The Anti-Poinsettia

Aglaeonema ‘Siam Aurora ‘

Like last Friday, I thought I would focus on a plant that you might be happy to have in your home long past the holidays, and yet has enough red and green coloring to do double duty as a Christmas plant.

I write about these plants a lot. This is an aglaeonema, or Chinese Evergreen. As a general rule, I avoid common names and try yo use the botanical ones, particularly when they refer to a place so as not to avoid offending anyone. But correct botanical names also assures you that you are going to get the correct plant when you go to the garden center–or are searching out a particularly unusual plant online.

I have several of these plants and honestly, this is the least colorful of them, if you can believe that! Or perhaps I should say that this is the one with the most muted colors. The others are far more colorful–but not in a holiday way.

This one–it’s probably ‘Silver Queen’ but since I got it at a box store, it came with no cultivar designation–another reason to shop at garden centers. You know what you’re buying! Anyway, this plant would also make a lovely, understated holiday statement.

My red variety is ‘Siam Aurora,’ and it too is one of the more muted reds out there. Breeders have developed splashier, more vibrant coloring for these–but this is fine for me.

These are easy care plants. I have had the red plant at least 5 years, only re-potted it twice and it has never had any issues with insects or disease. None of my aglaeonema have had any issues, in fact.

I keep them in west or shaded east windows. They like bright, indirect light.

So if you are looking for a plant that you can enjoy either with–or instead or–poinsettias–give aglaeonema a try. You won’t be sorry.

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