Ultimate Chinese Evergreen Care Tips You Should Know
The Chinese Evergreen, also called Philippine Evergreen, is a tropical plant known for its beautiful leathery leaves. This plant is easy to care for and loves humidity.
One incredible way to vamp up your living space is to raise a Chinese Evergreen. This plant is easy-to-care-for, tropical, and has many interesting characteristics.
In this post, we’ll talk about everything you need to know to raise your Chinese Evergreen confidently. Read below to learn about the origin and behavior of this Aglaonema and where you could buy one for yourself.
What Is Chinese Evergreen?
The Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema Commutatum) is a perennial from the Araceae family. It is characterized by silver, green, and often variegated oval leaves and is prized for its beautiful leathery texture.
Also known as Philippine Evergreen, Poison Dart Plant, and Aglaonema, the Chinese Evergreen grows well in any low-light room as a houseplant. The name Chinese Evergreen is the common name used for a collection of plants from the genus Aglaonema.
Chinese Evergreen plants come in plain rich green, speckled, blotched, and variegated varieties. The most popular is the Silver Queen, with leaves covered in silver with bright green patches.
While most of this article discusses indoor growing requirements, you can keep this Aglaonema plant outdoors in hardiness zones 10-12.
Chinese Evergreen Origin And Family
Philippine Evergreen is a member of the Aglaonema genus in the Araceae family. It is indigenous to the tropical and subtropical regions of Asia.
Where To Buy
Those who are looking for a Chinese Evergreen should consider searching online. Etsy is an excellent platform for buying houseplants.
Chinese Evergreens can be very affordable, with prices between $10 for small cuttings and $40+ depending on the variety and size.
Chinese Evergreen Plant Size
The Chinese Evergreens grow about 1-3 feet tall and 1-3 feet wide as indoor plants. This stunning perennial prefers to be placed in any low-light room and is considered a slow grower.
Chinese Evergreen Care Needs
Like any other houseplant, your Chinese Evergreen will thrive when adequately cared for. With its beautiful leathery leaves, this plant adores humidity and wants relatively moist soil throughout the year.
When watering, allow plenty of time for the water to flow through the pot’s drainage hole. In terms of lighting, this popular plant needs bright indirect light to thrive.
Read our thorough care guide below for more specific advice!
Chinese Evergreen Care Difficulty
In terms of care difficulty, the Poison Dart Plant is easy-to-care-for. The biggest considerations for this beauty are the amount of light and the well-draining-soil.
Chinese Evergreen Growth Rate
When grown indoors, the Aglaonema plant grows to a height of 1-3 feet. It develops the fastest during spring and summer.
This Aglaonema species is a slow-growing plant.
Chinese Evergreen Potting
Aglaonema plants, in general, prefer a well-draining pot. A large-sized plastic, terracotta, or clay pot is recommended for your Philippine Evergreen.
Did you know that the primary plant killer is lack of drainage? It can lead to rot on a plant’s roots. Please ensure that your pot has holes. This will allow the water to drain through.
Chinese Evergreen Repotting
To keep your plant healthy, it is a good idea to transplant it to a bigger pot once it grows to a specific size.
On average, Chinese Evergreen grows slowly and must be repotted every 2-3 years. Soil tends to lose its natural nutrient components over time, so it’s better to add some standard commercial potting soil when repotting.
Chinese Evergreen Soil
For the Poison Dart plant, you can use commercial potting soil available in the market. Or you can also create your own potting mix by adding peat, perlite, and sand. Chinese evergreen plant likes to keep the soil moist.
Proven and tested soil options we recommend:
Chinese Evergreen pH
You’ll want to aim for a acidic pH, somewhere between 6.0-6.5. A standard commercial potting soil will have a pH level already close to this range, so you shouldn’t need to worry too much.
If you are seeing some problems on your plant, you could do a pH test on the soil to see if this is the culprit.
Chinese Evergreen Water
The watering needs will vary based on the temperature and humidity in your plant’s surroundings. Generally speaking, your Philippine Evergreen prefers a relatively moist growing medium.
Avoid overwatering your Philippine Evergreen. Water directly on the soil. However, make sure not to wet the foliage of your plant to prevent fungal problems.
Allow the water to drain through the bottom of the pot.
Chinese Evergreen Light
Coming from the tropical and subtropical regions of Asia, this plant is used to receiving bright indirect light.
This plant is easy to care for, provided you follow one simple rule: The lighter the variegation on the plant’s leaves, the more sunlight it will need, while the darker green varieties can grow in partial shade.
If the light is too much for your Chinese evergreen plant, its delicate leaves may get burned. When this problem occurs, move your plant away from the window or use curtains. This method will filter the natural light coming in.
On the other hand, if your Aglaonema is not getting the required light, it won’t thrive properly. In this case, do the opposite and move your plant closer to a window or near some bright spots indoors. You can also supplement it with fluorescent grow lighting. We recommend the following artificial light products:
Avoid putting your Chinese Evergreen outside, as direct sun exposure severely damage or even kill it.
