Philippine Evergreen (Aglaonema Commutatum)

Plant: Table of Contents

The Amazing Philippine Evergreen: A Complete Guide to Aglaonema Commutatum Care

Aglaonema commutatum, commonly known as the Philippine evergreen, is a striking plant that is popular for its beautiful foliage and easy-care nature. This plant, which belongs to the Araceae family, is native to the Philippines and other parts of Southeast Asia. With its vibrant and diverse leaf patterns, the Aglaonema commutatum is a favorite among plant enthusiasts and interior designers alike.

In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the various aspects of caring for the Philippine evergreen, providing valuable insights into its culture, uses, water and sunlight requirements, propagation methods, and much more. Whether you are a seasoned plant parent or a novice green thumb, this article will equip you with the knowledge and techniques needed to ensure the health and vitality of your Aglaonema commutatum.

What is Aglaonema Commutatum?

Aglaonema commutatum, also known as the Philippine evergreen, is a species of flowering plants in the Araceae family. This evergreen perennial is native to the tropical regions of the Philippines and other parts of Southeast Asia. It is renowned for its lush and vibrant foliage, making it a popular choice for indoor and office spaces.

The Philippine evergreen is prized for its stunning leaves, which can display a wide range of colors and patterns. From deep green hues to silver accents and even hints of red, the foliage of Aglaonema commutatum adds a touch of elegance and tropical beauty to any environment.

Key Takeaways – Philippine Evergreen (Aglaonema Commutatum)

Before we delve into the specifics of caring for the Philippine evergreen, let’s take a moment to highlight some key takeaways about this remarkable plant. Understanding these fundamental aspects will provide a solid foundation for successful Aglaonema commutatum care.


Aglaonema commutatum thrives in warm and humid environments, reflecting its native habitat in the tropics. It is well-suited for indoor cultivation, making it an excellent choice for adding a touch of nature to interior spaces. The plant’s adaptability to low light conditions further enhances its appeal as a versatile ornamental plant.


Beyond its aesthetic value, the Philippine evergreen also offers air purification benefits, making it a valuable addition to indoor environments. Its low maintenance requirements and resilience to variable growing conditions make it an ideal choice for both homes and offices.


The watering needs of Aglaonema commutatum are relatively moderate, and it prefers evenly moist but well-draining soil. Overwatering should be avoided, as it can lead to root rot and other complications.


While the Philippine evergreen can tolerate low light, it thrives in medium to bright indirect sunlight. Protecting the plant from direct sun exposure is crucial to prevent leaf scorching and ensure optimal growth.


Regular fertilization with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer can promote healthy growth and vibrant foliage in Aglaonema commutatum. However, it is essential to follow a consistent fertilization schedule to avoid overfeeding or nutrient deficiencies.


The Philippine evergreen prefers a well-draining, peat-based potting mix that retains moisture without becoming waterlogged. The right soil composition is essential for supporting root health and overall plant vigor.


Pruning is recommended to maintain the desired shape and size of the plant, as well as to remove any damaged or discolored foliage. Proper pruning techniques help encourage new growth and maintain the plant’s aesthetic appeal.


Aglaonema commutatum can be propagated through stem cuttings, offering an opportunity to expand your plant collection or share this beautiful species with fellow enthusiasts.

Container Popularity

Its compact size and attractive foliage make the Philippine evergreen a popular choice for container gardening, both indoors and on shaded patios or balconies.

Common Diseases

While generally resistant to pests and diseases, Aglaonema commutatum may encounter issues such as leaf spot diseases and fungal infections, which require prompt intervention to mitigate their impact.

Now that we have established an overview of the key aspects of Philippine evergreen care, let’s delve into each of these elements in greater detail to ensure that you have all the information you need to cultivate a thriving Aglaonema commutatum.

Watering Aglaonema Commutatum

Watering is a crucial aspect of caring for Aglaonema commutatum, as it directly impacts the plant’s overall health and vitality. Proper watering practices help prevent both underwatering and overwatering, which can lead to significant stress for the plant.

Water Needs

Aglaonema commutatum prefers moist but not waterlogged soil. It is essential to allow the top inch of the soil to dry out between waterings to prevent root rot. The frequency of watering will depend on factors such as environmental conditions, the size of the pot, and the root system’s development. When in doubt, it is best to err on the side of slightly underwatering rather than overwatering, as the plant can be more forgiving of dry conditions than excessive moisture.

