THE LEAFLET

Plant Care  |  October 07, 2019

Aglaonema Care

Placement

PRO TIP: The Aglaonema is one of a handful of plants that can adapt to fluorescent lighting conditions. Combined with its relatively low watering demands and beautifully variegated leaves, it’s a strong and original choice for an office plant!

The Aglaonema is a mainstay of favorite houseplant lists everywhere! With its unique and lush foliage, easy care, and ability to adapt to almost any home or office space, it’s hard to find a more versatile stunner.

Commonly called the “Chinese Evergreen”, this plant is native to the tropical forest floors of Asia, and so appreciates a spot where it can receive indirect light as direct sunlight can scorch its leaves. Keeping it a few feet from a well lit window where it can receive bright diffused light is ideal; however some Aglaonema cultivars can tolerate lower light levels and even fluorescent lighting conditions. 

If you are unsure about the lighting conditions in your home or office, read our guide for how to measure light in your space.

 

Aglaonea Maria Leaf

Aglaonema come in a wide array of colors and patterns. The Aglaonema Maria, pictured here, has a speckled forest and light green pattern.

Routine Maintenance

PRO TIP: Keep your plant away from hot and cold air drafts. This includes window breezes, heaters, and air conditioning. Aglaonemas prefer temperatures between 70 and 85 degrees fahrenheit. Night time temperatures should not vary more than a 10 degrees drop.

Always be sure to assess your plant’s watering needs upon receiving it. Before giving your plant a drink, it is best to check the moisture level in the soil first using your finger or a soil probe. You may also consider aerating the soil of your plant before the initial watering. We compact the soil to avoid shifting during transit, so aerating can help the soil breathe and allow moisture to be released.

Aglaonema like to dry out between waterings, so feel the soil with your finger a few inches down to ensure it isn’t moist right beneath the surface. If your plant is in a bright location, then you will want to water it when the soil is dry halfway down the root mass (if you have a taller planter, sometimes moisture can build up in the bottom of the container so keep that in mind). If you have your plant in fluorescent or lower light conditions, then it’s best to let the soil dry out almost all the way to the bottom of the pot before watering thoroughly.

Be weary of overwatering with this plant as it can be prone to root rot. The key signs of overwatering are yellowing or mushy stalks or leaves. If you find this occurring then it’s best to let the soil dry out completely before watering again, and to follow careful watering patterns going forward.

Rotate your plant periodically to ensure even growth on all sides and dust the leaves often so the plant can photosynthesize efficiently. This is especially important if the plant is in a lower light location, as the plant’s ability to photosynthesize is decreased in lower-light conditions. When dusting the leaves, also take the opportunity to inspect the undersides and keep an eye out for pests.

Remember each plant is a unique living thing and may have varying needs,  many of which are dependent on a plant’s specific location. Pay attention to the condition of your Aglaonema and its watering needs and you will have a long and happy relationship.

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Help! My Aglaonema has yellow or brown leaves shortly after receiving it.

  • This is most likely due to transplant shock. Transplant shock is totally normal, and almost all plants experience some form of it by losing a few leaves or showing some discoloration upon arriving to a new environment. Prune off any unsightly leaves and be sure to follow the plant's specific care instructions. If the problem persists, then the lighting and/or watering patterns may need adjusting.

 

Why are my Aglaonema leaves drooping?

  • Droopy leaves can be an indication of insufficient lighting or improper watering.  If receiving too much direct sun, Aglaonema foliage may curl under for protection against sunburn. In insufficient light, the leaves can also begin to wilt and show signs of weakness. A combination of yellow and brown leaf margins, moist soil, and droopy leaves is often a result of too much water. Crispy, fully yellow or brown leaves and dry soil is typically a result of too little water. If you are experiencing these symptoms, refer to the Aglaonema care guide and adjust either lighting or watering as needed.

 

Why are the stalks of my Aglaonema turning yellow and brown?

