Aglaonema commutatum is more commonly known as the Chinese evergreen, and is a member of the arum family. It is a common houseplant that is grown for its attractive foliage.
Although this plant is originally from New Guinea and the Philippines, it is quite a common houseplant in homes and offices throughout the world.
Aglaonema commutatum in bloom (NB. Inflorescence: White spadix; Spathe: Greenish-white, photograph by 阿橋 HQ; CC.
Plants reach about 18 inches (45 cm) in height, with a typical spread of 12 to 18 inches (30 to 45 cm).
Blotched leaves are lanceolate and dark green. They can reach a length of eight inches (20 cm), and a breadth of three inches (8 cm).
Outdoor grown plants will start to bloom towards the end of summer, carrying a showy creamy white spadix. Following flowering the plant will carry red berries.
Be aware that when Aglaonema commutatum is grown indoors it seldom flowers.
Aglaonema commutatum (Chinese evergreen) photograph by Forest and Kim Starr.
Outdoors, the plant thrives with moderate sunlight and a warm, humid climate.
It can grow in US zones 10 to 12; or UK / Europe zone H1b.
This means that it can only really be grown outdoors in the summer in more temperate regions. Grow in containers and bring indoors as soon as temperatures drop to about 50°F (10°C).
Indoors, the Chinese evergreen can survive in many environments, making it an easy aesthetic plant for the beginner plant growers who may make minor mistakes in plant care.
That said, when grown indoors Aglaonema commutatum requires indirect light, so don't place directly on the windowsill.
Outdoors: Avoid direct sunlight, this is a great plant to grow in areas of heavy shade (and does well in partial shade too).
The soil should be peaty and well drained. Once established, plants require little maintenance.
Water moderately and regularly during the growing season.
Indoors or containers: To grow Aglaonema commutatum, you'll need a pot and basic planting supplies such as a trowel, potting mix, and your seed or plant you plan to transfer.
Make sure to have a one-third portion of perlite as well to add to the soil. Orchid bark mix can suffice if you cannot get your hands on perlite.
As a tropical plant the ideal environment should be no less than 60°F and no more than 85°F (15 to 30°C).
Keep the soil moist during the growing season, but let off watering in the winter to give the plant a little rest.
Although the Chinese evergreen likes humidity, you do not have to humidify the whole room it resides in. To mimic the humidity this plant desires, simply spray it with water daily from a spray bottle.
Brown leaves are a sign of a plant being grown in to dry an environment (and can also occur when plants are grown in an area exposed to wind (or an indoor draft).
When watering the Aglaonema commutatum, moisten the soil enough for it to drain from the holes in the pot, but do not over-water, as this can lead to root rot.
If aphids or spider mites appear wash them off with soapy water.
If you require more plants then it is easy to propagate from stem cuttings. Use newly grown shoots with five leaves.
Seeds may not stay true, but if you wish to try your luck then first wash freshly harvested seeds in water. They typically take about two months to germinate.
Next sow on the surface of a peat seed germination mix.
Lightly cover the Aglaonema commutatum seeds and place in an area with indirect or mottled sunlight, located in a warm area of around 70°F to germinate (21°C).
Close up of Chinese Evergreen bloom, image by 阿橋 HQ; CC.