aglaonema how to grow and care

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The Aglaonema plant, also known as the Chinese evergreen, is a popular indoor plant and one of the easiest evergreen perennial houseplants to grow.

The versatility and ease of care make it a perfect houseplant for the beginner and the experienced gardener.

Grow this plant if you’re a new gardener and want to learn how to grow a plant that doesn’t need a lot of light, water, or maintenance while being an excellent air purifier.

In this blog post, we’ll share the best tips for growing Aglaonema plants.

What is the background of Aglaonema?

Aglaonema (Chinese evergreen) is an evergreen indoor houseplant due to its large variety of variegated leaves. Its botanical name is Aglaonema commutatum and is a perennial plant.

This tropical plant has glossy, dark green leaves. This tough plant collection can be grown indoors or outdoors in USDA zones 10 through 12.

Aglaonema has about twenty species of slow-growing attractive ornamental plants native to East and Southeast Asia. It’s also known as Indian laurel, Philippine evergreen, Japanese evergreen, and Aglaonema maria.

The plant is sometimes called the Chinese money plant because of its round shape oval leaves, and the way leaves fold in at night.

It’s one of the popular houseplants that grow in a small size to place it on your desks. The slow growth rate means you don’t have to worry about shifting it to a larger location.

Although all Aglaonema plants have attractive, sword-shaped leaves, they aren’t truly evergreen. They shed their foliage during the fall and winter months. The leaves can grow up to 30 cm long and 5 cm to 85 cm wide.

Some varieties of Aglaonema have flowers, but not all. The female flowers grow near the base on the spadix, while male flowers bloom near the tip.

If you’re hoping to raise an Aglaonema that flowers, you should choose a cultivar or variety known to bloom, such as “Silver Queen.” It features white, fragrant flowers with pink or purple centers.

FactorGrowth Condition
SoilSandy loamy soil
WaterOnce or twice per week
SunlightIndirect sunlight, partial shade
Temperature70°F and 72°F (21°C–22°C)
FertilizerLiquid or slow-release fertilizer
PropagationStem or root cutting
USDA Zone10-12

What are popular Aglaonema varieties?

Aglaonema belongs to the Araceae family, including several other popular varieties, such as Anthurium, Philodendron, and Dieffenbachia. These plants can be identified by their shiny, evergreen leaves and lacy white flowers.

Here are the top ten Aglaonema genus of houseplants to consider adding to your home or office.

ultra pink aglaonema

1. Ultra Pink Aglaonema: It’s one of the newest varieties to enter the market, and it’s easy to see why. It produces large, beautiful, eye-catching pink leaves and grows well as indoor office plants or outdoor decorative plants.

2. Lemon Pie Aglaonema: These have glossy and dark green leaves that get their names for the sweet lemony scent they give off, but they’re not edible. It needs moderate amounts of indirect light and water to grow well.

ruby ray aglaonema

3. Georgi’s Ruby Aglaonema: They have heart-shaped, dark green leaves with red or pink tones variegation. The leaves are thick and leathery, typically growing 6–12 inches long.

modestum aglaonema

4. Modestum Aglaonema: The plant has a vase-shaped form with draping, glossy dark green leaves. The foliage is a light gray-green color. The bracts are long and slender with a prominent white-striated stripe.

5. Harlequin Aglaonema: It’s a new, exotic, nice-looking Aglaonema plant that has leopard-spotted, variegated leaves.

The leaves have dark green patterns with yellow and a red-and-white margin. The chartreuse leaves have been described as “exceptionally beautiful and eye-catching,” similar to other larger plants.

white calcite aglaonema

6. White Calcite Aglaonema: It’s a hardy spindle-shaped plant with dark green leaves and white-colored spots on them.

It can tolerate a wide range of indoor conditions, including low light. This is super resistant to spider mites, aphids, and scale insects, making it an excellent choice for those who have troublesome houseplant pests.

nitidum aglaonema

7. Nitidum Aglaonema “Burmese Evergreen”: It has dark green leaves that can grow in a variety of lighting conditions.

It can thrive in low light and even in rooms with no natural light. It’s a slow-growing plant, which makes it an excellent choice to grow in an office environment.

golden fluorite aglaonema

8. Golden Fluorite Aglaonema: This plant has several cultivars and doesn’t require a lot of sunlight but would need plenty of water. The leaves are dark green with golden hues to them and covered with reddish-pink spots.

9. Watermelon Unakite Aglaonema: This spectacular plant is prized for its attractive appearance with pink leaves sprinkled with green spots. These are a new addition to the indoor gardening scene, and they’re still a rarity in most homes and offices.

silver bay aglaonema

10. Silver Bay Aglaonema: It has an extensive leave with silver stripes on them. Its leaves are the largest of the Aglaonema plant family.

The plant itself grows small at about 12–18 inches tall with a moderate growth rate. These smaller desktop plants can reach maturity at about a year old.

How to take care of Aglaonema

When you’re growing Aglaonema, it’s one of the easiest indoor plants to grow as it’s undemanding and adaptable to many different environments.

The only thing this plant won’t stand for is being ignored. The more attention it gets, the healthier and happier it will grow.

Here are some common plant care tips.

Is loam soil good for Aglaonema?

Some Aglaonema varieties prefer heavy, loamy soil, while others don’t. Loamy soil contains a mixture of sand, clay, and humus concentration in the ground.

Loam is generally a good choice for Aglaonema plants, and it’s best to plant them in moist soil that is slightly on the acidic side, with a pH between 5.5 and 6.5.

The fresh loamy soil also helps with better aeration to the root by allowing air to reach the bottom layer of soil. This prevents root rot and keeps the plant healthy.