Avoiding Overwatering

Overwatering is a common pitfall when it comes to caring for Aglaonema commutatum. Prolonged periods of soil saturation can lead to root rot and other complications that threaten the plant’s survival. To prevent overwatering, it is crucial to ensure that the soil has adequate drainage and to avoid allowing the plant to sit in a pool of water at the bottom of its container.

Signs of Underwatering and Overwatering

Observing the plant’s response to watering is vital for gauging its moisture needs. Signs of underwatering may include wilting, dryness in the soil, and drooping foliage. In contrast, overwatering can manifest as yellowing or browning of the lower leaves, mushy or foul-smelling roots, and a generally unwell appearance in the plant.

Watering Techniques

When watering Aglaonema commutatum, the goal is to achieve even and thorough moisture distribution throughout the root zone. It is advisable to water the plant until the excess water begins to drain from the bottom of the pot, indicating that the entire root ball has been sufficiently moistened. Allow any excess water to drain away, and empty the saucer under the pot to ensure that the plant is not left sitting in standing water.

Sunlight Requirements for Aglaonema Commutatum

Sunlight is a key factor in the growth and development of Aglaonema commutatum. While it can adapt to low light conditions, providing adequate exposure to indirect sunlight is essential for maintaining the plant’s vibrant foliage and overall health.

Light Preferences

Aglaonema commutatum thrives in medium to bright indirect light. Placing the plant near a north or east-facing window is often ideal, as it allows for gentle exposure to sunlight without the risk of leaf scorching. Avoid positioning the plant in direct sunlight, particularly during the intense midday hours, as this can lead to sunburn and damage the foliage.

Low Light Tolerance

One of the remarkable qualities of Aglaonema commutatum is its ability to tolerate lower light conditions. This adaptability makes it well-suited for indoor environments with limited natural light, where it can thrive and contribute to the ambiance without demanding intense sunlight.

Supplemental Lighting

In situations where natural light is insufficient, supplemental artificial lighting can be employed to provide the necessary illumination for Aglaonema commutatum. LED grow lights or other suitable fixtures can help augment natural light and ensure that the plant receives adequate luminosity for optimal growth.

Sun Exposure Considerations

When acclimating the plant to a new location or adjusting its light exposure, it is important to do so gradually to prevent shock or stress. Sudden changes in light conditions can cause the plant to become disoriented and may lead to leaf damage or sunburn.

Fertilizing Aglaonema Commutatum

Fertilization plays a vital role in supporting the growth and vitality of Aglaonema commutatum. Providing the plant with essential nutrients through a balanced fertilizer regimen helps maintain robust foliage and overall vigor. However, it is important to approach fertilization with care and to adhere to a consistent schedule to avoid overfeeding or nutrient imbalances.

Fertilizer Selection

When selecting a fertilizer for Aglaonema commutatum, a balanced, water-soluble formula with equal N-P-K (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium) ratios is often recommended. This ensures that the plant receives a comprehensive blend of macro and micronutrients without an excessive emphasis on any single element.

Fertilization Schedule

Establishing a regular fertilization schedule is essential for providing Aglaonema commutatum with the nutrients it needs to thrive. During the active growing season, which typically spans from spring to early autumn, a monthly feeding with a diluted fertilizer solution can support the plant’s development.

Winter Fertilization

As the plant’s growth naturally slows during the winter months, it is advisable to reduce or suspend fertilization during this period. This allows the plant to enter a period of dormancy and conserves its energy, preventing the risk of overfeeding when nutrient uptake is limited.

Application Method

When applying fertilizer to Aglaonema commutatum, it is important to dilute the concentrate to half or a quarter of the recommended strength to avoid overwhelming the plant with nutrients. Applying the diluted solution to moist soil can help distribute the fertilizer evenly and minimize the risk of root burn.

Overfertilization Risks

Overfertilization can have detrimental effects on Aglaonema commutatum, leading to salt buildup in the soil, root damage, and nutrient imbalances. Signs of overfertilization may include leaf scorching, stunted growth, or an accumulation of salts on the soil surface.

Nutrient Deficiency

While balanced fertilization is crucial, it is equally important to monitor the plant for signs of nutrient deficiency. Yellowing or mottling of the leaves, stunted growth, and overall decline in vigor may indicate a lack of essential nutrients that should be addressed through appropriate fertilization.

