Agloanema is a popular foliage plant because it is tolerant of a variety of difficult indoor growing conditions, including the kind of low light that exists under dense forest canopies in its native Southeast Asia.
The Aracceae Family
Aglaonema, also called Chinese evergreen, belongs to the plant family Aracceae, which includes philodendron and pothos, two other popular and easy-to-grow houseplants.
More than 21 varieties of Aglaonema grow wild in the jungles of southeast Asia, northeast India and Southern China. They also can be found in the jungles of Malaysia and the Philippines.
Introduction in the West
Their lovely variegated foliage and heartiness make the plants well-suited to commercial production. Plant experts and collectors, such as Dr. Thomas B. Croat of the Missouri Botanical Garden and Dr. Frank B. Brown of the Valkaria Tropical Garden in Florida, have spent years collecting the plants and bringing them back to this country for propagation and development.
Cross pollination of Aglaonema proved to be a difficult task and only a few new cultivars were produced between the 1960s and 1980s. One problem was that the plants flower infrequently and produce few seeds.
More Recent Progress
Programs for the study of Aglaonema production have identified methods for inducing large numbers of the plants to flower simultaneously to allow more opportunity for cross-breeding. That breakthrough coupled with the discovery of more colorful natural cultivars in the Philippines and elsewhere will increase the number of choices.
- New Florida Foliage Plant Cultivar: Aglaonema 'Stripes'
- Tropical Foliage Plant Development: Origin of New Cultivars
- Aglaonema Breeding Past, Present, and Future
Aglaonema, tropical plants, Chinese evergreen, natural habitat, hybrid
About this Author
Lois Lawrence is an attorney and freelance writer living and working in Stonington, Conn. She has written on many subjects including travel, food, consumerism, relationships, insurance and law. Lawrence earned a Bachelor of Arts in economics from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 1976, and a Juris Doctor degree from Boston University School of Law in 1979.