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How to Grow and Care for Aglaonema (Chinese Evergreen)

How to Grow and Care for Aglaonema (Chinese Evergreen)

Green plants are beautiful, but sometimes we crave brighter colors and bold patterns. The Aglaonema plant, also known as Chinese periwinkle, offers both. This compact, easy-to-grow houseplant is loved for its vibrant colors and patterns, ranging from jungle green, pink, red, silver, and yellow to stripes, speckles, and gradients. So if your space needs a little pop of color, Aglaonema is the plant for you.

Aside from the spectacular looks of these plants, Aglaonema is also easygoing, compact and most importantly great at communicating their needs, making them an ideal choice for new plant parents. It’s also generally slow-growing, meaning you’ll only need to repot it every three years or so. However, you need to be extra careful with placement as Aglaonema is poisonous to both humans and pets.

plant care
Keep the soil of your Aglaonema plant only slightly moist – but not wet – and avoid letting the soil dry out completely. In general, it will need more frequent watering in spring and summer and less watering in winter, so check soil moisture regularly.

About every four months, feed your Aglaonema houseplant fertilizer diluted by half. If your plant’s pot is overcrowded, transplant it to a larger container with fresh soil. This is best done in spring or summer when the plant is actively growing.

Best growing conditions for Aglaonema
Many of our favorite houseplants need as much light as possible, but Aglaonema plants are pretty flexible in that regard. In particular, green species of Aglaonema tolerate conditions with lower light levels well. For richly colored species, however, bright, shadowless light is ideal – such as from a north-facing window, which offers the faintest light compared to windows with other exposures.

Pot your Aglaonema in regular potting soil. Like pothos and sweetheart philodendron, Aglaonema can also be grown in a clear water container. When using this method, add some charcoal to the water and fertilize the plant once a month with just a drop of houseplant fertilizer.

Your plant will tell you when it’s getting too dry by drooping its leaves. They should perk up shortly after watering. If your plant’s leaves are turning yellow or its stems feel mushy, it’s a sign that the plant is getting too much water.

Types of Aglaonema
There are more than 100 species of Aglaonema to choose from. Varieties such as ‘Red Peacock’, ‘George’s Ruby’ and ‘Harlequin’ have splashes of pink and yellow, while ‘Anyanmanee’ has light pink leaves mottled and bordered with some green.

Sometimes called Philippine periwinkle, the green-tinged Aglaonema offers a lush, jungle-like feel along with more muted — but no less attractive — colors and patterns. ‘Black Lance’, a larger cultivar, features long, pointed leaves with pale silver and deep green hues, while the pale green and white stripes on A. modetum and ‘Brilliant’ are reminiscent of the coloring of some Calathea species.

How to spread Aglaonema
Aglaonema is very easy to propagate from cuttings in water or in the ground. For best results, propagate during the warm growing season. Here’s how:

Step 1: Identify a healthy shoot on the mother plant that you can remove for your trimming. The shoot should have at least five leaves and be at least 6 cm long. Both newer and older shoots can be used for propagation.

Step 2: Using a clean, sharp blade or pruning shears, make a diagonal cut in the stem of the shoot just below a leaf node. Cut off a few lower leaves from the cutting.

Step 3: If using the water method, fill a glass or jar with water large enough to submerge the leaf nodes (but not the remaining leaves) and place the cutting in the water.

Step 4: If using the soil method, fill a small planter with well-drained potting soil. Moisten the soil, poke a hole a few inches deep with your finger or a pencil, and plant the cutting in the soil. Gently pat the soil around the base of the cutting to secure it.

Step 5: Place your cuttings in a warm spot with bright, indirect light. If using the water method, change the water when it becomes cloudy. The plant should form new roots in four to six weeks. After that, care for the new plant as usual.