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Aglaonema silver bay, also known as Chinese evergreen, is known for the striking variegation on its leaves. This plant is insanely easy to care for, making it perfect for beginners. It was one of the first plants I learned how to grow many years ago and that same plant is still going strong to this day. In this post, we’ll learn all about caring for this incredible plant!
The Chinese evergreen is native to tropical regions of Asia and New Guinea. It is a low-maintenance and relatively fast-growing plant if given ideal conditions. Mine grows a new leaf almost every week. However, don’t stress if your plant is growing more slowly. Chances are it’s a case of low light, and these plants can still thrive in low light!
Aglaonema stems are short with pointed, oval leaves that unfurl from the center and grow outwards. The leaves can grow to be around 9 to 12 inches long, while the whole plant can get around four feet tall. The stems and leaves are both glossy, and the variegated leaves have different combinations of dark green to light green to silver colors.
The lower leaves may turn droopy and yellow and start to die. Don’t panic, this is a natural part of the plant’s process, and dying leaves are frequently replaced by new ones. In addition to its beautiful leaves, this plant can even flower, although this doesn’t always happen as a houseplant. If your plant does flower, you’ll want to consider cutting off the blooms, as they can suck away energy from the rest of the plant (and, to be honest, they aren’t very pretty!).
Where Can I Find a Chinese Evergreen?
Chinese evergreens are very common houseplants and can be found at most garden centers. If you can’t find one, check out these Chinese evergreen options from Etsy and Amazon! The Sill, an online plant store that I also really like and frequently recommend, is currently carrying a different type of Aglaonema. Check that out here.
How Do I Care for a Chinese Evergreen?
My Chinese evergreen is a hand-me-down from my mom and has been ridiculously easy to take care of. I’ve always felt like they aren’t given enough credit, sort of treated as an afterthought, but if you own one you know how awesome (and beautiful!) they really are.
Part of what makes Chinese evergreens so easy to care for is that they can thrive in bright, medium, or low light, as long as it’s indirect. Mine currently receives medium indirect light, but I’ve found they actually do very well in low light. At my old place, my plant received almost no sunlight at all and did just fine under the big kitchen fluorescent light.
It can be tricky to determine the light levels around your home. Check out my easy guide to natural light for houseplants for help with this.
While these plants will grow well in low light, grow lights can be very helpful in getting plants to thrive to their full potential. I also wrote an easy guide to grow lights. I recommend you browse that post if you’re curious about purchasing grow lights!
You should water this plant when the top two inches of the soil are dry. If it’s kept too wet, the leaves may start to turn yellow and drop off. If it’s kept REALLY wet, you might be at risk for root rot. I water mine about every one to two weeks, and even less in the winter. For more help on when you should be watering your plants, see my guide on when and how to water your plants.
If your plant is looking a bit droopy that can be a sign that it needs a good watering, so be sure to check the soil. As with all houseplants, those kept in brighter light will need to be watered more often and vice versa. Because Aglaonemas are native to tropical regions, they also like humidity—check out my post on easy ways to create humidity for your houseplants!
Aglaonema silver bay typically needs to be repotted every one to two years. Lately, I have been repotting mine every two years or so. Be sure to choose a pot that’s the next size up from its current pot and has drainage. If your plant still fits in its current pot, sometimes all you need is to give it a fresh dose of nutrients by replacing the soil.
Pruning is not required except to remove any dead or dying leaves, such as the bottom leaves of the plant that may yellow and die. In general, when pruning, always be sure to use sterilized plant shears or scissors. However, for this plant, you shouldn’t need to do that. Just wait for the dying leaves to get to the point where they can be gently plucked off.
Aglaonemas can be propagated by division. Find a section with its own root system and gently separate it from the rest. The roots on a Chinese evergreen can get thick, so if you need help separating it be sure to use a clean, sharp knife to separate as much of that part’s root system as you can. Plant this in your potting mix, water it, and care for it how you normally would.
Instead of going into the roots to separate the plant, you can also propagate a stem cutting. Using a clean pair of shears, simply cut below a node (where leaves meet the stem) on a stem that has at least a few leaves already. Place that into potting mix, water it, and care for it how you normally would.
I don’t fertilize this plant. They don’t necessarily need it. If you want to fertilize yours, you can use a general houseplant fertilizer and fertilize your plant in the spring or summer.
- If you need another reason to add a Chinese evergreen to your collection, they are considered good luck—it’s actually nicknamed the Lucky Plant.
- This plant is toxic to animals, so be sure to keep it away from your curious furry friends!
- Rotate your Chinese evergreen so that the leaves will grow evenly on all sides.