Documents: Special Interest: Bonsai:

Chinese Evergreens
by Leonard Perry
by Leonard Perry

email: lpperry@uvm.edu

In extension I serve as an advisor and consultant to the greenhouse and nursery industry, primarily in Vermont but throughout the region and beyond as well.

I give presentations on my research to the industry, and to home groups. In Research, my focus is "herbaceous perennial production systems".

His website is at http://www.uvm.edu/~pass/perry/index.html  Leonards zone of gardening: home with my trials, generally USDA 4a. Campus in Burlington is 5.


September 9, 2007

Aglaonemas (ag-lay-o-KNEE-mas), often called Chinese evergreens, are nearly foolproof as houseplants. Because they have adapted to the dense shade on the jungle floor, these Southeast Asian natives will survive even under minimal artificial lighting conditions indoors and still remain attractive.

If given good care, the plants often flower. All aglaonemas have lustrous, green leaves that may be streaked with silver, white or yellow. Mature plants seldom exceed three feet in height. They can be used as low floor plants. Smaller specimens are ideas for tables or planters. Aglaonemas may be propagated by rooting cuttings in water, air layering, dividing, or from seeds.

These houseplants do best in a north window but will do fine in other locations if kept out of direct sunlight. Bright light will cause aglaonemas to lift their leaves straight upwards. Leaves will be more horizontal in lower light locations.

Keep the soil evenly moist if plants are grown in good light. If you place the plants in extremely dim light, allow the soil to dry out slightly between waterings. A temperature of 75 to 85 degrees F during the day with a 10-degree drop at night is preferred. Cooler, drafty conditions retard growth. Temperatures below 45 degrees F may kill plants.

Aglaonemas tolerate low humidity as well as low light. However, best growth occurs when humidity is above 30 percent.

The soil should be rich in humus but well drained. If commercial potting mixes are used, add one part perlite or coarse sand to three parts soil to increase drainage. Apply a houseplant fertilizer every three to four months except during the winter months when no fertilization is required.

Aglaonemas have shallow roots, so low wide pots are best. Under ideal conditions new plants will develop from underground roots and soon fill the containers. Insects rarely trouble these plants. If you spot any insect pests, give plants a bath in soapy water. If this doesn't work, you may need to apply an all-purpose houseplant pesticide. Just be sure to choose the least toxic product available to do the job.


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