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Aglaonema Care Guide

Aglaonema, known as a Chinese Evergreen because of its Asian roots – no pun intended. Also referred to by its short name in the biz, the ‘Ag’. The ‘Ag’ is one of the most popular houseplants known for their color variety and unique patterns. The color variations of aglaonemas range from dark green to silver, as well as with some hints of red on occasion. This color variation adds vibrance and differentiation to your home decor bringing a new life and style into any space.

Aglaonemas are often seen in modern home design and can really elevate a space. Experiment with potting and different home placements to see how your Ag can elevate any room. It also is a great compliment to any existing plants you might have.

Aglaonemas are slow-growing, attractive, and are great indoor plants as they do not like full sun exposure, great for inside. The Chinese Evergreen is a genus of flowering plants in the arum family, Araceae and are native to tropical and subtropical regions of Asia and New Guinea. Plants of this genus are native to humid, shady tropical forest habitat.

The "Ag" Silver Bay are bigger than you think!

The Best Lighting Conditions for an Aglaonema

As mentioned previously, Aglaonemas do not require a lot of direct sunlight. The darker green variations of Aglaonemas can grow in shade better than other indoor plants might that are brighter green in color, but some of the variegated varieties of the Aglaonema can require a more light than others, so it is important to research the variation of Aglaonema that you are going to get so you know how to properly care for it. For example, the Aglaonema Reds do well in medium light, so it is important to keep them in sunlight but not directly next to windows unlike some of its sibling Aglaonemas that require less sunlight.

 

How to Water a Tropical Plant

Watering is probably one of the most imperative things when it comes to plant care and where people commonly make the most mistakes. We rarely refer to it as “watering” though seeing as at PLANTZ it is really the adjusting of soil moisture to keep the plant alive and thriving. Testing the soil is key when it comes to this process so you can avoid over or under watering your Aglaonema. Many people make the mistake of finger testing the soil and not getting a proper or accurate read of how moist the soil actually is. We highly recommend you invest in a soil probe to properly care for your new plant friend so you can truly determine and adjust soil moisture to best meet your plant’s needs. The Soil Sleuth is a great option for a soil probe so you can get deeper into the soil to see how dry it is before you go to water it excessively. It is nearly impossible to gage it with just your fingers in the soil since they do not go deep enough, so a soil sleuth will help you gauge exactly what the moisture level is and how much water your plant might need when it comes time to care for it.

 

Watering Note #1 – We get it, it is painful to NOT water your leafy plant when you go down your weekly or monthly chore checklist. It is important to remember, you do not need to water your Aglaonema just because you think it is time to do so, and there is not a timed science or routine to watering your plants. As a company who not only sells plants, but does regular plant maintenance all around Tampa, Florida, one of the most important things is to not add water to your plants if the Soil Sleuth is telling you to not do so. If it is indicating that the plant does not need water than NOTHING is in fact the plant care for that week. There is power in taking no action, which is important to remember. Compare it to when you have a great meal and you are super full… Now someone is bringing you out an extravagant and large dessert course. Yes you want to eat it, sure it will be good, but you are going to be massively sick later, so is it worth all the headache after? It goes the same way for your plant, you want to water it, you will feel like you are doing the right thing, but it truly is not what is best for the plant’s health. To really gain confidence in your plant knowledge and knowing when to do nothing, we really recommend becoming familiar with your soil probe, because it is your new best friend.

 

Water Note #2: Since the Aglaonema thrives in moist soil and does not do well when sitting waterlogged, it is imperative that your plant is configured with adequate drainage and we recommend a sub-irrigation system to help you control soil moisture and give you additional confidence to do nothing. An overly waterlogged plant leads to quick death for your brand new plant, just like a person that can get water poisoning your over-hydrated plant can get it too. This is something to really watch out for since it is one of the most common things that new plant owners do that inevitably kill their plants. Whatever you do, we recommend not relocating your plant from the grow pot unless absolutely necessary. What is the growpot? It is that plastic container your plant comes in and has existed in since it was a young sprout. Instead of removing the plant from it, find a big enough pot to place the grow pot in, so you do not put the plant through any unnecessary disruption. This will help when it comes to water drainage as well and keep your plant from drowning along with not putting the plant through traumatic experiences that might cause detrimental damage to the Aglaonema.

Our last and final tip on all things watering…

Water Note #3: Utilize a sub-irrigation system for your Aglaonema. What a PlantAssure sub-irrigation system does is create a reservoir that your plant can then go and absorb water when it needs it from, so it reduces the risk of your plant being underwatered and puts you at ease causing you to be less likely to overwater your Aglaonema. This is a great alternative for those plant parents that are go-go-go or that travel often and fear a lack of attention for their beloved plants. The sub-irrigation system is configured below the grow pot so it is not an eyesore and you will not even realize it is there! Extend your watering for weeks on end so you can live carefree but know that your Chinese Evergreen is healthy and cared for in the meantime.

Here is your final Water Summary:

  1. Leave your Aglaonema in its nursery grow pot.
  2. Use a soil probe to understand how much moisture is in the soil.
  3. If it’s wet, do nothing.
  4. If it’s dry, add water, but always be cautious.
  5. Use a sub-irrigation system if you are looking to minimize effort and maximize results, specifically for the busy bee plant parents.

