Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema species) are easy-to-grow houseplants. It is tolerant of low light conditions and can take some neglect. Chinese Evergreen is also an effective air purifying plant that makes it great for the home and office. There are many varieties of Chinese Evergreen, ranging from dark green leaves to variegated leaves. If you are looking for an easy-to-grow houseplant that will clean the air, then the Chinese Evergreen plant is a good choice. Do be aware that Chinese Evergreen are toxic to pets and humans so you need to keep it out of reach. Here are tips on how to care for your Chinese Evergreen plant indoors.
10 Tips on How to Take Care of Your Chinese Evergreen Houseplant (Aglaonema)
1. Your Chinese Evergreen can tolerate low light.
Chinese Evergreen has varying light requirements depending on the foliage color. Chinese Evergreen with dark green coloring will do well in low light conditions such as in a north-facing window. While Chinese Evergreen with lighter colored foliage or variegated foliage will do better with more light such as a location in an east-facing window. Just make sure to filter the sunlight with sheer curtains or blinds. Avoid direct sunlight.
2. Moderate Water is Best for Your Chinese Evergreen
Your Chinese Evergreen has moderate water requirements. Water your Chinese Evergreen when the soil feels dry. The best way to tell when it is time to water your Chinese Evergreen is to feel the soil. Stick your finger in the soil 1 inch deep. If it feels dry, it’s time to water your Chinese Evergreen.
3. Get the Soil Right for Your Chinese Evergreen
Your Chinese Evergreen needs a well-draining, organic all-purpose potting mix.
4. Fertilize Your Chinese Evergreen
Fertilize your Chinese Evergreen once a month during the growing season. In the winter, cut back on feeding and fertilize your Chinese Evergreen once every 2 months.
5. Don’t forget to Repot Your Chinese Evergreen
Repot your Chinese Evergreen once every 2-3 years but not too frequently since they like to be root bound. Repot your Chinese Evergreen in a container with a diameter 2 inches larger than the current pot. You can repot your Chinese Evergreen any time of the year.
6. Drainage is Essential for Your Chinese Evergreen
Good drainage is important, you don’t want your Chinese Evergreen to sit in soggy soil. Make sure there are drainage holes at the bottom of the pot. After watering your Chinese Evergreen and you see water draining out of the pot’s drainage holes, make sure you empty out the accumulated water in the saucer. Don’t let your Chinese Evergreen’s pot sit in this puddle of water. It will cause root rot!
7. Get the Temperature Right for Your Chinese Evergreen
Your Chinese Evergreen needs to have a daytime temperature of 70F to 80 Fahrenheit (21-26C). The nighttime temperature should be at 60-70 Fahrenheit (15-21 C). Keep your Chinese Evergreen away from draft and it does not like the cold. Avoid temperatures below 60 F (15C), remember it is a tropical plant!
8. Keep Your Chinese Evergreen Dust Free
Dust accumulates on your Chinese Evergreen leaves over time. The layer of dust decreases the plant’s ability to photosynthesize. Periodically wiping down the leaves of your Chinese Evergreen with a damp cloth will help keep your plant healthy. You can also use a duster or dry duster cloth to wipe off the layer of dust on leaves.
9. Humidity is Vital for Your Chinese Evergreen
Your Chinese Evergreen is a houseplant that can tolerate dry indoor air. However, it doesn’t hurt to mist it once a week since it is native to the more humid environment of South East Asia.
10. Chinese Evergreen is an Air Purifying Plant
Chinese Evergreen is an air purifying plant. It will clean the air by removing air pollutants such as benzene, and formaldehyde. In a NASA research study, Chinese Evergreen is effective in removing benzene, and formaldehyde. In fact, the NASA study showed that Chinese Evergreen effectively removed 47.6% of benzene in the air.
3 Common Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema) Plant Problems
The common problems for Chinese Evergreen are bacterial leaf spot, scale insects, and leaves changing color.
Why are there many Small Brown Bumps on the Leaves of my Chinese Evergreen?
Problem: If you see little brown bumps all over the leaves and stems of your Chinese Evergreen, that can be a sign of scale. Try picking the bumps off, if it’s easily removed then that’s a telltale sign of scale. The little bumps can also be gray, yellow, or black.
Cause: Scale is common on houseplants and is caused by scale insects.
Solution: You can get rid of scale by picking them off one by one. Or the easier way to get rid of scale is to spray your Chinese Evergreen with insecticidal soap or horticultural oil.
Check out our article on how to make your own homemade pesticides using baby shampoo: How to Make Horticultural Oil and How to Make Insecticidal Soap
Why are the leaves of your Chinese Evergreen turning pale and losing their colors?
