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Aglaonema “Silver Bay” | Chinese Evergreen | Care Difficulty – Easy

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The Aglaonema “Silver Bay” (Chinese evergreen) is a large, lush plant that’s a perfect addition to any office or room. They are versatile, ranging from large (floor plants) to small (perfect for tables or desktops). I fell in love with this plant variety from the get-go. The patterns that their leaves adorn leave me in awe–how does nature do that? They look so soft and matte.

The oval leaves unfurl from the center and grow outward to be around 9 to 12 inches long, while the whole plant can grow to about four feet tall. The stems and leaves are both semi-glossy, and the variegated leaves have different combinations of dark green to light green to silver colors.

Besides its beauty, it is known to clean the air of benzene (found in plastics, resins, synthetic fibers, dyes, detergents, etc.) as well as formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is a colorless chemical with a strong odor that is often used in manufacturing a variety of products, including wood products such as cabinets, furniture, plywood, particleboard, and laminate flooring. It is also used in permanent press fabrics (like those used for curtains and drapes or on furniture).

When I learn stuff like this, it helps justify my plant passion.

Water Requirements

To avoid overwatering your plant, let the soil get quite dry before completely drenching it again. Conversely, the plant will also suffer if the soil becomes too dry. The goal is to keep the soil slightly moist without overwatering. It is best to use pots with drainage, as root rot is not uncommon with these plants.

If it’s kept too wet, the leaves may start to turn yellow and drop off. If it’s kept REALLY wet, you might be at risk for root rot. I water mine about every one to two weeks, and even less in the winter.

If your plant is looking a bit droopy, that can be a sign that it needs a good watering, so be sure to check the soil. As with all houseplants, those kept in brighter light will need to be watered more often, and vice versa.

Light Requirements

Part of what makes Chinese evergreens so easy to care for is that they can thrive in bright, medium, or low light, as long as it’s indirect.  During the growing season, expose them to more indirect (never direct) light to facilitate healthy, new leaves. I have my plant on a high up shelf in the living room, roughly 3 feet from a north-facing window. We don’t get direct light, and where I have it positioned, the light is filtered through a large Dracaena plant.

Temperature Requirements

These beauties enjoy temperatures anywhere between 60-85 degrees (F). If the temperature drops below 50 degrees (F), the plant will stop growing.

Fertilizer – Plant Food

During the growing season (spring-fall), feed the plant with a half-strength complete liquid fertilizer. If you live in a four-season climate, don’t feed them in the winter, because most plants go dormant in the colder months.

Additional Care

Plant Characteristics to Watch For

Diagnosing what is going wrong with your plant is going to take a little detective work, but even more patience! First of all, don’t panic, and don’t throw out a plant prematurely. Take a few deep breaths and work down the list of possible issues. Below, I am going to share some typical symptoms that can arise. When I start to spot troubling signs on a plant, I take it into a room with good lighting, pull out my magnifiers, and start by thoroughly inspecting the plant.

My plant is developing yellow leaves.

My plant has brown tips and edges along with the leaves are brown.

My plant is bushier on one side than the other.

Brown leaves are forming at the base of the plant.

Common Bugs to Watch For

If you want to have healthy houseplants, you MUST inspect them regularly. Every time I water a plant, I give it a quick look-over.  Bugs/insects feeding on your plants reduces the plant sap and redirects nutrients from leaves. Some chew on the leaves, leaving holes in the leaves.  Also watch for wilting or yellowing, distorted, or speckled leaves. They can quickly get out of hand and spread to your other plants.

IF you see ONE bug, trust me, there are more. So, take action right away. Some are brave enough to show their “faces” by hanging out on stems in plan sight. Others tend to hide out in the darnedest of places, like the crotch of a plant or in a leaf that has yet to unfurl.

I spied this precious flower bud on July 7th, 2020.

Once Upon a Rare Moment…

Once upon a rare moment, this plant will occasionally produce buds that are 5 inches long, and they will bloom only in perfect conditions. Most plant owners remove the buds when they appear, as they are a waste of the plant’s energy. Not me–I embrace the full beauty of each plant and all that it has to offer. Should you decide to remove the buds, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly afterward, due to the sap’s toxicity.


This plant is toxic if ingested and may cause skin irritation, so it is best to keep away from pets and small children.  If you think your pet may have ingested it, call the Animal Poison Control Center at 888.426.4435.

