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Aglaonema commutatum

Previously known as:

  • Aglaonema marantifolium var. commutatum
Phonetic Spelling
ah-glah-oh-NAY-mah kom-yoo-TAH-tum
This plant has low severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Chinese evergreen is an herbaceous perennial in the Araceae (arum) family, native to the Philippines and northeastern Celebes and commonly grown as a houseplant. This tropical shrub grows to 1.5 feet, is erect and bushy, and resembles dumb cane (Dieffenbachia). The tendency to have only 5-8 main lateral veins distinguishes it from Dieffenbachia.

It has elliptic, dark green, lance-shaped leaves that reach 4 to 8 inches long and 2 to 3 inches wide. Attractive silver-gray blotches appear on upright stems.  It blooms rarely as a houseplant in the late summer or early fall with a white spadix and greenish-white spathe. Red clusters of berries follow the blooms. 

The plant does well in diffuse sun or good indirect light and prefers high humidity but will tolerate dryer air. Keep the potting mix moist from spring to fall. It does not require a winter dormancy period but prefers a reduction in watering during the winter. Remove flowers and fruits to direct energy to plant growth.  It is an excellent plant for low-light, indoor locations; it can also be used outdoors as a filler plant or low hedge in warm regions. Grow it in an Asian or shade garden, in a container, beside a patio or walkway, or in a woodland setting.

Quick ID Hints:

  • Lanceolate leaves are green and variegated with yellow/cream, grey, or pink/red
  • Leaves contain 5–8 main lateral veins
  • Inflorescence is white spadix and greenish-white spathe
  • Stem is present, becoming sugarcane-like with age

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: There are no serious disease or insect problems, but watch for aphids, mealybugs, spider mites, and scale. Root rots can occur with over watering; allow the medium to dry between waterings and avoid using cold water. The leaves may turn brown in very dry air or a drafty location. It is intolerant of cold temperatures and prefers a daytime temperature in the 70 to 80 degree F range. The plant tends to get leggy with age as the stem grows.

VIDEO Created by Elisabeth Meyer for "Edibles, Bulbs, and Houseplants" a plant identification course offered in partnership with Longwood Gardens.   

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Frasher'
    Leaves are milky green with cream variegation and white petioles.
  • 'Pseudobracteatum'
    Leaves are spattered gray-green, spotted white with white coloration around main veins and with white stems spotted with green.
  • 'White Rajah'
    Leaves have massive amount of white coloration throughout.
'Frasher', 'Pseudobracteatum', 'White Rajah'
Tags:
#evergreen#houseplant#perennials#dark green#low light#interiorscape#variegated leaves#silver#dappled sunlight#spadix#fantz#Asian garden#humidity tolerant#patio planting#ebh#ebh-h#tropical feel#container plants#hsc#hsc-f
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Frasher'
    Leaves are milky green with cream variegation and white petioles.
  • 'Pseudobracteatum'
    Leaves are spattered gray-green, spotted white with white coloration around main veins and with white stems spotted with green.
  • 'White Rajah'
    Leaves have massive amount of white coloration throughout.
'Frasher', 'Pseudobracteatum', 'White Rajah'
Tags:
#evergreen#houseplant#perennials#dark green#low light#interiorscape#variegated leaves#silver#dappled sunlight#spadix#fantz#Asian garden#humidity tolerant#patio planting#ebh#ebh-h#tropical feel#container plants#hsc#hsc-f
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Aglaonema
    Species:
    commutatum
    Family:
    Araceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Philippines, northeastern Celebes
    Fire Risk Rating:
    low flammability
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    high humidity
    Dimensions:
    Height: 1 ft. 0 in. - 1 ft. 8 in.
    Width: 1 ft. 0 in. - 1 ft. 6 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Herbaceous Perennial
    Houseplant
    Perennial
    Habit/Form:
    Clumping
    Dense
    Erect
    Multi-stemmed
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Coarse
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Deep shade (Less than 2 hours to no direct sunlight)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    10b, 11b, 11a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Red/Burgundy
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Berry
    Fruit Description:
    Red clusters of berries follow the blooms. A globose to cylindroid berry, green ripening to white or red.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Spadix
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Flower Petals:
    Bracts
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    Blooms rarely as a houseplant in the late summer or early fall with a whitish-yellow spadix with yellow-green spathe. Cylindrical to club-shaped; spathe, stalked, ovate, greenish to yellow.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Gray/Silver
    Green
    Pink
    Red/Burgundy
    Variegated
    White
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Other/more complex
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Lanceolate
    Oblong
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    It has elliptic dark green lance-shaped leaves that reach 4-12" long and 2-4" wide. Alternate, simple, oblong-lanceolate, acute, cuneate, entire, often with banded yellow-white, grey-white, or pink-red along primary veins or spotted. Veins are curved and minor veins are not visible. Petioles sometimes white and shorter than the leaf length.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Gray/Silver
    Green
    Pink
    White
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    Attractive silver-gray blotches appear on upright stems, usually white or green, sometimes with a pink cast. Erect, becoming decumbent, encircled with leaf scars.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Houseplants
    Patio
    Small Space
    Walkways
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Asian Garden
    Shade Garden
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Heavy Shade
    Humidity
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Low
    Poison Symptoms:
    This plant contains calcium oxalate crystals, which is toxic if ingested or if the juice/sap is touched (dermatitis). More so a concern for dogs, cats, and horses but can a concern for humans. Animals may have the following symptoms: struggle to swallow, irritated/painful--even burning/swelling mouth (including lips and tongue and esophagus), may vomit, foam at the mouth, and much drooling. To humans and animals, it is poisonous if ingested (or if the juice from the plant is touched). Other symptoms (more so for humans) include a rash, pain where the rash is, and mucous membranes irritated.
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Calcium oxalate crystals
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    Yes
    Poison Part:
    Bark
    Flowers
    Fruits
    Leaves
    Roots
    Seeds
    Stems