Problem: Your Chinese Evergreen’s leaves are turning pale and losing their colors. This is evident with variegated leaves where its turning plain green and losing their colors.
Cause: The leaves changing color is a result of too much or too little sun exposure.
Solution: If you think the cause is too much sun exposure, move your Chinese Evergreen to a less sunny spot. If the leaves changing color is a result of too little sun, you can adjust sun intensity by removing curtains or moving your Chinese Evergreen.
Why are there small dark spots on the leaves of your Chinese Evergreen?
Problem: You see small dark spots on the leaves of your Chinese Evergreen.
Cause: Your Chinese Evergreen may have bacterial leaf spot infection. This is a common houseplant infection, caused by a bacterial infection in the leaf vein.
Solution: Remove infected leaves immediately to stop the spread. There is no cure for bacterial infection.
Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema) Houseplant Facts
|Scientific Name||Aglaonema species|
|Light||Medium Light. Can tolerate low light.|
|Daytime Temperature||71 to 80 F (21-26C)|
|Night Time Temperature||61 to 70 F (15-21C)|
|Potting||Well-draining, organic, all-purpose potting mix|
|Fertilizer||Fertilize once a month. Fertilize once every 2 months in the winter.|
|Air Purifying Plant||Removes benzene, and formaldehyde|
|Toxic to Pets and Humans||Toxic|
Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema): Frequently Asked Questions
What are Other Common Names of Chinese Evergreen?
Chinese Evergreen (C species) is also called Poison Dart plant, Golden Evergreen, Philippine Evergreen, Aglaonema, and Painted Drop Tongue.
Is Your Chinese Evergreen Toxic to Pets?
Chinese Evergreens are toxic to humans and pets. Don’t let children or pets chew on the leaves of the Chinese Evergreen plant because it contains calcium oxalate crystals. The crystals can cause vomiting and difficulty breathing. It can also result in swelling of lips, tongue, and mouth and excessive drooling.
If you see any of these symptoms and suspect ingestion of Chinese Evergreen plants, call poison control immediately! Also, call your doctor or vet once you start seeing adverse reactions in children and pets.
How Can You Tell When It’s Time to Water Your Chinese Evergreen?
Water your Chinese Evergreen when the soil feels dry. The best way to tell when it’s time to water is by sticking your finger into the soil. Stick your finger in the soil 1 inch deep. If the soil feels dry, then it’s time to water your Chinese Evergreen.
Can You Use Cold Water When Watering Your Chinese Evergreen?
Chinese Evergreen can be watered with tap water but be mindful of the water temperature that you are using to water your Chinese Evergreen. Don’t use straight cold water from the tap to water your Chinese Evergreen.
Chinese Evergreen prefers cool water that is not hot and not cold. When you turn on the cold water from the faucet add a little bit of warm water. You can also get to this ideal temperature by filling a watering can or pitcher with water and leaving it out overnight until the water is at room temperature.
What Fertilizer Should You Use for Your Chinese Evergreen?
Use a balanced organic fertilizer on your Chinese Evergreen.
How Big Does Your Chinese Evergreen Get?
Depending on the Chinese Evergreen cultivar, some can grow to 2 to 3 feet tall and wide while smaller varieties are 1 foot tall and wide.
How Do You Propagate Your Chinese Evergreen?
Chinese Evergreen Plant is easy to propagate. You can propagate your Chinese Evergreen plant by stem tip cutting. Below are steps on how to propagate your Chinese Evergreen Plant by stem tip cutting:
1. Take a Stem Tip Cutting of Chinese Evergreen Plant
Pick a stem with a node. Cut a 3 inch long stem.
2. Place Chinese Evergreen Stem in a Jar of Water
Place the Chinese Evergreen stem into a jar of water and wait for it to grow roots. To help it focus its energy on growing roots, make sure your stem has a maximum of 2 leaves. Cut off extra leaves as needed.
Another way to stimulate root growth is to dip your stem cutting in root hormone and plant it in moist sand. I personally prefer the jar method so you can easily see the roots come out. Know that not all stem cuttings of Chinese Evergreen will grow roots, so to be safe, cut a few stem cuttings so you will at least get one with roots.
3. Plant Stem Cutting in a New Pot
Once the roots grow, plant these stem cuttings into a new pot. Water the new plant immediately after planting. Then water every 2-3 days until the roots are established.
4. Place New Chinese Evergreen Plant in a Spot with Bright Indirect Sun
Place your new Chinese Evergreen plant in a spot with bright indirect sunlight. Don’t put it in direct sunlight.
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