How To Grow - Agloanema
Growing and caring for your aglaonema silver bay like a pro
The beautiful foliage of the aglaonema silver bay (also known as Chinese evergreen) not only enhances any room, it also has air purifying properties, according to a 1989 study by NASA.
Additionally, as a Feng Shui favorite, it brings good fortune and positive energy into your space.
This versatile beauty can grow up to four foot tall, and each leaf can grow up to one foot in length.
This post tells you all you need to know about growing and caring for your silver bay, including:
- Why you should grow the silver bay
- How to propagate it
- All you need to know to successfully grow your plant
- What you shouldn’t do
- A brief biography
Why grow plants at all?
Unconvinced that propagating plants is worth the trouble? Click here to read seven reasons why you should give it a go!
Why grow the aglaonema silver bay?
- Its vibrant, patterned leaves will brighten any room.
- It can tolerate low-light, making it an ideal indoor plant.
- It is low maintenance, so is perfect for new plant parents.
- It has air purification properties - removing benzene and formaldehyde from the surrounding atmosphere.
- It’s relatively fast growing.
How do I propagate my silver bay?
It can be propagated by cuttings or by division.
How to propagate by cutting
- Use clean scissors to take a stem cutting that is several inches long.
- Put the new cutting in a vase filled with room temperature water and let it rest there for a few weeks.
- To encourage the cutting to grow, place the vase in indirect light.
- Regularly change the water.
- As soon as you see that the plant has a strong root system, transfer your cutting into a small pot filled with appropriate soil. Keep reading to find out which soil is best.
For best results, propagate during the summer months or keep the cutting in warm conditions.
How to propagate by division
- Remove your original plant from its pot and carefully separate its roots to divide it.
- Repot the divided up plants into smaller pots.
- Use a sharp, clean knife to gently separate the root system, if it is tangled.
When should I repot my aglaonema silver bay?
You should repot your plant once every two years, or when its roots are showing through the soil or when growth has slowed.
To ensure good airflow and to avoid root rot, use a terracotta pot with a drainage hole. Terracotta pots are ideal for plants that need to dry out between each watering.
Choose a pot that is no more than one or two inches larger in diameter than the existing one; excess water is retained in larger pots which could drown the roots.
Fill your new pot with fresh, fast-draining soil (see below). Carefully remove your plant from its original pot and loosen the soil from the roots. Prune any rotten or damaged roots with a clean pair of garden shears or scissors.
Wait a week after repotting before watering, to allow your silver bay time to adjust to its new home.
What soil does my silver bay love?
Silver bays are happiest in a mix that is half general potting soil and half sand or perlite. This fast-draining soil will reduce the risk of root rot.
What about watering?
Water your aglaonema silver bay thoroughly but give the soil time to dry out completely before watering it again. Water until the soil is moist, as opposed to soaking wet, to reduce the chance of rot.
Pour the water onto the soil, do not let the water gather on its leaves. Empty the tray underneath the pot, if you have one, so that the roots are not sitting in standing water for any length of time.
Water your silver bay once every seven to fourteen days. You are likely to need to water your plant more frequently in the summer months and less in the winter. Likewise, a plant in a warmer, brighter room will need more water than one in a cooler, darker room.
Invest in a moisture meter to gauge whether your plant needs watering. This simple, inexpensive device will let you know the moisture level of your plant’s soil on a scale of one to ten (four to seven indicates moist soil, anything above or below suggests that the soil is too dry or too wet).
What else do I need to know to ensure my aglaonema silver bay grows successfully?
Indirect light via an east or west facing window is best for silver bays, as it will provide enough light without scorching its leaves.
Rotate your plant every few days so that each side gets enough light, and it grows evenly. Dust its leaves frequently, to aid photosynthesis and encourage growth.
Aglaonema silver bays are tropical plants and are not fans of the cold. They thrive in temperatures between 65°F-85°F but cannot be kept in temperatures below 60°F.
These plants love humid conditions but can tolerate drier air. They are less keen on being close to air-conditioning vents or heaters and they are certainly not fans of cold draughts or sudden temperature changes. They really like humid kitchens and bathrooms.
Feed your silver bay only once a month during their growing season (April to August). Over-fertilizing your plant can lead to root burn, so only use half strength regular houseplant fertilizer.
If you notice a buildup of salt, avoid fertilizing for a few months and thoroughly water to flush out the salts.
What not to do when growing a silver bay
As a caring plant parent, you will NOT want to do the following…
- Overwater – signs of overwatering include limp, brown stems and yellow leaves that fall off. Plant your silver bay in a pot with a drainage hole and use fast-draining soil.
- Under-water – a limp and drooping silver bay can be a sign of too little water.
- Put your plant in direct sunlight – this can cause permanent brown marks to appear on its leaves.
- Leave your plant out in the cold – keep your silver bay at a consistent temperature and away from draughts.
- Over-fertilize – this can lead to root burn. Only fertilize once a month using a diluted houseplant fertilizer during the growing season.
A bit more about the aglaonema silver bay
Silver bays are native to the tropical and sub-tropical regions of Asia, as well as New Guinea in Oceania.
They were first cultivated in the western world in 1885 at Kew Gardens in the UK. In 1989 they were found to be effective at removing common household toxins from the air, in the NASA Clean Air Study.
Aglaonema plants are toxic and should not be eaten. They can also cause skin irritation, so be sure to wash your hands after handling.