The Ultimate Care Guide for Aglaonema (Chinese Evergreen)

Aglaonema, also known as Chinese Evergreen, is a versatile and easy-to-grow houseplant that has gained popularity due to its stunning variety of leaf colors.

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the care tips, solutions to common problems, methods to revive your plant, and an introduction to the wide array of Aglaonema varieties available.

Aglaonema: An Overview

Aglaonema, scientifically known as Aglaonema commutatum, is native to humid and shady tropical forests in Asia. It is a slow-growing plant with several common names, including Chinese Evergreen, Philippine Evergreen, and Poison Dart Plant. This plant is highly adaptable to different light conditions and is considered one of the best plants for low-light environments.

In this guide, we will delve into the various aspects of Aglaonema care, including light, temperature, soil mix, watering, fertilizing, humidity requirements, propagation methods, common problems, and toxicity. Let’s get started!

Light Requirements for Aglaonema

Aglaonema is an incredibly versatile plant when it comes to light conditions. As a native of shady tropical forests, it can thrive even in low-light environments. It is perfectly happy in front of a Northern or Eastern exposure window, where it can receive indirect or morning sun.

However, it is important to avoid exposing the plant to full sun or direct midday sunlight. A couple of hours of morning or late afternoon sun is beneficial for the plant.

While Aglaonema prefers to be placed right in front of a window, it can also thrive a few feet away from a window. This adaptability is due to its natural habitat, where light is often limited on the jungle floor. These plants can even survive in office settings without windows, as long as there is fluorescent lighting during the day.

For optimal growth, consider using grow lights to provide sufficient light intensity. It is crucial to rotate your Aglaonema every week or two to ensure even growth and prevent the plant from leaning towards the light source.

It’s worth noting that highly variegated or colorful Aglaonema varieties require slightly more light than their darker green counterparts to maintain their vibrant colors. Insufficient light can cause the colors to fade and lose their appeal.

Temperature Considerations

Aglaonema plants are sensitive to cold temperatures and should be protected from drafts and cold rooms. The ideal temperature range for these plants is between 70-85°F (21-29°C). It is crucial to avoid exposing them to temperatures below 60°F (16°C) for extended periods, as this can lead to stunted growth and other health issues.

Additionally, keep your plants away from heating or cooling vents, drafty windows, and doors. If you live in a region with cold winters and have rooms that tend to be cooler, consider moving your plant to a warmer room to ensure its well-being. Remember, if you’re comfortable, your plant will be comfortable too.

Choosing the Right Soil Mix

Aglaonema thrives in a well-draining soil mix that provides adequate moisture retention. A recommended soil mix for Aglaonema is a combination of 3 parts Miracle Gro potting mix and 1 part perlite.

This blend ensures good drainage and aeration, which are essential for the plant’s root health. The Miracle Gro potting mix provides the necessary nutrients, while perlite improves the soil’s structure and prevents compaction. This standard soil mix works well for most tropical houseplants and promotes healthy growth.

Proper Watering Techniques

Watering is a critical aspect of Aglaonema care. It is important to ensure thorough watering to moisten the entire soil surface, allowing the excess water to drain out through the pot’s drainage holes.

Adequate drainage is crucial to prevent waterlogging, which can lead to root rot and other moisture-related issues. Allow the top 1-2 inches of soil to dry out before considering watering again. This drying period prevents overwatering and allows the roots to receive sufficient oxygen.

Avoid using moisture meters, as they can be unreliable and lead to incorrect watering practices. Instead, rely on the visual and tactile cues of the soil to determine when to water your plant. If you notice the soil has gone bone dry and water runs through it quickly without absorption, run water through the pot multiple times until the soil has rehydrated.

Alternatively, you can place the plant in a container of warm water, allowing it to absorb water from the bottom. After an hour or so, discard any excess water to prevent waterlogging.

Fertilizing for Optimal Growth

Fertilizing is essential for promoting healthy growth and foliage production in Aglaonema plants. A highly recommended fertilizer is Dyna-Gro Grow, a complete water-soluble houseplant fertilizer that contains the necessary macro and micronutrients for plant growth. With consistent use, alongside proper growing conditions, you will notice a significant difference in your plants’ overall health.

For most tropical foliage plants, including Aglaonema, it is beneficial to dilute Dyna-Gro Grow with every watering during the active growing season.

Add 1/4 teaspoon of the fertilizer per gallon of water to ensure proper nutrient supply. However, since Aglaonema is a relatively slow-growing plant, it may be best to fertilize every other watering to avoid overfertilization. Refrain from fertilizing during the winter months when the plant is not actively growing.

Maintaining Humidity Levels

Aglaonema plants are native to warm and humid regions, making them naturally suited to high humidity environments. However, they are also tolerant of average indoor humidity levels. Ideally, maintaining humidity levels between 40-60% is beneficial for the plant’s overall health.

You can increase humidity in your plant’s vicinity through various methods, such as using a humidifier or placing the plant on a pebble tray filled with water. Contrary to popular belief, misting the leaves does not significantly increase humidity.

If you choose to use a humidifier, ensure proper air circulation in the room, especially if you have multiple plants. This helps prevent fungal problems and promotes a healthy growing environment.

Propagation Methods for Aglaonema

There are a few ways to propagate Aglaonema plants, depending on their growth habits and your preferences. One method is to separate the plant’s stems if it has multiple stems growing from the pot. Carefully remove the plant from the pot and separate the rootball to obtain multiple plants that can be potted individually.

