Aglaonema 16°C/61°F; South East Asia

There are a number of aglaonemas to be seen in tropical collections, but not many that are commercial propositions so they are not often offered for sale. All of them require warm, shaded and humid conditions if they are to succeed. The mixture, which should contain a high percentage of peat, must be kept moist at all times, but saturation for long periods should be avoided. Wait four to six months before feeding newly potted plants, and thereafter at three-month intervals. Mealy bug is a troublesome pest that is difficult to eradicate – bugs are found among the closely-grouped leaves, which makes the essential contact with insecticide difficult to achieve. The incorrectly named A. pseudo-bracteatunt grows 30-60cm/12-24in tall, has attractive spear-shaped leaves variegated with gold and cream and is generally more colourful than most aglaonemas which are mottled shades of green and grey. Curious white or yellow flower spathes appear on mature plants. New plants may be raised either from cuttings or by division of clumps of mature plants. When propagating, warm, moist and shaded conditions are essential. Fresh sphagnum peat will be the best medium to start plants off in.

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