How to grow and care for Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema) Indoors

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Chinese Evergreen, Aglaonema

Botanical name: Aglaonema spp
Family: Araceae

Chinese Evergreen Description

Chinese Evergreens (Aglaonema) are popular plants on account of their spectacular foliage, ease of care, air cleaning properties and ability to adapt to indoor growing conditions.

The plants are relatively small and exhibit a compact growth. The leaves are large, spear-shaped and borne on short stems.

These large leaves have a strong vein running down the middle and a speckled pattern along the sides.

Being slow growers, Aglaonemas require minimal feeding and infrequent repotting and are perfect for limited spaces.

These plants are ideal for the poorly lit spaces especially the all green varities are very tolerant to low light or shade conditions.

Chinese Evergreen Flower

The inflorescence in Chinese Evergreen are unimpressive unisexual flowers in a spadix. To conserve the plants energy and direct it to foliage growth, cut the flowers as soon as they appear though it is unlikely to flower when grown indoors.

Chinese Evergreen Varieties

Numerous varieties and hybrids of Chinese Evergreen are available. It is the green varieties Aglaonema modestum that can tolerate some shade but the near-white varieties need a well-lit environment.

The favorite of the group is the Aglaonema silver queen whose foliage is almost entirely silver-grey

Another common variety of Aglaonema is the Aglaonema pseudobracteatum (Golden Evergreen) whose leaves are blotched with yellow, cream and pale green.

Other varieties are Aglaonema commutatum whose leaves have silver bands, Aglaonema nitidum which is the giant of the group with leaves 18 in. plain green and Aglaonema pictum whose 6 in. long leaves are speckled and velvety among many varieties and hybrids.

Chinese Evergreen Origin

Aglaonemas are native to tropical and subtropical regions of Asia and New Guinea.

Chinese Evergreen for Sale

Buy beautiful and healthy Chinese Evergreens from Etsy.

Chinese Evergreen Air Purifying

According to the NASA Clean Air Study, Aglaonema modestum was found to be effective in the removal of common VOCs especially benzene and formaldehyde from indoor air.

Houseplant, Chinese Evergreen Care, Aglaonema care

Aglaonema pseudobracteatum (Golden Evergreen)

Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema) Care Indoors

Chinese Evergreen Light Requirements

Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema) grows best in semi-shade to bright light conditions. However, the near-white variegated plants require more brighter light.

Keep your Chinese Evergreen away from direct sunlight as it can cause sunburn on the leaves. Check out this guide on understanding light for houseplants.

How to water Chinese Evergreen

Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema) requires to be watered liberally during the growing season while allowing the top 2 in. of soil to dry out slightly between waterings.

Reduce watering during the cold season as growth is minimal at this time. Do not allow the soil to dry out completely as it may lead to leaf drop. Read more on how to water houseplants.

Ensure that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to root-rot.


Temperature for Chinese Evergreen

Average warmth with a minumum of 150C is ideal for Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema).

Protect your Chinese Evergreen from cold draughts as it is intolerant to very low temperatures below 150C which cause the leaves to curl and form brown edges. Check out this guide on understanding temperature for houseplants.

Humidity for Chinese Evergreen

Average room humidity is ideal for your Chinese Evergreen. It has no need for high humidity.

Mist the leaves regularly and clean them by damp-wiping with a soft cloth to get rid of dust and reduce pest infestation. Read more on how to clean houseplants.

Chinese Evergreen Fertilizer (Feeding)

Feed Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema) with a balanced water-soluble fertilizer every 3-4 months during the growing period.

To prevent the leaves from turning yellow due to copper deficiency, ensure your fertilizer contains this micronutrient.

Chinese Evergreen is easily injured by overfeeding therefore withhold feeding in the cold season as growth is minimal and feeding at this time can lead to fertilizer burn. Read more on how to feed houseplants.

How to repot Chinese Evergreen

Chinese Evergreen is slow growing thus does not require frequent repotting.

Repotting may be necessary after 2-3 years when the plant has outgrown its current pot or the soil needs to be replaced.

Repot your Chinese Evergreen at the beginning of the growing season. Use a free-draining soil which is rich in organic matter and a pot 1 size larger.

Ensure the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to root-rot.

Soil for Chinese Evergreen

The best soil for Chinese Evergreen should be rich in organic matter and free-draining to prevent it from getting soggy while providing the required nutrients. Most potting mixes designed for aroids are ideal for Chinese Evergreen.

Buy quality Aroids Potting Soil for your Chinese Evergreen from Etsy.

How to prune Chinese Evergreen

Being a slow grower, Chinese Evergreen requires minimal pruning. Pruning your Chinese Evergreen involves removal of yellow and old leaves by cutting them at the soil level.

Remove the inflorescences that may develop in order to prolong the life of the plant. Read more on how to prune houseplants.

Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema) Propagation

Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema) propagation can be done during the growing season from offshoots or from stem cuttings.

How to propagate Chinese Evergreen from offshoots

Carefully seperate the Chinese Evergreen off-shoots from the mother plant by cutting with a sterilized sharp knife or scissors. Ensure each offshoot bears some roots.

