How to Grow: Chinese Evergreen

Krzysztof Ziarnek, Kenraiz

Sun Requirements
Chinese evergreens (Aglaonema) grows best in medium light, but tolerates low light conditions. If growing the colorful leaf varieties, grow plants in a room with brighter light. In general, the darker the leaves and stalks, the less light is needed.

Bloom Period and Plant Shape
Chinese evergreens are not grown for their small flowers the plant produces in the tropical outdoors. Those don’t usually appear when it’s grown as a houseplant. It’s mostly grown for the large, lush green and silver leaves, or multi-colored leaves depending on the selection. The plant grows in an upright, bush-like shape indoors.

Mature Height x Spread
Chinese evergreen plants can grow to 3 feet tall indoors but many selections grow shorter.

How to Plant
Plant Chinese evergreen plants in pots filled with well-drained potting soil. Keep the air temperatures above 65F for best growth and avoid cold drafts in winter. If leaves curl with brown edges the temperature is probably too low.

Growing Tips
The Chinese evergreen plant is native to tropical areas in Asia. They are very easy to grow. Mostly the green and green and silver streaked leaf types have used as houseplant for years. Recently, more colorful varieties have come on the market, making this a much more attractive houseplant in the home.

Water Chinese evergreen plants to keep the soil always moist. Cut back on watering in winter. The plants are very forgiving of drying out. Give plants an occasional shower to clean off the leaves. Fertilize once or twice during the summer. Chinese evergreens don’t require much fertility.

Spider mites and mealy bugs might be a problem in dry homes in winter. Place the plant in a drainage tray filled with pebbles and water to increase the humidity and discourage the spider mites. Dab mealy bugs with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol to kill them.

Design Tips:
Chinese evergreen plants are easy to grow, adaptable houseplants. Small plants are great for table and countertops. Larger plants grow well as floor plants.

Varieties:
There are many variations of the Chinese evergreen plant available for sale. ‘Cecelia’ has silver and green leaves with dark green speckles. ‘Golden Bay’ has green leaves with creamy white centers and silver edging.  ‘Red Gold’ has a mix of red, yellow, green and cream colored leaves.

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