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

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.

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.

20 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
    Thanks
    Diana

    • 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?

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