I have never been interested much in exotic house plants until my friend Anne presented me a nice plant with green spotted leaves. I cannot even call them spots, better to say...
Aglaonema: Essential Recommendations on Propagation, Pruning and Cultivation of the Most Popular House Plant
Aglaonema or Chinese evergreen is an extremely popular house plant, which is very easy to grow. I have a few types of aglaonema at home and plan to plant a few more. As there are about 21 species of this beautiful plant, there is always a wide scope to choose from. You can easily view pictures of the plant I am going to tell you about and choose the one you would like to have in your apartment or house.
Though aglaonema plants are mainly found in the Philippines and Malaysia, they have accommodated to our climate and temperature changes. Caring for aglaonema in a proper way you will have beautiful plants that will definitely amaze everyone around.
Most Popular Aglaonema Plants
I’d like to begin with the definition what aglaonema is. This is a perennial evergreen plant that is able to survive in poorly lighted or badly ventilated areas. The variety of its species makes it possible to choose the plants one likes the most, relying on aglaonema images.
These plants have large glossy oval-shaped leaves and small flowers, which colors change from white to greenish white or even red.
Aglaonema commutatum is one of the commonest species that are available to be grown as house plants. In fact, I have the one at home as well. However, I prefer Aglaonema pictum and Aglaonema crispum that are hybrids with ornate leaf patterns and colors. You can also consider, Silver King and Silver Queen, Malay Beauty and Emerald Bay as great species for home decoration.
Perhaps one of the greatest benefits of aglaonema is the fact this plant can be planted in pots and places outdoors to give a tropical look to your garden in summer and decorate your indoor space in winter.
Aglaonema Seeds for Propagation Purposes
Seeds of this plant can be used to propagate the species. When the fruit becomes red, it means it is ripe and must be harvested. Keep the seeds in sphagnum moss at a depth of 0.5 inch at a temperature 70-80F. If the temperature’s lower, the germination percentage is lower as well and takes longer.
As a rule, the process of germination takes up to 3 months, however, if the seeds are fresh, they can germinate within 2-3 weeks. This sort of propagation is very popular, though many people prefer cutting.
Cutting Aglaonema as Another Way of Propagation
One of my friends propagates these plants by stem cutting or division. How to prune an aglaonema? Watch for new growth coming up at the base of the plant. Remove it from the base and replant in a separate pot. Don’t start pruning the plant beyond dying or removed dead leaves. In this case growth will emerge from the crown and you won’t manage to prune it without killing your favorite plant.
Planting and Re-potting the Plant
Once I was told how to do this quickly and achieved the best result:
- chop the stem’s top that has gotten leggy and root the stem in the soil or water
- as too much soil can encourage rot, take a 2:1 mix of perlite to potting mix, though straight perlite is rather difficult to work with
- transfer the root to a regular pot.
When to transplant aglaonema? Transplanting should take place once every 2-3 years, because these plants grow very slowly. When there is the need to remove the plant into a larger pot, the season doesn’t matter.
Aglaonema Growing Conditions: Light, Watering and Temperature
Though growing this plant does not require special efforts, still there are some recommendations everyone should keep to.
When I bought aglaonema for the first time, I didn’t take care for it, and it soon died. Frankly speaking, I though that I was misled, because my friend assured me that such plants never require much care. However, ‘not much’ doesn’t stand for “no care at all”.
How to grow the plant? Some varieties of the plant can easily grow in near shade. Variegated varieties require brighter light, but that doesn’t mean they are to be exposed to direct sun. You will notice if the plant lacks the light, as its leaf stems will become long and leggy.
This plant is rather demanding on humidity and watering. I advise you to keep the soil moist, but the overflow can be very harmful. When it is summer, you are to water aglaonema often. In winter watering should be moderate.
What sort of water should you use? The years of taking care for these plants at home, helped me to learn one more rule: the water for watering should be soft, well-settled and its temperature should not be lower than room temperature. To ensure proper humidity you can place pots with plants on trays of wet expanded clay. These plants don’t like drafts or days when the temperature is lower than 65ºF. The warmer it is, the better they grow.
Besides all these tips, it is essential to keep in mind that the plant is toxic to cats and can be dangerous for people. To ensure safety, wear gloves when handling aglaonema.
Be Aware When Leaves Curl and Turn Yellow!
Curling leaves are the first signs of negative changes that occur because of viruses that attack the tissues of the plant and destroy them. Such viruses are too difficult to get rid of. However, preventive measures can help to reduce the risks for viruses’ occurrence. They include doing tissue culture, cuttings, planting seeds, seedlings and graft separation.
Aglaonema Care: 5 Rules to Know
The following care instructions will be helpful in the process of plant cultivation:
- Proper care for aglaonema starts with its proper placement. Your task is to find the area that receives less indirect light.
- Place your plant far from doors, air vents and windows in order to ensure it won’t suffer from drafts.
- Fertilize the species at least 2 times per month. Water them from spring until autumn with an appropriate solution (1 tsp. soluble 20-20-20 analysis fertilizer and 1 gallon of water).
- Water the plant when the top 2 inches of the soil start getting dry.
- One of the basic care instructions includes wiping the leaves with a moistened cloth to remove dust and dirt.
Diseases and Pests the Plant Can Suffer From
The most common pests are root mealybugs, aphids, scales and mites. As a rule the plant can suffer from them during propagation stages. When they are left untreated, the plant will die.
The most serious diseases include:
- Fusarium stem rot: this is a soft mushy rot at the base of the rotted plant or a cutting. The possible way out is to remove the plants that have been infected.
- Pythium: this disease is referred to as one of the commonest root problems, and occurs under wet conditions or in poorly drained soils.
- Myrothecium and Colletotrichum: these are diseases that lead to leaf spots during propagation.
How to care for your plants? Do everything possible to avoid the occurrence of pests and diseases during growing and propagation stages. If they survive through these periods, they are going to be healthy and appealing.
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