Aglaonema costatum: Spotted evergreen

Family: Araceae
Common name: Spotted evergreen, Chinese evergreen

Aglaonemas a beautiful, ever-green, non-fussy plants that can grow well in a wide variety of conditions making them ideal garden plants. Spotted evergreens grow to a height of 50-60 cms, forming beautiful clumps or bushes that can be placed in pots or on the ground, in bright sunlight or partial shade. Harsh sunlight could cause browning of leaf edges, and growing these plants in the dark will lead to yellowing of the leaves.

Spotted evergreen plants can also be grown indoors near sunny windows. Leaves are about 20 cms long, dark green with a white mid rib, and white polka dots all over it. These plants produce an inflorescence made of a white spadix and a white leaf-like spathe encircling it. And rarely, they produce green fruits that turn red when they mature.

Aglaonemas come in such vivid shades or green, pink, red, white and yellow that many landscape designers prefer them as border or hedge plants. Spotted evergreens or Aglaonema costatum plants are fast-growers that can fill a pot in no time, with their vibrant green and white leaves in a rosette shape.

Though these plants look very beautiful, their leaves contain calcium oxalate crystals that are poisonous to pets and small children. They can cause irritation and swelling in the mouth and tongue, or even nausea and vomiting on ingestion.

Spotted evergreens are very easy to grow and require very little maintenance. They need well-drained, moist soil, but very little nutrition or pruning. Dead leaves can be plucked off from the lower end of the plant to keep the plant looking healthy.

New plants grow from near the root, which can be cut with a clean pair of scissors and replanted. Overwatering might lead to root rot, and so it’s essential to make sure that the soil is completely dry before watering these plants.

The name costatus means ribbed, denoting the white midrib on the leaves. These plants are said to purify the air of toxins according to NASA’s study, which made them very popular among home gardeners and nurseries.

Propagation is through seeds, root division or by replanting small suckers that grow from the parent plant.