The Chinese evergreen is the common name used for a collection of houseplants from the Aglaonema genus – which tend to tolerate low light conditions very well.
Botanical name Aglaonemas will produce flowers (these are not very showy), but they’re grown primarily for attractive leathery leaves.
Chinese Evergreen Care
|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.|
|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 medium or any other well-draining potting mix.|
|Fertilizer:||From spring until the end of summer, they like to be fed with diluted liquid fertilizer.|
|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 show some roots through the bottom of the pot.|
|Humidity:||Average to high humidity is needed. Increasing the humidity levels of a room “especially if the room has artificial heating” will improve the plant’s growth and prevent leaves from becoming dry and shrilling up. This can be done by spraying or a pebble tray.|
|Propagation:||These are best propagated by dividing the root with a few stalks and leaves attached during the growing season of spring and summer. Stem cuttings may also be used.|
|Insects:||Over the years mealy bugs have proven to be attracted to this plant and cause problems. Red spider mites have also been known to cause problems.|
Chinese Evergreen Plant Description
There are many hybrid and cultivars of the Chinese evergreen plants available that have been cultivated over the last century. This is because of their increasing popularity for indoor growers to use them as ornamental houseplants for room decoration.
These slow-growing plant varieties include plain green, speckled, blotched, and variegated types. One of the most popular and sought-after is the Silver Queen. It has leaves covered in silver mainly with some small green patches.
The leaves are lined (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 that can look similar to a yucca or dracaena, in the way the lower leaves come away and leave scared marks.
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.
Wherever these are grown indoors they need to be provided with enough warmth. This is why many are grown in greenhouses or patios.
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 dark green leaves and not the variegated types that will tolerate low light.
Chinese Evergreen Plant 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.|
|Poisonous for pets:||Toxic to cats, dogs, and horses.|
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, simply take cuttings from the plant and place them in water with access to sunlight – a windowsill is great for this. Once your roots begin to grow, you can repot them and care for them like you did your other one!
Root rot is a sign of overwatering, so be sure to look out for a rotting smell or moldy soil.
It has been known to get Leaf Spot, a fungal disease that can cause holes, brown spots, or discoloration on the leaves. You can use a copper fungicide to get rid of it, just be sure to follow instructions and make sure the treatment you use is specifically safe for Chinese Evergreens, as the leaves can be quite delicate.
If you notice damaged leaves with curling, yellowing, browning, or small holes this could also be a sign that pests have arrived. Look out for mealybugs, scale, spider mites, and aphids. You can get rid of these by wiping the leaves with rubbing alcohol. Also, be aware of fungus gnats during the summer months. These are harmless, but annoying to have in your house!
The Chinese Evergreen is the perfect statement piece if you want to decorate your space and add a little life to it. Its striking leaves and unique aesthetic are guaranteed to impress your guests.
While they do grow flowers, they aren’t overly impressive, so the main attraction is the leaves. They come in different varieties, so you can choose either plain green, speckled, silver queen, blotched, or variegated looks. All of these are slow-growing and have the same care requirements, so it’s just up to you which one stands out!
These plants aren’t fussy at all with their care requirements, but one thing you need to get right is the temperature! Originating from the tropics and subtropics of Asia, they rely on warm temperatures, that is, anything above 60°F, to grow. Greenhouses or conservatories are perfect for the Chinese Evergreen, but don’t worry if you don’t have one of these! The plant can withstand low-lighting conditions, so if you have a warm room that doesn’t get much light, this can also home the Chinese Evergreen nicely.
The Chinese Evergreen can tolerate minimal water, poor light, and dry air, so it’s a great plant for beginners or for those with busy schedules. However, to make sure it’s as healthy as possible, it’s a good idea to keep the top layer of soil moist during the summer months and you can give them fertilizer once or twice a year to boost growth.
Elyssa Goins is an experienced house plant hobbyist who maintains over a hundred plants. She is a gardener, beekeeper, and a proud mother of four. She is a member of the American Horticultural Society, has been published in a Scientific Journal, and loves to talk about her love of plants. For the past twenty years, she’s been all about growing and caring for various fruits, veggies, herbs, livestock, kids, and houseplants. Managing a big garden to feed four growing kids and raising dairy goats has taught her so much about being an excellent plant parent and now is her time to share with you.