One of my favorite groups of plants is the aroid family Araceae. This family has brought us so many wonderful indoor plants.
Everything from Philodendrons, Spathiphyllum (aka Peace Lily), Anthurium, Pothos (Epipremnum) plants, Alocasia, Dieffenbachia plant, and Aglaonema, the Chinese evergreen plant, with dozens of others.
Chinese evergreen is a popular foliage plant used in homes and offices. Aglaonemas’ natural habitat is the tropical forests in Southeast Asia.
Chinese evergreen is also known as Aglaonema, which is a plant genus belonging to the family Araceae.
Aglaonema is pronounced [ag-lay-oh-NEE-muh], and it’s considered a perennial plant.
The common name ‘Chinese evergreen’ refers to 21 species of plants typically grown for their highly ornamental value. These exist in various shades ranging from green to dark green, silver, or gray depending on the species and cultivar.
Chinese evergreen is also called painted drop-tongue. The most popular Aglaonema for decades has been “Silver Queen.” Many new varieties have been introduced over the past few years.
The following are a few of its popular cultivars according to the University of Florida breeding program:
- Diamond Bay – has light green foliage with solid green margins.
- Moonlight Bay – has medium green leaves with bold silver markings.
- Emerald Bay – has silvery-green leaves with darker dapples along the margins.
- Stripes – has foliage with alternating bands of green and silver.
A couple of other varieties to keep on the lookout for are:
- Aglaonema “Jewel of India”
- Aglaonema “Red Siam”
If you’re planning to add one of these delightful popular houseplants to your home or garden, consider the following Chinese Evergreen care tips.
Chinese Evergreen Care
If you’ve been successful with Dieffenbachia care, the Chinese evergreen will perform well.
NOTE: The Aglaonema is one of the Top Plants for a windowless bathroom!
Size & Growth
A mature plant of Chinese evergreen generally will grow between 1′ to 3′ feet tall and equally as wide. However, the leaves are long and narrow, growing to reach up to 2′ feet long.
The leaves of Chinese evergreen plants grow at the tip of the stalks. Their shapes are either linear (elongated with parallel sides) or oval.
Chinese evergreens are slow-growing plants and take a long time to reach their maximum growth. It’s also extremely resilient, tolerating poor light, dry air, drought, and air-conditioning like a champ.
NOTE: New varieties of Aglaonema now have pink in the leaves.
Flowering and Fragrance
The Chinese evergreen plant flowers during summer once it reaches maturity in growth and age. It produces tiny flowers that turn into berries later on. If these berries do make an appearance, they’ll grow between the leaves, and many gardeners don’t mind them.
The flowers of the Chinese evergreen plant look like peace lilies as they consist of a spathe and spadix. Some people don’t appreciate the aesthetic of the berries the flowers develop, so they remove the flowers wherever they come about.
Light & Temperature Range
The Chinese evergreen plant thrives in medium to low light conditions. It likes indirect sunlight or filtered sunlight and doesn’t do well when exposed to direct sunlight.
NOTE: Aglaonemas grow well under fluorescent lighting.
If you decide on placing your plant indoors, make sure that the plant receives moderate to low light, warm temperature, and relatively humid conditions. Still, this plant is quite durable, so it’ll endure unfavorable conditions if necessary.
Ideally, the Chinese evergreen plant prefers indoor conditions with temperatures ranging between 68 ° to 77 ° degrees Fahrenheit (20 °C to 25 °C). Although they don’t like temperatures below 60 ° degrees Fahrenheit (16 °C), they can tolerate temperatures as low as 55 ° degrees Fahrenheit (13 °C).
For indoor environments, the ideal temperature average for Chinese evergreen plants ranges between 70 ° – 72 ° degrees Fahrenheit (21 °C to 22 °C). Be sure to keep your Chinese evergreen plant away from cold drafts to avoid unattractive browning of the foliage.
Watering Schedule and Liquid Fertilizer
There’s no serious schedule to stick to when it comes to watering and feeding the Chinese evergreen plant. These durable plants don’t require much water, so water them only when the top inch of the soil is dry to touch.
- Reduce the frequency of watering in the winter
- Remember not to overwater your plant
- Too much watering leads to possible root rot
- Always use a pot or container with drainage holes
Speaking of watering, Chinese evergreen plants thrive in average to high humidity conditions. If the room has artificial heating, increasing the humidity levels will boost plant growth and prevent drying and shriveling up of the leaves.
As for feeding, it’s best to feed your Chinese evergreen plants a diluted water-soluble houseplant fertilizer from spring until the end of summer.
Soil & Transplanting
The soil requirements of Chinese evergreen plants are pretty simple – use well-draining soil. Preferably, provide peat-based potting soil combined with perlite or sand to enhance drainage. Any other well-drained potting mix will do fine.
When it comes to transplanting, you’ll probably need to re-pot once every couple of years during spring, the start of the growing season. In this case, either transfer the plant to a larger pot or divide it into two smaller plants then pot each one in a separate pot.
Alternatively, you can cut off any leggy stalks then root them to make new plants.
Grooming And Maintenance
The Chinese evergreen house plants require little to moderate care. They have good tolerance to low light, drought, and dry air. You do need to pay attention to the temperature of its environment and make sure it doesn’t drop too low.
Aglaonemas sucker well, which helps them getting leggy, have good color, and handle the cooler temperatures.
Other than that, this plant tends to accumulate dust on its leaves. To prevent such build-up, wipe down the leaves once a week with a soft, damp cloth.
How To Propagate Chinese Evergreen
Chinese evergreen propagates easily from stem cuttings.
Using a knife or a pair of hand pruners, take stem cuttings about the size of a small finger – 6″-10″ inches long.
- Dip the cuttings in rooting hormone powder
- Place the cuttings in pots with moist soil.
- Cover the pot with plastic. We like using a soda bottle.
- Place the potted cuttings in indirect light or under artificial light.
- In a few weeks or so, root growth should begin.
- Once roots appear, remove the covering and treat the plants as you would the mother plant.
Chinese Evergreen Pests or Diseases
As with many other indoor plants, pests such as spider mites, scales, mealybugs, and aphids can attack the Chinese evergreen. We always treat pests first using Neem oil.
Overwatering can lead to root rot, and adding too much fertilizer can cause leaf edge burn.
Low Maintenance Chinese Evergreen Aglaonema
One of the best features the Chinese evergreen plant has is that they are very versatile and easy to care for if you know the basics.
- Plant in well-drained soil or potting mix
- Fertilize with a houseplant fertilizer like 20-20-20
- When watering – water thoroughly but do not allow the plants’ roots to sit in water.
- Place in locations where they do not get direct light.
The aroid family has always been one of my favorites, and I started collecting them back in my teens. They hold a special place in my plant-growing history. Aroids are the plants that taught me “how to grow,” and they can teach you too!