41 thoughts on “Aglaonema “Silver Bay” | Chinese Evergreen | Care Difficulty – Easy

  1. Angel Johnston says:

    My silver bay looks healthy and happy getting good indirect light. However the past two days or so the leaves are turning downward. No browning or yellowing and I keep the soil damp. I read it with a moister meter. Why are the leaves that were flat now turning downward. Please respond asap: [email protected]

    • amie-sue says:

      Hello Angel,

      Has anything else changed in the environment? Is it winter where you live? Have you increased the heat or has the room become colder than usual? Have you checked the roots just to make sure that it isn’t starting to become root-bound? It’s really hard to diagnose without seeing the plant or understanding the living conditions, etc. Are they dropping similar to mine in the photo? With my plant, the new leaves tend to stand up more but as they mature, they lay down some like you see in the photo. amie sue

  2. Diana Strohmeyer says:

    My silver bay is about 3 ft around and has lots of blooms but they dry up and never bloom. It is healthy and it is about 5 Years old. Any suggestions as to why it doesn’t bloom. Love my plant. Love to hear from someone about this

    • amie-sue says:

      Good morning Diana,

      What type of light do you have it in? To flower, it requires MORE light but that’s not always a given, as houseplants they don’t always bloom. I have read that the blooms take energy from the plant and oftentimes people will cut them off. I’ve never done that… for some reason it feels special when they do bloom… like I did something right as a plant parent. haha Regardless enjoy your plant, it sounds like it is doing good! blessings, amie sue

    • Sarah K says:

      I have the same issue, plenty of buds, but they never open. Happy to hear it is not necessarily something I am doing wrong.

      • amie-sue says:

        Nope, you’re not doing anything wrong Sarah. A lot of typical household plants flower in the PERFECT condition. After years of having snake plants, one decided to flower for the last two years. It really surprised and delighted me. So if they flower, rejoice and marvel at it but if they don’t… that’s ok too. :) Have a great evening. amie sue

        • Buffy says:

          I’m having a devil of a time keeping my silver bay alive. I purchased it last year along with others to keep me company during the pandemic but this one is just struggling. If you think you see mealybugs what can you use to kill it?

          • amie-sue says:

            Good day Buffy,

            I start off by dipping the tip of a cotton swab into hydrogen peroxide and target each mealybug I see. Mealybugs are white but when they die, they turn brown.

            I then use a Neem oil solution that I put in a spray bottle and spray the plant down with it. You want to do this on a non-carpeted floor, bathtub, or outside if warm enough. I talk about and share how to mix it here – https://nouveauraw.com/indoor-plants/plant-care/neem-oil-solution-pest-treatment/.

            Not only do I use this to treat plants with mealybugs but I use it when cleaning the leaves as a preventative measure. I pour about 1/2 cup of the solution into a bowl and take one sheet of paper towels and tear it into quarters. I then put them in the bowl of solution, soaking them through, squeeze out the excess liquid from the towels and use two per plant to clean the tops and bottoms of the leaves.

            I hope this helps. blessings, amie sue

  3. Liz Anderson says:

    Hi! I recently bought a new silver bay and since I have brought it home, it has had many of its leaves turn yellow. I originally attributed it to overwatering, so I bought a moisture reader and only water as it needs. Now I think it’s just shock from coming into a new space. It’s in a bright room, but a good 6 feet from a window. Any tips on how to settle it down so it doesn’t lose all its leaves? Thank you!

    • amie-sue says:

      Good morning Liz,

      Thanks for reaching out. I know how disheartening it is to see a plant start to suffer. Shock could easily be the answer if you just recently brought it home. Depending on where you got it from, they often go from the perfect environment to one that they greatly have to adjust to. But it can be other things as well… which is why diagnosing a plant has its challenges. It’s a weird combination of needing to act quickly, yet having patience.

