By Jennifer Poindexter
Have you ever seen lush houseplants and wondered how people maintain them so beautifully?
I’m getting ready to let you in on a little secret. Some plants are easy to grow. They look gorgeous, require little help, and can assist in making a space feel more alive.
Would you like to have one of these plants in your life? You’ve come to the right place because I’m going to fill you in on all the details of growing the Chinese evergreen plant. It’s also known as aglaonema.
No matter what you call it, it’s the same gorgeous plant that many gardeners love. Here’s what you must know to help it prosper under your care:
Growing Conditions for the Chinese Evergreen Plant
The Chinese evergreen plant can be a gorgeous addition to your home or garden. For this plant to grow successfully you must understand what it needs to thrive.
An evergreen plant can be a nice add-on to your seasonal outdoor space or as a permanent fixture indoors. This plant comes from a tropical climate.
Therefore, it’s only a perennial when grown in planting zones 10 or 11. In all other climates, it’s an annual.
It’s a good idea to grow the Chinese evergreen plant in a container for ease. This will allow you to move it outside when the temperatures are warm. Yet, you can still bring it indoors when the temperatures drop.
The plant should be grown in partial shade and only where it receives indirect sunlight. It can’t handle frost at all, so you must be mindful of temperatures if growing outdoors for part of the year. The plant desires to be kept at temperatures ranging from 60-72 degrees Fahrenheit.
There should be no drafts around the plant either, as this will cause the foliage to develop brown spots.
When growing in a planter, ensure it’s large enough to support the plant’s current size. The planter should be filled with well-draining soil as well.
By creating the proper grow area for the Chinese evergreen plant, you’re giving it the best chance at success.
How to Plant the Chinese Evergreen Plant
Most people start growing Chinese evergreen plants by purchasing a plant from their local nursery. After you bring your plant home, your first step is to decide on the proper location.
In most cases, it’s going to be wise to grow your evergreen plant in a container. This will allow it to be moved indoors when the temperatures drop.
Place the plant in a container that’s larger than the plant itself. You want to give it room to grow. Fill the container with quality soil and let the plant establish itself.
When your plant becomes older, it will flower. From there, it will produce seeds. You can collect the seeds and start them indoors.
Chinese evergreen seeds are similar to other varieties of seeds. They should be placed in grow trays filled with quality soil and planted ½ inch deep.
Place them in a warm location, free from drafts, where they can receive adequate light and moisture. The location needs to be kept between 70- and 80-degrees Fahrenheit.
It can take anywhere from three weeks to three months for germination to occur. Once the seeds have sprouted, and the seedlings are three to four inches in height, they can be transplanted into separate containers.
The more common options for propagating the Chinese evergreen plant are by separating shoots or dividing whole plants.
When you separate shoots, look for the ones which have four leaves and roots attached to them. Place the shoots in either soil or water. If you place them in soil, wait for the plants to develop more roots and outgrow their space.
If you place the shoot in water, be sure the container is glass. This will allow you to see when a stronger root system starts to develop. It’s also important to keep the container out of direct sunlight.
We’ll talk about repotting in a later section. If you are dividing a whole plant, use a spade to divide the plant from top to bottom.
Each plant should still have part of the root system attached. Place each part of the plant into a new pot. Fill with quality soil and provide proper care.
By understanding your options for producing Chinese evergreen plants, you should be able to grow them successfully for the foreseeable future.
How to Care for the Chinese Evergreen Plant
The Chinese evergreen plant doesn’t require an immense amount of care. It needs moisture, fertilizing, pruning, repotting, and has a few things you must watch for.
This plant should have moist soil, but you don’t want to leave it in a soggy state. Be sure you allow the soil to dry fully between watering sessions.
By overwatering, you leave your plant open to developing fungal diseases. If you’re unsure about when to water your evergreen plant, try the knuckle test.
Place your finger into the soil to the first knuckle. If the soil is moist to this point, you don’t need to add water. If the soil is dry to your first knuckle, it’s time to apply more water.
