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Aglaonema commutatum

Chinese Evergreen: Popular Low-Light Houseplant

The Chinese evergreen plant is known for its attractive variegated foliage. The plant is tolerant of neglect, making it an excellent choice for beginners or those with busy schedules.

Other names for this plant...

Aglaonema modestum Philippine evergreen False philodendron Sivan Lucky plant Golden evergreen Poison dart plant

About Chinese Evergreen

Chinese evergreen is a slow-growing plant with leathery, variegated leaves that come in shades of green and white or silver. It is a popular houseplant known for its air-purifying properties and low-maintenance growing conditions.

This plant is not a conifer despite the word ‘evergreen’ in its name. It’s a tropical perennial related to the peace lily and native to the Philippines.

It’s important to note that Chinese evergreens are toxic to pets and people if ingested. This is not a pet-friendly houseplant.

Botanical Name

Chinese evergreen is from the genus Aglaonema. The Chinese evergreen plant is a member of the Araceae family of flowering plants, which includes the peace lily.

Plant Type

The Chinese evergreen is a herbaceous perennial. These plants have non-woody stems and die back to the ground in winter or during a drought. They typically grow back from their roots or underground storage structures in the spring or after sufficient rain.


Although its name would suggest it is Chinese, it is native to the Philippines and northeastern Celebes (an island of Indonesia).


Chinese evergreens are variegated foliage plants. The plant typically has dark green, glossy leaves with lighter green or silver markings.

Their leaves are oblong to elliptical in shape and attached to the central stems in a rosette pattern.

Chinese evergreens are slow-growers and produce small, insignificant flowers but are primarily grown for their attractive foliage.

Chinese evergreen plants have variegated patterns in various colors.

Types Of Chinese evergreens

The Chinese evergreen has many different cultivars available, each with a unique foliage coloration and pattern. Some common ones include:

  • Aglaonema “Silver Queen” – This cultivar has bright green leaves with silver markings.

  • Aglaonema “Siam Aurora” – This cultivar has green leaves with bright pink and red markings.

  • Aglaonema “Maria” – This cultivar has green leaves with creamy white markings.

  • Aglaonema “Crete” – This cultivar has dark green leaves with light green markings.

  • Aglaonema “Emerald Beauty” – This cultivar has green leaves with a creamy white edge.

  • Aglaonema “Stripes” – This cultivar has green leaves with bright yellow stripes.

  • Aglaonema “Pink Dalmatian” – This cultivar has green leaves with bright pink spots.

  • Aglaonema “Silver Bay” – This variety has broad green leaves with darker green edges and mint green middles.

Aglaonema “Crete" has pink splashes and light pink stems.

Chinese Evergreen Styling

The Chinese evergreen is a versatile plant that can be used in various ways to add color and texture to a room. Some popular styling options for this plant include:

  • Used as a tabletop centerpiece in a living room, office, or bedroom.

  • Planted in clusters in a large container to create an eye-catching entryway or window display.

  • Used to add greenery to a corner or large open space.

  • Grown in a hanging basket or wall planter to create a vertical display.

  • Combined with other tropical plants in a decorative container to create a mixed planting display.


The Chinese evergreen is a low-light tolerant plant, but it can also tolerate some direct sun exposure if it is gradually acclimated. Here are some tips for managing sun exposure for this plant:

  • Bright, indirect sunlight is preferred. Place the plant near a window that receives bright, filtered light but not direct sun.

  • Move your plant to a sunnier location gradually over several weeks to give the plant time to adjust.

  • Exposure to direct sun for an extended period can cause sunburn. Use a sheer curtain to filter the sun.

  • Chinese evergreen plants can even grow under fluorescent lighting.


The Chinese evergreen is a relatively drought-tolerant plant, but it still needs to be watered regularly to thrive. Here are some tips for watering this plant:

  • Watering frequency will depend on the growing conditions, including temperature, humidity, and light levels. The Chinese evergreen should be watered once a week but more frequently in hot, dry conditions.

  • Add enough water to moisten the soil thoroughly, but not so much that the plant sits in standing water. A good rule of thumb is to water until water begins draining from the pot bottom.

  • Use well-draining soil that is rich in loose, organic matter. If the soil becomes too compacted, it can lead to waterlogged roots and root rot. Use a pot with suitable size drainage holes.

  • The leaves will begin to droop and dry out, and the soil will feel dry if the plant is under-watered.

  • The leaves may become yellow, and the plant may develop root rot if the plant is over-watered.


The Chinese evergreen prefers warm, humid conditions and is best grown in temperatures between 65 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit (18°C to 29°C). Here are some tips for managing the temperature of this plant:

  • The Chinese evergreen is well-suited to average room temperature and will do well in various environments, including homes and offices.

  • Protect the Chinese evergreen from extreme temperatures, both hot and cold. Avoid exposing the plant to temperatures below 50°F (10°C) or above 90°F (32°C), and keep it out of cold drafts.

  • The Chinese evergreen is relatively tolerant of temperature fluctuations, but sudden temperature changes can cause stress to the plant and result in leaf drops.


The Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema) is a tropical plant that prefers high humidity. Here are some tips for managing humidity for this plant:

  • The ideal humidity range for the Chinese evergreen is between 40% and 60%. The plant will thrive in this range, and the leaves will be bright green and healthy.

  • Provide good air circulation for the Chinese evergreen to prevent disease and promote healthy growth. Avoid placing the plant where it will be exposed to drafts or stagnant air.

  • If the humidity in the room is low, it can be helpful to use a pebble tray under the pot to provide extra moisture to the plant.

  • Regular misting can help increase the humidity around the Chinese evergreen, especially in dry conditions.

