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.
Aglaonema come in a wide array of colors and patterns. The Aglaonema Maria, pictured here, has a speckled forest and light green pattern.
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 locationas 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.
Aglaonemas are draught-tolerant plants with shallow roots systems, and as such they can sometimes have problems pulling moisture from the very bottom of the pot. We have self-watering options for smaller plants that can help prevent issues like root rot, and shallower planters for larger plants made of fiberglass.
Standard Planter Instructions
All of our Standard Planters include a removable drainage plug to give our customers the option of drainage. While no drainage is sometimes preferred for its aesthetic simplicity, we don't recommend this option for beginners as watering mistakes can be hard to rectify.
Whether you choose to use drainage or not, we always recommend using a layer of drainage (such as our Aeration Stones) at the base of the planter. A drainage layer allows the plant's roots access to oxygen in the pockets between the drainage medium, and a lack of drainage can cause anaerobic damage to your plant.
If you decide to utilize the drainage hole for your pot, make sure to include a Plant Saucer beneath your pot to collect excess water. For most plants in standard planters, we recommend watering about once a week. Water the soil mass until water begins pooling in your Plant Saucer.
With no drainage hole, you will need to be more precise in your watering. While we would love to give you a specific measurement of water to provide for your plant, the reality is that a plant's water requirements vary wildly depending on factors such as light exposure and the overall health of the plant. You will need to learn to tell when the plant is thirsty based on how its foliage looks. Droopy foliage is usually the first sign: when your plant looks a little slumped over that's usually a visual indicator that it's thirsty.
The best solution for checking your plant's moisture level, drainage hole of not, is to use a Soil Probe to determine the moisture content of the soil at the bottom of the planter.
Self Watering Planter Instructions
The Self-Watering Planters require a deep and thorough watering of the topsoil after they are first planted. This is important because the roots of the plants first need to grow into the reservoir in order to drink from it. Water your plant from the top for two to four weeks before using the reservoir. During the dormant seasons, or for plants that have slower growing habits, consider top watering for longer.
TEST: After the initial top water period, fill the bottom water reservoir. If the water in the reservoir is absorbed into the planter, 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 plant has started drinking from the reservoir.
RESERVOIR SERVICING: Once the reservoir empties on its own, do not refill the reservoir right away. Similar to how humans need a breath of air between gulps of water, most plants require a drying out period. Allow for the reservoir to empty all the way between watering. All plants are different in their needs so the amount of time the reservoir sits empty will need to be determined, but know that for most plants this period is between 1-3 days.
From here on out, you should rarely topwater the plant while using the reservoir system. Watering from below allows the plant to drink at its own pace, and can help combat certain issues like fungus gnats by allowing the top layer of soil to dry out more. Please note that if your plant's soil dries out too much, it can impair the wicking ability of the Aeration Stones in your planter. If your soil becomes too dry, we recommend giving it a thorough watering.
For more information on our Self Watering Planters include planting instructions, visit our blog post on How to Use Our Self-Watering Pots.
Aeration Stones promote healthy root growth by creating air pockets in the soil and absorbing excess water in the basin of your planter. These porous clay stones are a natural, efficient and invaluable material to set your plant up for success. We always suggest using these when working with a planter without drainage holes.
Stainless Steel Pruners
Salts and moisture from potting soil wreaks havoc on cheaper metals. Stainless steel is one of the most durable metals available on a consumer scale, and these heavy duty pruners are built to take a beating. Great for pruning jobs large and small.
Neem Oil is an all purpose insecticide, miticide, and fungicide used for organic gardening. It's systemic, which means the plant will absorb the neem oil into its circulatory system and poison pests from within. Be careful not to overuse, as this can weaken plants and cause discoloration.
Plants do poorly without air to the roots. Overwatering causes the air to be pushed out of the soil, compacting the soil around the waterlogged roots of the plant. Using the Soil Probe aerates the soil as it checks for moisture.
Watering cans come in all shapes and sizes, and the perfect one for your home is the one you're happiest living with. Look for long spouts and a container volume that's appropriate for your plant collection.
Fox Farm Ocean Forest contains all the features we look for when aiming to ensure the long term health of a plant: excellent water retention, breathability, texture, and is made from organic materials.
10-4-3 fertilizer is a great, gentle choice for indoor foliage. Simply mix this in to your watering can using the supplied directions every other week. Ensure that your plant is receiving a good amount of light, otherwise it won't have the energy to process the nutrients and burnt tips may occur on the foliage.