Growing Chinese Evergreen

Picture of the Chinese evergreen

The Chinese evergreen is the common name used for a collection of plants from the Aglaonema genus - which tend to tolerate low light conditions very well.

Aglaonemas will produce flowers (these are not very showy), but they're grown primarily for the attractive leathery leaves.

Facts

Origin: Tropics and subtropics of Asia.
Names:Chinese evergreen (common). -- A. commutatum, A modestum, A pictum and others. (botanical/scientific).
Max Growth (approx): Height 3ft.

Description

Algaonema picture

There are many hybrid varieties of the Chinese evergreen available which have been cultivated over the last century. This is because of their increasing popularity for indoor growers to use them as ornamental plants for room decoration.

These slow growing plant varieties includes, plain green, speckled, blotched and variegated types. One of the most popular and sought after is the silver queen which has leaves covered in silver mainly with some small green patches.

Foliage: The leaves are liner (elongated with parallel sides) or oval shaped which grow at the tip of the stalks. These leaves grow up to 30cm in length and about 5 - 8cm wide. An old mature plant will form a short trunk which can look similar to a yucca or dracaena, in the way the lower leaves come away and leave scared marks.

Flowering: During summer once the plant matures in growth and age it can produce very small flowers which then turn into berries. If these do appear they grow between the leaves and are quite insignificant.

Displaying: Wherever these are grown indoors they need to be provided with enough warmth. This is why many are grown in greenhouses or patios.

Caring: The level of care needed for this plant is quite moderate. The most important requirement is that they don’t reside in temperatures below 60ºF (15ºC). The good news is they can tolerate low lighting conditions, although I have seen it mentioned that it is only the all-green and not the variegated types that will tolerate low light.

Chinese Evergreen Care Instructions

  • Temperature: Temperatures between 65-80 ºF (18-27 ºC) are ideal. Lower than 60ºF (15ºC) is not healthy for this plant and can cause dark patches on the leaves. If the leaves begin to curl and the edges turn brown the temperature is probably too low or cold drafts may be affecting the plant.

  • insect picture

    Insects: Over the years mealy bug have proven to be attracted to this plant and cause problems. Red spider mite have also been known to cause problems.

  • Light: The most common advice I have been given for the Aglaonema is the darker the leaves and stalks, the less light is needed. I would say to be safe a bright room with the plant sitting in a shaded spot is best. Avoid direct sunlight.

  • Watering: Keep the soil moist at all times. Water less in the winter

  • Soil: A peat based potting soil mixed with part perlite or sand to improve drainage is ideal or any other well draining potting mix.

  • Fertilizer: From spring until the and of summer they like to be fed with a diluted liquid fertilizer.

  • spray bottle picture

    Misting: To improve humidity mist the leaves frequently with fine tepid water.

  • Re-Potting: Re-pot once every two or three years during spring. They like to become slightly root bound - so don’t worry if they seem to showing some roots through the bottom of the pot.

  • Humidity: Average to high room humidity is needed. Increasing the humidity levels of a room "especially if the room has artificial heating" will improve the plants growth and prevent leaves from becoming dry and shrilling up.

  • Propagation: These are best propagated by dividing the root with a few stalks and leaves attached during spring and summer.

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Flowering

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Unusual

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Cacti

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