How often do you water Aglaonema?

The watering frequency will vary depending on the size of the plant, the type of soil you use, and the weather. You have to let the soil dry out between watering, and overwatering will cause the plant root to rot.

You don’t want the ground to become waterlogged, but don’t let it completely dry out either. You may have to frequently water through the growing seasons from spring through summer and taper off in winter.

When you water Aglaonema, you want to water the entire root system, not just the top few inches of soil visible to you. It’s vital to maintain proper humidity levels indoors. 

You can use a watering can to irrigate the plant. If you’re not sure when to water, touch the soil with a finger or use a soil probe to find out if it’s dry.

The top few inches of soil should be dry, and a couple of inches below the surface of the ground should be moist. If that’s not the case, you can water it again to increase the soil moisture and humidity inside.

Do Chinese evergreens need sunlight?

Chinese evergreen plants are often kept indoors. It’s easy to assume that they only need artificial light conditions from lamps and never need to be exposed to sunlight.

Depending on the Aglaonema variety, Chinese evergreen can be grown in low light conditions or near-shade conditions. But the variegated type, such as Watermelon Unakite, and White Calcite, require bright light for colorful foliage.

You should also not expose plants to bright direct sunlight either. You should place it at a location where the temperature doesn’t go below 60°F.

The ideal room temperature to grow Chinese evergreen is between 70°F and 72°F (21°C–22°C). At the same time, the hardier variety, such as White calcite, can tolerate between 50°F and 55°F (10°C–13°C). Bring it indoors if the night-time temperature drops below freezing.

While too much sunlight can damage the plant, it should receive enough indirect sunlight to develop the deep green coloring that makes them so attractive.

You should regularly dust off any dirt from leaves to optimize the photosynthesis process in a lower insufficient light condition.

How often does Aglaonema need to be repotted?

There are several reasons why you should consider repotting. The common plant care reasons include the size of your plant that has grown beyond the container size, the roots have reached the edges of the container, or the plant isn’t getting enough nutrients.

For a small indoor desk Aglaonema plant, you can repot it every 12 to 18 months in a larger vessel. This allows enough space for the roots to grow as the plant matures.

The best time for repotting Chinese evergreen is during spring and summer. We recommend choosing a vessel with at least 2 to 4 inches in diameter to compensate for the growth.

You can also change the soil with a new potting mix and trim the growth if you want to keep it the same size as the plant. While repotting, ensure the roots aren’t crowding the container’s drain hole, causing the water not to drain properly.

slow release granule fertilizer

How often should you fertilize the Aglaonema plant?

You need to occasionally fertilize the Aglaonema plant with a liquid or slow-release fertilizer once every 6 to 8 weeks for proper plant care. Some experts recommend fertilizing it once before starting the growing season and then only at the end of the growing season.

We have found the best way to fertilize Aglaonema is by using Miracle-Grow plant food. You can follow package instructions by putting one teaspoon of fertilizer in a gallon of water and mixing it thoroughly. Then, pour the solution into a watering can and water the plant, avoiding getting the leaves wet.

Can you propagate Aglaonema from a leaf?

It’s challenging to propagate Aglaonema from a leaf cutting, unlike some other plants. But you can quickly propagate it through stem cutting or root division.

For example, if you’re propagating it through stem cutting, cut 5–10 inches stem from a healthy Aglaonema plant.

Remove the bottom leaves and the leaf at the top of the stem leaving five to six leaves. You can apply rooting hormone at the base node and plant it in a well-drained potting mix that has appropriate humidity levels.

You can place the pot to get indirect sunlight where the new shoots and healthy root growth start emerging in about 30 to 45 days.

Propagation through root cutting is another relatively simple process that anyone with little gardening experience can perform. Use a clean, sanitized cutting scissor, split the small plant with roots from the mother plant, and plant it in potting soil.

You then place the new propagation in indirect sunlight, where the new plant quickly takes hold and grows new roots in 10 to 14 days. If you find the plant to be flowering, you should remove it to encourage lush foliage growth.

What to do when Aglaonema leaves start dropping?

If you have noticed that your Aglaonema plant leaves are starting to drop, there are primarily three likely causes. It could be either due to overwatering, infection with pest or disease, or transplant shock.

The overwatering Aglaonema is the most common reason. Many people are often overwater than underwater their plant that causes the root rot.

Excessive moisture level in the soil causes the stalks to retain excess water, resulting in damage to the plant. You should let the soil get completely dry before you water it again.

You should also inspect the plant closely for any pest or disease. However, it’s pretty resistant to most types of infestation, such as scales, spider mites, and mealybugs that often cause damage to the plant. You can treat any infestation by manually removing these pests or applying organic insecticides such as neem oil.

If you find the leaves are dropping as you have recently repotted it or transplanted it outdoor. It’s natural for plants to take some time to adapt to a new environment. You should prune and remove any unsightly leaves and follow the regular care instructions.

Is Aglaonema poisonous to dogs and cats?

Aglaonema belongs to the Araceae plant family, which is considered toxic due to calcium oxalate crystals inside. If chewed by pets such as dogs and cats, it can cause a toxic reaction. This reaction may be severe enough to cause death if not treated quickly.

However, it’s not very likely for your pet to be interested in chewing these plants. As they taste very bitter and pets need to consume them in large quantities to get poisoned.

You should pay attention to your pet as common poisoning symptoms such as excessive drooling, nausea, difficulty breathing, convulsions, and diarrhea. You should bring your sick pet to the vet when you see these symptoms.

chinese evergreen varieties and care

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