If your plant has become leggy, you can take stem cuttings and root them either in soil or water. To propagate using soil, make a cutting with 2-3 inches of stem and insert it into a 50/50 mix of soil and perlite.

Ensure the soil remains moist throughout the propagation process. Higher humidity levels can aid in successful rooting, but Aglaonema can root easily even without high humidity.

Another method is water propagation, where you root the cuttings in water before transferring them to soil. This process requires extra care when transitioning the rooted cuttings to soil, but with proper care, the plants can thrive.

For a more detailed guide on Aglaonema propagation, refer to our dedicated post on how to propagate Chinese Evergreen, which outlines five different propagation methods.

Explore the Variety of Aglaonema

One of the captivating aspects of Aglaonema is the vast array of varieties available, many of which exhibit striking and colorful variegation. These varieties add a vibrant touch to any indoor space. Here are some notable Aglaonema varieties:

  1. Aglaonema ‘Lady Valentine’: This variety features stunning pink leaves with green speckles, making it a highly sought-after plant.
  2. Aglaonema ‘Siam Aurora’: With heavily pink-edged leaves and pink veins, this variety showcases a beautiful combination of green and pink.
  3. Aglaonema ‘Sparkling Sarah’: The pink midrib and splashes of pink variegation make this variety a visually appealing choice.
  4. Aglaonema ‘Pictum Tricolor’: Considered the holy grail of Aglaonemas, this variety is known for its rarity and unique foliage. It requires extra care and attention to maintain its beautiful appearance.
  5. Aglaonema ‘Silver Queen’: This popular variety displays beautifully marbled leaves and is known for its ease of care.
  6. Aglaonema ‘Maria Christina’: Similar to ‘Silver Queen,’ this variety showcases different shades of green and less silver on its leaves. It is widely available and easy to care for.
  7. Aglaonema ‘Cutlass’: This variety stands out with its narrow leaves, adding a distinctive touch to any collection.
  8. Aglaonema ‘Snow White’: With abundant white variegation, this variety resembles Dieffenbachia and adds a unique aesthetic to your indoor space.
  9. Aglaonema ‘Emerald Beauty’: Known for its common availability, this variety features attractive green foliage with subtle variegation.

If you’re looking to purchase a special Aglaonema variety, consider browsing the selection available on Etsy. Etsy offers a wide range of Aglaonema plants, allowing you to find the perfect addition to your collection.

Common Aglaonema Problems and Solutions

Aglaonema plants, like any other houseplant, can encounter various issues. Understanding these problems and their solutions is crucial for maintaining the health and vitality of your plants. Here are some common issues you may encounter with your Aglaonema:

Curling, Limp, or Droopy Leaves

If your Aglaonema leaves appear curled, limp, or droopy, it is often an indication of improper soil moisture. In most cases, the soil has become completely dry.

To remedy this, thoroughly water your plant, ensuring the entire soil surface is moistened. Adequate watering will revive the leaves and prevent further issues. Remember to maintain a balance in soil moisture, avoiding both extreme dryness and prolonged wetness.

Yellowing Lower Leaves

Yellowing leaves on your Aglaonema can be a common occurrence, especially with older leaves. However, if multiple yellow leaves appear rapidly, it is likely due to improper soil moisture.

Check the soil moisture and adjust your watering practices accordingly. Consistency in soil moisture is key to preventing yellowing leaves. Avoid allowing the soil to completely dry out or remain excessively wet for extended periods.

Brown, Crispy Leaf Tips

Brown and crispy leaf tips are often a result of dry soil. Check the moisture level of the soil and water your plant thoroughly if it is dry. While the brown tips will not turn green again, proper watering practices will prevent further damage and ensure healthy new growth.

Removing Flowers

Aglaonema flowers are not particularly appealing, and most people grow these plants for their foliage rather than their blooms. Therefore, it is generally recommended to remove the flower buds as soon as they are visible.

This allows the plant to redirect its energy towards foliage growth, resulting in a more aesthetically pleasing appearance. However, some varieties, such as Aglaonema pictum ‘Tricolor,’ may require careful removal of the flowers to maintain the best foliage quality.

Dealing with Pests

Like any plant, Aglaonema can be susceptible to pest infestations. Common pests that may affect your plants include spider mites, mealybugs, and scale. If you notice signs of pests, such as webbing, cottony masses, or small crawling insects, take immediate action to control the infestation.

Natural methods, such as using neem oil or insecticidal soap, can effectively combat pests without harming the plant. Regularly inspect your plants for signs of pests and take preventive measures, such as maintaining good plant hygiene and avoiding overwatering.

Toxicity of Aglaonema

It is essential to note that Aglaonema is toxic to dogs and cats due to the presence of calcium oxalate crystals. Ingesting Aglaonema can cause pain, irritation, and swelling in the mouth, tongue, and lips of pets.

Symptoms may also include vomiting and difficulty swallowing. If you have pets, it is crucial to keep Aglaonema plants out of their reach to prevent any accidental ingestion. If you suspect your pet has ingested Aglaonema, contact your veterinarian immediately.


Aglaonema, or Chinese Evergreen, is a versatile and visually appealing houseplant that can thrive in various light conditions. By following the care tips outlined in this comprehensive guide, you can ensure the optimal growth and health of your Aglaonema plants.

Remember to provide adequate light, maintain proper temperature and humidity levels, use a well-draining soil mix, water correctly, and fertilize regularly.

Propagation can be an exciting way to expand your Aglaonema collection, and being aware of common problems and pest control measures will help you maintain thriving plants. Enjoy the wide range of Aglaonema varieties available and create a beautiful indoor oasis with these stunning plants.

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