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4 Ways to Revive Sunburnt Anthurium

As a plant parent, I’m always worried about giving my plants enough light, especially the ones that prefer hot climates, such as Anthuriums.

So when I purchased my first Anthurium, I immediately placed it in my front sunroom, where it could absorb the morning rays coming through the windows.

Imagine my horror when the leaves started turning brown!  It turns out, when it comes to sunlight and Anthuriums, there can be too much of a good thing; My Anthurium was experiencing sunburn.

When an Anthurium plant is exposed to too much direct sunlight, as opposed to indirect sunlight, the leaves can become sunburnt, turn brown, and crumble off of the plant.  But don’t worry, there are ways to protect your plant from those intense rays!

Signs of a Sunburnt Anthurium

Signs of Sunburned Anthurium
Signs of Sunburned Anthurium

How can you tell if your beloved plant is getting fried by the sun? When leaves on your plant turn yellow and brown or go spotty, you know that something is wrong.

If the change from green to brown happens quickly, and your plant is in direct sunlight, it’s likely that the cause is sunburn.

How to Revive a Sunburnt Anthurium

1. Move The Pot Away From Direct Sunlight 

It might sound simple, but moving your plant just a few feet can make a huge difference.  Ideally, you want your Anthurium to be getting a lot of natural light, but you don’t want it to be in the direct path of the sun’s rays.  

Even if your plant is not outside, it may be receiving direct sunlight through a window.  Examine the window that your plant is next to.  What direction does your window face? 

West, South, and East facing windows all have the potential to receive ample direct sunlight throughout the day, while North facing windows will only receive indirect light. 

If you don’t have the option of using a North-facing window, try moving your plant a few feet away from the window to reduce the impact of direct rays.  

During the sunniest part of the day, use your hand to check where the rays are hitting, and move your plant away from those areas. 

2. Water To Keep The Root Zone Moist

If your plant is getting a lot of light, it is also losing a lot of water to evaporation.  The sun’s rays can quickly boil off the water before your plant has the chance to absorb it. 

Make sure to check the root zone of your Anthurium frequently to make sure that it is staying moist.  If you notice that it is frequently dry, you may need to consider increasing your watering routine. 

3. Adjust The Watering Frequency with The Seasons

Seasonal change may also affect your plant’s need for water.  Depending on what climate you live in, the humidity in the air in your home may change drastically with the seasons. 

Additionally, you could be getting twice as much sunlight in the summer as in the winter.  Make sure you take into account sunlight and humidity when calculating the water that your plant needs, and watch for signs that your plant may be thirsty or overwatered.

4. Cut off the sunburnt leaves

If you notice sunburn on your Anthurium, consider cutting off the dead leaves.  Even if a leaf is brown and beyond help, a plant will direct resources to it as long as it is attached. 

This can waste valuable nutrients and water that could otherwise be used for the plant to grow new leaves and flowers. 

If you cut the sunburned leaves away, you should quickly see improvement in your plant’s overall health. 

Can I Put My Anthurium Outside?

Anthuriums are happiest living in temperatures between 70-75 °F (21-24 °C) but can handle living in the range of 50-90 °F (10-32 °C).  

They also love humidity! So, depending on where you live, you may be able to grow your Anthurium outside, or at least put it outside for 2-3 seasons of the year. 

However, if you are moving your plant between indoor and outdoor environments, you need to make sure to get it acclimatized over a short period of time rather than suddenly and permanently relocating it. 

Acclimatize Your Anthurium to Prevent Sunburn

Sunburned Anthurium
Sunburned Anthurium

Harden off Plants

When moving your plant between extremely different environments, such as inside to outside or vice versa, you should observe a practice known as hardening off. 

Let’s say you’re moving your plant from inside to outside; On the first day, you would want to take the plant outside for just an hour or two, and then bring it back in.

The next day, you could leave it for slightly longer, and so on.  Gradually, your plant will get used to the new temperature and humidity, and the transition will be painless.

Hardening off your plant will also help prevent sunburn by getting your plant used to the sun before sticking it in direct sunlight for hours at a time.  This will allow your plant to build up a tolerance, much like a “baseline tan” for humans.

Fertilize During Early Plant Growth

Much like providing nutrients to a growing child, fertilizing your Anthurium during its’ early stages of growth will allow it to build up strength and tolerance to environmental conditions.  

In order to withstand certain amounts of direct sunlight without being burned, your Anthurium needs to have a healthy and strong foundation. 

Anthuriums will do well with fertilizers that are heavy in Phosphorus.  They don’t need too much fertilizer after their adolescence, just a small amount every three to four months.  

If you want to make your own fertilizer, you could try using elements such as mushrooms, bone meal, fish meal, or manure, all materials that are heavy in Phosphorus. Anthuriums also do well with orchid fertilizers. 

Provide Alternate Shade

If you have no way to move your Anthurium out of the direct sunlight, you can try providing shade by giving it its own roof or umbrella.  Think of your plant as a body sitting on the beach.  

How can you construct shade for it, while still allowing it to enjoy the benefits of the sun? Many garden supply centers offer a variety of materials used by professional greenhouses such as polypropylene, which provide shade, prevent sunburn, and increase growth and health in plants.

Happy growing!