Houseplant Spotlight: Chinese Evergreen
When You're Too Busy To Keep Plants Alive
If you've dreamed of having gorgeous, healthy plants gracing your living space but don't have the time to invest in plant care, the Chinese Evergreen is here to make it a reality. This plant needs so little care it is a little mind-boggling. Don't have a green thumb or even a green pinky finger? No problem! Chinese Evergreen is forgiving, durable, and tolerant of many situations.
In addition, they're beautiful evergreen plants with leathery patterned leaves that can be speckled, blotched, variegated, or just plain green. The foliage varies in color with options like green, white, silver, red, and orange. Chinese Evergreens are slow growers and range in height from 10” to 3-4', depending on the variety.
Indirect sunlight is best here. Chinese Evergreens thrive in medium to low light conditions. Darker leafed varieties tolerate low light the best. If the spot you want to put the Chinese Evergreen is particularly lacking in light, choose a dark-leaved variety. Varieties with brighter or more colorful foliage will do best with medium light. Do not put any Chinese Evergreen where it will receive direct sunlight. The leaves will burn quite quickly.
The preferred temperature is 60F and higher but they can tolerate temperatures down to 50F. Keep these plants away from cold drafts and air conditioning and heating vents.
When the soil is dry, water the plant. It doesn't get much easier than that. How soon that happens with your plant is something you will need to test. On average, the Chinese Evergreen will need to be watered every 7-9 days. If the soil is too wet, it can cause the stalks to rot so be careful not to overwater.
In the winter, you can water it even less. Every 2-3 weeks is enough to keep the plant happy and healthy.
If the leaves turn yellow, it is generally because the plant is getting too much water or too little. Adjust the watering schedule to ensure it is being watered when and only when needed.
A Chinese Evergreen plant doesn't need to be fertilized, however, it will benefit from a twice-yearly application. A balanced (5-5-5) liquid fertilizer diluted to half-strength can be applied in the spring and summer. Do not fertilize in the winter when it is dormant.
A basic organic potting soil for houseplants is perfect. If you want, you can add some pumice or perlite to increase the aeration and drainage capabilities. It isn't absolutely necessary, however.
A South-East Asian plant, Chinese Evergreen thrives in the undergrowth of tropical rainforests. In its native habitat, it seeks high humidity, high temperatures, and extensively filtered sunlight. They have been cultivated for centuries, first in Asia and then in the West after they were introduced in 1885.
Repotting and Reblooming
Repot in spring or summer. The smaller the pot, the quicker the soil will dry out and prevent the roots or stalks from rotting. Chinese Evergreens also like being a bit root-bound so don't worry too much if you see roots through the pot. If the plant is getting large, it can be divided.
You are busy; you have a life to lead and things to do, however, that doesn't mean you shouldn't have pretty greenery in your home. The Chinese Evergreen is here to make that happen and with the variety in colors and shapes, you can create quite a beautiful collection without any of the stress that many plants bring.