Aglaonema species & cultivars
Aglaonema, commonly known as Chinese Evergreen, is a popular houseplant native to the tropical forests of Southeast Asia. These plants are widely cultivated for their attractive foliage and easy-to-care nature, making them an excellent choice for novice gardeners. In this blog post, we will discuss the origin, habitat, popular cultivars, and plant care of Aglaonema.
Aglaonema belongs to the Araceae family and is native to the rainforests of Southeast Asia, including Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and the Philippines. These plants are usually found growing under the canopy of larger trees, where they receive filtered sunlight and a humid environment.
They are multi-stemmed herbaceous perennial growing up to 100 cm tall (though usually shorter) producing medium to large, either solid green leaves or leaves with varying amounts of white, yellow, pink and red variegation making them very showy. Flowers are produced at the top of the stems amongst the foliage but are rather insignificant.
Temperature: Plants grow best between 20 to 25ᐤ C and temperatures below 10ᐤ C may result in damage to leaves while temperatures below 4ᐤ C may result in the death of the plant. Avoid placing plants in windy or drafty locations which can lead to less attractive plants.
Light Exposure: Green leaved varieties can stand full shade but the variegated varieties need bright locations but not exposed to direct sunlight which will burn the leaves.
Watering: Aglaonema plants can be fairly drought resistant as water is stored in the flesh stems; water should only be given when the top 3 cm of the soil is dry. As a rule of thumb, that roughly translates to watering once a week during the rainy season, once every two weeks in the cold dry season and once to twice a week during the hot dry season.
Fertilising: Give plants a well balanced fertiliser twice a month during the hot dry season and rainy season but not during the cold dry season when plants are resting (semi-dormant).
Pruning/Repotting: Remove damaged or drying leaves and flowers as necessary. Tall leggy plants can be pruned down to near the soil level and new shoots will be produced in about 3 months. Plants can be repotted every two or three years.
Pests/Diseases: Plants are susceptible to aphids, scale, spider mites and root mealy bug. The most common diseases are root rots brought about from overwatering.