Aglaonema varieties: the most beautiful Chinese evergreens


I study landscape ecology and through my studies have discovered a love for plants. Plants are not only beautiful, but also have countless fascinating survival strategies. To bring a bit of nature into my home as well, I nurture my houseplants and herbs on every possible windowsill.

Favourite fruit: rhubarb and all kinds of berries
Favourite vegetables: onions and garlic

Chinese evergreens are a great way of bringing impressive patterns and wonderfully unique colour combinations to your home. Discover some of the countless beautiful Aglaonema varieties.

 Several Chinese evergreen plants
There are countless Aglaonema varieties to choose from, each with different colours and patterns [Photo: Shoutloud/]

Chinese evergreens (Aglaonema) are shade-tolerant plants that come in numerous patterns and colours. Whether green, pink, red or spotted, there truly is something for everyone. Keep reading to discover some of the most popular Aglaonema varieties.

Aglaonema varieties

The plant genus Aglaonema belongs to the Arum family and comprises 22 species. They differ mainly in terms of size, pattern of their leaves and growth. The different Aglaonema varieties within each species also differ in pattern as well as colouring and intensity. AllChinese evergreen species listed here can all be kept as houseplants. Bear in mind that these plants are native to Southeast Asia, so growing them out in the garden or on the balcony in the UK is not advisable.

Green and pink Aglaonema variety
Aglaonema varieties with a lot of white on their leaves should be kept somewhere relatively bright [Photo: Puspa warn/]

Our favourite Chinese evergreen varieties

Anyone looking to get a Chinese evergreen as a houseplant is first faced with the task of choosing from the vast list of Aglaonema types. To help you with this decision, we’ve compiled a brief list of some of the more popular Chinese evergreen varieties and species.

Tip: the soil that comes with potted plants you purchase from a shop or garden centre is usually depleted of nutrients quite quickly, partly because the pots are often quite small. Therefore, we recommend repotting your Chinese evergreen as soon as possible after buying it in a suitable, high-quality substrate, such as our Plantura Organic All Purpose Compost. Our loose yet well-structured soil is excellent for Aglaonemas and contains no peat, making it a more sustainable option for the environmentally-conscious among us.

Organic All Purpose Compost, 40L
Organic All Purpose Compost, 40L
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  • Perfect for all your house, garden & balcony plants
  • For strong & healthy plants as well as an active soil life
  • Peat-free & organic soil: CO2-saving composition

Aglaonema pictum

The Chinese evergreen species Aglaonema pictum is native to Sumatra and Borneo. There, the plants grow as erect shrubs with decorative leaves 10 to 20cm long. Plants of this species typically have dark green leaves with light green variegation.

Aglaonema pictum Tricolor plant
Aglaonema pictum ‘Tricolor’ plants have beautifully unique leaf patterns [Photo: Ambia maulana aditia/]
  • Aglaonema pictum ‘Tricolor’: arguably the best-known variety of this species, the ‘Tricolor’ has camouflaged patterned foliage with light green, dark green and silver colouring.
  • Aglaonema pictum ‘Bicolor’: as indicated by the name, this variety is like ‘Tricolor’ but with only two colours.

Aglaonema commutatum

Native to the Philippines, the poison dart plant, or Aglaonema commutatum, is available in many varieties as a houseplant. In nature, these plants grow up to 50cm tall and form numerous green leaves with grey markings. This species requires more light compared to other Chinese Evergreens, so be sure to place a poison dart plant near a window.

Aglaonema commutatum 'Red Star' plant
Aglaonema commutatum ‘Red Star’ has bright red leaves [Photo: Parijatplant/]
  • Aglaonema commutatum ‘Red Zircon’: this cultivar’s leaves are green at the margins and adorned with a pink, mottled pattern in the centre.
  • Aglaonema commutatum ‘Silver Bay’: this Aglaonema variety’s leaves are green at the margins and tinged silver in the centre.
  • Aglaonema commutatum ‘Maria’: the leaves of this variety are dark green and interspersed with a silver stripe-like pattern. ‘Maria’ can tolerate a little less light than other varieties of this species.
  • Aglaonema commutatum ‘White Rain’: this variety has white-coloured stalks and stems.
  • Aglaonema commutatum ‘Red Star’: the red leaves and green margins make this variety eye-catching.

Aglaonema roebelinii

With a name like painted drop-tongue, it is no surprise that this species forms large 30cm-long leaves. In nature, Aglaonema roebelinii grows as a large shrub, topping out at about 1m tall. The bright silver leaves are interspersed with green patterning. This species can tolerate less light than others, making it an ideal plant for darker corners in your home.

  • Aglaonema roebelinii ‘Deborah’: the leaves of this cultivar are pale green with dark green stems and veining.

Aglaonema nitidum

The Burmese evergreen grows quite slowly, but can eventually reach a height of 90cm. Aglaonema nitidum is found in Borneo, Sumatra and Myanmar.

Several Aglaonema nitidum ‘Ernesto’s favourite’ plants
Aglaonema nitidum ‘Ernesto’s Favourite’ has green leaves with a pale midrib [Photo: Cheng Wei/]
  • Aglaonema nitidum ‘Curtisii’: this variety sports green leaves with silver margins.
  • Aglaonema nitidum ‘Ernesto’s Favourite’: the leaves of this variety are green with a broad, silver stripe along the midrib.

Aglaonema costatum

This species is low-growing and compact. The leaves are green with a white midrib. Their light requirement is also low, again making them suitable for areas of your house or office that receive little light.

Several Aglaonema costatum plants with speckled leaves
Aglaonema costatum plants can be more or less speckled depending on the variety [Photo: Satria Arissandy/]
  • Aglaonema costatum ‘Foxii’: this variety of Chinese Evergreens bears dark green leaves with pale midribs and white speckles.

Aglaonema modestum

Unlike the other species, Aglaonema modestum is naturally solid green and less likely to have patterned leaves. Also called lily of China, this species needs a location with little light for the glossy green leaves to reach their full potential. In fact, too much light or even direct sunlight can spoil the leaves’ colouring.

Close-up of Chinese evergreen
Aglaonema varieties with pure green leaves without variegation prefer slightly darker rooms [Photo: Passakorn Stamp/]
  • Aglaonema modestum ‘Spilt Milk’: like the name suggests, the leaves of this variety are green with large white spots, as if a glass of milk were spilled over the plant.

Like Chinese evergreens, snake plants tolerate low-light locations quite well. Follow the link here to discover the most popular species and learn more about snake plants.

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