Once you have watering under control, it’s time to focus on fertilizing your plant. Add a balanced fertilizer once or twice a month during the plant’s grow season. Don’t fertilize while the plant is dormant.
While the plant is growing, if it begins to look lanky, prune it. This will allow it to regrow and bulk up in appearance. You should also prune if you see the foliage turning yellow.
If you notice brown tips on the foliage, it means the plant needs more humidity. You can spray it with a water bottle on a regular basis to increase humidity.
You can also set the plant inside a bowl with rocks in it. Pour water over the rocks but stop before it reaches the planter. This will increase the humidity around the plant.
Choosing a naturally humid area of your home, to grow the plant in, can help with humidity concerns as well. Rooms, such as the kitchen or bathroom, have a higher humidity due to their function within the home.
The Chinese evergreen plant is very adaptable in regard to humidity, so this shouldn’t be a problem in most cases.
When choosing where to place your plant, you should look at the foliage. Darker leaves require less light while lighter leaves require more light. If you move your plant between indoors and outdoors, you must take this into consideration when pulling the plant inside.
Finally, your Chinese evergreen plant must be repotted once every three years. It’s normal for the plant to become root bound, and it doesn’t seem to harm it as it does other plants.
However, it’s still a good idea to move the plant to a larger pot every three years. To do this, find a pot that’s larger than your plant’s current size.
Fill it halfway with loamy soil. At this point, you’ll use a spade to gently remove the plant from its old pot and place it in the new pot.
Finish filling the new pot with loamy soil. Apply water, give proper care, and the plant should thrive. By performing these few tasks for your Chinese evergreen plant, you should have a positive growing experience.
Garden Pests and Diseases for the Chinese Evergreen Plant
Unfortunately, there are a variety of pests and diseases you should be aware of when raising the Chinese evergreen plant. The diseases this plant is most prone to is stem rot, root rot, leaf spot, and Dasheen Mosaic virus.
Stem and root rot are commonly caused by overwatering. You can transfer the plant into a new pot with fresh soil in hopes that it will dry out and recover.
You should also trim away the rotten portion of the roots and dip the stem in fungicide to kill off any remaining fungus. Some plants may not recover even with these efforts.
Leaf spot occurs when the foliage is splashed with water and soil gets on the plant. Fungus from the soil can spread to the foliage and will cause dark spots on the leaves.
Overtime, it will eat away at the plant. You can prevent this type of disease by avoiding overhead watering. Fungicides can be used if your plant develops leaf spot.
If your plants contract Dasheen Mosaic Virus, there is no cure. You’ll notice different colored spots, streaks, or designs on your plant.
This virus is frequently carried to your plants from aphids. It’s important to control this pest to protect your plants. You should also keep weeds under control.
If you’ve diagnosed your Chinese evergreen plant as having the Dasheen Mosaic Virus, it’s important to remove the plant and clean any tools which encountered it.
As mentioned, there are some pests which will be drawn to your plant. You should be on the lookout for mealy bugs, spider mites, and aphids.
Aphids live on the sap of your plant. If you notice discoloration of your plant, spray it with insecticides or soapy water. This will dislodge the aphids. Repeat the process as frequently as necessary to keep your plants aphid free.
Spider mites are hard to notice. You may see their webs formed within your plant. You can spray your plant with soapy water to dislodge the mites and their webs. Wiping the plant down with rubbing alcohol is another way to deter the pests. Insecticides are helpful as well.
Finally, mealy bugs resemble little white mounds on your plant. You can rid your plant of these pests by spraying it with soapy water to dislodge the mealy bugs. You can also spray your plant with insecticides.
By staying on top of pests and diseases your Chinese evergreen plant should thrive under your care.
The Chinese evergreen plant is a simple plant to care for. It will be a full-time or part-time houseplant in most scenarios.
Stay mindful of what your plant needs and what might harm it, and you should have a wonderful gardening adventure with the beautiful Chinese evergreen plant.