So, you’ve decided to incorporate a vibrant Chinese evergreen in your home? Great decision! The Aglaonema does a great job of adding color to landscapes, and many fake plant manufacturers model their products after it.
The Chinese evergreen isn’t only popular for its exotic foliage and various colors. It’s also a low-maintenance houseplant, even for beginners. However, Chinese evergreens can be dramatic if they aren’t watered properly.
It’s crucial to understand your plant’s needs and water it accordingly instead of just sticking to a watering schedule. In this guide, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about watering Chinese evergreens. So let’s get started.
The Chinese evergreen is a low-maintenance houseplant that’s ideal for new plant parents. It tolerates almost any indoor condition, and makes a great office plant as it requires minimal light.
But before you bring in your new Chinese evergreen, let’s learn more about its growth requirements:
Generally speaking, Chinese evergreens grow best in low to medium light conditions. The green varieties of the Chinese evergreen prefer low light, while the colorful ones thrive in medium to bright indirect sunlight.
Chinese evergreens also do well in artificial lighting, making them ideal plants for office and indoor use. But note that your Chinese evergreen will need around eight hours to stay healthy under artificial light. Meanwhile, under indirect sunlight, four hours is enough.
Remember that you should never allow your Chinese evergreen to sit in direct sunlight because the leaves will scorch. So, if you’re keeping your plant in a sunny room, place the pot in the corner so that it receives low to moderate sunlight.
Chinese evergreens thrive in nutrient-rich, loose potting mix like most indoor plants. So it’s essential to use a soil mix that can retain moisture at some level but not so much that it harms your plant.
The soil should be able to get rid of excess moisture after each watering so that your plant doesn’t sit in water for too long, which leads to issues like root rot.
Most pre-mixed soil mixtures will be sufficient for your Chinese evergreen. But ensure that the soil includes ample amounts of beneficial organic matter such as peat moss, coco-coir, and perlite.
Avoid soil mixes containing water-retaining crystals because Chinese evergreens are prone to overwatering issues.
Chinese evergreens thrive in warm temperatures and humid conditions. You should aim to maintain an indoor temperature of 65° to 80° Fahrenheit to be ideal for your Chinese evergreen.
Regarding humidity, Chinese evergreens need a humid environment to grow well, so if your home is dry, regular misting should help you achieve optimal humidity levels for your plant.
Thanks to its low-maintenance properties, Chinese evergreens don’t need water so often. So, in growing seasons (summer and spring), watering your plant once every week or ten days should be enough.
Meanwhile, in winter, Aglaonemas enter a dormancy period and need even less watering, usually once a month or so.
A general rule of thumb is to water your Chinese evergreen when the topsoil is dry. This plant likes its soil to completely dry before each watering.
So, instead of sticking to a strict watering schedule, checking the soil before each watering is best. If the soil is dry enough, go ahead and water it. If it’s still moist, there’s no need for water to avoid overwatering issues.
Watering your Chinese evergreen isn’t tedious as it doesn’t require water so often. The Aglaonema likes to sit in moist soil but doesn’t need daily watering. The idea is to allow the soil to dry completely between waterings to avoid overwatering problems like root rot.
As a general rule, you should inspect the topsoil carefully before each watering session. If the soil isn’t dry, you don’t need to water it. That being said, the frequency of watering your Chinese evergreen varies depending on factors such as the season and temperature.
Summer and spring are the growing seasons for Chinese evergreens and many other houseplants. That’s because the direct sunlight and high temperatures help your plant grow faster.
Additionally, the high temperature allows the plant to absorb water faster; thus, the soil dries faster, requiring frequent watering.
When the topsoil dries completely, it’s time to water your Aglaonema. The soil takes around seven to 10 days to completely dry in summer and spring.
In most homes, this means watering once every week or ten days. But still, you have to check the soil before each watering because house temperature and humidity might affect this timeline.
Winter isn’t a desirable season for most houseplants, including the Chinese evergreen. The harsh conditions, such as less sunlight, low temperature, and low humidity, force plants into dormancy.
