Tropical Plant Profile: Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema)
Chinese Evergreens are some of our favourite Tropical houseplants for so many reasons! It’s one of the best Clean Air plants out there, it can handle just about any light location, is incredibly low maintenance, and it’s simply gorgeous!
The most common variety of Chinese Evergreen features lush green leaves with a silvery-green center — or maybe they’re silver-green leaves with lush green margins? Either way, the foliage is full and beautiful as it bursts from a central rosette, making it perfect for filling empty corners of a room. Then add to your Aglaonema collection with other varieties, which can have mottled foliage with rosy pink, creamy white, dark green, yellow, or even bright red! They may produce the odd bloom, but it’s the leaves that are the real star of the show so no need to feel bad about plucking those flower stems.
If you’re just starting your tropical houseplant journey, or are thinking of giving an indoor plant as a gift, a Chinese Evergreen is a great choice. They can handle most light conditions, and can thrive in the dullest corner or the brightest window; be mindful that the more sunlight an indoor tropical receives = more frequent watering. And speaking of water, they like to dry out slightly between deep waterings, but will usually forgive you if you forget on occasion. You can mist them for extra humidity (they can survive without it). Give them an all-purpose fertilizer every 4th watering, and remove any yellow or damaged leaves as they appear by cutting close to the soil level with a clean pair of pruners. That’s it, that’s Chinese Evergreen Care 101!
But wait, we haven’t talked about their health benefits! The Aglaonema, along with other tropical houseplants, was sent into space as part of NASA’s Clean Air study back in the late 1980s, and the test results are still singing its praises! Those wide leaves are perfect for absorbing toxins and chemicals from the air, all while exhaling oxygen and moisture to help all of us breathe. Their only issue is the toxins found within their cell structure; every part of the plant is toxic to humans and animals, so keep that in mind when placing your Chinese Evergreen in your home.
Light: The more common silver and green varieties, like Silver Bay, can tolerate any light location, including lower light areas. Varieties brighter colours perform best in medium to bright locations. Plants in lower light locations will dry out slower than those placed in bright sunlight.
Water: Let plants dry out slightly between deep waterings. Always use pots with drainage, and never let your pots sit in water. During the low light of fall and winter, plants will grow slower and not need as much water; alter your watering schedule accordingly.
Fertilizer: Use an all-purpose fertilizer every 4th watering.