How to Care for a Chinese Evergreen Plant

One of my very first plants in this houseplant journey I have embarked upon was a Chinese Evergreen.

If you’re like me and you’ve not had a great track record with taking care of plants, then a Chinese Evergreen is a really nice plant to start with.

It’s one that you’ll see on lots of “easy care” houseplant lists and although I don’t like to perpetuate the idea of “easy” plants, it is a pretty straightforward care plan that you’ll have to follow for the Chinese Evergreen.

Let’s Learn About the Chinese Evergreen Plant

What I love about the Chinese Evergreen is that it’s a really good looking plant.

It’s tall with dark green leaves and some paler green variegation and that’s a look I really, really like. It’s easy to think, I need easy plants, I’ll buy all the Pothos.

But the Chinese Evergreen is just as easy and will look switch things up next to all of those sort of busy and paler Pothos.

It’s a nice change when you want to expand your plant collection with a different height and color without worrying about figuring out whether the light is right or what the watering should be.

And that is because the Chinese Evergreen is from the same tropical environment as the Pothos.

Plants that are native to similar environments are going to be happy with similar indoor houseplant environments.

My Chinese Evergreen is just a baby still, but they can grow into really robust-looking plants. Tall and wide and just kind of boisterous!

I’m looking forward to caring for mine and seeing how it develops!

How to Care for a Chinese Evergreen Plant

Ok, here are the essentials: water, light, soil and fertilizer so that you can make it just right for your new Chinese Evergreen.

Water

Your Chinese Evergreen is going to want to be watered when the top 2-3 inches of soil are dry.

So, yes, if you didn’t already know, you’re going to need to get your fingers dirty if you want take care of your plants. I’ve destroyed several plants because I thought that if you touch the soil and it’s dry, then the plant needs water.

That’s a quick route to root rot (for some plants). So, be prepared to test the soil by actually getting IN the soil!

What’s great about the Chinese Evergreen is that if you do neglect the water, it will be pretty forgiving and it will even give you signs if it needs some water.

You’ll notice the leaves drooping ever so slightly (unless you really let it go) and you might notice the edges of the leaves curling a little. Sometimes they are a bit ruffly on their own, but if it seems like they are curling more than usual, give it some water.

And Chinese Evergreen doesn’t really care about humidity either, so you can skip the misting or pebble tray treatment.

Light

As with a lot of plants that are commonly thought of as “low light”, the Chinese Evergreen will be fine in a low light situation. Low light means that it’s probably in a spot fairly far from a window where it might see the sky, but it isn’t actually ever seeing the sun.

But, the Chinese Evergreen will also do well in bright indirect light and medium light. In fact, if you really love the variegated leaves, medium to bright indirect light is going to be better to keep that nice coloring.

The one thing you do want to be careful with is giving the Chinese Evergreen too much direct sunlight (meaning the plant can actually SEE the sun through the window) because it may cause some sunburn.

Soil

True to character, the unfussy Chinese Evergreen will be perfectly happy in All Purpose Potting Soil.

As long as you aren’t overwatering, all purpose soil should be draining well enough to keep the roots from getting soggy.

If you find that the soil is kind of crusty or the water is pooling at the top when you water, you just need to aerate. Grab a skewer and poke the soil to loosen it up a bit.

Fertilizer

You don’t really need to fertilize a Chinese Evergreen. The primary source of food for plants is light and that’s probably enough food for this plant.

But if you really want to encourage growth, you can do a slow-release fertilizer once or twice a year in the growing season (spring/summer).

Things to Watch Out for with Your Chinese Evergreen

Because Chinese Evergreen is such an agreeable guy, you don’t have too much to worry about with it. Here’s a few things to keep in mind when you decide to bring one home.

#1. Chinese Evergreen is not pet friendly.

Chinese Evergreen can cause some skin and stomach irritation for your pets, so either skip it or be vigilant about keeping these guys separate.

I have not really ever seen a truly, 100% effective way to keep cats away from plants, so, personally, if I had a cat, I would just pick a different plant that is safe for cats.

#2. Underwatering will cause droopy leaves.

If you forget to water your Chinese Evergreen, it will let you know with some droopy and possibly curly/crispy edges on it’s leaves.

When this happens, you need to give it a good soaking.

You might want to try bottom watering it by placing the plant, without it’s saucer but with it’s pot that has a drainage hole, in a container filled with water and let it soak up the water from the bottom up until the water is at a 2-3 inch depth from the top.

Going from completely dried out to completely soaked can be stressful for the plant, so it might drop some leaves while it adjusts.

#3. Yellow leaves probably mean overwatering.

If you notice that your leaves are turning yellow and you know you haven’t been neglecting watering, then you might be overwatering.

First, stop watering and let the soil dry out a bit.

If that doesn’t help, you will want to check for root rot. You can do this by removing the plant from the pot and taking a peek at the roots.

If the roots are looking anything other than white and firm, then you might have root rot. You cut away any of the rotten roots and then repot the plant with fresh soil.

Then STOP OVERWATERING! 🙂

Now You’ve Learned How to Care for A Chinese Evergreen Plant!

I really hope you add a Chinese Evergreen to your houseplant collection.

Now that you know how to care for a Chinese Evergreen you can be confident that you can keep this guy thriving for years to come.

As long as you stop overwatering.