Foliage Plants: Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema)
The Chinese Evergreen, also known by its scientific name Aglaonema, is a fantastic foliage plant for office environments. Its distinctive leaves come in a variety of colors and patterns, from solid green to silver and variegated, adding visual interest to any space.
What makes the Chinese Evergreen so well-suited for offices is its ability to tolerate low light conditions and irregular watering. This makes it a low maintenance plant that can thrive even in neglected corner offices. The Chinese Evergreen also filters indoor air pollutants like formaldehyde and benzene, improving air quality.
Common and Scientific Names
While commonly called the Chinese Evergreen, this plant is botanically known as Aglaonema. There are over 20 species within the Aglaonema genus, which explains the wide variety of leaf shapes, sizes, and colors seen in these plants. Using both the common and scientific names eliminates confusion and clearly identifies this resilient foliage plant.
Detailed Description of Chinese Evergreen
The Chinese Evergreen is a visually striking foliage plant known for its distinctive leaves and variety of color variations. This tropical perennial has oval-shaped leaves that can be solid green, silver, or variegated with splashes and blotches of white, yellow, or red.
One of the most popular varieties is the Silver Queen, which has silvery gray leaves with green veins. The Silver Bay is another variety with gray-green leaves edged in silver. Some varieties have striking pink or red stems. In general, the leaves can grow quite large, up to 12 inches long depending on the variety.
These slow-growing plants reach a mature height and width of about 2-3 feet. They have a bushy, upright growth habit. Mature plants may produce small green or white spathe flowers, but they are grown primarily for their foliage.
Some key features that make the Chinese Evergreen stand out include:
- Dramatic leaf colors and variegation
- Ability to tolerate low light conditions
- Low maintenance needs
- Air purifying properties
Its diversity of leaf shapes, colors, and patterns gives it visual interest. It’s also one of the best plants for improving indoor air quality by removing toxins.
Optimal Care Guide for Chinese Evergreen
The Chinese Evergreen thrives in bright, indirect light. Place it near an east, west, or north facing window where it will receive plenty of ambient daylight but avoid direct sun exposure. An office setting with fluorescent lighting also provides adequate light. Rotate the plant periodically so all sides receive equal light exposure for even growth.
Water the Chinese Evergreen when the top inch of soil becomes dry. Use room temperature filtered or distilled water to prevent leaf burn. Pour water until it runs from the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot, then dump out any excess from the saucer. In the winter months, allow the soil to become slightly drier between waterings.
Temperature & Humidity
The Chinese Evergreen grows best with daytime temperatures of 16-24°C and nighttime temperatures around 60°C. High humidity is appreciated but not essential. Misting the leaves every few days raises the humidity level around the plant. In dry office environments, placing the pot on a pebble tray filled with water can help increase ambient humidity.
Soil & Potting
Use a well-draining potting mix for the Chinese Evergreen, such as a blend of peat moss, perlite, and compost. Re-pot every 2 years in the spring, moving it to a container one size larger. Place a layer of gravel or other drainage material at the bottom of the pot before adding the fresh soil mix.
Benefits of Chinese Evergreen in the Office
The Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema) offers several key benefits when used as an office plant. First and foremost is its ability to purify indoor air by removing toxins like benzene and formaldehyde. Studies have shown these plants to be highly effective at cleansing room air, which can greatly improve the quality of air employees breathe on a daily basis.
In addition to air purification, the Chinese Evergreen brings natural beauty to office spaces with its exotic-looking, colorful foliage. The variegated leaves come in shades of green, yellow, red and silver, allowing it to stand out against other common office plants. This visual appeal can brighten up cubicles, waiting areas, and other dreary spots around an office.
There is also evidence that having plants like the Chinese Evergreen around can provide psychological benefits for employees. Studies have linked exposure to living plants with lower stress levels, increased productivity, and elevated moods. The calming natural element plants bring to a workplace can make employees feel happier and more creative.
The Chinese Evergreen is excellent at removing air pollutants like formaldehyde, xylene, and toluene from indoor spaces. These toxins are common in office buildings due to the glues, solvents, and chemicals found in furniture, flooring, paints, cleaning products and more. Prolonged exposure can cause headaches, fatigue, and irritation for employees. The Chinese Evergreen has been shown to eliminate up to 60-80% of these pollutants from the air.
With its exotic foliage and bright pops of color, the Chinese Evergreen brings life and vibrancy to office spaces. The striking leaves come in various patterns of green, yellow, red and silver, allowing it to stand out against more common green office plants. Positioning these plants around an office can instantly enhance the environment.