      Here are some things I would evaluate as you try to calm the plant down:

      1. Are the yellowing leaves around the base of the plant? As leaves mature, there is a natural progression of them dying off.
      2. I am not sure how long you have had the plant, but did it come home water-logged. I find when I buy plants from big box stores they are not properly
      taking care of and tend to be over-watered. When that happens the roots can rot due to the lack of oxygen. Remove the plant from the pot and check
      the roots. If they are dark brown/black, mushy, or smell… the plant has root rot. Sometimes they can be saved, just depends. If the roots look
      healthy, monitor your watering like you already indicated.
      3. Check for plant critters; inspect the leaves and stems (especially where the two meet), insects like to take up residence there. Make sure to clean
      the leaves on a regular basis.
      4. Snip off the yellow leaves. There is controversy about doing this; some people think that you should leave them on the plant, and let them fall off
      naturally. I ALWAYS remove yellowing leaves so the plant can concentrate on putting its energy into living parts of the plant.
      5. Check the location of your plant… your placement according to the sun sounds just fine but is it near any drafts, heaters, AC vents?
      6. Outside of the leaves that are turning yellow – how do the remaining leaves look? Heathy, perky? Mainly flat?

      The plant that I have in the photos is still growing strong for me. It’s about double the size as in the photo in last year and a half. It went through a short phase where some of the leaves started yellowing but that was a watering issue. Once, I corrected that, I haven’t had one sense. New growth comes up the center of the plant and stands up a bit and as the leaves age, they start to hang outward. Drooping has a negative condination but if you look at the photo that’s what I am referring to.

      Those are some ideas. You are welcome to email me a photo ([email protected]) if you want. It’s hard to tell from a photo but it might give me some ideas. But, no pressure on that. I hope some of this helps. blessings and enjoy your plant! amie sue

      • Caroline says:

        I have the same problem with my plant as well! I recently brought the plant home and some of the leaves have yellowed and are dying. The rest of the plant appears healthy. I don’t think I am over-watering, I haven’t checked the roots yet. I am emailing you some pictures, hopefully you can give me some ideas. Thank you!! :)

        • amie-sue says:

          Good morning Caroline,

          I received the email with the photos and here are some thoughts and recommendations:

          1. How long have you had the plant? Did it come with yellowing and black-spotted leaves?
          2. Cut away the yellowing leaves, especially the ones that have those black spots.
          3. The black spots could be a sign of sun damage so if the spots formed AFTER you have had the plant in your possession, check the lighting and
          relocated it.
          4. The healthy-looking leaf with black, dried-out tips can be a sign of low humidity. If this occurred in your presence, you might want to supplement
          with the humidifier or relocate it if it is near a heat source (which can be drying).
          5. When watering don’t let the plant dry out 100% as it will put the plant under stress.
          6. After cleaning up the plant and relocating it… give it some time to adjust. Again, I don’t know how long “recently” is but sometimes plants go
          into shock when entering a new atmosphere/living conditions.

          I hope this helps. Good luck! Over all it looks like a beautiful plant. :) blessings, amie sue

          • Caroline says:

            Thank you for your reply!
            I have had it for about 2 weeks, no it was very healthy when I bought it, it may have have one leaf that was wilty- maybe had a black spot?
            My house it at 40% humidity, so I may need to supplement with a humidifier. You’re right, it may be in shock, I hope it adjusts. I will adjust the watering schedule. Thanks so much for the tips! :)

            • amie-sue says:

              You bet Caroline,

              It’s possible that since it’s only been two weeks that it is still adjusting. Keep an eye on it, don’t be afraid to move it around, and I agree some humidification may be helpful. Best of luck! blessings, amie sue

  4. Iliana Llopiz-Lozana says:

    Hi! I have a 15 year old Silver Bay Chinese Evergreen and the roots keep curving sideways. What am I doing wrong? It belonged to my Mother so I cherish it. Thanks In Advance.

    • amie-sue says:

      Oh, what a blessing to have a plant that came from your mother and has that history! I can totally understand why you cherish it. :) Can you send me a few photos; up close where it is curving, and then one of the whole plant (from the side). That would better help me…help you! You can email me at [email protected]. I look forward to hearing from you. blessings, amie sue

  5. Shirlene Scott says:

    Hi, I have a chinese evergreen since October of last year. In a 10 in or so pot. It’s hanging in my south facing window with good lighting and seems to really like it there. It has many buds but have noticed many sap droplets. Do I need to be concerned??

    • amie-sue says:

      Good day Shirlene,

      The snap is totally normal for these plants so need to be concerned. If you touch the sap, be sure to wash your hands right after as it can cause some skin irritation in people. I just love these plants… so lush and full. Thanks for reaching out. Have a wonderful day, amie sue

  6. Cari says:

    Can you please clear up my confusion on indirect light? I only receive sun from east and west inside my house, no south or north. I was told that all sunlight which shines through a window is considered indirect… the only direct is when plant is outside. Is that true? I have several plants that get the suna Ray’s directly on them through the window and they seem to love it, but since this silver Chinese evergreen says no direct light, I want to be sure I have it in a good place. So… bright indirect light means what?

