Sunday, November 2, 2014

Amazing Aglaonemas

Aglaonema 'Creta' December 2010
In the last few years, the ubiquitous Aglaonema has made a resurgence in popularity because of its new amazing cultivars.  I acquired this Aglaonema 'Creta'  in 2010. It seems much less colorful in the picture above, but it is also about 6 feet from the west window. In the pictures below, it has a much brighter red color, as the plant is right on the windowsill. 

Aglaonema 'Creta' today
Aglaonema 'Creta'
Aglaonema 'Creta'
Aglaonema that most people are familiar with

These plants are known for being the go-to plant in the interior plantscape industry for low light areas. I don't mind them, but they all look pretty much the same to me. Most were variegated but just didn't float my boat. Now, with these plants with the pink and red accents, my mind has changed. Some of them really almost resemble caladiums with their spots, speckles, and stripes. They are beautiful! I've even found that some of the "old fashioned" ones are more attractive than I had originally thought.
These newer ones below I saw this summer at Cultivate '14, the trade show where a lot of the new introductions of annuals, perennials, and some houseplants are showcased. I really begged for some of these, but alas, to no avail.
'Pink Jade' Aglaonema
I'll be honest, at first glance, I thought this 'Pink Jade' was a new rubber plant (Ficus elastica). It does look like one with a pink midrib.

'Pink Jade' Aglaonema
In the past, the only way to get this much color in a houseplant, you would have to use a croton, but they only like full sun. With Aglaonemas, you get the color with much less sun needed. I really think with these colorful plants, you may need a little more sun than the with the old fashioned green ones. As you can see above, my 'Creta' definitely has more color with more sun, but it was still colorful even without so much sun. Any amount of color is a win in a dark corner. 
'Spring Snow' Aglaonema
'Emerald Holiday' Aglaonema
'Pink Passion' Aglaonema
How easy are these plants to take care of, you ask? Very easy in my experience. They really don't have a lot of diseases or pests that bother them. On occasion you may deal with a mealybug but not much else. They are easily reproduced by cuttings or by division, but remember propagating a named variety is illegal. Just sayin'. 
A friend asked if they were easier than crotons. I said yes, because crotons need full sun to keep their color and do not want to ever dry out. If this happens, they lose leaves and may get a bad case of spider mites. (Spider mites love dry plants.) Whereas, aglaonemas want to dry out quite a bit before they are watered again. Not bone dry, but don't water if you feel the soil and it feels at all moist. They also aren't bothered by low humidity levels that usually exist in out homes.  So in my estimation, taking lower light levels and less water makes it an easier plant to take care of. My very "brown thumbed" daughter has one in her apartment and has had it for over a year and it is growing by leaps and bounds. It was in her foyer at least 10-12' from an East window. Now it is in a North window, as she moved and it is still doing great. These plants have the ability to survive conditions other houseplants don't appreciate and react badly to.
'Pink Valentine' Aglaonema leaf
Aglaonema 'Etta Rose'
These plants are native to SE Asia and the Philippine Islands. Their name comes from the Greek words aglaos- "Bright"  and nema- "thread" referring to its "shining stamen".  People in these areas feel that growing them brings them luck.  I am not a big believer in plants bringing me "luck" but I think if you bring home one of these beautiful plants your home will be "lucky" to have one.

Aglaonema 'Etta Rose'


  1. I am seriously going back to the garden center today and purchasing this Aglaonema I spotted this weekend. At first glance it looked like a new type of croton ( which I always KILL because it doesn't get enough light in my home). Thank you for sharing this article because I really think from reading your article this plant will do well in my home this winter with low light and dry conditions.

    Thank you Lisa!

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