Soil Requirements for Aglaonema Commutatum

The choice of soil is a critical factor in ensuring the optimal growth and well-being of Aglaonema commutatum. The right soil composition supports root health, moisture retention, and nutrient availability, laying the foundation for the plant’s success.

Ideal Soil Type

Aglaonema commutatum thrives in a well-draining, peat-based potting mix that offers ample aeration and moisture retention. This type of soil supports healthy root development and prevents waterlogging, which can lead to root rot and other complications.

Soil pH

Maintaining a slightly acidic to neutral soil pH in the range of 6.0 to 7.0 is generally suitable for Aglaonema commutatum. This pH range supports the availability of essential nutrients and encourages the plant to uptake the elements it needs for robust growth.

Substrate Composition

In addition to peat, other components such as perlite, vermiculite, and coarse sand can be added to the potting mix to enhance its drainage and aeration. This substrate composition creates an ideal environment for the roots, preventing compaction and ensuring sufficient oxygenation.

Organic Matter

The inclusion of organic matter in the soil mix contributes to its overall quality, providing nutrients and promoting beneficial microbial activity. Well-decomposed compost or organic additives can enrich the substrate and foster a healthy ecosystem within the root zone.

Preparing Potting Mix

When preparing the potting mix for Aglaonema commutatum, it is important to ensure that the components are thoroughly blended to achieve a homogenous texture. This helps distribute moisture and nutrients evenly throughout the soil, benefiting the entire root system.

Soil Amendments

Over time, the potting mix may become compacted or depleted of nutrients, necessitating soil amendments or repotting. Refreshing the soil periodically or top-dressing with organic matter can revitalize the substrate and sustain the plant’s health.

Pruning Aglaonema Commutatum

Pruning plays a crucial role in shaping and maintaining the appearance of Aglaonema commutatum, while also promoting new growth and removing any damaged or diseased foliage. Proper pruning techniques help preserve the plant’s aesthetic appeal and ensure that it remains an attractive addition to any space.

Removing Dead or Yellowed Leaves

Regularly inspecting Aglaonema commutatum for dead or yellowed leaves and promptly removing them helps maintain the plant’s visual appeal and prevents the spread of diseases or pest infestations. Pruning shears or scissors can be used to cleanly snip the affected foliage.

Trimming Overgrown Stems

In some instances, certain stems of Aglaonema commutatum may become overgrown or leggy, detracting from the plant’s overall symmetry. Trimming these stems back, particularly at the nodes where new growth is likely to emerge, can rejuvenate the plant’s appearance and encourage bushier growth.

Encouraging New Growth

Strategic pruning can stimulate the development of new shoots and branches, contributing to a fuller and more lush foliage display. Carefully removing the tips of select stems can prompt the plant to produce side shoots, enhancing its overall density and aesthetic quality.

Shaping and Size Management

Pruning also offers the opportunity to control the size and shape of Aglaonema commutatum, particularly when it is grown in containers or indoor environments with limited space. Trimming back excessive growth helps manage the plant’s dimensions and ensures that it remains well-proportioned.

Sterilizing Pruning Tools

To prevent the spread of diseases or pathogens, it is essential to sterilize pruning tools before and after each use. This can be accomplished by wiping the blades with a cloth soaked in rubbing alcohol or a disinfecting solution to ensure that the tools are clean and free from contaminants.

Pruning Frequency

Regular maintenance pruning can be conducted as needed to keep Aglaonema commutatum in optimal condition. Checking the plant periodically and addressing any issues with the foliage helps maintain its health and attractiveness.

Propagating Aglaonema Commutatum

Propagation offers the opportunity to multiply Aglaonema commutatum and share this beautiful plant with others. Stem cuttings can be used to create new plants, allowing enthusiasts to expand their collection and propagate a familiar favorite.

Stem Cutting Propagation

Aglaonema commutatum can be propagated through stem cuttings, which are taken from the tips of healthy, mature stems. The cuttings should ideally be 4-6 inches in length and possess several nodes from which new roots and shoots can emerge.

Rooting Medium

The stem cuttings are typically placed in a suitable rooting medium, such as a mix of peat and perlite, to encourage the development of roots. Maintaining consistent moisture and providing gentle warmth can support the rooting process and increase the likelihood of successful propagation.

