Caring for Aglaonema; Chinese Evergreen, Ag, Aglo

Aglaonema

Aglaonema a popular interiorscape standby

Aglonema is a widely used indoor plant, it can be seen in everything from mass planters in shopping malls to table tops in homes across America. It's dense foliage,wide selection of variegated leaves, and incredible ability to adapt to just about any interior environment make it an easy choice for indoor spaces.

It is very common to find and Aglaonema used as a stand alone floor plant much like a Sansevieria, Aspidistra, or Zamia. It's dense soft leafy foliage provide an alternative look to the pointy Sans, and the Ag's easy care and high degree of adaptability to different light conditions often make it preferable to a Spath or Philodendron who require more care and are not as flexible when it comes to environment.

An Ag is indeed one of the houseplants that just about anybody should be able to care for. In order to have a nice vibrant plant for the long term there are some things to know about Aglaonema.

Aglaonema Native Habitat; Southeast Asia, Northeast India, and China

Where Can an Aglaonema Live Indoors?

Ag's are highly adaptable, and one of few plants that can tolerate low light (not the same as no light) conditions, interior spaces often have an abundance of low light which the majority of houseplants are not able to tolerate. Ag's can also live just fine in moderate and beneficial artificial light. High light will also work but will increase productivity and growth so more maintenance may be required to keep an Ag in high light looking good overtime.

Attention must be paid to watering as the frequency and amount of water needed will change as the amount of light exposure increases.

Although highly adaptable to lighting temperature is a bit more touchy. Cold temperatures are to be avoided, and exposure to an exterior door or window that may open to the outside and let cold outdoor air wisp over and Ag can spell disaster. Aglaonema are very susceptible to cold damage which usually manifests as a purpleish discoloration of the leaves. It is important to avoid exposure of an Ag to cold. As the temperature approaches the low 60 degrees the risk is introduced and only becomes more likely as the temperature drops from there.

Heat, unless very extreme, can be dealt with. Water may need to be applied more frequently or in greater quantities with more heat.

In short you can place your Aglaonema just about anywhere that some amount of light, and comfortable temperatures are available.

Watering Aglonema

When watering an Aglaonema make sure that is is allowed a brief drying period between watering's. One of the most common issues with Ag's is root rot and rotted stems due to too much long term moisture exposure. This issue can become especially prevalent when dealing with Ag's in low light.

Much like watering a Philodendron an Ag's soil surface should be checked before watering, if it is dry to the touch then water it enough to moisten the soil through. In most situations it is not necessary to leave excess water in the liner. In low light never leave water in the liner, as a matter of fact it is recommended not to water enough that water even appears in the liner at all in low light. Mild moisture goes a long way for a plant in low light. High light conditions may require watering through to the liner.

Be sure to allow the soil surface of Aglaonema to again become dry to the touch between watering's for best results.

Aglaonema & Mealy Bug

The most common interior pest associated with Aglaonema is without a doubt Mealy Bug. Mealy bug appears as a with lint looking substance that begins to appear on stems and at the base of leaves on plants. It is typical for mealy bug to crop up in the crown's, or new growth areas on Ag's, they also like the leaf stems bases that connect to the primary plant stems safely tucked away down beneath the surface canopy of foliage. Many people also notice Honey dew from Mealy bug on Ag's before actually witnessing the white waxy culprit that produces the Honey dew.

The best action to be taken for an Aglaonema with Mealy bug is to wipe away as much of the creatures you can see and then spray the plant down with insecticidal, or dish soap. Cutting the crown's out of Ag.s can also be a good strategy since Mealy's like to nestle down, lay eggs, and feed on new growth. Do not fear cutting these crowns out, if Mealy's are in there the new growth it will not be healthy as it emerges, cutting it out will remove them and new healthy growth will be generated to replaced what was cut away.

For more information on identifying, and treating Mealy Bug check the link to the right.

More on Chinese Evergreen

To enhance and preserve an Aglaonema for the long run there there are a couple of basic maintenance tips that will help in keeping your Ag full and brilliant.

  • Regular dusting of any pest free plant, especially those with wide flat foliage, is a great way to maintian a nice healthy look. In the case where pests may be present, or if it just makes more sense hand wiping the leaves periodically can also keep your plant looking vibrant.
  • Potted Aglaonema plants are actually multiple plant stalks all potted together these stalks can often be too dense for interior conditions, and if left unattended can grow out long and leggy overtime. It is a good idea to cut a stalk or two back to the soil a couple times a year to keep your Ag full. Once a stalk is cut back it will begin growing new foliage from at the cut preventing the plant to vine out and loose all of its lower foliage.
  • Aglaonema blooms should be removed. The blooms that an Ag produces are small, sticky, and only serve to drain the plant of vital nutrients. The blooms also produce a Pheromone that will trigger surrounding Ag's to bloom, this can be a big mess in mass displays of Chinese Evergreen. The sooner blooms are discovered and removed the better.
  • If unsightly brown or yellow tips (over watering damage) appear on your Aglaonema leaves it is best to remove the entire leaf. Ag's have patterned leaves which look very unnatural and odd if trimmed, many plants allow trimming back this kind of damage but not the Ag.

*Aglaonema has been known to be one of the fun plants to experiment with cuttings so you can introduce any stalks you may cut away to water and watch new roots generate.

Aglaonema is a carefree adaptable choice which makes it a very popular and frequently used interior plant. Go ahead experiment and enjoy your Ag!

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