How to Care for Aglaonema Plants

How to Care for Chinese evergreen Plants

Chinese evergreen plants are undergoing a resurgence of popularity. This is partially due to their ability to survive as a low light plant and their bright colorful leaves. The main reason for the uptick in popularity is that houseplant parents are realizing just how easy to care for Chinese Evergreen Plants really are.

Chinese Evergreens or Aglaonemas are a wonderful addition to just about any indoor space. In offices, Aglaonemas thrive in the low fluorescent light and blend well into open floor plans due to their thin upright growth habits. In homes and apartments where bright natural light is often at a premium Chinese Evergreens can be grown on tables or nightstands away from windows.

Light Requirements of Aglaonema Plants:

Aglaonema Plants will do best in a well-lit area near al window with western or eastern exposure. Bright indirect light is best but never place your Chinese Evergreens in front of a south-facing window. The bright sun will cause the leaves to burn.

Aglaonemas tolerate and even thrive, in low light areas such as bathrooms and bedrooms. In offices, artificial or fluorescent is enough for Aglaonemas to do well.

How to Water a Chinese evergreen Plant:

Chinese Evergreens prefer to stay moist but not soaking wet. When you water, be sure to thoroughly water the plant and allow the pot to drain. Overwatering will cause the plant to develop yellow leaves and can cause root rot. Always allow the soil to dry out between watering. Allowing the plants to dry out periodically helps to prevent root rot.

In the spring and summer months, Aglaonemas use more water than in the fall and winter so they will need more frequent watering. If you place your potted plant on a saucer its a good idea to place a layer of pebbles on the saucer to allow the plant to not sit in water as the pot drains.

Chinese Evergreens are closely related to peace lily and will begin to show signs of needing water just like the peace lily. The leaves will begin to wilt. Simply watering the plant will quickly reverse this condition.

Humidity levels for Chinese Evergreens:

Having a saucer under the pot is a good way to raise the humidity level of the air around the plant. Any water that drains after watering will slowly dissipate into the air and maintain the high humidity level around the plant.

Misting these plants every few days with a spray bottle during the winter when indoor air is very dry will also help to keep the air surrounding the plant humid. Dry air is more common in homes with forced air heat.

Optimum temperatures for Aglaonema Plants:

Aglaonemas are no different than any other houseplant. Temperatures in the range of 60 to 70 degrees during the winter months are best. Keep your Chinese Evergreen plants away from heat vents or areas where cold drafts are present.

Feeding Aglaonema Plants:

Feed your Aglaonemas once a month during the spring and summer months using a well-balanced plant food designed to give indoor plants the best mix of major and micronutrients. There are two different methods of feeding indoor plants:

  1. Use a water-soluble fertilizer such as Jacks' Classic Houseplant Special Fertilizer. This is dissolved in water and easily applied during regular watering.
  2. A timed-release fertilizer such as Osmocote Indoor / Outdoor Fertilizer. Simply sprinkle the "prills" at the recommended rate over the surface of the soil and each time you water small doses of fertilizer will be released.

When it comes to feeding indoor houseplants remember to follow the recommended application rates given on the container. More is not better with fertilizer. High rates of fertilizer can cause burning of the roots and leaves and once this occurs it is difficult to undo.

Common Problems of Chinese Evergreens:

  • Brown tips on the leaves of Chinese evergreen Plants: This can be caused by a variety of conditions. More often than not it is caused by high salt levels in treated tap water. Water softeners or municipal water treatments often are the cause of this. If you live in areas where this is done it's a good idea to "clear water" your indoor plants once a month with bottled spring water. Water well and allow the water to drain from the pot into the sink every 60 to 90 days. This leaches the salts from the soil and you can return to tap water. Over-fertilization can also cause this condition. "Tipping" is more noticeable on lighter colored plants such as Aglaonema Silver Bay or Silver Queen.
  • Root Rot: As mentioned earlier overwatering can cause root rot. A sure sign of this happening is the leaves appear to be wilted even though the soil is moist. If this happens to your plant it can be reversed by simply allowing the plant to dry out for longer periods of time between watering. This can also be caused by allowing the pot to sit submerged in water for long periods of time after watering.
  • Spider Mites on Chinese evergreen Plants: Very few insects are a problem with Chinese Evergreens. Spider mites can be a problem. These will be easy to notice by their webs that will form at the bases of the leaves and on the undersides of the leaves. Spider mites do take time to eliminate and this is due to having two life stages present. Adults and eggs will be present. Up to three applications of control products will be needed to completely eliminate the pests. A good organic control is an Insecticidal soap by Bonide. Its safe for use inside and can be used repeatedly with no harm to the plant.