Chinese evergreen is a flowering plant decorating both indoor and outdoor spaces. This houseplant has various names such as silver queen, red valentine, moonlight bay, black lane, and so on. Besides taking place as Aglaonema in botanic science, it grows naturally in New Guniea. Also, Chinese evergreen is found in far cry Asian countries. Since its hybrid types emerged, this tropic plant has been growing commonly around the world. The price scale of Chinese evergreen changes according to growth. Its mature state is expensive but smaller types and sapling state of this plant are cheap. Chinese evergreen has also a superstitious aspect. I mean, indigenous people of the place where this plant grew believe this plant brings luck.
images via: Victoria
1) General Information for Chinese Evergreen
Chinese evergreen is a perennial plant with mottled oval pointy foliages and decumbent stems. Also, it has relatively small and cute physiology due to being put in small pots. The average lifespan of it is roughly 10 years provided well-cared. Its mature period takes approximately 4 years. This exotic plant’s max height is 3 ft (almost 100 cm). Chinese evergreen’s width changes between 5-8 cm. Generally, this houseplant blooms in summer. Above all, it gives red berry. Unlike Areca palm and Boston fern, Chinese evergreen is a poisonous plant for cats and dogs. Let alone ingesting, touching it could be even perilous. Because some allergic symptoms can be seen any improper interaction. So if you have toddlers and pets, you should take some serious prophylactic measures.
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2) How to Care for Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema) Plant
Sunlight: Chinese evergreen grows optimally in partial shade. Importantly, its position should be changed by rotating 90°-180° for equal growth and a sufficient amount of sunlight intake. Outside of this, Chinese evergreen can also live with the help of fluorescent and heater in artificial settings. However, you should keep it from fireplaces and radiators.
Watering: Watering once a week is ideal for Chinese evergreen. So it doesn’t contract easily diseases when watered regularly. In winter, it requires less water. But overwatering creates serious problems.
Humidity: Humid air plays a key role in growing Chinese evergreen. Unfortunately, this plant cannot live much in extremely hot and dry weather conditions. Neither does it tolerate sharp cold climate conditions.
Temperature: The optimal temperatures for this houseplant show range between 65°F(18°C) – 85°F(27°C). Specifically, sub-60°F (15C°) temperatures will be unliveable for it. According to the USDA plant hardiness zone map, 13a and 13b are reasonable natural zones for growing Chinese evergreen.
Soil Type: Chalky, loamy, and sandy soil could be great hosts for Chinese evergreen. Generally, these soils provide good drainage and help this plant breathe easier. In addition to these soil requirements, potting mixes, for example, compost, vermiculite, perlite, etc. could also be beneficial for the healthy growth of this indoor plant.
Fertilizer: Fertilizers help better the development of Chinese evergreens. From spring to summer, you can use either diluted fertilizer or soil fertilizer once a month. On the other hand, overuse of fertilizer could kill your plant just as overwatering kills.
Propagation: Cut stems via scissors. Put them inside the potting soil. Once it starts rooting, cut the stems and go on its regular care.
Repotting: Pick a bigger pot than the current pot. Add base soil layer to a new pot. Before touching the plant, you should wear gloves because it is poisonous. Recover Chinese evergreen from the old pot. Clean soils and untangle the roots. Put it inside the potting soil and fill the rest soil. Once in 2 years will be enough for repotting.
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3) Keep in Mind: Common Problems for Chinese Evergreen
a) Cold injury: Chinese evergreen is a tender plant. Tropic plants like this plant can’t resist cold. The negative effects of cold are serious than you guess. To clarify more, in harsh colds, the water roaming in leaf cells freezes. So this leads to plant dehydration. Then, it loses its leaves. But somehow they regain their leaves with the beginning of spring if well-cared. If not, the aftermath of harsh colds will be probably the demise of the Chinese evergreen.
b) Lack of copper: The copper levels for Chinese evergreens are vital for many plants. Its symptoms changes from plant to plant. However, an amorphous and pale leaf is a common symptom of that problem. If not well-maintained, this serious problem easily wide spreads, and then it kills the plant.
c) Overheat/overlight: Too much heat makes Chinese evergreen stressful. Also, it prevents the plant’s ideal water intake. If kept ignoring, the plant will dry out. Too much light affects critically the growth. For example, it doesn’t bloom in its time. As a result of that, it cannot complete its optimal development.
d) Brown leaf tips: There are two main reasons for becoming brown leaf tips. First, the overwatering or the way the plant is watered. The other is the overuse of fertilizers.
Suggestions for problems: For cold injuries, cover your plant with a piece of clothing or nylons. For lack of copper, either change the potting soil or use copper sulfate for lack of copper. On the other hand, for overheat/overlight, find an ideal spot for your pot. For brown leaf tips, cut them and go on regular watering. All in all, you shouldn’t dump your plant into the trash when noticing a problem. This behavior is quite widely common. But instead, you should save your plant life as far as you can do.
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