Aglaonema Plant Care

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Aglaonema sparkling sarah red pink leaves zoomed in close up picture

Aglaonema or Chinese Evergreen plant is an evergreen perennial (lives more than 2 years) that are found in humid, tropical forests under the shade of larger trees. That means their needs are indirect sunlight, less watering requirements and a humid environment. Aglaonemas are very hardy plants and perfect for beginner gardeners. You will find them in hotel lobbies and offices.

 

If you read this article completely,  you will be an expert in Aglaonema plant care, how to grow and propagate, what Soil to use, Repotting, Pruning and how much Water, Sunlight and Fertilizer is needed. You will know the best and most recommended ways to care for your Aglaonema plant.

Aglaonema General Info

  • Origin: tropical & subtropical Asia and New Guinea
  • Genus: Aglaonema
  • Common Names: Chinese evergreens
  • 👪Family: Araceae
  • 🌼Flowers: Yes, not attractive though. Can get rid of it or use it for propagation.
  • 🍃Leaf Colors
  • 🌵Climate: humid, tropical
  • 🌡️Temperature: 68° F to 86° F (20° C to 30° C), humidity at around 50%
  • 🌼Growing season: spring through summer
  • 💧Watering: Let the top soil dry out completely before watering
  • ☀️Light: indirect sunlight
  • 🐛Pests: Mealy bugs, snails, slugs
  • ☠️Toxicity: Toxic if ingested
  • Propagation🌱: Stem cuttings, dividing roots, flower seeds
  • Height📏: 3ft x 3ft
  • Soil: Garden Soil + Coco Peat + Compost + River Sand
  • Fertilizer: liquid fertilizer, fish/seaweed or slow release once a month during growing season

Plant Care Problems

 

Aglaonema Problems

Reason and Solution

Leaves turning yellow

Underwatering. You are watering the plant very late or not watering at all.

Leaves turning brown

Too much direct Sunlight

Dry Leaves

You are in a dry climate with low humidity. Frequently mist the leaves of your plant. If you are misting and leaves are still dry, air drafts might be the issue. Keep it away from air vents.

New leaves yellow and distorted shape

Copper deficiency. Use fertilizer that has copper in it.

Spots on the leaves with a yellow rim and black fruiting structures in the middle

Anthracnose disease. Avoid watering the plant from the top and getting the leaves wet.

How to water💧

Let the soil dry out completely before watering. Don’t let the soil get too dry, or the leaves start turning yellow. The frequency of watering aglaonema depends on what kind of soil it has. If it is peat-based soil, it will retain some moisture so water it less frequently. On the contrary, if it is in a free draining soil, you may need to water more frequently.

 

The best way to know when to water Aglaonema is to do the classic finger test where you stick your finger and see if 1-2 inches of the topsoil has dried out completely before giving it more water. If it's still moist, don't water it.

 

Aglonemas in its natural environment remains in shade under larger trees in a forest and as it stays indoors as a houseplant, it is again in a shaded area where there is not much sun so it does not require frequent watering. The soil mix for aglaonema (peat-based) retains moisture for long which further reduces its watering needs.

 

Sunlight Requirements ☀️

Most Aglaonema varieties and cultivars require about 4 hours of indirect sunlight, especially those with variegated leaves. Aglaonemas can tolerate very low light conditions but they won’t grow fast and will lose some variegation. Never give any variety of Aglonemas direct sunlight, otherwise their leaves will burn.

 

Aglaonemas with green variegation like silver bay and cut glass varieties can stay in darker spaces with very low light. Aglaonemas with pink or red variegation like sparkling sarah, red aglaonema (wishes), emerald holiday and tropical passion varieties require some bright light to maintain its variegation

Soil

Aglaonema needs following properties in its soil

  • Slightly Acidic (5.6 to 6.5 pH)
  • Nitrogen rich (for foliage)
  • well-draining

 

Keeping the above properties in mind, the best recommended soil mix for aglaonema is a mixture of coco peat, perlite or bark.

 

Garden Soil + Coco Peat + Compost + River Sand

Fertilizer

Aglonemas don’t require much food. Use a liquid fertilizer, fish/seaweed emulsion, or slow release fertilizer (cow dung for vermicompost) once or twice in the growing season (spring through summer).

