The Aglaonema is mainly known for its beautiful leaves. Most have patterns in green and white, but there are quite a few colorful varieties as well. Mainly Aglaonemas with pink, red and sometimes orange in the leaves can be found.

The name Aglaonema is a compound of the Greek words “aglaos” (brilliant) and “nema” (thread). The idea is that the stamens are shiny. This naming is strange, because the leaves really make the Aglaonema worthwhile. A commonly used nickname for the Aglaonema is Chinese Evergreen.

Read all about taking care of your Aglaonema and a solution to common problems here.

Aglaonema
Aglaonema

Aglaonema care

Pitch and light

Most Aglaonema species are fine with being largely in the shade. That’s one of the reasons they are so popular. It is important not to leave this plant in the shade all day: no plant would survive that. Give the Aglaonema at least a few hours of daylight per day. The more daylight, the faster the plant grows and the more beautiful the colors remain.

The Aglaonema gives signals about how much light it needs. Varieties with leaf colors require a little more sunlight than varieties with only green and/or white. The colored varieties can see some direct sunlight in the morning and evening. So a spot near a north-facing window is perfect. Varieties with fewer colors should be placed a little further away from the window.

If the leaves start to droop, this is a sign that the plant is not getting enough light. Does the Aglaonema get yellow leaves? That is a sign that the plant is getting too much light. Black or brown spots on the leaves also indicate too much light. In that case, it is often direct sunlight that causes leaf burn.

Location and temperature

While the Aglaonema comes from the tropical rainforests, she likes our room temperature. She can grow well in a temperature that does not fall below 18 .

Take special account of large temperature fluctuations. These are caused, for example, by a draft, an air conditioner or a radiator. These fluctuations have a negative effect on the Aglaonema. In the worst case, this can cause her to drop her leaves.

Aglaonema care

To water

Watering the Aglaonema is not very difficult. Most importantly, the soil never dries out completely and is never soaking wet. How much water do you give:

  • Water as much as the soil is nearly dry after about 4 to 5 days. Is the soil rather dry? Then you can water a little more next time. Is the soil still wet after 5 days? Then you can water less next time.
  • How do you judge whether the soil is dry enough to water again? To do this, stick your finger in the potting soil of the Aglaonema. If little or no soil sticks to your finger, it’s time to water.
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Note that the routine will be different in winter than in summer. In the summer, an Aglaonema consumes more water because the plant is in the growth phase and it is simply warmer. Watering may be difficult for the first time, but over time this will become a routine.

Curling aglaonema leaves?

Do the leaves of this plant curl? Then it has to do with too low humidity. Another sign of too dry air is brown spots on the leaves. Of course you want to avoid this as much as possible.

Did you know that the Aglaonema belongs to the Dieffenbachia plant ? She therefore has the same wishes in terms of humidity. Because it originates from the tropical rainforests, it is used to high humidity. You can imitate this here by misting the leaves with a plant sprayer a few times a week . You can also place the Aglaonema with other tropical plants. By putting them together they benefit from each other’s evaporation. The Peperomia family and many Calathea species, among others, like high humidity .

Misting the leaves has a number of additional benefits. They stay beautiful, that’s true, but did you know that wet leaves aren’t attractive to bugs either? Mealybugs, spider mites, aphids or thrips, among others, do not like to attach themselves to a plant that is constantly wet.

Finally, an additional advantage is that dust is less likely to remain on the leaves. This increases the ornamental value of your Aglaonema.

Repot Chinese Evergreen plant

Most species remain small and repotting will not be necessary quickly. There are species that grow up to 20 centimeters in size, but there are also species that can grow up to a meter in size. In the case of the latter, repotting is necessary. In a pot that is too small, the root system of the Aglaonema cannot grow sufficiently to also reach its final dimensions above the ground.

If your Aglaonema is not growing, that is a first sign that you need to transplant. Give her a pot about 20% larger than the old one. Always ensure good drainage (read more below).

chinese evergreen plant
Chinese Evergreen plant

Always provide drainage

The Aglaonema hates standing with its roots in soaking wet soil. Of course it is fine that the soil is wet from watering, but there should not be a puddle of water around the roots. This causes root rot. This process takes place in the ground and is in principle not visible. The first visible signs of root rot are yellow leaves, a soft trunk and leaf drop. Eventually the Aglaonema dies of root rot.

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How do you prevent this? By ensuring good drainage. Water can never remain in a flower pot with holes because it runs out. You can also choose to keep the Aglaonema in a plastic inner pot and place it in a decorative pot. The plastic inner pot also has holes so that water never remains around the roots.

potting soil

A normal potting soil for house plants is suitable for Aglaonemas. If you want to use specific potting soil, choose potting soil for the Anthurium. The advantage is that this potting soil is lighter than the normal variety. This gives the roots of the Aglaonema the space to grow well.