Creating the Cutting

When creating the stem cuttings, it is important to use clean, sharp scissors or pruning shears to ensure a clean and precise cut. Trimming the cutting just below a node and removing any lower leaves or foliage helps focus the plant’s energy on root production.

Rooting Environment

Placing the cuttings in a warm, humid environment with indirect light can create favorable conditions for root development. Covering the cuttings with a transparent dome or plastic bag helps maintain high humidity and prevents excessive moisture loss.

Monitoring Progress

Regularly monitoring the cuttings for the appearance of new roots and growth is essential during the propagation process. Once the roots become established, the new plants can be transitioned to individual containers and cared for as mature Aglaonema commutatum specimens.

Propagating Aglaonema commutatum through stem cuttings offers a rewarding and sustainable means of expanding your plant collection and sharing the beauty of this species with others.

Container Gardening with Aglaonema Commutatum

The compact and ornamental nature of Aglaonema commutatum makes it an ideal candidate for container gardening. Whether it is displayed indoors or on shaded patios, balconies, or outdoor spaces, the plant’s attractive foliage adds a touch of natural beauty to any setting.

Container Selection

When choosing a container for Aglaonema commutatum, it is important to select a pot with adequate drainage holes to allow excess water to escape. This prevents waterlogging and maintains a healthy root environment, reducing the risk of root rot and other complications.

Size Considerations

Selecting an appropriately sized container for Aglaonema commutatum is essential for supporting the plant’s growth and ensuring that it has sufficient space for its root system. A pot that is slightly larger than the plant’s current root ball provides room for expansion without overwhelming the roots with excess soil.

Soil Requirements

The choice of potting mix for container gardening should prioritize well-draining, moisture-retentive substrates that promote aeration and root health. Providing a suitable soil composition is crucial for the plant’s overall well-being in a containerized environment.

Indoor Container Gardening

Aglaonema commutatum is well-suited for indoor container gardening, as it thrives in the controlled environments typical of interior spaces. Displaying the plant in decorative pots or planters enhances the aesthetic appeal of indoor settings, while its air-purifying properties contribute to a healthier indoor atmosphere.

Outdoor Container Gardening

In outdoor container gardens, Aglaonema commutatum adds a splash of tropical foliage and color to shaded areas, such as patios, porches, or balconies. Its resilience to variable light conditions and adaptability to container growth make it a versatile choice for outdoor landscaping.

Repotting Considerations

As Aglaonema commutatum grows, it may require repotting to accommodate its expanding root system and sustain its vigor. Repotting should be performed with care to minimize disruption to the roots and ensure a smooth transition to the new container.

Overwintering Indoors

In colder climates, transitioning Aglaonema commutatum indoors for the winter months helps protect it from frost and adverse weather conditions. Ensuring that the plant receives adequate light and humidity indoors supports its well-being during the dormant period.

Popular Aglaonema Commutatum Varieties

Aglaonema commutatum offers a diverse array of cultivars and varieties, each showcasing unique leaf patterns, colors, and characteristics. These variations add to the allure of this species, allowing enthusiasts to select from an assortment of visually captivating options.

Silver Queen

The Silver Queen variety of Aglaonema commutatum is known for its striking silver and green foliage, which creates a visually appealing contrast and adds a touch of elegance to any space.

Red Valentine

Red Valentine is a cultivar celebrated for its bold red-tinged foliage, which brings a vibrant and captivating aesthetic to interiors and gardens.

Emerald Beauty

With its lush, deep green leaves, Emerald Beauty is a classic variety of Aglaonema commutatum that captivates with its timeless and rich visual appeal.

Golden Bay

The Golden Bay variety showcases bright, golden-tinged foliage that infuses spaces with warmth and luminosity, making it a popular choice for interior decoration.

Sparkling Sarah

Sparkling Sarah is prized for its intricate and dynamic leaf patterns, featuring a mosaic of colors that add depth and visual interest to any display.


The Cutlass variety is notable for its elongated, narrow leaves and distinctive, ornamental appearance, making it a unique and eye-catching option for plant enthusiasts.


Suksomran is recognized for its lush, variegated foliage

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Peter Taylors

Expert botanist who loves plants. His expertise spans taxonomy, plant ecology, and ethnobotany. An advocate for plant conservation, he mentors and educates future botanists, leaving a lasting impact on the field.