Botanical Name: Aglaonema hybrids
A member of the Aroid family (Araceae), Chinese Evergreen is a hybrid with parents originally from the subtropical forests of Southeast Asia.
A very adaptable plant, it tolerates low light and dry air better than most other house plants. One thing it doesn't like is cold air.
Its large, pointed, dark-green leaves are 6-10 inches (15-25 cm) long, 3 inches (7.5 cm) wide, and heavily marbled with white, cream or silver and white.
As it ages, expect some of the lower leaves to drop off, making it look spindly. Newer varieties of this plant grow in thicker clumps, so mature plants stay compact and bushy. 'Silver Queen' (shown below) is a compact variety.
Small flowers may appear in summer, followed by red berries. The berries and sap of this plant are poisonous.
Keep it warm. This plant has no tolerance for the cold. It suffers when exposed to temperatures below 55°F/13°C. Cold air may cause grayish-yellow patches on its leaves. Put your plant in a spot where it won't get cold drafts from doorways or windows.
Water regularly. Consistently moist soil will keep this plant happy. In fact, it can grow in water alone.
Don't prune. All new growth is from the crown of the plant, so don't prune it back or you'll kill it. If it begins to look leggy, plant pothos -- or some other low-light plant -- in the same container to cover the bare stems.
Repot in spring when it outgrows its pot. Aglaonema likes to be slightly root-bound, so it's a good idea to move to a pot that's slightly larger. Use a container with drainage holes to prevent soggy soil.
Origin: Southeast Asia
Height: 2-3 ft (60-90 cm)
Light: Low light. Too much light may cause its leaves to fade.
Water: Keep potting mix evenly moist.
Humidity: Average indoor humidity levels. It will tolerate low humidity. Don't mist, which will cause spots on its leaves.
Temperature: Normal room temperatures 65-75°F/18-24°C
Soil: Any good-quality potting mix.
Fertilizer: From spring through summer, feed monthly with a balanced fertilizer diluted by half.
Propagation: Easy to propagate by stem cuttings or root division. You can root them in water or moist potting mix.
Repot in spring only when necessary.
This plant grows best when its roots are slightly pot-bound, so move to a container that's only 2 in (5 cm) larger.
Many varieties are available.
'Silver Queen' and 'Silver Spear' have silvery variegation that makes them stand out among group plantings.
'Emerald Star' has bright-green foliage speckled with white.
'Silver Bay' is generously splashed with creamy white.
'Firecracker' is boldly mottled with fiery red.
Chinese evergreens are among the best plants for removing toxins, such as formaldehyde, from tainted indoor air.
As if their good looks weren't enough, their air-cleaning abilities make them must-have house plants.