Chinese Evergreen Fertilizer
Here’s a common mistake by several indoor growers, they forget to fertilize. They think that water and bright indirect light are sufficient sources of nourishment. But the truth is that the soil’s nutrients are just as vital in your plant’s overall health.
Feed your plant twice a year at the start and end of its growing season during spring and summer. A water-soluble fertilizer will work best for your Aglaonema houseplants. If you’re using a more potent fertilizer, you may need to dilute it first.
No fertilizer is needed during the cold months.
Propagating Chinese Evergreen
Perhaps you’re impatient to see your Chinese Evergreen grow new leaves, us too. So one plant technique that really works is to prune back the stem. This method will encourage new sprouting points in your plant. Usually, the cuttings you’ve pruned back can then be propagated so that you can grow a new baby plant!
We list these propagation methods for you to choose from:
Stem Cuttings In Soil
We highly recommend making a Chinese Evergreen cutting and planting it in soil. Typically, early spring is the best time to propagate a Philippine Evergreen. Follow these steps to propagate this Aglaonema successfully.
- Collect a cutting. Look for a healthy part of the Chinese Evergreen’s stem with newer growth and one or two nodes. Cut just below the Philippine Evergreen’s nodes. You can use gardening shears or scissors for this.
- Next step is to plant the cutting. Feel free to plant your cutting into standard commercial potting soil.
- Maintain the cutting. Keep the soil around your baby Chinese Evergreen moist and maintain a temperature of approximately 70-90°F.
- Rotate the cutting. This method will help even growth for your Aglaonema; rotate the pot now and then.
Stem Cuttings In Water
The following are essential steps in water-propagating your Poison Dart Plant:
- Cut. Look for a healthy section of your plant with at least one node. Trim it off using clean shears.
- Submerge. Let your cutting sit in a water-filled transparent container. To avoid rot, make sure no leaves are immersed.
- Maintain. While waiting for roots to grow, keep your cutting in a well-lit, well-ventilated area.
- Refill. Refill the container when it’s empty or dirty. To produce roots, the plant nodes should be constantly exposed to water.
- Transplant. After 2-3 weeks, check to see if your cutting has enough roots to be planted in the soil.
Aglaonema can be propagated through a process called division. This method is used for houseplants and vegetables with tubers, distinct bulbs, stolons, rhizomes, and suckers.
Step 1 – Dig. You need to take your Chinese Evergreen out of its pot. Always remember to wear gardening gloves when handling plants and soil.
Step 2 – Separate. Gently pull the roots and stems apart with your fingers. Cut the roots where the sections connect.
Step 3 – Repot. Now it’s time to put each section in its new pots. For better growth, bury it with the same soil they’re used to.
Humidity And Aeration for Chinese Evergreen
Chinese Evergreen is a popular plant that loves high humidity.
Plant enthusiasts recommend using a hygrometer to check your plant’s air moisture. If the reading is too low, don’t panic. You can always improve the humidity through the following techniques:
• Did you know that plants release moisture itself? The process is called transpiration. So to increase humidity, keep your houseplants closely together.
• Place a flat tray of pebbles and water underneath your plant’s pot. The evaporating water provides some nourishment to the plant.
• Purchase a humidifier for your plants. This will constantly release steam and raise the humidity level in a room.
Chinese Evergreen Temperature
Temperature ranges between 70-90 degrees Fahrenheit is best for your Aglaonema.
Sudden temperature swings can be fatal for your Aglaonema. During the winter, close windows and seal any openings where cold drafts may enter. Don’t place your plant near appliances that emit heat.
Most plants will typically bloom only when exposed to the natural elements. Older Aglaonemas can produce blooms that resemble calla or peace lilies from spring until summer. Although you may decide to leave the flowers and try your hand at seed growth, most gardeners prefer to clip the blooms before they produce seeds.
Keep an eye out if you have small children or animals. The Poison Dart Plant is dangerous to pets, such as cats, dogs, and people. If ingested, the following symptoms can be expected: general oral irritation, swelling, pain in the mouth, tongue, and lips, drooling, vomiting, and difficulty swallowing. In most cases, this plant is considered non-life-threatening.
|Toxic To Pets?
|Philippine Evergreen, Poison Dart Plant, Aglaonema
|silver and green and often variegated
|Recommended Home Placement
|in any low-light room
|bright indirect light
|standard commercial potting soil
|When To Water
|When To Fertilize
|twice a year at the start and end of its growing season during growing season
|Toxic To Pets?
|Yes – symptoms include Oral irritation, pain and swelling of mouth, tongue and lips, excessive drooling, vomiting (not horses), difficulty swallowing
|Common Pests & Diseases
|spider mites, brown tips, fungus gnuts, scale insects, yellow leabes, root rot, aphids, mealy bugs, drooping leaves
Pests, Diseases, And Other Problems for Chinese Evergreen
The Chinese Evergreen is a plant resistant to several bugs. Below, I’ll lay out some common issues for the Chinese Evergreen and some tips and tricks for treating them.
Spider mites are common pests, particularly among Aglaonema plants. At first, spider mite damage appears as small, brown, or yellow patches on your plant’s leaves. You might also discover that your plant has slowed or ceased to grow.
