Aglaonema has leafy good looks and is easy to grow, making this houseplant a staple of stylish homes and well-loved by plant owners not interested in a serious commitment. Also known as Chinese Evergreen, Aglaonema commutatum is an easy-care houseplant all about foliage. Aglaonema hail from tropical rainforests in Southeast Asia and are members of the Araceae family, making it a distant relative to Anthurium, Monstera, Philodendron, and Pothos. This plant lives comfortably in low light, making it possible to introduce greenery into areas not typically hospitable to houseplants. Learn more about Aglaonema care and find out how easy this plant is to maintain.
Types of Aglaonema
Sword-shaped leaves can be narrow or broad, but they always grow from a central stem and come to a point. The foliage can be green, silver, cream, red, pink, or any combination of these colors. Variegated cultivars can have mottled coloring on the leaves or accents along the midrib or edges. Plants with pink or red variegation typically have pink stems for an unexpected pop of color.
Mature plants can stand three feet tall and wide and look lush and leafy. Some of the more common Aglaonema cultivars include:
- Aglaonema ‘Cutlass’
- Aglaonema ‘Emerald Bay’
- Aglaonema ‘Harlequin’
- Aglaonema modestum
- Aglaonema nitidum
- Aglaonema ‘Red Gold’
- Aglaonema ‘Silver King’
- Aglaonema ‘Silver Queen’
- Aglaonema ‘Stripes’
- Aglaonema ‘Suzy’
- Aglaonema widuri (‘Red Peacock’)
Aglaonema Light Needs
Aglaonema sunlight requirements depend on the variety. Plants with dark foliage prefer low light, so near a north-facing window or the opposite side of the room from a south-facing window is a good location.
Variegated plants, especially cultivars with shades of pink or red, need medium light. Variegated Aglaonema grown in low light may lose some of its intensity and revert to green, so finding the right spot is vital to Aglaonema care. Near an east-facing window or a few feet away from a south- or west-facing window will provide medium light. Avoid bright light and direct light, which will burn the foliage.
How Often to Water Aglaonema
Aglaonema plants like a big long drink, but only when they’re ready for it. Wait until the top inch or two of the soil is dry to water. When it is time to water, saturate the soil until excess water drains through the container. This plant likes damp soil, but it does not like to be soggy. Yellowing starting at the tips of the foliage is an indicator of overwatering.
Let the soil dry throughout the container before watering in the winter when the plant is dormant. Algaonema needs less water when experiencing dormancy.
Do your best to water the soil and keep the leaves dry when giving the plant a drink. Even though Aglaonema has high humidity needs, getting water on the foliage can leave unsightly marks and stains.
Best Soil for Aglaonema
Well-drained soil with an acidic pH provides good Aglaonema care. This plant is not very picky about soil but doesn’t like wet feet, so drainage is vital. Aglaonema appreciates a rich potting mix that supports growth. This is a slow-growing houseplant, so it will take all the help it can get.
Temperature for Aglaonema
Most tropical houseplants like warm conditions and Aglaonema plants are serious about being warm. Chilly temperatures and drafts are a deal breaker for Aglaonema. This leafy beauty needs to be between 68° and 77° F. Drafty windows and bursts of cold from exterior doors during the winter can damage the foliage. Even air conditioning during the summer can be a problem.
Aglaonema care hinges on increased humidity. This tropical plant thrives in 70% humidity. Bathrooms, kitchens, or any area in your home prone to high humidity is a good fit. Leaves will turn brown and crispy along the edges if the air is too dry. You can always make a spot a good fit using a humidifier or a pebble tray with water.
Aglaonema plants are not heavy feeders. Give your plant fertilizer at the beginning and end of the growing season to support new growth. Use a balanced plant food.
Do Aglaonema Bloom?
Yes, Aglaonema bloom. The flowers have a spadix, which looks like a textured spike but is actually an inflorescence or a cluster of flowers. The spadix is partially covered by a spathe on one side. Aglaonema flowers look somewhat like Peace Lily blooms. The flowers are lovely and subtle but not very showy, especially in contrast to the striking foliage.
These plants can bloom several times per year, generally in the spring and summer, with proper Aglaonema care. Oddly enough, Aglaonema can also bloom if the plant is stressed, which is rare for most houseplants. Stressed plants bloom as a way for the Aglaonema to try to produce seeds and keep its lineage going if things aren’t looking great in the immediate present.
Aglaonema does not require much pruning. Remove damaged leaves as they appear, but this plant naturally maintains a good shape. Trim leggy growth to encourage a more full and bushy plant.
Many plant owners remove the flowers. Aglaonema are grown for foliage, not flowers, so removing the flower spikes is common. Plants that bloom often have fewer and smaller leaves. Getting rid of the blooms redirects energy into foliage production.
When to Repot Aglaonema
Repot Aglaonema plants every two to three years. These leafy plants like being a bit rootbound, so waiting to repot is actually good Aglaonema care. Select a pot that is one to two inches larger and has drainage.
Propagate Aglaonema by division or stem cuttings. Division is best done when repotting. Gently remove soil and separate a large plant into multiple plants. Cut the roots if necessary using sharp, clean shears.
To propagate Aglaonema by cuttings, remove a section of stem that is about four inches long. Place the cut end in water, and roots should emerge in about one month. Transfer the cutting to soil when the roots are a few inches long. Keep the soil damp for the first month to help the new plant transition to soil.
Is Aglaonema Pet Friendly?
Aglaonema is not pet friendly. All parts of the plant are toxic to cats and dogs. Animals will experience pain and discomfort as well as swelling in the mouth and gastrointestinal system after chewing or eating any part of an Aglaonema.
Aglaonema Styling Tips
You can’t go wrong when styling an Aglaonema. The colorful foliage brightens up an area of a home, so select a subdued container to let the leaves shine. You can go bold with a bright or unique pot that will elevate the look of the leaves. Terra cotta and unglazed ceramic are good container choices since they make it easy for the soil to dry out between watering.
Place your Aglaonema in a corner or use it to anchor a sideboard. Mature plants can reach three feet tall, making them excellent floor plants. Small plants can easily live on an end table or shelf until they are ready for a plant stand or placement on the floor.
Aglaonema Care Tips
Aglaonema care is simple. This leafy plant is particular about sunlight, temperature, and humidity, but once you have the right location, this plant does not need much attention. Routinely inspect the leaves for signs of sunburn, dry air, and pests; otherwise, leave your Aglaonema alone, sit back, and admire the foliage.