Unlike some houseplants, Chinese evergreen needs only occasional pruning, if ever. Trimming your aglaonema makes it bushier and denser, which is the desirable look. The other reason to cut back a Chinese evergreen is to propagate it.
In this article, I’ll highlight the signs that your Chinese evergreen needs a ‘haircut’. I’ll also show you, step-by-step, how to prune a Chinese evergreen.
You know it’s time to prune a Chinese evergreen if it shows the following signs:
You can prune your aglaonema if it becomes leggy, sparse, and outwardly growing. It can appear like it’s spilling out of the flower pot, leaving a gap in the middle.
Chinese evergreen can appear stretched when it’s too old.
If you don’t have a new pot to propagate your leggy aglaonema, you can opt to fill up the bare soil with other plants like pothos or spider plants. These are low-growing plants that will blend in with aglaonema beautifully.
They also have a similar light requirement as Chinese evergreen.
If you notice yellowing or browning leaves in your houseplant, it’s time for pruning.
Sometimes, discolored leaves can be a sign of infection. Other times, it simply happens at the end of the leaf’s life.
Either way, removing dead leaves can help your Chinese evergreen redirect energy into new and healthy leaves.
You can tell that an aglaonema’s roots are rotting if the leaves and stems are yellowing and the roots are brown and mushy. Another sign of root rot is foul-smelling soil.
Root rot in aglaonema can be a result of overwatering. If the damage is already done, you can salvage the plant by removing the bad roots and repotting it in fresh soil.
Although Chinese evergreens rarely have pest infestations, it’s still possible. Mealybugs and spider mites are some pests that can affect Aglaonema spp.
You have to remove the infected leaves to prevent the spread of the insects to healthy parts of the plant. Afterward, you can treat the rest of the plant with neem oil spray or insecticidal soap.
Chinese evergreens require pruning only when necessary.
The best time to trim an aglaonema is during its growing season. This occurs in the summer or springtime.
In these warmer months, Chinese evergreens grow quickly and they can recover better during this time.
If you’re living in a warm climate, it’s still safe to prune your aglaonema early into fall. However, you should avoid trimming aglaonema in the winter when the plant is dormant.
In spring, you may notice your Chinese evergreen growing a spathe and spadix out its center. You can cut off this ‘flower’ because it wastes much of the plant’s energy growing it.
Once you do, the plant will redirect its resources into growing more leaves.
Follow these steps to prune a Chinese evergreen:
Carefully inspect your plant for signs of rotting, dead leaves, and insect infestations. Also, make sure the weather is warm to ensure proper recovery after pruning.
While examining the evergreen, you should take note of the parts you’ll be removing.
You’ll need a pair of gloves to protect yourself from the plant’s toxins.
Also, grab a pair of sharp disinfected pruning shears or scissors. You can disinfect them with rubbing alcohol or a watered-down bleach solution. This will prevent infecting the potted plant.
It’s important to use sharp shears to prevent damaging the Chinese evergreen. You might also need a clean pot and fresh soil if you’re going to re-pot the aglaonema.
For a leggy aglaonema, cut off the long stems near the base of the plant. Additionally, remove the flower and dead parts of the plant.
When trimming aglaonema, reach out to the base of the plant and prune old leaves close to the stem. Carefully avoid grazing the healthy parts.
You should aim to remove only up to 20-25% of the leaves. Otherwise, it could be too stressful for the plant to recover.
If you’ve removed whole stems from an old Chinese evergreen, you can propagate them instead of tossing them away.
First, trim the branches below the lowest leaf.
Then, place the stalks in a big glass of water. You can add some fertilizer and rooting hormone to the water to promote root growth.
Place your glass with Chinese evergreen cuttings near a source of light until they grow out many hairy roots.
Now is the time to plant your baby aglaonemas in small pots their size.
If your Chinese evergreen was suffering from root rot, you should replant it in a clean pot with fresh soil after pruning.
Finally, water your freshly trimmed Chinese evergreen and place it in a bright area with indirect sunlight. Make sure you water it once every seven to ten days for optimal growth.
Chinese evergreens are low-maintenance plants that only need occasional pruning when something is off with their health. They’ll need a trim when they’re sparse, have brown leaves, rotten roots, or have a pest infestation.
The best time to prune a Chinese evergreen is in the spring. To trim an aglaonema, you should first examine the plant.
Then, cut off the bad parts with a pair of clean sharp shears near the base of the plant. Lastly, water your aglaonema.
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.