Beloved for their big, beautiful leaves and easy care, Chinese evergreens are often recommended for people who aren't good at keeping plants alive. Their low-maintenance requirements and tolerance of a variety of conditions makes them great for houseplant beginners.
About This Plant
Chinese evergreen plants, also known by their genus, Aglaonema, hail from the shaded floors of Southeast Asian tropical forests. There are over 20 known species, which vary in their leaf patterns and colors. Cultivars are available with streaks and speckles of white, yellow, or even pink and red.
The ASPCA considers Chinese evergreen plants toxic to dogs and cats.
Where to Grow
Chinese evergreen plants will thrive in low to bright, indirect light. Different varieties have slightly different light needs, however, and in general, the darker the leaves and stalk, the more tolerant the plant is of low light. For all varieties, avoid full sun, which can scorch the leaves.
Chinese evergreen plants prefer standard room temperatures between 65º and 80º F (18º and 27º C), but the biggest pitfall to avoid is temperatures below 60º F (15º C). Cold drafts from windows and doors can cause leaf damage. Average to high humidity is preferred, but not required.
Care and Planting
Plant in a well-draining soil in a pot with drainage holes. Water well, then let the top two inches of soil dry out before watering again. In dimmer lighting conditions, let the soil dry out more before watering again.
Fertilize with a diluted liquid fertilizer every two weeks during the spring and summer growing season, and monthly during the winter.
How to Propagate
To propagate, root 6-inch cut stems in water, then transfer to potting soil. You can also propagate the Chinese evergreen by dividing during repotting. Remove the plant from its pot, and try to gently pull apart the roots of individual plant clumps. Use a knife to cut the roots apart if necessary. Plant stems in separate pots of fresh soil, and water well.