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PLNTS summer
5 minute read

How to recognise, prevent and cure sunburn on plants in 2023

Ahh, Summer. Isn’t it lovely, sipping cocktails on a sunny terrace, enjoying the long evenings with friends and maybe even looking forward to our planned summer vacation. It can’t get any better, right? But you have to consider one red flag, sunburn…. We protect ourselves with sunscreen, sunglasses or a big fancy floppy hat. Unfortunately those tools don’t work for our plants. But not to worry, we know other tips that will prevent your plants from getting sunburned this summer. So if you would like to know how to protect your precious PLNTScollection this summer, you can keep on reading!

Signs of sunburn on your plants (ouch!)

Luckily it’s easy to recognise if your plant is suffering sunburn! Just like our skin, the leaves of our plants change colour when they get too much sun. Instead of turning red like our skin does, the leaves turn yellow or white. The affected leaf yellows, turns brown and finally withers. The edges of the leaves often become completely dry. This happens especially when the sunburn is severe. Do you see these signs of sunburn on your plants? We suggest it’s better to move your plant to a less sunny place.


How to prevent sunburn on your plants?

To prevent is better than to cure! Our number one tip is to always keep a close eye on your plants. Before you know it, your plant suddenly has a burn! It only takes a few hours for your plants to get sunburnt and there is actually not much you can do once the damage is done. The most important thing is to know what your plant needs and under what conditions it is happiest. Want to know what the perfect condition for your plant is? Check out the plantfamily on our PLNTSdoctor page!

Do I need to keep my plants out of the sun?

The easy answer is no, but this answer does have some snags. You can give your plants a little more sunlight or even bring them outside when it gets warmer, but you have to do it gradually. So the key to changing the light level to which your plant is used to, is to move it gradually. This way they have time to adjust and get used to their new place first. It’s the same for us, we really can’t go to the beach without sunscreen on the first sunny day of the year. So, start by moving your plant in the morning to a place with more sun, just for an hour or two, and then back to its shady spot. Increase the amount of sun your plant gets over the course of a few weeks. It is always better to get less sun than too much! But be cautious with your precious green friends, because even with building up the sun they receive gradually, can result in sunburn. It is best to keep your plants out of direct sunlight during very hot days, or the hottest time of the day.

When your plants are growing in a warm windowsill, it’s better for them to either move away during this hot time period, or to hang a thin see through curtain between your plants and the window. This will still allow them to soak up enough light to produce energy, without it burning their pretty leaves.

Water in the morning or in the evening

It is also good to water your plant in the morning or evening. This has to do with the fact that droplets on the leaves actually increase the chance of sunburn when the sun is shining bright. It is better to go with the morning to give plants a boost before the sun begins to burn or in the evening to replenish what the day has taken away. Choose the option that suits you best.

PLNTStip: Place a thermo / hygrometer so you can measure temperature and humidity around your plants. Did you know that when you make sure the humidity stays at a good percentage, your potting soil will dry out less fast? This will do your green babies good during summer and will save you some time, since you need to water a little less frequently!


Go easy on the fertiliser

Fertiliser is a great way to promote growth on your plants. But did you know that too much fertiliser can make your plant grow even slower? It can even cause a burn on their foliage. That is why you should keep a close eye on the needed fertiliser in summer.

Tips to revive your sunburned plant!

Once a plant is burnt, its leaves will never regain their original colour and there’s not much you can do for your plant. Super sad, isn’t it? The best option is to put the plant in a place where it is the happiest; in the light that suits the plant. This can be a cosy shady spot or a cheerful indirect sunlight spot. Research it well! Like a real PLNTSparent 😊! When you notice that your plant has recovered from the sunburn, it’s best to carefully cut off the sun-damaged leaves, whenever the leaf is 50% or more scorched. You can use sharp pruning shears to do so. This will make sure the energy from the plant is not going to this leaf that can’t be saved anymore and isn’t producing enough energy for the plant anymore.

Don’t overwater your plants

And as your plant may look crispy, it doesn’t mean she needs to be watered more. This can only harm the plant even more, since overwatering can cause other symptoms that we don’t wish upon any plant. That is why you should not change your watering routine when your plant is sunburned. But a little extra tenderness, love and care is always welcome.

As we suggested before, it’s super important to always keep a close eye on your plants. Saving your plants from sunburn is actually rather easy, you can prevent sunburn by using our tips and by understanding your plants needs and by placing them in the perfect spot in your urban jungle.

Take time to get to know your plants, get to know the best plant-spots in your home. Keep your head (and your plants) cool; we believe in you!


Meet Lisa: our plant enthusiast! With her photos and creative flair, she brings the joy of plants to life. Get ready for her newsletters to brighten your day. She is here to inspire your plant journey!

November 04, 2021
Hi, I'm Emma, your guide!

Hi, I’m Emma, your guide!