Wash off your Aglaonema with a sink nozzle, a pressure sprayer, or a garden hose to get rid of spider mites. Additionally, you can spray the leaves with neem oil or insecticidal soap, but make sure to cover all surfaces, including the underside of the leaves!
Natural predators of spider mites are lacewings, ladybugs, and Stethorus picipes beetles (Spider Mite Destroyer). These bugs will eat spider mites and will keep your plants happy.
Fungus gnats are tiny insects that feed on an organic breakdown in soil, potting mix, and other container media. Their larvae eat fungus and organic materials in the soil, but they also devour roots, which is bad news for your Philippine Evergreen.
Hydrogen peroxide kills fungus gnat larvae on contact. Soak your soil in a solution with four parts water and one part hydrogen peroxide to eliminate these bugs. The good thing about hydrogen peroxide is that it is a natural component of rainwater that reoxygenates the soil and promotes healthier root growth.
Scale insects might appear as lumps on the stems or leaves of your Chinese Evergreen. These small bugs, which may be green, gray, brown, or black, usually remain sedentary once they’ve latched onto a plant.
If the infestation isn’t too severe, you can dilute four cups of water and a teaspoon of neem oil to discourage scale insects from attacking your plant. Take a spray bottle and vigorously spritz the plant.
Study shows that horticultural oils and neem oil may not directly kill the pests but will undoubtedly get rid of them. Numerous insecticide sprays against scales are considered safe to use indoors.
Though these are tiny bugs, aphids surely love to munch the leaves of your Poison Dart Plant, resulting in black and brown patches.
Recommendation: Use neem oil or insecticidal soap to treat an infestation. You can also use weak concentrations of dish detergent. And always remember to use a product that is free of fragrances, like Ivory Liquid.
- Step 1 – Dilute one teaspoon of dish soap in 1 gallon of water
- Step 2 – You may increase the ratio of this mixture as necessary
- Step 3 – Start spraying this solution on the affected plant
- Step 4 – Check the underside of the leaves. It is where aphids can be found.
Mealybugs can potentially infest your Aglaonema. They leave a white powdery film and secrete honeydew. This secretion causes black sooty mold on the leaves. Usually, plants infested with mealies will have yellow-dropping leaves.
Recommendation: Use a cotton bud dipped in rubbing alcohol to remove adult mealies. You’ll know if it is effective when they turn orange. Next, proceed to spray the rest of the leaves.
There are so-called root mealies that will bury themselves and target the roots. Dehydrate them by sprinkling Diatomaceous Earth powder on the topsoil in between waterings. For better results, you can also add a few drops of hydrogen peroxide when you water.
Brown Leaf Tips
Salt and minerals build-up from too much fertilizer is one common cause of brown leaf tips on your Philippine Evergreen. Additionally, chemically-treated tap water is also an issue.
The second reason is the lack of plant moisture. So water your plant regularly to improve its humidity.
A wilting, droopy appearance on your Chinese Evergreen indicates problems. Possible causes of drooping leaves are excessive light exposure, overwatering, underwatering, lack of light, and low humidity.
One possibility of yellow leaves for your plant is that it doesn’t get enough sunlight. If you think your plant is getting enough sun, then try checking if your plant gets too little or too much water.
We highly recommend pruning yellow leaves to encourage new growth and prevent more deterioration. To do this, use a sharp, sterile pair of shears and trim it.
Like in any other plant, root rot is dangerous for Aglaonema. Based on research, too compact soil will cause root rot because of water-logged. For plant diseases like this, prevention is better than cure.
So here’s the simplest way to prevent root rot: Reduce the amount and frequency that you water your Aglaonema. Rule of thumb: Check to see if the first few inches of the soil are dry before giving your plant a drink. If not, postpone watering for a day or two.
Porosity is important in terms of choosing the potting material. This property allows the air to pass through and dry the soil, which then allows the excess plant moisture to escape. You can use porous pots like baked terracotta, clay, ceramic (unglazed), and/or concrete. Make sure you choose one that has drainage holes at the bottom!
Similar Plants to Chinese Evergreen
Love Philippine Evergreen? Here are some other similar plant options you should try:
Iresine Herbstii – This lovely plant has vivid red leaves with hot-pink veins. They make excellent border and bedding plants that give your indoor garden more flare.
Graptophyllum Pictum – his plant, which is elegantly variegated and has chocolate-purple leaves, is another striking option for an indoor garden. This decorative beauty helps treat earaches, constipation, and various skin conditions in addition to its eye-catching foliage.
Alocasia Polly – Although its leaves have an unusual form, they are so lovely that just looking at them will make you think of an Amazonian rainforest. You should include this plant in your collection of rare and exquisite plant species.
With its beautiful leathery leaves, the Chinese Evergreen is an attractive ornamental plant that looks stunning indoors. Following our care instructions, you’ll have no trouble growing this plant!
Have you got a Philippine Evergreen? We want to see it! Please submit photos to [email protected] so we can share them on our blog.
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