HOUSEPLANT CARE CHINESE EVERGREEN
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Jewel of India
One of the most commonly used interior landscape plants is the Aglaonema or, as it is more commonly called, the Chinese Evergreen. It is easy to care for and can be maintained at the lower light levels often found in the home or office environment.
The Aglaonema "Jewel of India" is just one of many varieties of Chinese Evergreen. An attractive, easy to care for plant, it is on just about everyones list of best houseplants. Aglaonemas can be maintained at the lower light levels often found in the home or office. Although there are many varieties of this plant, the care for all Aglaonemas is very similar.
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Some of the more common Aglaonema varieties are the Aglaonema Emerald Beauty, Silver Queen and the Aglaonema Silver Bay. Aglaonemas have a bush-like or clumping growth and, depending on the pot size, can be from 8 inches to 4 feet in height. These Aglaonemas are often used in interior landscapes.
Almost all Aglaonema are variegated to some extent. Keep in mind that the variegated types need more light than those with less variegation. Typically, the lighter the color of a plant, the higher the light levels it needs to maintain its color and variegation.
Lighting - This is a great houseplant for just about any location except full sun. Full sun, especially through glass, will scorch the exposed leaves. Aglaonema plants will survive in low light but will become thin and leggy. For a nice looking plant, try to provide bright, diffused natural light or some artificial fluorescent light. This plant will do quite well with just artificial lighting. For this reason it is ideal for use in professional office space.
Temperatures for Aglaonema should not be allowed to drop below 60°F. They are not cold tolerant plants.
Watering Chinese Evergreen - If you place your Aglaonema in high light, you can allow the potting mix to dry down 1/2 to 3/4 of the way out before watering thoroughly. In a lower light situation, allow soil to dry almost completely between waterings. Please read the section on watering for more on the most important part of your plant care.
To help keep your Aglaonema houseplants full and bushy, remove some of the new leaves as they appear. Do this by firmly grasping the stem the new leaf grows from and hold the new leaf near its base and gently pull. It should come out entirely and this is preferred. Do not use scissors. Leaves, stems etc. should be removed completely with no "stump" left behind. Wounds on a plant allow for entry of disease and can attract insects. Remove flowers or bracts in the same way.
Problems with Aglaonema should be few. They are prone to stem and root rot if the soil is kept overly wet. Aglaonema will become leggy if kept in low light for extended periods of time.
Mealy bugs are one of the most common insect problems that you may have with Aglaonema. An oval shaped, somewhat flattened body and six legs distinguish this insect, although they can appear to have more legs because of their "antennae" and "tails". They also have a fringe around the body. A waxy, protective substance covers the body of adults and egg sacs giving them a cottony appearance.
Mealy bugs excrete a sticky substance called honeydew. You may see or feel it on the leaves. They normally are found in hidden areas, the undersides of the leaves or in leaf axils. Keep an eye out for these pest, especially when you first bring a new plant home.
Treat new additions to your plant family for a week or two with a spray mixture of water and rubbing alcohol followed with a wash down with mild liquid dish soap and water. Treat until run off, let dry then apply the second wash. You must be sure to hit the undersides of the leaves and the stems also. Twice a week for two weeks and your plant should be safe.
Never apply anything to the foliage of your plant while it is in the sun or when the soil is dry. Water first and move to a shady location.
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