5 tips to protect plants from sunburn

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Even our indoor plants can be scorched by the heat. And if you want your favorite plants to thrive this summer, these tips for protecting plants from sunburn will come in handy.

Plant sunburn or leaf burn occurs when a plant is overexposed to direct sunlight. This is especially the case if your plants are perched on a windowsill or in a shady area. Deprived of moisture and nutrients, the leaves can easily be scorched by the sun. This usually happens when the temperature reaches 90 degrees F or higher.

Typical signs of sunburn are light spots forming on the upper leaves, yellowing between the leaf veins and along the leaf edges, and browning on the leaf tips. Even “sun-loving” plants or local products such as tomatoes in jars and peppers can be sunburned and stop producing. So before resorting to learning how to save a dying plantthese tips can protect plants from sunburn and help them thrive in the summer.

1. Keep it away from direct sunlight

Ground plants

Ground plants (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Start by moving the plants to a shady spot to protect them from sunburn. You can gradually move it to the sunny place, increasing the sun exposure by one or two hours a day to get their nutrients. Also, south-facing windows tend to have the highest light intensity, so you can try moving plants to face north or east. During the fall and winter, you can then move the plant back to its usual location in the same way.

2. Do not overwater the plant

Watering indoor plants

Watering indoor plants (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Even though your burnt plant may seem to need more water, don’t give it more than it needs. Water slowly until you see it run out of the drainage hole, then until the soil dries out to 2 or 3 inches deep before watering again. You can test soil with this XLUX Soil Moisture Meter ($10, Amazon (opens in a new tab)), to give you an idea of ​​when the soil is dry.

3. Cut brown and burnt leaves

leaf burned by the sun

leaf burned by the sun (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Sunburned leaves usually fall off on their own, but the best option is to cut off any leaves that have more than 50% damage. Once the leaves are damaged by the sun, they will not repair or grow back, so you must maintain their condition.

4. Go easy on the fertilizer

A woman spraying a spider plant with a spray bottle

A woman spraying a spider plant with a spray bottle (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Give sunburned plants an undiluted organic fertilizer, but cut the amount in half. So if you fertilize your houseplant every two weeks, change it to once a month, but make sure it’s well hydrated before feeding. This will allow the houseplant to develop more leaves in the meantime. You can increase the fertilizer or frequency to follow your plant’s growth and needs.

5. Check your plants daily

A range of indoor plants lined up on a shelf

A range of indoor plants lined up on a shelf (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Keep an eye on your plant daily, especially during the summer months. If you notice any damage or signs of sunburn, move around the house or bring it to a shaded area inside the house where it will receive only indirect light.

How long does it take for plants to recover from sunburn?

As long as you follow these maintenance tips, the process can take about two weeks. Be sure to continue to water and feed the burnt plants properly while they try to recover. Then your beloved plants will thrive all year round.


If you’re new to the world of food growing, check out the 9 easiest vegetables for beginners to grow. where to learn How to grow tomatoes from seeds or how to plant asparagus with ease for delicious meals.

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