Food for the Chinese Evergreen

Plant nutrition is an essential part in the maintenance of the Aglaonema. Incidentally, plant nutrition is also a difficult part: both too much and too little nutrition is bad for the plant. Too little nutrition inhibits growth and results in less beautiful colours. Too much nutrition, on the other hand, causes leaf burn and, in severe cases, can even kill the Aglaonema.

Therefore, only give plant food when the plant needs it. That is during the growth phase, which runs from spring to the end of summer. Always read the instructions on the packaging of the plant food carefully. Usually it needs to be diluted. The Aglaonema consumes relatively little food. So rather dilute a little more than indicated.

Should you prune the Aglaonema?

Pruning is generally not necessary. The Aglaonema does not grow with tendrils like many Tradescantia species or on a stem like the Pancake plant . If you want, you can prune the ugly and dead leaves of the Aglaonema. Only prune the leaves, never parts of the trunk.

Aglaonema species

About 50 Aglaonema species are known. All these species grow in the natural habitat in East Asia. The most famous types are:

  • Aglaonema exchanged
  • Aglaonema modest
  • Aglaonema costatum
  • Aglaonema hookerianum
  • Aglaonema crisp
  • Aglaonema misty
  • Aglaonema shiny
  • Aglaonema painted
  • Aglaonema brevispathum
  • Aglaonema round
  • Aglaonema siamense
Aglaonema species
Different Aglaonema species

In addition, many cultivars and subspecies are available. Each Aglaonema has its own combination of colors and patterns on the leaves. Be sure to check out the:

  • Aglaonema Key lime
  • Aglaonema Silver bay
  • Aglaonema Maria
  • Aglaonema Crete
  • Aglaonema Freedman

aglaonema flower

If you know the Aglaonema family, the Arum family, you understand why the flowers are so similar to the flowers of the Zamioculcas and those of many Philodendron species . The flowers of the Aglaonema also have a spathe and a spadix, as can be seen in the photo below. The flowers are small and, compared to the exuberant leaves, not really worth it.

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aglaonema flower
Aglaonema bloem
IMG_6046” by ryoki is marked with CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.
Aglaonema chinese evergreen plant
Aglaonema, also called Chinese Evergreen plant

Frequently asked questions and problems

Does the Aglaonema have yellow leaves?

Yellow leaves are in many cases a sign of a too light or sunny position. The leaves first fade, lose their colors and patterns, then turn yellow. The yellow leaves will fall off over time. In this case it is important to place the Aglaonema further away from the window. These plants are fine with being in the shade for most of the day.

Another cause of yellow leaves can be an excess or lack of water. In that case, it is often the lower leaves that turn yellow. Read at the top of this page, in the care, how and when you can best water the Aglaonema.

Brown spots or brown edges on the leaves?

If your Aglaonema develops brown spots on the leaves, this is often a sign of too much direct sunlight. Move the plant further into the room, away from the window. The sun can be very hot and create these burn marks.

Is it rather brown edges on the leaves or dry tips? This is often a sign of too little water or too dry air. The soil may always remain slightly moist. In addition, this plant benefits if you regularly wet the leaves with a plant sprayer.

Aglaonema leaves turn black

Black leaves or a black trunk? That is unfortunately a signal for root rot. Root rot occurs when the plant has been given too much water for a long time. You may still be able to save the Aglaonema. Remove her from the pot and remove as much soil as possible from around the roots. Do this carefully, because the roots and trunk have become soft. Then put her in a pot with fresh and dry potting soil. Always provide drainage holes so that this problem does not occur again in the future.

Is the Aglaonema air-purifying?

You can probably find online that the Aglaonema is a very air-purifying plant. After all, it is on the list of air-purifying plants compiled by NASA. However, more recent research shows that the air-purifying effect is limited. It would only work like this if there were a lot of plants together.

That sounds like a reason to us to get more house plants. Did you know that the Hole Plant (Monstera) and Elephant Ear (Alocasia) also have air-purifying qualities?

Aglaonema summary

Botanical nameAglaonema
Also known asChinese Evergreen plant
Original HabitatEast Asia
Number of species50
Maximum heightDepending on species: between 20 and 100 cm
Need for lightPart shade or light
Need for waterKeep soil slightly moist
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Amazing & Bizarre is a gardening blog dedicated to curious gardeners and lovers of rare plants. Find all our natural gardening advice, our culture sheets, our original cooking recipes, our DIY tips and our creative ideas!

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