Aglaonemas are popular houseplants, only growing in popularity as new and unique cultivars are introduced to the market. Along with their stunning looks, these plants also come with many benefits for physical health, mental health, and your home overall that make them worth a purchase. This article will cover all the benefits and uses of Aglaonemas to convince you why you need one in your home.
About Aglaonema Plants
Commonly known as Chinese Evergreen, Aglaonema is a genus of plants in the Arum family, Araceae. There are many species and cultivars within this widespread genus in a wide range of colors, shapes, and sizes, all featuring the large and glossy leaves these plants are famous for.
As part of the Arum family, these tropical plants are closely related to many others found indoors, including Peace Lilies and Anthuriums. These plants are unified by their flowers – a pointed spadix often surrounded by a waxy, modified leaf. However, unlike these relatives, you are unlikely to see your Aglaonema flower indoors due to the differing conditions in their native habitats.
Native to tropical rainforests in Asia, these plants are accustomed to high temperatures and humidity. They enjoy moist soil and plenty of indirect light to maintain their stunning colors. With many cultivars to choose from, including the popular Maria and Silver Queen, you will find something suitable for every corner of your home in this genus.
The Benefits of Aglaonema Plants
1) Air Purification
Anyone who has been in the houseplant community for a while has likely heard of the NASA Clean Air Study of 1989. Aiming to test the usefulness of plants to clean the air in space stations, this study looked at several popular houseplants in isolated chambers and tested which Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) they removed from the air.
Aglaonemas (specifically Aglaonema modestum) were part of this study and showed promising results. The plant removed benzene and formaldehyde from the air. They did not perform as well as other plants that also removed things like ammonia and xylene but did have some impact on cleaning the air in the small space.
Due to the nature of the study, replicating these effects in your home requires masses of plants, so the results do need to be taken into context before you install an Aglaonema as your resident air filter. However, that is an excuse to buy many more of these beauties as the more you have, the more of an impact there will be.
2) Feng Shui
For those interested in Feng Shui, Chinese Evergreens are a great addition to any room of the home. These plants are known for the energy they bring, placed in bright areas of the home to radiate positivity. They are also associated with luck and are appreciated in Feng Shui for their air cleaning abilities.
But that’s not all they’re good for. Aglaonemas are also believed to bring financial prosperity, much like the Pothos (nicknamed the Money Plant in some regions). For those participating in the lottery, these plants are said to give you the best chance of winning. According to popular legend, counting the spots on the leaves of this plant will provide you with your winning lottery numbers.
When it comes to care, you are unlikely to have any trouble growing any species in the Aglaonema genus. These plants are not at all fussy, tolerant of many conditions, and even a bit of neglect. From sunlight to watering, they will generally be happy year-round, letting you know in advance if they are struggling.
While Chinese Evergreens prefer bright indirect light, they are also known to grow quite well in lower lighting conditions. They prefer a moist soil mix but will handle a forgotten watering without showing too many signs of struggle. They are heavy nutrient users that rely on fertilizers to stay healthy either. You also shouldn’t have too many issues with common aglaonema bugs, pests, and diseases. In essence, both beginners and experienced plant parents will have little trouble growing this popular plant.
4) Ornamental Value
One of the first reasons people reach for Chinese Evergreens, especially when starting their houseplant collection, is for their ornamental value. The large leaves in a wide range of patterns and colors suit any interior design and any placement in your home, giving you endless options.
Silver Bay is one of the most popular cultivars at the moment, with pointed and elongated silver leaves edged in green. Another social media favorite is Aglaonema Pictum Tricolor, with leaves that look like a camouflage of white, green, and emerald. If you’re looking for a brighter color, opt for Creta with stripes of fiery pink along the veins.
5) Easy to Propagate
Due to their fantastic ornamental value, you’ll likely want to collect as many of these plants as possible. Luckily, you don’t need to break the bank to do just that. Aglaonemas are also easy plants to propagate, rooting in water or in soil from healthy cuttings.
To get started, simply remove part of the stem with at least a few leaves, using a sharp knife to ensure quick healing. Pop the cutting into a glass of filtered water or into a propagating mix of perlite, coconut coir, and vermiculite, and watch your brand new plants grow at absolutely no cost.
6) Tolerates Varying Light Conditions
The gold standard for most tropical houseplants is bright indirect light. This light levels indoors most closely resembles what they are used to in their native habitats – dappled sunlight under trees – improving growth and providing the conditions they love.
However, not everyone has this perfect, ideal light level available in their homes. You may live in a north-facing apartment or have a window shielded by a nearby building that blocks out the sun for large parts of the day. That’s where Aglaonemas come in.
Among few plants tolerant of low light, Chinese Evergreens have broad leaves that can absorb plenty of sunlight, allowing them to survive in lower light areas. Choose species with dark green leaves (indicating they have more chlorophyll) to make the most of the little sunlight available.
7) Can Help with Allergies
For fellow allergy sufferers, the search for home cures and any kind of relief is never-ending. To help you along the way, you may want to add a few houseplants to your space, including the Chinese Evergreen. The ability of these plants to remove harmful compounds from the air is believed to reduce allergy triggers without making others worse, like some houseplants tend to do.
Grab an Aglaonema and place it close to your bed to take advance of these abilities while you sleep. Or, keep a few in your living room to keep the air fresh and clean during the day. Remember to wipe down the leaves frequently with a damp cloth as the large surfaces can collect dust, canceling out their hypo-allergenic properties.
8) Reduces Stress
Along with physical health benefits, Aglaonemas provide mental health benefits too. Houseplants have been proven to reduce stress and increase happiness many times, even used by therapists to aid patients in practice known as therapeutic horticulture.
Interacting with your Aglaonema has even more benefits, including a sense of accomplishment and general mood improvement. However, you don’t need to interact with them to reap the rewards. Simply having one or two around your home is enough to make a difference to your overall health and wellbeing.
9) Boost Productivity
The Chinese Evergreen is the answer for those who work from home or are looking for the ideal plant to add to their desk at the office. Many studies have been conducted into the effects of houseplants on productivity, leading to the consensus that having plants around can increase your focus by more than 10%.
They are also believed to improve memory retention for those intensive workdays or for those studying. Ensure to interact with your Chinese Evergreen and keep it in full view to reap all the possible benefits.
Aglaonemas are an extremely diverse genus full of variety for every houseplant owner. They also come with a wide range of benefits from health to interior design, making them a top choice when looking for a new houseplant.
If you’re looking to add your next Aglaonema plant to your collection, see our in-depth guide to the best plant shops delivering Chinese Evergreens nationwide.
Madison is a writer and editor with a Bachelor’s degree in History and Political Science. She writes and photographs for various online and print publications in the gardening sphere and is the author of the book The Next-Generation Gardener.
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