Aglaonema: A Beautiful, Easy Plant to Grow

Updated on April 2, 2020
Kenna McHugh profile image

Kenna writes about the care of plants (indoors, outdoors, and in gardens). She wrote an orchid care booklet—a companion piece for workshops.

Costa Farms
Costa Farms

Easy Plants to Grow

Adding new plants to your indoor environment can make all the difference in providing a whole new look inside. The key is to choose plants that add beauty and opulence, yet, for the most part, are easy to manage. Read on and discover how easy it is to grow Aglaonemas.

Chinese Evergreen

Chinese Evergreen is another name for the Aglaonema. This species of plant is a sensible choice because it is easy to manage and beautiful.

Best Houseplants for Low-Light Conditions

There are 21 species of Aglaonemas. They come in many pot sizes to fit any indoor space starting from 6 inches on up to 14 inches. Their ornamental foliage can catch the eye of any plant lover. They have distinct tufts of a long-stemmed spear and oval-shaped leaves that are dark green. The leaves spread out with colors of pale silvery-green, gray-green, or gray-white.

In the summertime, with proper care, you might get lucky, and see small, white or greenish-white spiked flowers appearing in your plants. If you want the plant to bloom, plant experts told me Aglaonemas like being rootbound. Rootbound means the roots matted, densely tangled, or the pot is too small for the plant. Rootbound your plant, and you will have spiked flowers.

Textbooks have reported that Aglaonemas’ virtue is the ability to thrive in poorly lit conditions, but this is only true for all-green varieties. The ones with silver or white variegation foliage need brighter conditions, which helps enhance the colored plants even more. If you have low-light conditions, Aglaonemas are still your best choice.

Gardening Know How
Gardening Know How

Temperatures for Aglaonemas

Aglaonemas love it when it’s warm and get agitated by abrupt changes in temperature. The temperature change between night and day should not be more than 10 degrees difference. Periods of too low or too high of temperatures lead to yellowing or falling leaves and can hinder development. If a yellow leaf appears, you pluck it off. The plant is pretty hearty and should be fine. Keep them away from drafts such as windows, doors. and air-conditioning vents. If the leaves curl with a brown-edge, the air is cold, or there is a cold draft.

Soil and Watering

Aglaonemas should be moist but kept in well-drained in heavy soil. During the winter, you need to keep the soil drier than in the summer. The plants flourish in shallow pots.

Keep in mind that poor drainage, too frequent watering, or standing in water will cause root rot. If the air is dry, the plant needs regular misting. If the plant’s leaves shrivel with brown tips, the atmosphere is too dry, and they need periodic misting.

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Southern Living
Southern Living

Resistant to Diseases

Aglaonemas are hearty plants and super resistant to diseases. They practically grow in conditions that destroy other kinds of plants.

Still, the plant attracts pests if they grow in conditions that are challenging. Insects such as mealybugs appear at the base of the leaf stalks, and scale insects find them tasty. If the lighting condition is not high enough, red spider mites show up, too. Insecticidal soap kills the little buggers.

Pruning the Plant

Pruning an Aglaonema is pretty straightforward. You focus on the base of your plant until you see little sprouts starting to grow. Trim them from the bottom of the plant, but don’t throw them away. You can replant them in a separate pot and start a new plant. You can keep it or give it to a friend. Pruning the Aglaonema means cutting away the dying and dead leaves. You have nothing more to cut because the plant’s growth emerges from its crown. The crown is the necessary part of the plant. If you prune the essential elements, you will kill your beloved plant.

Only use clean, sharp pruning shears. I invested in gonicc Professional Micro-Tip Pruning Snip, Small Garden Hand Shears. I owned a pair for over three years, and they last a long time as long as I keep them clean and dry.

Pan Pit Garden Center
Pan Pit Garden Center

Fertilizing Aglaonemas

Fertilizing the plants is a good idea, but cut back during the winter. Keep in mind, those plants that are in high light can have more fertilizer than those in the low light.

They Grow Well With Other Plants

Aglaonemas grow together or with other plants in the same pot and make for an attractive addition to the house. For example, to spruce up a ficus, try adding two or more of 6-inch silver leaf Aglaonemas to the base of the tree, or combine them with red bromeliads around a Kentia palm.

Nursery staff will offer some excellent ideas as well. They would be more than happy to assist you in your indoor plant care needs.

Questions & Answers

  • Why does my Aglaonema rot off above the soil line?

    Your plant has root rot from overwatering for a long period of time, or it has a fungus. Since Aglaonemas are pest resistant, I suspect you are overwatering.

  • Can you tell me how to fertilize Aglaonema plants?

    Fertilizing the plants is a good idea, but cut back during the winter or don't fertilize at all. Twice a year is the best with any houseplant liquid fertilizer. Follow the fertilizer packaging instructions.

  • I own a huge Aglaonema Calypso rescue that has become severely root-bound. Is there any hope for separating it into smaller pots? Or, can I propagate from the large stalks?

    Dividing the aglaonema is the most common way plant growers propagate their plant. It is most manageable for plant owners to do.

    The process can get messy, so make sure you are outside if the temperature is not too hot or cold for the plant. Doing it inside is the best option for the plant's health, but can get messy.

    To divide your aglaonema:

    You will need a tarp or covering and a sharp, sterile knife.

    Make sure you have enough containers available to repot the "new" plants from the division. I don't know the size of your plant, so you need to guesstimate. From your question, it sounds like many "new" plants will be the outcome.

    Spread out a tarp or covering to protect your floor or table for easy cleanup.

    Look over your plant and locate various points you plant is coming up through the soil.

    The plant propagates itself by suckers underneath the soil’s surface. Its container fills up with young suckers rapidly.

    That is okay because it's a positive sign of having healthy plants present.

    Now, carefully separate your plant from its soil, and put its container to the side.

    Since your plant is rootbound, take a sterile, sharp knife and cut the massive root into several sections for replanting.

    Make sure to each section you separate retains a set of even amount of stalks with leaves.

    If the soil seems loose enough, gently dust it off with your hands to expose the roots, carefully pull the roots apart using your hands and fingers.

    Once you evenly divided the plant, you repot each "new" plant in a new container and new soil.

© 2016 Kenna McHugh


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    • Kenna McHugh profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenna McHugh 

      5 months ago from Northern California


      Thank you for your question. I consider a red aglaonema or any aglaonema a houseplant and do best inside. However, if you are interested in planting yours outside, the tropical temperatures are best in the 70s or 80s with high humidity (Zone 12). Zone 8 goes as low as 10 degrees, so it would not be conducive for the houseplant.

    • profile image


      5 months ago

      What is the coldest winter temps a red aglaonema can tolerate in zone 8?

    • Kenna McHugh profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenna McHugh 

      19 months ago from Northern California

      Betsy, Thank you for reading my articles. I am sure the Aglaonema will add beauty to your home.

    • profile image


      19 months ago

      I also found this article helpful. I plan to purchase an Aglaonema in the spring.


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