Chinese evergreens can brighten any living space with their lush, colorful foliage. If you’re considering bringing one home, you might wonder how long they live.
Keep reading to learn about the typical Chinese evergreen lifespan. I also have plenty of tips to keep these leafy plants thriving for as long as possible.
The good news is that with proper care, Chinese evergreens can live for many years, often reaching a lifespan of 10 to 15 years or more!
Even if you occasionally neglect them, Chinese evergreens are forgiving. They can tolerate periods of drought and will bounce back when given some TLC.
Chinese evergreens have a slow growth rate compared to many other houseplants. It’s one reason for their longevity, as they don’t exhaust their energy quickly.
You’ll find that most types of Chinese evergreens can grow up to about 3 feet tall when kept indoors. It can take 4–6 years to reach this height, depending on their growing conditions.
One factor that has an immense effect on a Chinese evergreen’s lifespan is how much and what kind of light it gets. Keep in mind that direct sunlight and dark corners are no-nos.
Also, a well-draining soil and pot with adequate drainage holes will help your plant breathe and grow strong.
Another factor is humidity levels. These perennials hail from tropical regions and flourish in humid conditions.
If your home gets too dry, you can help them with some moisture using a pebble tray or humidifier.
Lastly, Chinese evergreens may fail to thrive because of some diseases, including:
- Bacterial leaf spot
- Fungal infection
- Copper deficiency
These conditions pop up due to the following (avoid them at all costs!):
- Watering overhead
- Contaminated soil
- Lack of nutrients
- Excessive fertilizing
Absolutely! Chinese evergreens are fantastic indoor companions.
They’re adaptable to various lighting conditions, from low to bright, indirect light. However, they do best in spots with lots of filtered sunlight.
You can grow them successfully under artificial lighting if your place receives limited natural light.
That said, plants with lighter variegation often need more light than their counterparts. It’s best to place them in sunny areas of your home or office.
Chinese evergreens flourish in well-draining potting soil, too. Soil with three parts potting mix and one part perlite should do the trick.
Follow these care tips to ensure your Chinese evergreens live long, healthy lives indoors:
- Avoid exposing them to direct sunlight, as it can scorch their leaves.
- Use sheer curtains for west- or south-facing windows to protect them from leaf burn.
- Chinese evergreens love temperatures between 65°F and 80°F. Do not place them near drafty windows, air vents, or heaters.
- Allow the top inch or two of the soil to dry out between waterings. Overwatering can suffocate the plant, cut off essential supplies, and lead to root rot.
- Feed your Chinese evergreens with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer during the growing season (spring and summer) about once a month.
- Chinese evergreens have a quirk—they like being slightly root-bound. Go up just one pot size when it’s time to repot.
While Chinese evergreens are indoor stars, they’re not suited for outdoor life in most US climates.
These tropical beauties thrive in controlled indoor environments where you can regulate their care more effectively.
If you live in tropical areas, Chinese evergreens can grow outdoors without issues. They are hardy in zones 10 and 11 (Hawaii, Southern Florida, and the Keys) and prefer temperatures above 60°F.
Check out this guide if you choose to grow Chinese evergreens outdoors:
- Chinese evergreens prefer partial to full shade outdoors. Steer clear of direct sunlight.
- Plant them in well-draining soil rich in organic matter. Grow them in pots so you can bring them indoors during the colder months.
- Water deeply when the top inch of soil feels dry.
- Trim away any yellow or damaged leaves to encourage new growth. Chinese evergreens may grow differently outdoors, so some pruning and shaping may be necessary.
- Treat any pest infestations promptly with insecticidal soap or neem oil.
Observe how your Chinese evergreens respond to outdoor life. If it doesn’t thrive or shows signs of stress, consider moving it back inside.
Chinese evergreens aren’t cold-hardy. They can’t withstand freezing temperatures and shouldn’t be left outside during the cold months.
Keep an eye on the weather forecast as winter approaches. Here are some tips to protect your Chinese evergreens from winter’s chill:
- Before the first frost, bring your Chinese evergreen inside, but do it gradually. Start by placing it in a shady, sheltered spot, and move it to its usual indoor location over a few days.
- Winter is a prime time for indoor plants to develop pest problems due to less ventilation. Regularly check your plant for signs of pests, such as yellowing leaves or crawling insects.
- Trim any dead or damaged leaves before bringing the plant indoors for the winter.
- Continue providing the same care as indoors, ensuring proper lighting, watering, and humidity levels.
Chinese evergreens can grace your indoor spaces with their beauty and elegance for many years when given the right care.
While they may enjoy a temporary outdoor summer vacation in warm climates, they should never endure frosty conditions.
Follow these care tips to extend the Chinese evergreen lifespan and keep them around for a long time.
Growing up with a mom who filled her home (inside and out) with all sorts of plants, Lisa got her start in gardening at a young age. Living now on her own with a home and yard full of plants (including an indoor greenhouse), she shares all the gardening tips she’s gained over the years.