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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, I’ll discuss caring for and propagation 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!
Foliage and Blooms
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.
This plant occasionally blooms a spathe and spadix. If your plant does bloom, you should consider cutting them off as the blooms can suck away energy from the rest of the plant.
Where Can I Find a Chinese Evergreen?
You can find a stunning Chinese evergreen for yourself on Etsy! Check out this beautiful Chinese evergreen from one of my favorite Etsy shops!
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, but if you own one you know how beautiful and low-maintenance they really are.
The basic care requirements are:
- Water when the top two inches of the soil is dry
- Provide with medium to bright, indirect light (but they can still thrive in low light)
- Use a well-draining potting mix
Read on for more important tips!
As long as it’s a well-draining mix no other special potting mix is needed for this plant. I always like to add a handful or two of perlite into my potting mix for extra drainage.
Part of what makes Chinese evergreens so easy to care for is that while they thrive in bright to medium, indirect light, they still tend to do well in low light.
Mine currently receives medium, indirect light and 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. Below are two of my (and my plants’) absolute favorite grow lights!
You should water this plant when the top two inches of the soil is dry.
If it’s kept too wet, the leaves may start to turn yellow and drop off (but note that it’s normal for the bottom-most leaves to eventually yellow and die). 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.
If your plant is looking a bit droopy that can be a sign that it needs a good watering, so be sure to feel the soil with your finger to confirm. 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. There are a few ways to provide humidity to houseplants, but I really like using a humidifier because it’s easy and lasts a while.
Below is my current favorite humidifier because it can last up to 96 hours! My plants won’t be angry at me if I forget about the humidifier for a few days.
Aglaonema silver bay typically needs to be repotted every one to two years, but this depends on how fast it’s growing.
So, instead of repotting it on a schedule, repot it when it becomes root bound. Signs of a root-bound plant include roots coming out of the drainage holes, stunted growth, and roots swirling heavily around the bottom of the pot.
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.
Pruning is not required except to remove any dead or dying leaves, such as the bottom leaves of the plant that yellow and die (and note that this is normal for the bottom-most leaves to yellow eventually).
You should be able to gently pull the dying leaves right off.
Personally, I don’t fertilize this plant. They really don’t need it to thrive, but if you’d like to fertilize yours, you can use a general houseplant fertilizer, diluted to half strength, once a month during the growing season (the spring and summer).
How to Propagate Chinese Evergreens
Aglaonemas can be easily propagated by division.
- Remove the plant from its pot.
- 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 the roots. Just try to keep the root system as undamaged as possible.
- Plant this newly divided plant into potting mix, water it, and care for it how you normally would. Give it a period to adjust to it’s new home and start growing again.
It’s that simple!
Alternatively, you can also propagate this plant with a stem cutting.
- Using a clean pair of plant shears, cut below a node (where leaves meet the stem) on a healthy stem that has at least a few leaves already.
- Plant that into moistened potting mix.
- Give it bright, indirect light and keep the potting mix moist as the roots develop.
- After a few weeks, you can test if a root system has developed by giving the cutting a gentle tug and feeling for resistance. If so, you can start caring for it like a normal plant.
- 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.
More Aglaonema Posts
Here are some of my favorite houseplant supplies:
Full-Spectrum Clip-On LED Grow Light. Why I love it – The clip makes it so easy to put almost anywhere, and the two lights with their adjustable necks make it super versatile. The timer and dimming functions are also so handy.
Stackable Moss Pole. Why I love it – Plants that climb in the wild will benefit from being able to climb in your home, too. But the thing about plants is, they grow! It’s not helpful to have one small moss pole. This pole comes with two stable pieces and once your plant surpasses those, just order another and keep stacking!
Full-Spectrum Stick-On Grow Light Strips. Why I love it – These stick-on light strips work perfectly for my greenhouse cabinet shelves. They would also come in handy if you’re keeping plants in something with a top, like a bookshelf. These lights also have a timer and a dimming function.
Whisper-Quiet 1.7-Gallon Ultrasonic Humidifier. Why I love it – Using a humidifier is one of my favorite ways to provide humidity to my plants. This humidifier lasts up to 96 hours, which means less work for me!
Top-Fill 2.8-Liter Ultrasonic Humidifier. Why I love it – This humidifier is a little more budget-friendly. It’s extremely easy to refill and it can last up to 24 hours!