Aglaonema: Chinese evergreens

Family: Araceae
Common name: Chinese evergreens

Very easy to grow and maintain, Chinese evergreen is an amateur gardener’s dream plant. They are mostly grown as ornamental plants, and can thrive both indoors and outdoors equally well. Chinese evergreen plants are known for their leaves, that are variegated with stripes, speckles, splotches or uniform patterns. They grow to a height of 1-1.5 meters; and can be erect or creeping. They also produce male and female flowers that are unisexual, and resembles Peace lily or Spathiphyllum flowers.

Rarely, they produce green fruits that turns red on ripening, and bears a single large seed. Chinese evergreens have been cross-bred to form various hybrids, distinguished by their shape, size and patterns on leaves. One of the most common cultivars is ‘Silver Queen’, which is primarily silver with green patterns.

The NASA clean air study classified Chinese evergreens among plants that can remove certain toxins from the air. Though it is a very popular indoor plants, like other Arums, Dumbcane and Syngonium, their leaves contain calcium oxalate crystals that are toxic. These can cause inflammations and rashes when it comes into contact with mucous tissue of mouth or nose.

Chinese evergreen plants are very versatile and non-fussy; tolerating low sunlight, water, fertilization and soil conditions. In fact, fertilizers are needed only once or twice a year. They are also pest-resistant; though some bugs like mealy bugs, aphids and spider mites might attack the leaves.

Propagation is from seeds, which is a comparatively slower process, compared to stem cuttings.

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