Quick Facts about Chinese Evergreen
- Botanical name - Aglaonema spp.
- Height - 1.0 to 1.5 feet (30 to 45 cm)
- Spread - 1.0 to 1.5 feet (30 to 45 cm)
- Sun exposure - Partial to full shade
- Soil requirements - Moist, well-drained
- Hardiness zones - 10 to 12
- When to plant - Anytime indoors
How To Grow Aglaonema Or Chinese Evergreen Plants
Chinese evergreen is a common name for several species in the Aglaonema family. Native to tropical areas of Southeast Asia, it grows on jungle floors in warm, moist and dappled-to-shade conditions. This makes it a great houseplant for low-light areas. While most houseplants are finicky about appropriate growing conditions like light, humidity and temperature, tropical Chinese evergreens are one of the most durable houseplants you can grow, tolerating low light, dry air, and drought. Aglaonema plant care is relatively trouble-free.
Aglaonema Plant Care
The simplicity of caring for Chinese evergreen makes it an easy and popular houseplant. Here are a few tips for keeping it healthy and thriving.
Light The low light needs of this attractive foliage plant are what make it so adaptable to the indoors. It requires very little light and will grow in areas of the home where other plants can’t. Provide it with only indirect or filtered light.
Water A Chinese evergreen does best in soil that stays consistently moist but never soggy. Water it frequently enough to keep the soil from completely drying out in between waterings, but don’t drown its roots.
Temperature & Humidity These plants do need a certain amount of warmth. They are likely to die if temperatures drop below 55 degrees Fahrenheit (13 Celsius), and grow best between 68 and 77 degrees (20 and 25 C). Avoid placing this plant in a spot with cold drafts. Because they’re naturally jungle floor plants, they prefer high humidity, but will tolerate dry air.
Soil Any good quality potting mix will be adequate for a Chinese evergreen. The soil needs to be light enough to drain well, and the plant’s container should also have good drainage.
Fertilizer The Chinese evergreen isn’t a heavy feeder, so you don’t need to fertilize it much. Use a balanced houseplant fertilizer diluted to a quarter strength only once or twice during the growing season.
Problems, Pests & Diseases
Choose plants that look healthy and pest free. Chinese evergreen houseplants can be affected by spider mites, scale, mealybugs, and aphids. Routinely checking the leaves for signs of pests will help limit problems later.
While Aglaonema care is simple, root rot can be an issue. Avoid this by using a container that drains well, soil with good drainage and proper watering.
Too much or too strong a fertilizer can cause leaf burn on the edges. To limit the accumulation of dust build-up, clean the leaves occasionally by wiping them down with a soft, damp rag or simply place them in the shower and allow them to air dry.
How to Plant Chinese Evergreen
Your Chinese evergreen is likely to already planted in a container. If you want to change the container, make sure you choose one with good drainage and use a quality potting mix. If you’re able to grow this plant outdoors in an appropriate climate zone, choose a spot with dappled or indirect light and amend the soil to make sure it will drain well.
In general, you do not need to and should not prune Chinese evergreen. Trim off any brown or dying leaves at the base. Older plants sometimes produce flowers in spring to summer that resemble calla or peace lilies. Most people choose to cut the blooms away before they produce seed. This allows the plant to put all its energy into producing foliage. However, you may want to keep them and try growing a new plant from seed. If your plant becomes too large or leggy, give it a light trim.
The easiest ways to propagate Chinese evergreens are by stem cutting and division. With division, you can pull out the whole plant and divide it in two.
You can also take a cutting with approximately four to six inches (10 to 15 cm) of stem. Put the stem in water and place it in a spot with some bright, indirect light. It could take several weeks to grow enough root to repot the cutting. Alternatively, you can root the cutting in moist soil with a rooting hormone to speed the process.
You may be interested in gathering seed from the plant’s flowers if it produces them. Growing Chinese evergreen from seed involves a fairly long germination period.
Repot a Chinese evergreen every two to three years or as needed. You can move it to a larger pot or divide it to repot two smaller plants. When it’s time to repot your Chinese evergreen, do it in late spring, when conditions are better for continued growth.
Some of the species you’ll see in this genus include A. commutatum, A. crispum, and A. modestum. Among these different species, you can also find several cultivars:
- Emerald Beauty This variety has deep green leaves with pale green variegation.
- Silver Bay Silver Bay is green with a silvery stripe down the center of each leaf.
- Diamond Bay Diamond Bay is pale green in the center with dark green edges.
- White Rajah This cultivar has more striking white variegation.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Aglaonema Toxic to Cats and Dogs?
Yes, Aglaonema is considered toxic to pets. It can cause irritation, pain and swelling in the mouth, excessive drooling, difficult swallowing, and vomiting.
Can Aglaonema Survive in Low Light?
Chinese evergreen plant care requires very little light. It has some of the lowest light needs of any houseplant.
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Mary Ellen Ellis has been gardening for over 20 years. With degrees in Chemistry and Biology, Mary Ellen's specialties are flowers, native plants, and herbs.
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