The genus aglaonema counts about sixty species of evergreen, herbaceous plants, native to south-eastern Asia; they reach the 100-150 cm of height, but there are several dwarf or compact varieties, which keep below the metre, or even below the 50 cm.
They have a short fleshy stem, from which depart long lanceolate leaves, slightly fleshy, which can reach the 30-40 cm of length; the leaves of the aglaonema are of various colours, usually green, with yellow, light green or white striae and variegations; the plants appear as thick, roundish, bushes. In spring, at times, they produce some spathe-shaped flowers, similar to small white or greenish callae.
These plants are very cultivated as apartment plants, because the cultivation is very easy, and the appearance is very decorative.
While preferring fairly bright positions, which enhance the colour of the leaves, aglaonema pictum can easily withstand conditions that would be unfavourable for other plants, from complete shade to bright light; they fear direct sunlight, which causes burns on the leaves. Like many other indoor plants, they fear the cold, and are cultivated at a minimum temperature over the 12-15°C, avoiding the changes of temperature.
Varieties with mottled leaves need more light to avoid losing their colour, which is very common in the case of shaded exposure.
In warmer periods, as the plant prefers a humid climate, it is good to provide for the nebulisations of water at room temperature on the leaves.
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During the hot months, water regularly, always waiting for the soil to be dry between one watering and the other; in autumn and winter water less, vaporizing the leaves with demineralized water, every 3-4 days. Usually, these plants can stand short periods of drought, but they are afraid of water stagnations and excessive watering.
To avoid the formation of water stagnations, the pot can be placed in a saucer where pebbles or expanded clay have been placed, to ensure that the roots of the plant do not remain in contact with the water of the saucer.
Every 25-30 days add green plant fertilizer to the water of the watering.
They are cultivated in the common universal soil, possibly mixed with a little chopped bark and washed river sand. The plants of Aglaonema pictum grow rather slowly, so the repotting operation can take place every 2 or 3 years, using a slightly larger pot than the previous one.
In autumn or late spring it is possible to divide the heads, keeping some well developed roots for each portion practiced. The Aglaonema pictum can also be multiplied by seed in springtime, sowing in special containers and gently lowering them below the surface. The containers are to be kept in a shaded place with a constant temperature, around the 20 °C.
Another technique for multiplying these plants is that of resorting to the cuttings, taking the branches with new shoots and placing them in a rich and fertile soil, placing the pots in rooms with a temperature around the 20 °C.
Aglaonema pictum: Diseases
Usually they do not suffer particularly from the attack of fungal parasites or insects; it can happen that the leaves yellow, due to the presence of mites on the bottom page, or due to sudden changes in temperature.
The mites that cause this phenomenon are the red spider webs and for their elimination, in addition to resorting to special products, it is also possible to increase the degree of humidity with nebulisations of water on the leaves, since these parasites do not tolerate this element.