Anthurium sunburn, or sun scorch, is a common problem that many anthurium owners may face.
I am currently dealing with this issue myself, and in this guide, I’ll walk you through how to identify anthurium sunburn and how to treat it and hopefully prevent it in the future.
Let’s waste no time and get straight into it.
- What Causes Anthurium Sunburn?
- Factors That Contribute To Anthurium Sunburn
- Identifying Anthurium Sunburn
- How To Treat A Sunburnt Anthurium
- Preventing Anthurium Sunburn
- In Summary
What Causes Anthurium Sunburn?
Anthurium sunburn occurs when your plant is exposed to excessive sunlight and/or other environmental factors that increase its sensitivity to light.
Intense sunlight on the leaves dries them out quickly, and if the plant cannot recover this moisture loss quickly (which, in most cases, it can’t), it results in scorched leaves.
Sun-scorched leaves usually develop irregular spots that have brown centers and yellow halos.
Summer is fast approaching where I live, and I’ve noticed a lot of direct sunlight on one of my anthuriums later in the day.
This seems to be affecting the lower leaves; as you can see in the image above, some of them are getting scorched.
Factors That Contribute To Anthurium Sunburn
A common misconception I see amongst plant owners is that direct sunlight is the only factor that causes sun scorch, but many other factors contribute to the issue.
Direct sunlight is the obviously driving factor for sun scorch.
Anthuriums prefer bright, indirect sunlight to grow properly. If the leaves are subject to extended periods of intense direct sunlight, it cause a rapid loss of moisture, scorching the leaves.
Watering issues, particularly underwatering, also contribute to anthurium sunburn.
Anthuriums require consistent moisture without being overly wet. When their root zone is not moist enough, the leaves become more susceptible to damage from sun exposure.
As the leaves suffer from intense sunlight, they lose moisture, which must be replaced rapidly. This means that underwatered anthuriums are much more likely to get scorched by the sun.
Lack Of Soil & Root Issues
Root issues, particularly root-bound roots, can also contribute to sun scorch on anthuriums.
If the roots are tightly bound, there will be a lack of soil and therefore moisture, and also a lack of accessible roots that are able to transport this water to the leaves.
While anthuriums can tolerate various temperatures, extreme temperature fluctuations might make them more prone to sunburn.
High temperatures increase the leaf moisture loss, which would usually be fine for anthuriums if kept in suitable sunlight and watered properly.
However, when direct sunlight also gets involved it can become a problem. Aim for temperatures of 75 to 90°F during the day and around 60°F at night.
Lack Of Humidity
Anthuriums thrive in high humidity, between 60 and 80%.
A lack of humidity can contribute to sun scorch because it increases the amount of moisture loss from the leaves, which is the underlying reason for sun scorch in the first place.
If you combine dry and hot conditions with direct sunlight on anthurium leaves, it’s almost guaranteed that the leaves will get scorched.
Identifying Anthurium Sunburn
Anthurium sunburn is quite easy to spot (take a look at my picture from before), but you should be aware of other signs of it.
Leaf Discoloration & Spots
One of the first signs you need to watch for is leaf discoloration. Anthurium leaves may turn yellow or brown when affected by sunburn. You may also notice irregular spots on the leaves, which can result from direct sunlight exposure.
These spots might appear as lighter or bleached patches on the leaf surface, eventually turning brown as the damage progresses. By closely monitoring your plant, you can detect these symptoms early and take measures to protect it from sunburn.
Wilting and Curling
Apart from discoloration, wilting and curling are other indicators of anthurium sunburn. As your plant gets too much sunlight, the leaves may wilt, losing their firmness and shape. They might also curl at the edges, deviating from their typical flat appearance.
While wilting can sometimes be caused by dehydration or even diseases, it’s crucial to check the plant’s lighting conditions if these symptoms appear.
Lastly, drooping is another sign your anthurium may be suffering from sunburn.
When exposed to excessive sunlight, your plant’s leaves can lose their turgidity and start to droop. This can be due to the damage caused by direct sunlight, weakening the plant’s overall structure.
How To Treat A Sunburnt Anthurium
Anthurium sunburn is pretty easy to deal with and will not kill your entire plant unless you have seriously neglected your plant.
Here are the steps for a full recovery:
First, move your sunburnt anthurium away from direct sunlight.
Find a spot with bright, indirect light to help your plant recover. If many leaves are sunburnt, place your anthurium in a more shaded location to help it recover faster.
Next, carefully cut off the sunburnt leaves using a clean and sharp pair of scissors or pruning shears.
Removing the damaged foliage will allow your anthurium to focus on producing new, healthy leaves. Make sure to sanitize your cutting tools before and after use to prevent the spreading of diseases or pests.
Water The Soil
Sun scorch results in a lot of water loss from the leaves, so watering is essential to help the remaining leaves recover and ensure your anthurium has enough water.
Water thoroughly until water comes out of the drainage holes to ensure all of the soil and roots are moist.
Preventing Anthurium Sunburn
Here are some of the best tips I’ve learned over the years for preventing anthurium sunburn through a lot of trial and error.
To prevent anthurium sunburn, the most important piece of advice is to get the lighting right.
Anthuriums prefer indirect sunlight, as direct sunlight can burn their leaves. Place your plant near a bright window but not in the direct path of the sun’s rays.
East-facing windows are also a great idea – anywhere with plenty of sunlight but not directly on the leaves of your anthurium.
Temperature And Humidity
Anthuriums are tropical plants that thrive in warm and humid environments.
Excessive heat or a lack of humidity (or both) will make your anthurium more susceptible to sunburn.
Watering is also essential to help prevent sun scorch.
Underwatered anthuriums are more at risk of sun scorch, so keep the soil moist by watering when the top inch of soil becomes dry. Be careful not to overwater, as this can lead to other issues like root rot which can be more difficult to deal with.
Anthurium sunburn is really not a major issue, and your anthurium will just need some time away from the harsh sunlight and a good drink to get back to health.
It’s normal for your anthurium to get sunburnt occasionally, even if you take good care of it. Sometimes hot weather can come as a surprise, so don’t stress if you lose a few leaves over the summer months.
If you want to learn more about anthuriums, check out some of our other guides below: