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How To Propagate Chinese Evergreen

Methods of Chinese evergreen propagation include stem cuttings in soil, water, or moss, division of roots, or air layering. Propagating Aglaonema can help keep your mother plant strong and healthy.

Aglaonema, commonly called Chinese evergreen, is a beautiful and extremely popular houseplant. There are 25 species of aglaonema plants and numerous additional cultivars, with color combinations including dark green, silver, and red.

This tropical plant is native to China and the Philippines. It is found growing under tree canopies in shady spots and indirect sunlight. Its ability to thrive in low light conditions, easygoing and low maintenance nature, and the many Aglaonema varieties make it a great indoor plant choice for even a novice grower.

If you’re a beginner in plant care, propagation may sound intimidating. The good news is that with the right tools and instructions, you can quickly fill your home with beautiful new plants.

Step-By-Step Instructions For Propagating Chinese Evergreen

When determining how to propagate Aglaonema, there are a few methods to choose from. Your chosen method will depend on your plant, patience, and interest.

Any method of propagation is most effective during the spring and summer growing seasons. This allows the mother plant to heal quickly.

Stem cuttings

Using stem cuttings is the easiest and most common way to propagate a plant. Although taking a stem cutting is easy, it still needs to be done correctly so as not to harm the parent plant. Follow the steps below to get the healthiest cutting:

  1. Ensure you have clean, sharp tools. A sharp knife is the best choice as scissors can crush versus cut if not sharp enough.

  2. Choose an offshoot with at least 4-6 inches of stem.

  3. Make a clean cut as close to the main plant as possible.

  4. Clear the bottom portion of your cutting of any leaves, but leave a few at the top. These are important for respiration as the cutting develops new roots.

Once you’ve taken your cutting, you can use it to create a new plant. There are three ways to propagate using a stem cutting.

Choose a healthy plant to take a stem cutting from.

Propagation with a stem cutting in water

This method is interesting because it allows you to watch the roots grow. However, it can be time-consuming, and the roots that develop in water aren’t always as strong as in other methods.

To propagate using water, follow the steps below:

  1. Place your stem cutting in a clear glass vase with clean water.

  2. Put the container in a warm location that receives indirect light.

  3. Change the water weekly.

  4. Once roots are 2 inches long, move your cutting to a prepared container with standard potting mix.

New growth should appear in a few weeks.

Propagation with a stem cutting in soil

It’s also possible to place your cutting directly into the soil and skip the water. If using this method, it’s advisable to use a rooting hormone to promote healthy root growth.

To propagate with soil, follow the steps below:

  1. Ensure you have an appropriately sized container with ample drainage holes.

  2. Fill with potting soil that contains perlite (this will help with moisture retention and drainage).

  3. Coat the cut end of your cutting with rooting hormone.

  4. Place the cut end into the moist soil burying it 2-3 inches deep.

  5. Put your cutting in a warm location with indirect light.

  6. Chinese evergreens like humidity. Placing a clear plastic bag over the cutting can help it thrive by creating a humid environment.

  7. Note: Don’t let the plastic touch the plant. Wooden stakes can help keep the plastic in place and off the plant itself. 

  8. You can also use a humidifier to add moisture to your home.

  9. Keep the cutting moist. Do not let it dry out.

  10. Repot once new roots have formed. Roots will develop within a few weeks.

  11. You can test for root growth by gently tugging on your cutting. Resistance indicates the presence of roots. Another sign of root formation is new growth.

Once your new plant has been transferred to a new pot, place it in an area with indirect sun and follow standard Chinese evergreen care.

Propagation with a stem cutting in moss

Sphagnum moss can be used in place of soil for propagation. Follow the steps above, and be sure to keep the moss moist.

Within a few weeks, roots will grow through the moss. At that point, the moss can be removed and the cutting placed in a new container with a standard soil mix.


Propagation through division is the best option if you have a mature plant with several stems. It’s particularly appropriate if your plant has become root-bound and needs to be repotted anyways.

Not only does division instantly give you new plants, but it also keeps your mother plant healthy.

To propagate through division, follow the steps below:

  1. Gently remove your plant from its container.

  2. Shake the dirt off the root ball, brushing the excess off with your hand. Be careful not to damage the roots while doing this.

  3. Gently separate the stems at their natural base creating individual plants. The roots will be tangled, and you will break some during the separation. Just be as gentle and careful as possible.

  4. You want several clumps of roots with healthy stems and leaves attached.

  5. Once the plants are separated, place them in prepared, well-draining containers with moist soil.

  6. Mother and daughter plants can be placed in the original location or locations with similar conditions.

Propagation through root division is also an effective method.

Air layering

Air layering is a time-consuming process, and the propagation process is slow. But it’s also easy on the mother plant, causing little distress.

To propagate through air-layering, follow the steps below:

  1. Choose a portion of the stem on the mother plant and peel or scrape the outer bark off 2-3 inches of the entire perimeter of the stem. This will be the area where new roots grow, creating the new plant.

  2. Apply rooting hormone to the newly exposed area.

  3. Wrap moist sphagnum moss around the wound, covering an inch above and below the exposed area.

  4. Cover moss with clear plastic securing the top and bottom areas.

  5. Within a few weeks, roots will form and grow through the moss.

  6. Once a mass of roots has formed, you can cut the stem just beneath the roots. This is your new plant.

  7. Place new plant in a prepared container with moist soil. Ensure the container has good drainage.Care Tips For Your Chinese Evergreen

Chinese evergreens are easy to care for if you follow some rules.

  • Keep your Chinese evergreen moist but not wet. Too much water will cause root rot and kill your plant.

  • Chinese evergreen likes warm, humid environments but not direct sun. It will burn your plant. Place your Chinese evergreen in an area that receives indirect or low light.

  • Fertilizing twice a year with liquid fertilizer will help promote growth and keep your plant healthy. Standard liquid fertilizers are easily found at local nurseries or online retailers like Amazon.

Frequently Asked Questions

My Chinese evergreen has become leggy. What is the best way to propagate new plants off my leggy one?

If your Chinese evergreen has become leggy, air-layering is the best way to propagate.

What’s the most common Chinese evergreen variety?

Although there are many varieties of Chinese evergreen, silver queen is the most common.

Do Chinese evergreens grow fast or slow?

Chinese evergreens are considered moderate growers.

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