Home > Great Big Greenhouse Blog > September 2014 > COLORFUL NEW CHINESE EVERGREENS

COLORFUL NEW CHINESE EVERGREENS

The Aglaonema, or Chinese evergreen, has been a staple in the interiorscape industry for the last 30 years.  These easy care, lower-light tolerant tropicals are also popular as houseplants, and many new pretty cultivars became available during the 1990’s—so many, in fact, that it was a challenge to me and my co-workers to identify and label them as we stocked our benches.  From the plain, green-leaved A. commutatum, to the once new and exciting ‘Silver Queen’ and ‘Emerald Beauty’, to all of the patented Bay (‘Emerald Bay’, ‘Golden Bay’, ‘Silver Bay’, etc.) and Stars of India (‘Jewel of India’, ‘Emerald Star’, ‘Silverado’, etc.) series, this versatile plant can be found everywhere.

Over the last ten years, new more colorful cultivars have been introduced, including the Jazzed Gem Series of Chinese evergreen originating in Thailand.  These plants have added pinks and reds to the traditional “shades of green" variegation of most aglaonemas.   ‘Sapphire Suzanne’ has pretty pink petioles (leaf stems) and ‘Sparkling Sarah’ has a bright pink mid-rib and stems, with pink and cream blotches on the green leaves.  Aglaonema ‘Etta Rose’ has light pink and green leaves, mostly pink, that give it a soft appearance.
 
Another nice Chinese evergreen is A. ‘Emerald Holiday’, with green and cream leaves and a red mid-rib.  Other new aglaonemas to try are ‘Creta’, with red leaf margins, ‘Pink Jade’, with dark green leaves and a pink mid-rib, and ‘Ruby Red’, resembling a bright red caladium.

Care for these easy plants is pretty basic:  allow the soil to dry moderately between thorough waterings, never letting roots stand in water.  While they are especially useful for lower-light areas in homes and offices, these plants are also happy with bright light as long as you avoid strong mid-day to afternoon sun.  Aglaonemas are cold sensitive, so keep them away from drafts in the winter, and don’t let leaves rest against cold window panes.  With a plant growing under lower-light conditions, you need only fertilize at about ½ strength 4 or 5 times a year.  Also, while the flowers of the Chinese evergreen resemble that of the Peace lily, they are not nearly as attractive, and draw nutrients and energy from the plant.  Pinching flower buds off before they open encourages the plant to produce more of its attractive leaves for a bushier appearance.  
Posted: 9/17/2014 by Margot | with 0 comment(s)
Filed under: MargotGunn, TheGreatIndoors
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