A Chinese evergreen plant, Aglaonema , originally came from the subtropics of Southeast Asia. This plant is a member of the Araceae family and a close cousin to the alocasia, caladium, dieffenbachia, and philodendron. When small, the easy to grow Chinese evergreen plant can be used as an upright plant on a table, desk, or counter. As the plant matures and gets larger, it becomes a bushy floor plant. This is an extremely popular houseplant because its many varieties have different leaf colors and patterns. It is one on the few colorful plants that grow, though slowly, in lower light areas, and is drought tolerant.
Chinese Evergreen Description
There are many types of Chinese evergreen plants, all with shiny, oval, leathery leaves that have short stems. The leaves are usually 3″-5″ wide and up to12″ long. The original varieties had green and gray patterned leaves. The new hybrids have yellow, red, and pink in their leaves and require more light. A Chinese evergreen plant produces small, inconsequential flowers in the spring and summer that turn into red berries as the flowers fade. Flower production takes energy away from leaf development. Since the leaves of a Chinese evergreen are the attractive part of the plant, it’s recommended that the flowers be removed as soon as they appear.
Chinese Evergreen Varieties:
The more color in the leaves, the more light the plant needs.
Emerald Beauty (also called a “Maria”): Dark green leaves with silver markings
Amelia: Pale green leaves with medium green markings
Silver Queen: Silver, light green, and dark green patterned leaves that grow in thick clusters
Red Siam: Bright red and green patterned leaves
Moonshine: Yellow leaves with small splashes of green and pink
Red Valentine: Leaves have green edge; center of leaf is pink and bright red with splashes of green and cream.
Pictum Tricolor: Pointed oval leaves with splashes of light, medium, and dark green
Sparkling Sarah: Shiny leaves with a pink center vein and bold green and cream patterns. The stems of the leaves are also pink.
Red Siam Aurora Stardust Sparkling Sarah Moonshine
Like all member of the Araceae family, a Chinese evergreen plant is poisonous and toxic to cats, dogs, and small children. Read more about common houseplants that can be dangerous in Don’t Feed Me to Your Cat: A Guide to Poisonous Houseplants. NASA does list the Chinese evergreen as one of the top ten plants to clean the air of harmful toxins
I would remove the flowers from a Chinese Evergreen plant as soon as they appear. The flowers of a Chinese Evergreen Plant hinder leaf growth, are not very attractive, and produce berries that weaken the plant.
The sticky “stuff” on the leaves of your Chinese Evergreen Plant is called “honeydew.” Honeydew is excreted by a plant pest called Mealy Bugs. Mealy Bugs are small sucking insects that look like tiny pieces of cotton.
The stems of a Chinese Evergreen Plant get soft and mushy when the plant is over-watered. The lower the light the less water a Chinese Evergreen needs. Move your Chinese Evergreen to a brighter, warmer location until the soil dries out. Once you move your plant back to its original location, be sure to allow the top 25%-30% of the soil to dry out before watering.