  • The Chinese evergreen is sensitive to low humidity levels and can be damaged by direct air conditioning or heating exposure.


The Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema) is not particularly fussy regarding soil, but some specific requirements will help the new plant to thrive. Here are some tips for choosing the right soil for the Chinese evergreen:

  • The Chinese evergreen requires well-draining soil to prevent root rot. Choose a peat-based potting mix that is lightweight and porous.

  • Chinese evergreens like nutrient-rich soil that is high in organic matter. Consider adding compost or aged manure to provide additional nutrients.

  • The Chinese evergreen prefers slightly acidic soil with a pH between 6.0 and 7.0. If the soil is too alkaline, it can turn the leaves yellow, and the plant can become stunted.

  • You should repot the plant every 2-3 years to ensure it has access to fresh, nutrient-rich soil. When repotting, choose a pot one size larger and use fresh potting mix.

  • A suitable potting soil for these plants can be made by mixing equal quantities of peat moss, perlite, and vermiculite.


The Chinese evergreen is a low-maintenance plant that does not require frequent pruning. Here are some tips for pruning the Chinese evergreen:

  • Prune the Chinese evergreen as needed to control its size and maintain its shape. Pruning can be done any time of year, but it is best to avoid pruning during the active growing season, typically spring and summer.

  • Use clean, sharp pruning shears to make clean cuts. Dull tools can damage the plant and increase the risk of disease.

  • To control the size of the Chinese evergreen, you can cut back the stems to the desired height. Cut just above a node (where the leaf meets the stem).

  • If the Chinese evergreen has damaged or yellow leaves, remove them at the base of the stem. This will help to maintain the plant’s appearance and promote healthy growth.


The Chinese evergreen does not require frequent fertilization. However, providing the right nutrients can help the plant to thrive and maintain its lush appearance. Here are some tips for fertilizing the Chinese evergreen:

  • Fertilize the Chinese evergreen during the growing season, typically from spring to fall. Do not fertilize during the winter, when the plant is dormant.

  • Use a balanced, water-soluble liquid fertilizer for the best results. Choose a fertilizer with an NPK (nitrogen-phosphorous-potassium) ratio of about 20-20-20 or similar.

  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the recommended dosage, as different fertilizers may have different application rates. Generally, the Chinese evergreen should be fertilized every 4 to 6 weeks during the growing season.

  • After fertilizing, be sure to water the plant thoroughly to wash away any excess fertilizer that may have settled on the leaves.

  • In addition to regular houseplant fertilizer applications, you can also use a slow-release fertilizer that will provide nutrients to the plant over a longer period.

Height & Growth

The Chinese evergreen can reach a height of 2 to 3 feet when grown as a houseplant. Its leaves can grow up to 8 inches in length and 5 inches in width.


The Chinese evergreen is toxic to pets and humans if ingested. 

The plant contains calcium oxalate crystals, which can cause symptoms such as mouth and throat irritation, difficulty swallowing, and digestive upset. In severe cases, ingestion of the plant can lead to difficulty breathing, excessive drooling, and convulsions.

Keep the Chinese evergreen out of reach of children and pets, and wash hands thoroughly after handling the plant to avoid skin irritation. If ingestion occurs, it is crucial to seek medical attention immediately.


Chinese evergreen is not pet-friendly.

Common Problems

  • Yellowing leaves can be caused by overwatering, underwatering, or a lack of nutrients. Water and fertilize the plant properly to prevent yellowing leaves.

  • Wilting results from under-watering, root rot, or other issues with the roots. Check the soil moisture and ensure the plant is not sitting in water, which can cause root rot.

  • Brown leaf tips or edges are caused by dry air, making the plant lose moisture from its leaves. Increase the humidity around the plant by misting the leaves, using a humidifier, or placing the plant on a pebble tray.

  • Stunted growth stems from a lack of light, over-fertilizing, or other issues with the growing conditions. Ensure that the plant gets enough light and that you don’t over-fertilize.

  • Pests like spider mites, aphids, mealybugs, and scale insects can infest the Chinese evergreen. If you notice any pests on the plant, treat them with an insecticide as soon as possible to prevent further damage.

  • “Root-bound” Chinese evergreens have roots that have filled the pot and have nowhere else to grow. This can lead to stunted growth, wilting, and yellowing leaves. Repot the plant into a pot 2 to 3 inches larger in diameter and fill it with fresh potting soil. Gently loosen the roots from the root ball and place the plant in the new pot. Water and place the plant in bright, indirect light.

Healthy Chinese evergreen plants are upright.

How To Propagate Chinese Evergreen

Propagation of the Chinese evergreen can be easily achieved by taking stem cuttings and rooting them in soil or water. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Chinese evergreens easy to grow?

Yes, the Chinese evergreen is considered a relatively easy plant to grow. It is known for its hardiness and ability to adapt to diverse growing conditions, making it an ideal choice for beginners.

Where should I put my Chinese evergreen?

Place your Chinese evergreen in a bright, warm room with moderate humidity, such as a living room, office, or bedroom. Just make sure to avoid exposing it to direct sunlight, low temperatures, or dry air.

What do Chinese evergreens look like?

The Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema) is an attractive indoor plant. Its leaves are typically large, oval-shaped, and bright green, with distinctive silver or white markings. Some varieties have partially or fully pink, red, or yellow leaves.

The Chinese evergreen produces spikes of small, white, or pale green flowers that are not particularly showy.

What is a Chinese evergreen’s natural habitat?

The Chinese evergreen is native to Southeast Asia, including countries such as the Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia. In its natural habitat, it grows in low-light, humid environments, such as under dense rainforest canopies, along stream banks, and in swampy areas.

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