Research has consistently shown that having plants in office environments can reduce employee stress and increase productivity. Interacting with living plants triggers positive psychological responses that make people feel happier, more creative, and more relaxed. Chinese Evergreen plants can help create a healthier, more inspiring atmosphere for employees.
Troubleshooting Common Issues with Chinese Evergreen
The Chinese Evergreen is generally a hardy, low-maintenance plant. However, like all plants, it can run into issues if not properly cared for. Here are some of the most common problems you may encounter with your Chinese Evergreen and how to resolve them.
Yellowing or Drooping Leaves
If you notice the leaves on your Chinese Evergreen turning yellow or drooping, this is usually a sign of improper watering. The plant prefers soil that is evenly moist but not soggy. Overwatering can lead to root rot while under watering causes the leaves to dry out and yellow.
Check the soil moisture before watering. Allow the top inch to dry out between waterings. Water thoroughly until it runs from the drainage holes at the bottom, then empty the drainage tray so the plant isn’t left sitting in water.
Brown Leaf Tips
If the tips of the leaves are turning brown, this is often caused by the salts, chlorine or fluoride in tap water. Use filtered or distilled water for your Chinese Evergreen to prevent tip burn.
You can also trim off the crispy brown parts of the leaves to maintain the plant’s appearance without harming it.
Chinese Evergreens can fall victim to common houseplant pests like spider mites, mealybugs and scale. Check the plant, especially the undersides of leaves, for any signs of insects or sticky residue.
Treat infestations immediately by spraying the plant with insecticidal soap or neem oil. You may need to repeat applications to fully eliminate the pests.
As a preventative measure, periodically wipe the leaves down with a damp cloth to remove any eggs or insect residue before they hatch and spread.
Chinese Evergreens are prone to bacterial and fungal leaf spot diseases which cause small black or brown spots on the leaves. This is usually caused by overwatering or high humidity.
Allow the soil to dry out more between waterings and water early in the day so the leaves have time to dry. Improve air circulation around the plant. Remove and destroy any badly infected leaves.
With proper care, your Chinese Evergreen should remain healthy and pest-free for years to come!
Fun Facts and Trivia about Chinese Evergreen
The Chinese Evergreen has an intriguing history and some fascinating facts behind its popularity. According to Chinese legend, the plant first sprouted on the grave of an imperial concubine, leading people to associate it with rebirth and new beginnings.
The Chinese Evergreen is uniquely adapted to thrive in indoor environments. Its waxy leaves enable it to retain moisture efficiently, and its variegated colors allow it to photosynthesize even in low light conditions. Some varieties even bloom small flowers, though this is rare indoors.
In Chinese culture, the Chinese Evergreen is seen as a good luck charm and symbol of prosperity. Its ability to grow in poor soil conditions and withstand neglect earned it the moniker “plant of steel.” It’s often given as a housewarming gift or displayed in business lobbies to attract wealth.
- There are over 100 named varieties of Chinese Evergreen, with new cultivars still being actively developed.
- The plant is sometimes called the “Friendship Plant” due to the ease of propagating new plants from cuttings to share with friends.
- Chinese Evergreen plants can live for over 50 years with proper care!
With its resilience, vibrant colors, and storied history, the Chinese Evergreen continues to fascinate plant enthusiasts. It’s no wonder this tropical foliage plant remains an indoor gardening staple after all these years.
If you’re looking to add some greenery and clean air to your office space, the Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema) is an excellent choice. This distinctive plant not only looks great but also has the ability to filter out harmful toxins from indoor air.
With its visually striking leaves in various shades of green, red, and pink, the Chinese Evergreen makes an attractive addition to any professional environment. Its slow but steady growth habit means you won’t be constantly battling its size as you would with other faster growing foliage plants.
Enhanced Air Quality
One of the best reasons to incorporate these plants is their unmatched capacity to remove pollutants like benzene, formaldehyde, and xylene from the surrounding atmosphere. By filtering these harmful compounds, the Chinese Evergreen creates a healthier and more pleasant place for employees to work in.
Soothing Natural Aesthetic
The Chinese Evergreen’s vividly patterned leaves and graceful stems provide a soothing natural look in office spaces, allowing workers to feel connected to nature. This not only relaxes the mind but also enhances creativity and productivity.
These hardy plants thrive with minimal care. Their ability to tolerate low light and irregular watering makes them perfect low maintenance additions. An occasional wipe down of their leaves coupled with monthly liquid fertilization is all they need to keep looking spectacular.
If you want to elevate your office with stylish greenery that also purifies the air, be sure to get in touch with Aztec Plants.