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How do I know if my plants are getting too much sun?

Too much sun can kill indoor and outdoor plants. Here’s how to know if your plants are getting too much sun and how to revive sunburned plants!

Most plant owners know that plants need light and water to survive.

But, too much of either one of those things can be a bad thing – it can even kill a plant!

Plants use light energy for photosynthesis to capture energy from the sun (or growing lights).

But, just like the sun can burn your skin, it can also burn your plants.

Let’s chat about too much sun for plants. A plant with too much sun is not going to look its best, and it won’t be healthy enough to grow and thrive.

Mistakes happen – the most important thing is to pay attention to your plants so you can revive them before it’s too late!

How do I know if my plants are getting too much sun

How much sun is too much for plants?

Different plants have different sunlight needs. In general, indoor tropical houseplants prefer bright, indirect light. Outdoor plants could be shade plants, partial shade plants, or full sun plants.

What does full sun mean?

Full sun typically means that a plant needs at least 6 hours of sun a day.

Partial sun usually means that a plant needs at least 3 hours of sun a day.

Can a plant get too much light?

Even full sun or partial sun plants can get cooked by too much direct sunlight, especially on very hot days. There are several tell tale signs of too much light on plants.

Does 24-hour light hurt plants?

Some plants are fine with light 24/7. Others need periods of darkness, especially blooming plants.

Can indoor plants get too much light?

Yes, indoor plants can get too much light! This usually happens if they are exposed to light directly in front of a window, especially a southern facing window. Move it away from the light!

pothos with sun damaged leaves

How do I know if my plants are getting too much sun?

Here are some common symptoms of too much sunlight for plants:

  • Leaves look bleached or faded
  • White, yellow, or brown burns on leaves
  • Wrinkled, crispy leaves
  • Dropping leaves
  • Plants drooping in the sun
  • Leaves or soil feel very hot to the touch

What does sun damage on plants look like?

Sun damage leaves burned, crispy marks on plant leaves. The sun bleached plant leaves will develop very quickly and won’t go back.

Sun damage is most likely to happen to young plants or plants that have recently been planted and don;’t have established root systems yet.

Is my plant overwatered or too much sunlight?

Overwatered plants get crispy and brown. Usually, the soil is hard and dry. Over watered plants will have soggy soil and the leaves usually get mushy and limp.

If a plant is limp and dropping, check the soil. Very hot dry soil indicates that the plant is getting too much sun, even if it hasn’t been burned yet.

Soggy soil indicates that a plant is overwatered or that the soil is not draining well.

calathea with sun damaged leaves

Can plants recover from sun burn?

Once leaves are burned or have discolored or crispy spots, they won’t return to being lush and green.

If only a small part of the plant receives a burn, you can trim it off. If it’s 1/3 or more of the leaf, I suggest removing the leaf.

Here’s my guide to trimming + removing dead leaves.

Burned leaves are no longer able to photosynthesize. With no leaves, your plant will struggle to produce energy and is likely to die.

How do you revive a plant that gets too much sun?

Here are the steps to follow if you suspect that a plant has sunburn damage:

  1. Move the plant out of direct sunlight
  2. Remove damaged leaves
  3. Water your plant more frequently
  4. Mulch around outdoor plants to help retain soil moisture
  5. Water first thing in the morning, never at the hottest part of the day
cutting brown spot off of fiddle leaf fig plant

How do you prevent leaves from getting too much sun?

The best way to prevent plants from getting too much sun is to keep them out of direct sunlight.


  • Move plants slowly and gradually from shade to full sun over a few days
  • Keep young plants and seedlings out of direct sun
  • Move potted plants out of direct sun when the air temperature is very high
  • Water soil of plants to keep the soil moist
  • Keep plants under a sunshade of some sort

Any more questions about plant sun damage?

Thanks for reading!

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