  7. MLee says:


    I have what I believe to be a Silver Bay Chinese evergreen (based on pictures) that was given to me as a gift when my first child was born. He is now 42, and the plant that was nice and bushy when I received it, is now very leggy and unattractive. It has lived in several houses in two different states, and I have never repotted it for fear of killing it. I wish I could send you a picture of it. I know it needs repotting, but I don’t want to risk hurting it in any way. Everything else I repot always dies. Do you have suggestions?

    • amie-sue says:

      Good morning MLee,

      My goodness… the plant has been in the same pot for 42 years? I would love to see the plant. You can email me a photo at [email protected] if you wish for me to take a look at it. I am sorry that you have had bad luck repotting plants, they shouldn’t die so maybe we can work on your approach to repotting? I look forward to seeing the photos so I can better understand what might be going on. blessings, amie sue

  8. Shirley Mangin says:

    Someone just gave me this Silver bay Chinese evergreen. Its leaves look healthy but the plant is so droopy. The soil seems to be moist enough. Why so droopy? It is getting new leaves from the middle of the plant.

    • amie-sue says:

      Good evening Shirley,

      Some leaves are often droopy on these plants. Mine do that too. Some look perkier than others, and yet I have new growth continually pushing out. If the droopiness is alarming and it hasn’t been that way before, then there are other things to look at. First of all, you said you were just gifted it. That means it’s in a transition phase of its new home. Just the mear shift in temp, humidity, and light can cause it to go into a little bit of shock. That can happen anytime you bring a new plant home.

      Overall. if the plant looks healthy, the roots are healthy (lift it out of the pot and make sure they aren’t brown or mushy), if you are watering it appropriately, it’s getting adequate light, and it isn’t near any cold or hot drafts… then give it time. Best of luck! amie sue

  9. David Moore says:

    I have two Silver Bays side-by-side, one is thriving while the other is dwindling. I recently added Perlite to help with drainage issues I had with the pair. But beyond that, the only other thing I did was to stop using tap water on the pair go with bottle water instead. I consider this my only alternative, considering the drought conditions where I live. With that limited amount of info, might you have any suggestions to get my Chinese evergreen pair growing together?

    • amie-sue says:

      Hello David,

      Sorry for the delay. Everything you are doing sounds good. I might suggest checking the roots. Since you have two plants in one pot, maybe one is experiencing root rot? It’s hard to tell without me seeing it to really give sound advice. Is the one suffering near a warm or cold draft? Let’s start there. amie sue

  10. Moo cat says:

    Amie Sue-a plant should never have rubbing alcohol used on it’s leaves. Except for killing mealy bugs and then applied to each bug, not the whole plant. Even diluted by half it will harm the plant’s leaves.

    • amie-sue says:

      I understand what you are saying. In my experience, it doesn’t harm the leaves. I have been doing it for years off and on and it hasn’t shown any ill effects. Thank you for leaving a comment. blessings, amie sue

  11. Jocelyne McClenny says:

    I bought my silver bay about a month ago and it’s growing new leaves or maybe they are bulbs. I don’t know. But like the picture above where you show that you found new bulbs and some people like to cut them out.., mine have that same exactly clear sappy looking stuff. IS THIS NORMAL?! Because I’m freaking out lol. It’s not on a lot of the leaves but it’s on the bottom ends closer to the stems on the top of some of the leaves as well.
    I thought I had a bug problem until I saw that part of your post so I had to ask.

    • amie-sue says:

      Hello Jocelyne,

      These plants do grow “flowers” that are shaped similarly to the Peace Lily plant flowers. I have noticed that mine creates a sticky sap that can sometimes drip. You can cut the flowers off if you wish, too; I leave mine on because they are so alien-like. :) Now, there are plant pests that can leave a sticky residue, too so double-check your plant where the sap is to make sure you don’t have some little infestation but my guess is that it is just the sap from the flower. Blessings, amie sue

  12. Rachal Sager says:

    Thank you for this wonderful article! My Silver Bay plants came from trimmings of a giant one at my office 17 years ago that I rooted. It is also how I got my pothos. Mine had bloomed and thrived…except…they are getting leggy. One “stalk” is 15 inches before the first leaf. Any suggestions to help them get bushy?