Aglaonema Stripes leaf detail

Instructions for the Best Nutrition for Indoor Plants

All foliage plants, Aglaonemas being one of them, are grown intentionally quite quickly to get them to a marketable size for retail. So from the get-go they are raised in more than ideal environments that do not quite always emulate the environments that they will exist in when they come to live in your home, ie. climate differences, light changes, and lack of readily available nutrition.

Many growers utilize macro nutrients – nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium – to maximize growth rates in their greenhouses, but it’s likely you do not have these elements in a readily available form in your supply closet. You can check out the fertilizers we provide and find your best fit by discussing with our care experts!

The nutrients your plant came with should last around six months, so it is around that time period that we suggest being on high alert for these growth changes. Not all plants will have any extreme growth changes though so pay attention to all the little details too and have fertilizer ready to go for all your plant nutritional needs. After that six months of fertilization, all of your plants nutrients are a responsibility for you to undertake as the rightful new plant parent – you’ve got this!

Cleaning the leaves of an Aglaonema

We are trucking right along. You have learned all about nutrients for your new plant, the proper way to water it, all about Soil Sleuths, and now it is time to talk about cleaning care. Dusty leaves are unpreventable. Your ‘Ag’ no matter the color or variation has sleek and large leaves that will inevitably attract dirt and dust particles. The solution to this is a little bit of dishwashing detergent and water. Gently take a towel and brush down the leaves with the combo of soap and water until you have cleaned away all of the particles, after that… TA-DA! Your plant is looking fresh and new again, quick and easy to fix! Lastly, do not forget to be gentle since your plant is fragile.

 

Pruning

So, what is pruning? It is a horticulture practice that is the removal of selective parts of a plant. This can be branches, buds, or roots. It is very important though that the limbs stay intact in order to keep the plant upright when pruning your plant. This is a common practice to keep from stressing the plant and improve air flow throughout the plant as well. There is not much pruning that needs to be done for the Aglaonema, pruning plants is mainly done to rid the yellow lower leaves or spent flower. This is not common with the Ag so it is not needed often. On the off chance if you do need to do some pruning for your Aglaonema then make sure that your pruners are extremely sharp and clean before pruning to prevent damage.

 

Everyone asks if you should Repot Your Aglaonema

We briefly mentioned in Watering Note #2 how important it is to not remove your plant from its grow pot, UNLESS you encounter the circumstances that your plant outgrew his space. There will eventually come a time where your Aglaonema will outgrow the growpot and the root system will run out of space to grow, which can be really bad for your plant’s health. How can you tell this? Don’t worry about knowing when it is time, your Aglaonema lets you know when it needs to be removed by popping right out of the drainage holes in the grow pot and from the top of the soil by growing straight on out. This does not mean that you are eliminating the growpot, you are just going to relocate it to a bigger one. You can find these bigger grow pots at local stores or online for a reasonable price, but just know this is something you will most likely encounter.

Aglaonema Silver Bay image from the top of the plant.

History of the Aglaonema

The Aglaonema has been known to be a symbol of luck in many Asian cultures and has even warranted a royalty status amongst plants. They are often found in many different hybrids and those forms that we have here at PLANTZ including the Silver Bay, Mary Ann, and Jubilee. The Silver Bay or commonly called the ‘Silver Queen’, named for the silver color and royal feel, has even won an award for the Royal Horticulture Society, known as the Award of Garden Merit. Aglaonema is a popular house plant because of their ability to thrive even in low-light circumstances, that being said it is pretty intolerant to colder temperatures and needs to be cultivated in warmth to really grow and thrive, it is known to be intolerant of the cold, so keep that in mind if you live in a place that frequently sees more cool weather. Sometimes those midwestern or northern states might see more regular issues than one in more tropical claimants such as Florida.

The first time the Aglaonema was brought to the West it was displayed in the Royal Botanic Gardens and was ogled by people from all over. That is where people truly saw the Ag’s beauty showcased before it became the popular houseplant it is today. The fun thing about the Aglaonema is the patterns that their leaves can present, making them a truly unique type of plant. They are also known as flowering plants, that can clean indoor air and reduce harmful substances that we regularly breath in after studies done at NASA. This Chinese Evergreen is even known to kill the strep infection, that is one powerful plant!

Did you know that you have to be patient with your Aglaonema? Yes the Ag is a very slow growing plant, but with the proper care it will surely flourish over time and last awhile. It has glossy oval shaped leaves and is short stemmed. The Aglaonema can come in a variety of sizes as well. Here at PLANTZ we offer the different variations of the Ag in 10 inch and 14 inch so you can get a size that will fit your space right.

And there you have it – your complete guide to your Aglaonema Chinese Evergreen care and growth. Start with the proper amount of light – not too much is needed, add in a thoughtful watering regimen for your new plant -find the power in doing nothing, then throw in some nutrients (fertilizer for the win!), do not forget that Soil Sleuth – it is a game changer, and lastly a few wipe downs every now and then of the leaves and you are sure to enjoy many, many years of vibrant, eccentric, and beautiful love from your Aglaonema. Get ready for a long lasting journey with your Ag!