 

If you are not growing Aglaonemas in light, then there is a chance that you may over fertilize your plant. If you are giving them well-lit conditions and they seem to be growing well, then fertilizing on a monthly basis during the growing season, a 2-1-1 or a 1-1-1 will do. If you are using a synthetic fertilizer, a 20-10-10 NPK is recommended. A little bit more on the nitrogen side for the NPK because you are primarily growing your aglaonema for leaves. 

Repotting

Aglaonemas being slow growers don’t require much repotting. You can re-pot your aglaonema when you start seeing roots emerging out of your pot holes and it starts to get root bound.

How to Prune✂️

You can prune aglaonema from time to time to get rid of the leaves that have turned yellow by following the leaf to its base and cutting it as close to the base as possible. You can also let the yellow leaves dry out and gently pluck them. To maintain its beauty and keep it aesthetically pleasing, remove any dead leaves and infected leaves when you see them.

How to Propagate🌱

Propagation by Cuttings

  1. Cut a 5-6 inch long stem of the Aglaonema plant.
  2. Remove any leaves at the bottom of the cutting
  3. Place the cutting in water.
  4. Once the roots have developed, transfer the plant into a new pot with soil.

Propagation by Dividing the root

  1. Take the plant out of the pot and untangle its roots, removing the soil.
  2. Divide the roots by holding the two stems and using pruners to cut the underneath roots off or just rip the two stems off. You will need about 3-5 leaves per stem.
  3. Pot the divided roots in soil or water.

Propagation by Seeds

The female flowers are on the base of the spadix and male flowers are on the top portion of the spadix. The fruit that Aglaonemas bears resembles a red berry that holds one seed. If you get these seeds, you can try to germinate them and grow an aglaonema from a seed.

Temperature and Humidity 🌡️

  • Ideal temperature is between 68° F to 86° F (20° C to 30° C). Aglaonemas can’t withstand anything under 13° C.
  • Aglaonemas are native to tropical regions which means they love humidity at around 50%. Dry areas with low humidity makes the aglaonema leaves dry. Regular misting is recommended if you live in a dry climate.
  • Aglaonemas do not like air drafts because that makes their leaves dry up and yellow. So don’t keep it near a door or AC vents or in front of a fan.

How fast does Aglaonema grow

As aglaonemas are perennial plants, they grow for years but they grow very slowly. Summer is their growing season where they show some growth, and they netflix-n-chill during the winters with no 

Pests 🐛and Diseases🦠

  • Mealy bugs, snails, slugs. You can easily get rid of these pests and diseases.
  • Pythium root rot is caused due to overwatering.
  • Fusarium stem rot is caused due to dry soil and high temperatures.
  • Myrothecium and colletotrichum are two other diseases in aglaonema that cause leaf spots. If that happens, reduce the amount of nitrogen in your fertilizer. So if you are using a fertilizer that is high in nitrogen, stop using that right away. Avoid wetting the infected leaves or prune them.
  • Anthracnose is a disease that causes spots on the leaves with a yellow rim and black fruiting structures in the middle. If you see such spots, avoid watering the plant from the top and getting the leaves wet.

Aglaonema Toxicity☠️

  • Aglaonema contains calcium oxalate which can cause irritation to the skin or when ingested.
  • Keep the Aglaonema away from kids and cats/dogs/ pets.

Flowering🌼

Aglaonemas belongs to the same family as spathiphyllum, anthurium and philodendron, so they have that iconic inflorescence that has that spike known as spadix and a hood known as a spathe. The flower of Aglaonema is not the most attractive thing to keep so mostly we cut them off largely because it takes so much energy away from the leaves which is, in fact, the most attractive thing about Aglaonemas.

Types of Aglaonema plants

 

  1. Sparkling Sarah

Green leaves with pink veins

  1. Cut Glass

Green leaves with light green variegation

  1. Emerald Holiday

Green leaves with light green variegation and pink central vein

  1. Silver Bay

Dark green leaves with silver-green variegation

  1. Tigress

  2. Wishes (red aglaonema)

Reddish splash of colors on green leaves.

  1. Tropic Passion

Red veins with light green and yellow leaves.

Things to check before buying Aglaonema Plant

Look for the following attributes when buying your plant.

 

  • Look out for a plant that displays sharp colors rather than dull variegation.
  • Since aglaonemas are very slow in growth, if you are hoping for a bigger sized aglaonema, it might be better to just purchase a bigger size rather than buying a small sized plant and waiting for it to grow.
  • Check the stem for stem rot.
  • Check the leaf and if it has a lot of spots, it has Myrothecium or colletotrichum disease. Don’t buy it.
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