  • This is most frequently caused by too much moisture being held in the soil, causing the roots to rot. Aglaonema stalks retain water for the plant in periods of drought. If there is too much water in the soil and the stalks are also full of water, this can cause the plant to rot. In this case, hold off on watering, aerate (or in severe cases replace) the soil, and prune away any rotting stalks. Water the plant again only when the soil has dried completely throughout the pot.

 

How often should I fertilize my plant?

  • In general, houseplants will thrive when they are fertilized Spring through Fall. Fertilize once every 6 weeks with an organic houseplant fertilizer, following the package instructions for dilution and administration. Greenery Unlimited uses an organic potting mix with a slow release fertilizer in the soil, so your plant will not need fertilizer within the first 6 months of receiving it.

 

How often does my plant need to be repotted?

  • For smaller desktop plants, we suggest repotting once every 12-18 months. Choose a potting vessel 1”- 2” larger in diameter to allow for growth. Don’t choose a pot much larger than the previous as this could hold excessive moisture and drown the plant's roots if you're inexperienced with indoor plant care. If you prefer to maintain the current size of your plant, repot into the same vessel, providing new soil and trimming away some roots and foliage. Spring or summer is the ideal time for repotting as plants are at their strongest during the growing season.
  • For larger floor plants, we suggest repotting every 18-24 months. Choose a potting vessel 2”- 4” larger in diameter to allow for growth. Don’t choose a pot much larger than the previous as this could hold excessive moisture and drown the plant's roots if you're inexperienced with indoor plant care. If you prefer to maintain the current size of your plant, repot into the same vessel, providing new soil and trimming away some roots and foliage. Spring or summer is the ideal time for repotting as plants are at their strongest during the growing season.

Standard Planter Instructions

There are two types of standard planters offered by Greenery Unlimited—those with drainage holes, and those without. Within these two categories are an array of sizes and styles to choose from. The presence of drainage holes and the size of the planted vessel both play a role in the quantity and frequency of water given to your plant.

Plants purchased in pots without a drainage hole have been set up with a built-in drainage system. A layer of Aeration Stones (porous, absorbent material made of recycled clay) has been placed beneath the soil to act as a reservoir for any excess water that flows through the soil. You will need to be slightly more cautious not to pour too much water into these containers as there is no way for the excess water to escape. We suggest slowly pouring small amounts of water in bit by bit, until you have reached the desired moisture level in the soil.

For plants potted with drainage, water until the excess begins to come out the bottom of the pot and into the catch tray.

Self Watering Container Instructions

The self-watering containers require a deep and thorough watering of the topsoil after they are first placed. This is important because the roots of the plants first need to grow into the reservoir in order to drink from it. Follow the standard planter instructions for at least four weeks, before testing the reservoir. During the dormant seasons, or for plants that have slower growing habits, consider top watering for up to ten weeks. 

TEST: After the initial top water period, fill the water reservoir until the red indicator reaches half way between the MAX and MIN line. If the indicator goes down over the first few days, it means the plant is ready for regular reservoir servicing. If not, be sure to continue top watering for a few more weeks, until the red indicator goes down, meaning the plant has started drinking from the reservoir. 

RESERVOIR SERVICING: Once the indicator goes down, do not refill the reservoir right away. Similar to how humans need a breath of air between gulps of water, almost all plants require a drying out period. Always allow for the reservoir to empty all the way, and after a drying out period of a few days, be sure to refill it until the indicator reaches the MAX line.

From here on out, you should NEVER topwater the plant while using the reservoir system. If you water from the top, it can drown the plant. In the Self Watering Container, the top layer of soil will eventually become extremely dry and hard, and may even pull away from the edges of the pot. This is not a cause for concern, but simply because the plant is drinking directly from its roots in the water reservoir. You may opt for adding fresh soil into the gaps between the soil and planter, so as to give the plant a nutrient boost. You may annually, or bi annually, top water the plant to flush the foot system. Only do so when the reservoir is empty and the plant is ready for more water. 

Additional Care Guides