Pot the Chinese Evergreen offshoots in moist soil in individual pots and place the set up in a warm place away from direct sunlight.

Maintain the soil moist through out and in about 5-10 days the shoots should develop their own root system.

How to propagate Chinese Evergreen from stem cuttings in soil

Chinese Evergreen stem cuttings root easily and there is no need for rooting hormone.

Cut a new shoot bearing about 4-5 leaves or an old stem about 4-6 in. long. Strip off the lower leaves.

Insert 2-3 in. of the lower cut-end of the Chinese Evergreen cutting in moist rooting soil.

Place the set up in a warm, shaded place away from direct sunlight and maintain the soil moist through out.

New growth on your Chinese Evergreen should sprout in about 3-4 weeks.

How to propagate Chinese Evergreen from stem cuttings in water

Cut a new shoot bearing about 4-5 leaves or an old stem about 4-6 in. long. Strip off the lower leaves.

Place the Chinese Evergreen cuttings in a jar of clean plain water while ensuring that the leaves do not touch the water otherwise they may begin to rot.

Place the set up in a warm well-lit spot and replace the water every 7 days.

When the roots are about 3-4 in. long, the cutting can be put in soil. The water roots need to be acclimatized to grow in soil.

Gradually add soil into the rooting container from when the roots are about 2 in. long so that by the time of transplanting, there is more of soil than water in the rooting container that is, the roots are more or less growing in moist soil than in water.

Houseplant, Chinese Evergreen Care, Aglaonema care

Aglaonema Silver Bay

Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema) Problems Indoors

Chinese Evergreen curled leaves and brown leaf edges

Too cold air or cold draughts are the cause of curled leaves and brown leaf edges in your Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema).

Protect your Chinese Evergreen from cold draughts to prevent sudden changes in temperature inorder to maintain a constantly warm temperature.

Chinese Evergreen shrivelled leaves and brown leaf tips

If the air is too dry, your Chinese Evergreen's leaves become shrivelled and form brown leaf tips.

Set the pot on a wet pebble tray to raise humidity for your Chinese Evergreen. Read more on how to raise humidity for houseplants.

Chinese Evergreen yellow leaves

There are four possible reasons why the leaves of your Chinese Evergreen are turning yellow.

One possible reason for yellow leaves in your Chinese Evergreen is aging. This is a natural process, with age, the lower leaves of Chinese Evergreen turn yellow and die. These leaves are replaced by new leaves at the top of the plant.

The second possible reason for yellow leaves in Chinese Evergreen is overwatering or soggy soil. Soggy soil will lead to root-rot which is characterized by general yellowing of leaves.

At this stage, the plant may be too far gone to be saved. However, you can try to save it by root surgery. Read more on how to treat your plant for root-rot.

To prevent root-rot, ensure that the pot has a drainage hole and the soil is free-draining to prevent the soil from getting soggy.

The third possible reason for the leaves of your Chinese Evergreen turing yellow is underwatering. Too little moisture in the soil will cause the older, lower leaves to turn yellow and die in a bid to save the new leaves.

Chinese Evergreen requires to be watered liberally during the growing season while allowing the top 2 in. of soil to dry out slightly between waterings.

However, reduce watering during the cold season as growth is minimal at this time but never allow the soil to dry out completely.

The fourth possible reason for yellowing leaves in your Chinese Evergreen is too little light. The variegated varieties of Chinese Evergreen require bright, filtered light away from direct sunlight.

Therefore, if your variegated Chinese Evergreen is not getting adequate light, the leaves will turn yellow due to loss of chlorophyll and the plant may eventuall die.

Chinese Evergreen brown leaf spots

Brown leaf spots on your Chinese Evergreen are a sign of sunscorch marks. Do not expose your Chinese Evergreen to direct sunlight.

Place the plant where it will receive bright, filtered light but not direct sunlight as it will burn the leaves. A spot infront of a brightly lit window that has a screen like a sheer curtain is ideal for your Chinese Evergreen.

Chinese Evergreen stunted growth and dying

Stunted growth and plant death in your Chinese Evergreen is an indication of the presence of root-knot nematodes. Chinese Evergreen is prone to root knot nematodes.

The presence of root nematodes is marked by swellings in the roots of your plant.

These swellings may reduce water and nutrient uptake resulting in stunted growth and in extreme cases plant collapse. Read more on nematodes and how to deal with them.

Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema) Pests

Common plant pests in Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema) are Mealy Bugs, Scale Insects, Aphids and Spider Mites.

Isolate the affected Chinese Evergreen to prevent spread to the other houseplants and control the pests appropriately.

Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema) Diseases

Chinese Evergreen is prone to root-rot disease which is enhanced by soggy soil.

Isolate the affected plant and treat it appropriately for root-rot disease. Ensure that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy.

Is Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema) toxic?

Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema) are toxic to both humans and pets. The plant sap contains calcium oxalate crystals.

The Calcium oxalate crystals contained in Chinese Evergreen can cause irritation on sensitive skin; always wear gloves when handling.

If ingested, the plant sap may cause burning in the mouth and throat, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pains.

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