    • amie-sue says:

      Hello Rachal. I so love to hear that you have one of those plants from 17 years ago! That is awesome, you must be (or should be) a proud plant parent. :) Typically, leggy plants are a result of those that are not getting enough light, so they are reaching. I am unsure if this is the case for your plant but something to check. You can cut the stems down to a couple of inches above the soil line to rejuvenate & stimulate new growth, or if it were me and I ran out of patience, I would buy some baby plants and plant them in with the big one to give a fuller look as they started to grow. Just an idea. :) Blessings, amie sue

      • Rachal Sager says:

        I am truly a proud plant parent. I love that I inherited my mother and grandmother’s green thumbs.

        Stretching for light makes perfect sense! I will move them this weekend to a different room with more sunshine. Thank you!

        • amie-sue says:

          Reading that just warms my heart, Rachal. What a blessing! I love when things are passed down through the generations. Thank you for sharing that with me. I hope some extra light will help. Many blessings, amie sue

      • MarthaLee McCarthy says:

        I’ve had my Chinese evergreen for almost 44 years. It was a gift I received when my son was born in July 1979. The main stem is very gnarled and leggy. I don’t want to kill it, but I know it probably needs repotting…although it’s not very big. Im terrified to cut it back because I’m afraid it will die. I’d appreciate any help.

        • amie-sue says:

          Good day MarthaLee,

          I don’t think I have ever seen a 44-year-old Chinese evergreen :) How special is that?! Does it need cutting back? Why not just repot it? Is it showing signs of needing to be repotted? I’d like to start there to see if I can better advise. Blessings, amie sue

  13. Laine says:

    Hi there. I received my Chinese evergreen from my friend about 8 years ago and it has been doing great. One part of the plant is particularly long and not pointing straight up, I’ve tried string but that doesn’t work.

    New leaves are sprouting and 2 of the 4 have yellow spots and yellow tips. What could this be from? I recently started fertilizing it as I thought my indoor plants needed a boost. Thank you! Looking forward to hearing from you. I was going to add a picture but I don’t see an option for that..

    • amie-sue says:

      Hello Laine,

      I wouldn’t get concerned that not all leaves are pointing straight up. None of mine do. I have a small handful on each plant that are more upward, but other than that, they fan out, and some are pointing more downward. I did a little digging about what might be causing the yellow spots and tips on your plant. ”
      Leaf Spot Leaf spot is a fungal disease that can cause brown or black spots on the leaves of the Aglaonema plant. It’s caused by high humidity, poor air circulation, and overwatering. To prevent leaf spot, avoid getting the leaves wet when watering and ensure that the plant has adequate air circulation.”

      I hope this helps. It can be challenging to diagnose a plant, and it takes time to try to correct things. I wish you the best of luck, amie sue

  14. Ashlyn says:

    Hello Amie Sue,

    I have been taking care of our office Chinese Evergreen for a year now, and we recently noticed fungus gnats flying around the office. To ensure that the plant was getting enough water, I switched from using bottled water to directly watering it from the sink faucet 2-3 weeks ago. However, this change may have resulted in overwatering (and the gnats). Sticky pads are currently being used to catch the adult gnats, and I have purchased Mosquito Bits to eliminate the larvae under the soil.

    I am wondering whether I should repot the plant before or after trying the Mosquito Bits, or if repotting is necessary at all. I don’t believe root rot is the issue, as the bottom roots are still white, and the soil is completely dry (I haven’t watered in two weeks due to the fungus gnats). In the past, when I have repotted, the plants have died but I also don’t want any lingering larvae/gnats either… I have already lost two office plants, so any advice you could offer would be greatly appreciated!

    • amie-sue says:

      Hello Ashlyn,

      Oh those darn gnats! I am glad that you are using the yellow sticky pads, those help. The key when dealing with these is patience because you have to work at disrupting their lifecycle. It starts with the egg hatching within five to six days into a larva. Larvae feed for 10 to 14 days and then change into pupae in the soil. After five to six days an adult emerges from the pupa with the life cycle completed within four weeks. So, as you can see, it will take time.

      I have a post about dealing with fungus gnats… read through it and hopefully it will help you! https://nouveauraw.com/indoor-plants/plant-pests/fungas-gnats-plant-and-human-pests/

      blessings, amie sue

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