaves feel soft and look a little droopy.

When you water, water from the bottom, setting the plant in a deep saucer of water for 10 minutes. Bottom watering allows the plant to absorb what it needs and nothing more through the drip holes in the bottom of the pot.. You may lose a few more leaves, but hopefully there are enough healthy roots left to help the plant survive and start to grow again.