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Aglaonema light requirements – 4 things you should know

The aglaonema, or Chinese evergreen, is an attractive plant loved for its elegant foliage and easygoing ways.

Its striking, often patterned leaves and tolerance for low light make it particularly well suited to life indoors.

Bright, indirect light is its preference, though some individual varieties will cope very well in dimmer conditions.

Aglaonema light requirements

To help you get the best out of yours, here are 4 quick things you need to know about aglaonemas’ light requirements.

1. Does aglaonema need direct sunlight?

Aglaonemas prefer fairly bright but indirect light. That said, these laid-back plants are forgiving of low light and will be quite happy in a semi-shady corner.

They actively dislike direct sunlight, which can scorch their leaves, so keep them well away from sunny windowsills. 

If there’s nowhere else they can go, put up a sheer curtain to diffuse the light and give them some protection.

Despite their shade tolerance, they still enjoy plenty of heat and humidity. These plants are native to tropical and subtropical South East Asia, particularly the warm damp forests of Malaysia and the Philippines.

So, if you can, find them a suitably warm spot and either stand them on a wet pebble tray or mist them daily to keep the humidity up. 

Just remember, whatever you do, don’t leave them to bake in direct sun. They won’t take to it well and won’t want to be your friend anymore.

2. How much light does an aglaonema need?

As long as you don’t put them in direct light or complete darkness, aglaonema plants will adapt well to any light conditions. 

Many houseplants can really suffer if light intensity is too low or they aren’t getting enough hours of exposure. An aglaonema will roll its sleeves up and make the best of it. 

If we’re talking optimum light for this plant, several hours a day of medium to bright indirect light will keep it happiest.

But if you don’t have a suitably bright space, or you do but it’s occupied by a fussier plant, you can keep these plants in semi-shade. They will forgive you.

Some varieties will even thrive in poor light, making them a terrific choice to liven up a dull, dimly lit spot.

You might also like: Growing ivy indoors – how fast it grows and how to help it along.

3. Which aglaonemas can grow in low light?

Though they’re all pretty laid back about light, some aglaonemas will do better in lower light than others.

As a rule, aglaonemas with green leaves are the most shade tolerant, with variegated ones happier in a brighter spot.

Bear this in mind when choosing a particular variety for a specific place.

You’ll get the best out of variegated aglaonemas like ‘Silver Queen’ and ‘Diamond Bay’ by giving them plenty of natural light. 

But plain green varieties like Aglaonema modestum (Chinese evergreen) or Aglaonema simplex (Malayan sword) will grow perfectly well in low light.

4. Aglaonemas and artificial light 

Since aglaonemas are adept at making do with limited natural light, they’ll grow very successfully under artificial lights

More than happy under the buzzing fluorescent tubes that blight – I mean light – the modern office space, they make fantastic desk plants. 

(Anything that adds a bit of life and personality to the office, I’m down.)

If you live in a basement apartment or flat with very little light coming through the windows, these plants are your friends.

And if you have no windows at all, these plants are your best friends – bringing a much-needed slice of the outdoors inside.

These plants are a joy with their ‘don’t mind me, I’ll be over here looking fine in this gloomy corner’ ways. There’s loads of really unique varieties too, so you’re bound to find at least one you love!  

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