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Aglaonema

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  • Indoor Plants
Aglaonema nitidum 'Silver King'
Photo: Jardin botanique de Montréal (Jean-Pierre Bellemare)

Onglets

Botany

Origin and description

Aglaonema grows in the shade of tall trees in the tropical forests of Southeast Asia. This herbaceous plant, grown mainly for its decorative foliage, can reach up to one metre tall. Its lance-shaped leaves with long stalks are usually marbled and grow from a rhizome (underground stem). The inflorescence, more or less camouflaged by the foliage, is composed of a floral spike (the spadix) surrounded by a greenish white bract (the spathe). The flowers produce red fruit that remains on the plant for a long time. The 'Silver Queen' cultivar has silvery white marbled green foliage.

Species, cultivars and related plants

Aglaonema commutatum is the best-known species. It is highly variable and includes several varieties and cultivars. Its large, shiny, lance-shaped leaves are dark green and 13 to 30 cm long. They may be marbled to varying degrees with grey or creamy white along the primary veins. On adult plants, the stem bears scars from old leaves. Aglaonema commutatum 'Treubii' is a cultivar with narrow greenish grey leaves spotted with yellowish green. Aglaonema costatum has dark green leaves with a white midrib and irregular white spots.

Toxicity

Aglaonema contains substances that are irritating to the skin and mucous membranes. Place this potentially toxic plant out of reach of children and pets.

Common name

Aglaonema

Latin name (genus)

Aglaonema 'Silver Queen'

French common name

Botanical family

  • Araceae
Horticulture

Growing conditions

This plant prefers a relatively warm and humid spot out of direct sunlight. While it does tolerate lower light, it prefers medium light. An east-facing room is ideal. This plant adapts to normal indoor temperatures (18 to 21ºC) provided you respect a maximum of 24ºC and a minimum of 16ºC. Keep humidity levels high because it does not tolerate dry air, particularly if temperatures are high.

Easy to grow?

This plant is fairly easy to grow if you provide it with high humidity and do not place it in direct sunlight. It is also sensitive to cold drafts in winter and sudden temperature changes. Only older plants flower and rarely as houseplants.

Watering and fertilizer

Aglaonema does not like cold water. Water it sparingly, with room-temperature water, just enough to moisten the soil. Avoid overwatering, and allow the soil to dry out slightly between waterings. If placed in a sunnier location, it will require more frequent watering. Out of the sun, on the other hand, it needs lower temperatures, less water and less humidity. Aglaonema is a slow-growing plant and should not be over-fed. Use indoor plant food or an all-purpose fertilizer like 20-20-20 every three months from March to October.

Pruning and maintenance

Clean dusty plants under the shower (using tepid water) or with a damp sponge.

Repotting

Repot young plants in spring, then every two or three years when the roots appear at the surface or emerge from the pot. Aglaonema prefers humus-rich soil. Potting blends for tropical plants are suitable provided that they drain well.

Pests and diseases
Physiological disorders

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