Chinese evergreen or aglaonema which is a colorful favorite in households of Asian countries, grows easily indoors and requires minimum care. aglaonema is a luck bringing ornamental plant, definitely a wise choice for your office window as well.
Aglaonema has been a popular indoor plant choice for many years because its decorative and air cleaning properties. According to a study based on NASA shows that Chinese evergreen can remove harmful particles and gases like Methane, Formaldehyde and Carbon mono oxide from the air very effectively.
This plant also emits Oxygen to surrounding environment.
- SCIENTIFIC NAME ARACEAE
- COMMON NAME CHINESE EVERGREEN, PHILIPPINE EVERGREEN, RED AGLAONEMA
- TEMPERATURE 65 TO 80 DEGREE FAHRENHEIT OR ABOVE 16 DEGREE CELSIUS
- LIGHT SHADE OR INDIRECT SUNLIGHT
- WATERING MODERATE
- HUMIDITY MODERATE TO HIGH
- PRUNING TO PREVENT EXCESS GROWTH WHEN REQUIRES
- REPOTTING AT LEAST 2 YEARS
- TOXIC TO CATS AND DOGS
- PESTS MOSTLY RESISTANT TO PEST
All aglaonema varieties like silver queen, red lipstick, modestum and almost other 30 to 40 species are easy to care. make them excellent choice for indoor ornamental air filter plants.
Care for Chinese evergreen or Aglaonema
Temperature and light
Aglaonema grows well in the temperature above 20 degree Celsius or 65 degrees F. Below this temperature plant starts to show changes due to excess cold. Keep the plant in a warm place of house but away from air conditioners and heaters.
Chinese Evergreen is an indoor plant which requires minimum light to thrive though some colorful varieties can grow well in low light , darker color foliage plant require almost no light.
Aglaonema plants can not cope with direct sunlight so always put them in your house or office where there is indirect light. If put them outside then place under some big plant or tree so plant get enough shade.
Keep aglaonema plant in sunlight once in fifteen days for sometime and then again put them back in shade.
Water and Humidity
Your colorful Chinese evergreen will be tolerant of low water conditions but should never be left completely dry for longer period of time. Just to remember don’t let your pot soil dry more than the 20 percent or 2 inches of top layer. Pour water slowly to the roots of the plant once in a week.
Aglaonema do like a bit of humidity. At least 50 % humid environment works ideal for the growth of plant though 30 to 40% humidity also helps growing it.
Also mist a little water on the leaves of aglaonema plant to increase the humidity level .
Soil should be loose, aerated and not tightly packed. Soil that contains peat and perlite is good choice for growing aglaonema in pots. soil must hold little water within but it can drain off excess water at the time because if extra water remains for longer time it may damage the plant roots.
Slightly acidic pH 5.6 to 6.5 and Nitrogen rich soil is recommended for aglaonema plants to grow indoors.
Nitrogen fertilizer is good for foliage development but houseplant fertilizer has salt in it which is quite visible at the top layer of soil. Instead of this you can use half strength liquid houseplant fertilizer in every 30 to 40 days. Remember there is no requirement of fertilizer during winter season.
Propagation of aglaonema plant can be done by tip cutting,seeds or by division.
For home gardener, division of plant is the easiest method. 5 leaves of Plant are separated from the main plant along with roots and sow this bunch in some new container, place it under the place where sunlight is not direct. Newly sown plant begins to make its roots as early as in 7 days.
Another method of propagation of aglaonema is through stem cutting, cut the stem which has 5 to 6 leaves on it with clean cutter and plant it to the new pot and keep the pot under indirect sunlight. New branches of plant will come out in one to two months .
Aglaonema plant should be repotted in new soil once in two years. Make sure the pot you select for repotting should be big enough to hold the plant properly.
First fill half of the new pot with fresh soil ,then gently take out the plant to be repotted with its roots intact with some soil and place it in the new pot. Fill the pot again with soil and then water it. You can also use fertilizer for 4 weeks for better growth of repotted plant.
Dull looking ,yellow or brown foliage which are physically damaged should be removed. These leaves need to be cut from the point they grow. pruning will help plant to produce new healthy foliage.
The leaves begins to grow from crown so don’t cut them below the damaged part just to avoid withering of plant.
Also aglaonema flowers do not seem to be very attractive and they take the energy of plants which can be used for foliage production. Cut off the flower buds before they bloom into flower.
Common pests are mealybugs which are mostly attach on leathery leaves and take plant sap which in turn cause plant damage.
Other are spider mites and aphids all these can be avoided by some organic pesticides.
What are the problems in growing aglaonema
- Common problem is becoming leaves yellow due to over watering or if plant is in direct sunlight.
Aglaonema likes to grow in lightly moist soil but it should not be wet.
- Sometimes foliage turn yellow due to copper deficiency so fertilize them time to time at least once in a month.
- If tips of leaves become brown this is because of salt deposits like fluoride chlorine over the soil due to use of tap water.
- For removing salt from the soil surface, drain the salted soil part from the drain holes or use distilled water.
Tips for using aglaonema as indoor plant
- Choose 2 to 3 pots , 10 to 12 inch size per square foot of room.
- Always make sure to clean the plant leaves with a wet cotton cloth just to bringing out its most air filtering qualities by removing dirt over the plant leaves.
- Aglaonema plant can be toxic to the small children and pets so always place it at a safer place of your house, out of reach to the children and pets.