Instead of growing, the plant conserves energy and resources to survive unfavorable conditions. As a result, plants usually utilize less water in cold months, so it takes longer for the soil to dry completely.
So technically, your Chinese evergreen will require less water in winter. Aglaonemas generally require watering once every month for two weeks in winter.
But as we previously mentioned, it’s vital to check the soil by sticking your finger 2-3 inches deep to see if it’s dry enough before watering.
Remember that you shouldn’t water your plant cold during winter to avoid shock. Opt for room-temperature water for the best results.
Chinese evergreen plants love high humidity levels, so you should aim for around 50-60% humidity levels.
At this humidity level, the leaves look perky, and the soil will dry moderately between waterings, and you won’t need to water your plant too often.
But what if your home is dry, especially during winter months? Here are some steps to take to increase and boost humidity levels for your Chinese evergreen:
- Invest in a room humidifier to provide adequate humidity levels for your Aglaonema
- Place your plant pot on a shallow tray of pebbles and water
- If you have multiple houseplants, make sure to group them to create a humid microclimate
- Mist your Chinese evergreen with a spray bottle a few times a week
- Put your plant in a high-humid part of your home, such as your kitchen or bathroom
Since Chinese evergreens thrive in humid conditions, many people mist them frequently to achieve optimal humidity levels.
Well, misting does improve humidity, but it’s not a long-term solution to low humidity. Additionally, over-misting your plant might cause serious problems such as leaf rot and mold.
We’re not saying you shouldn’t miss your Chinese evergreen. It’s fine if you mist it only once or twice a week.
But it’s crucial to take other measures to increase humidity in your home, such as using humidifiers and placing your plant on pebble trays.
Before you start misting your Chinese evergreen, here are some tips to follow:
- Avoid misting with cold or hot water as it might shock the plant. Use room temperature water instead.
- On rainy and cloudy days, avoid misting your plant, as it would be difficult for your plant to get rid of excess moisture.
- Mist in the morning to give the leaves enough time to get rid of excess water to avoid fungal diseases.
While Chinese evergreens thrive in moist soil, too much water can cause serious problems. This usually happens when you water your plant without checking the soil’s state before each watering session.
Here are some signs you’re overwatering your Chinese evergreen:
- Yellow leaves: Yellow lower leaves are a telltale sign of overwatering problems. You can wait for them to dry out and fall off or prune them from the base.
- Soft brown roots: If the roots look soft, brown, and stinky, it can be a clear sign of root rot, usually due to overwatering.
- Soft stem: Overwatering affects stems as well as leaves and roots. The stems become weak and soft as a result of sitting in water for too long.
- Droopy leaves: Overwatering affects the roots’ ability to transfer nutrients to different plant parts, resulting in weak and droopy leaves.
Chinese evergreens grow best in moist soil. If you don’t water them enough, your plants can develop severe problems. But luckily, Chinese evergreens do a great job of telling you how thirsty they’re.
Here are some signs your Aglaonemas need more water:
- Dry soil: Dry soil is the most apparent sign of underwatering. The soil should remain slightly damp between waterings.
- Stunted growth: If your plant’s growth is slowing or even stopping during growing seasons, it might indicate a lack of water.
- Wilting leaves: leaves wilt in an attempt to save any water left. It’s an early sign of underwatering.
- Brown leaves: Discolored and brown leaves are a clear sign of underwatering. These leaves usually don’t perk up again; you need to eliminate them.
There you have it, the essential Chinese evergreen watering guide. These tropical beauties don’t need much care to thrive. They need watering only once per week or ten days in summer and once every two weeks or one month in winter.
However, we strongly suggest you don’t stick to a strict watering schedule because temperature, humidity, and location affect watering frequency.
The rule of thumb is to let the soil dry evenly between waterings. So carefully inspect your soil’s top 2-3 inches before each watering session. If it’s dry enough, go ahead with watering. If it’s still damp, adding more water is unnecessary.
Growing up with a mom who filled her home (inside and out) with all sorts of plants, Lisa got her start in gardening at a young age. Living now on her own with a home and yard full of plants (including an indoor greenhouse), she shares all the gardening tips she’s gained over the years.