If you want to learn how to save a dying Aglaonema (Chinese Evergreen), then you’ve come to the right place.
In this guide, I’ll take you through a 5 step process to save a dying Aglaonema quickly and easily. This process involves first checking for signs of pests or disease, repotting with fresh soil, pruning damaged leaves, and more.
Let’s get straight into it.
- What Can Cause An Aglaonema To Die?
- 5 Steps To Save A Dying Aglaonema
- In Summary
What Can Cause An Aglaonema To Die?
Aglaonemas are very hardy plants that can last for quite a few years, so it’s usually quite rare for them to die or show signs of dying unless something has gone seriously wrong.
Minor overwatering or underwatering won’t kill an Aglaonema, but if these conditions remain for a long period of time, it can lead to death.
Overwatered conditions suffocate the roots, causing them to rot (root rot). Root rot can also develop due to a fungus in the soil that becomes favored in overwatered conditions.
If all of the roots become rotten, then an Aglaonema has no way to absorb nutrients or moisture from the soil, which leads to a quick death.
Common symptoms of root rot include drooping or curling leaves, as well as yellowing or browning leaves.
Underwatering is not as severe as overwatering, but over a long time frame, the soil will dry up, and no moisture will remain, leading to death by lack of moisture and nutrients.
This one is not as common, as it is much more likely for people to overwater their Aglaonema thinking they are helping it grow when it is actually suffocating the roots.
There are things you can do to prevent this, such as using well-draining soil and having drainage holes in the bottom. I’ll get into these things in more detail in the steps later in this article.
Sunlight can also be responsible for a dying Aglaonema.
Too much direct sunlight can scorch the leaves of a lot of varieties of Aglaonema. Sun scorch causes uneven spots on the leaves that have brown centers and yellow halos, and in severe cases, it can affect all the leaves and cause them to die.
If your Aglaonema is left in this condition, it will eventually die.
Highly variegated varieties, such as ‘white rajah,’ may prefer more direct sunlight, and for these, a lack of sunlight is more likely to be a reason for them dying.
Sunlight is obviously needed for photosynthesis, so if your Aglaonema does not receive enough sunlight, it will slowly die as well.
Aglaonemas tend to be sensitive to temperature and prefer an ambient temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
If the temperature is consistently much lower than this, or if there are cold drafts or big fluctuations in temperature, it can negatively affect the plant and cause death in severe cases.
Pests like mealybugs, spider mites, or aphids will feed on the sap found in Aglaonema leaves and can quickly take over the entire plant, leading to death.
Small infestations can be dealt with by rinsing the plant with water, but it can be hard to notice these infestations at first, and if they are left to grow, you will need to use an insecticide before it is too late.
Diseases like root rot and leaf spot can also kill Aglaonemas quickly if they are not dealt with. In most cases, any affected roots or leaves need to be pruned, and the rest of the plant treated with a fungicide for the specific disease.
You can find a list of possible Aglaonema diseases here (link), alongside their treatment.
What About Humidity?
Aglaonemas thrive in high humidity around 70%, but they can also grow fine in humidity lower than this.
Unless the humidity is either extremely high or much lower than average, it is very likely not going to be a reason for your Aglaonema to die.
Humidities outside of this range are very rare, as most households have humidity around 40 to 50% anyway, which – although not ideal for Aglaonema – won’t cause the plant to die.
5 Steps To Save A Dying Aglaonema
Now that you know the most common causes for a dying Aglaonema, it’s time to go through a 5 step protocol for saving your plant.
1. Check For Signs Of Pests Or Disease (And Treat Them If Necessary)
Pests or diseases need to be dealt with first before anything else, as your Aglaonema will not survive if it is dealing with one of these issues regardless of other factors.
If you suspect your Aglaonema is dying in the first place, there should be signs of pests or disease if these are to blame. Most pests will leave behind a sticky residue on the leaves, or you will be able to spot them with your naked eye.
Diseases like root rot will cause the leaves to turn yellow and droop (we’ll also inspect the roots shortly), whereas leaf spot will be noticeable right away on the leaves.
You’ll typically use a fungicide to treat these types of diseases.
2. Repot With Fresh Soil
Repotting is always a good idea if you’re worried about your Aglaonema dying. This is because it allows you to inspect the roots and make sure that the soil mix is well-draining and full of nutrients.
When repotting, I’d recommend wearing a pair of gloves, as this will let you move the soil around and get a closer look at the roots. If any of them are rotten, you will need to prune them and treat the rest of the healthy roots with a fungicide to prevent further root rot.
After that, gently remove as much excess soil with your hands as possible and then repot in a new container that is one to two inches larger than the current one. Make sure it has plenty of drainage holes in the bottom as well!
I like to use a mixture of houseplant potting soil and perlite to improve drainability, but you can also use sand in place of perlite or together with it for more drainage.
3. Prune Damaged Leaves
After repotting, I like to remove any leaves that are damaged.
This isn’t completely necessary, but I find it helps to monitor the progress of the plant afterward to see if it is bouncing back to health or not.
You can give your Aglaonema a generous watering at this point to help new roots develop in the soil and to double-check that the soil drains well while holding on to moisture.
Let water run through the drainage holes to make sure the soil is draining properly, and you’re almost there!
5. Make Sure The Position Is Suitable (& Other Care Requirements Are Met)
The last thing to do is to place your Aglaonema in an ideal position for growth.
For most varieties, a location with lots of bright, indirect sunlight will do well. Ensure there aren’t any cold drafts nearby and that the temperature is ideally around or above 70 degrees Fahrenheit at all times.
Humidity is also an important consideration, so purchase a hygrometer to take an accurate reading. Aim for 60-70%, and if you can’t find somewhere with this kind of humidity, then consider using a pebble tray, humidifier, or placing your plant close to another plant that also likes humidity (pothos or anthuriums are good examples).
If your Aglaonema is highly variegated, it may do better with more direct sunlight, but be careful introducing it to more sunlight as it can scorch the leaves.
That’s pretty much it!
If your Aglaonema looks like it’s dying, it’s very likely that it is just suffering from a certain care requirement not being met. If you follow the 5 step process that I outlined above, you should have your Aglaonema getting back to health in no time.