Aglaonema Chocolate Plant Care – How to Grow Chinese Evergreen Chocolate

The Aglaonema Chocolate is also called the Chinese Evergreen Chocolate. It gets its name from its dark burgundy leaves that look like chocolate.

These make it look stunning. Additionally, it is probably one of the darkest color Chinese Evergreens I’ve seen.

The plant is native to the tropical regions of Asia.

How do you care for the Aglaonema Chocolate? It prefers bright, indirect light but can tolerate low light as well. It also grows well in artificial lighting.

Allow the soil dry try between waterings and use well-draining soil. Keep humidity at 40% and higher and maintain moderate to warm temperature.

Aglaonema Chocolate Plant Care

Chinese Evergreen Chocolate Light Requirements

The Aglaonema Chocolate grows well in different lighting environments. This makes it easy to grow the plant indoors.

That said, for optimal growth, it is best to keep the plant in medium to bright indirect light indoors.

This will allow it to grow faster, produce more leaves and maintain more vibrant foliage color.

It is also worth noting that you can grow the plant in artificial light if you don’t have much natural light in your home.

This is likewise the case for rooms without windows like office space.

Both fluorescent lighting and LED grow lights work well for the plant. You can use either of them to supplement natural light from the sun or on their own.

The plant won’t have any issues with both methods.

On the other hand, it is important to keep in mind that too much light can damage the plant.

It cannot tolerate very intense or harsh direct sunlight. As such, try to keep it away from the sun’s rays during the hottest times of the day.

This also means that if you want to keep the plant in a southern direction, it is a good idea to place it at least 2-3 feet from the window to avoid the sun’s rays.

Another option in case you want to put the Chinese Evergreen Chocolate near a south facing window is to block some of the light.

You can do this by using sheer curtains.

Too much strong light can scorch the Aglaonema Chocolate’s leaves leaving you with brown burn marks.

As such, outdoors, the plant is best grown somewhere with partial shade. Avoid full sun.

 

Chinese Evergreen Chocolate Temperature

The Aglaonema Chocolate enjoys tropical and subtropical weather. That’s’ because this is what it is accustomed to the forests of Asia.

As such, the plant enjoys temperatures between 70 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

It can also withstand hotter temperature without any issues.

But the same is not true for the cold.

The Chinese Evergreen Chocolate has low tolerance for cold weather since there are no winters or even cold months in the tropical areas of Asia.

Instead, it is used to getting warm, sunny conditions all year round.

This is why it has problems with temperatures below 55 degrees Fahrenheit. In addition, be careful with areas in your home where nighttime temperature can drop more than 10 degrees Fahrenheit.

It does not like this kind of sudden, drastic fluctuation.

If left in cold environments, you’ll see the Aglaonema Chocolate’s growth slow down.

The longer it stays there or the colder it gets, the more likely it will experience problems. You may see the leaves turn yellow then later drop.

Additionally, it does not take long for chill damage to occur. All it takes is about 3 to 7 days in subpar temperatures and you may see these side effects occur.

 

Humidity

Ideal humidity for the Aglaonema Chocolate is between 60% and 80%. If you’re able to maintain this, you’ll see the plant grow faster and produce more vibrant looking leaves.

Note that it will do just fine in as long as you keep humidity at least 40% to 50%.

While this can still be high depending on where you live, it is at least easier to maintain.

The problem is that most homes average between 20% to 50% humidity. Additionally, very dry summers can cause humidity to dry.

Of course, there’s the dry winter air which is also something you want to watch out for.

Thus, if your home does not get enough humidity, you may need to increase moisture in the air around the plant.

Low humidity can cause the Chinese Evergreen Chocolate’s leaves to turn brown and crispy on the edges and tips. That’s because they get dry and brittle as moisture isn’t able to reach these extremities.

This is the biggest sign to look for to know if humidity is too low.

As long as you don’t see the leaves turn color, it means the plant is adapting well to the humidity in your home or room.

 

Related

 

How Often to Water Aglaonema Chocolate

Watering your Aglaonema Chocolate is the most important thing to pay attention to.

That’s because it is the one that that can kill the plant.

While the plant is not as sensitive as other houseplants when it comes to overwatering, it is still susceptible to it.

The problem is that overwatering can lead to root rot.

When this happens, the plant’s roots will cease to function. As a result, the Aglaonema Chocolate won’t be able to get the moisture or nutrients from the soil not matter how much you water or fertilize it.

In time, the plant will deteriorate and die from dehydration and malnutrition.

Therefore, always be aware of how much water you add and when you water the plant.

The best way to know when to water the Aglaonema Chocolate is to feel the soil.

Only water when the top 1-2 inches of soil has dried. You can stick your index finger into the soil down to the second knuckle to test it.

Alternatively, if you want to play it safe, you can wait even longer.

Many growers will wait until the top 50% of the soil has dried before adding more water. You can check this by inserting a wooden stick or chopstick into the soil then checking the wet area of the wood to know the water level.

Allowing the soil to dry halfway between waterings prevents adding moisture too early. Thus, you avoid overwatering altogether.

Plus, the roots still stay hydrated. So, there’s no harm to the plant.

 

Aglaonema Chocolate Potting Soil

The Aglaonema Chocolate is not fussy about soil. But it does need well-draining soil that’s slightly acidic.

Therefore, it is important to ensure that the soil mix you use has good drainage and soil pH between 5.5 to 6.5

Drainage is important since the plant does not like wet feet.

Therefore, the right soil allows excess moisture to quickly drain.

The good news is that this is fairly easy to achieve.

It is also why you’ll see many home growers use regular potting soil with their Chinese Evergreen Chocolate plant.

I do suggest adding some perlite to general houseplant mix to improve drainage. Just a few handfuls is enough.

I do know that some people recommend using sand as well.

While that works, I don’t particularly like doing this unless you plan on refreshing the soil annually.

The reason is that sand tends to get compacted after a while. Then this happens, it prevents moisture from properly draining.

Finally, in addition to soil with good drainage, make sure the pot you use has drainage holes at the bottom as well.

This way, the excess liquid that drains from the soil can trickle out of the pot. Otherwise, it will just pool at the bottom of the pot keeping the soil wet.

 

Chinese Evergreen Chocolate Fertilizer

For optimal growth, the Aglaonema Chocolate needs fertilizer. This will help the plant grow faster and produce more leaves.

But it does not need a lot of plant food.

As long as it gets nutrients, it will be happy.

This is important since many home gardeners tend to overdo fertilizer believing that more is always better.

Unfortunately, that’s not the case.

While logic will tell you that more nutrients will speed up growth, what manufacturers don’t tell you is that commercial fertilizers contain salts, which plants hate.

So, when you add lots of fertilizer, you’re also giving the plant lots of salt.

The problem is that when the excess salts built up in the soil, it becomes toxic to the plant.

This can cause your Chinese Evergreen Chocolate to experience fertilizer burn. And its roots will get damaged while its leaves will turn yellow.

Therefore, just follow the instructions on the product label.

You can use a balanced liquid fertilizer as the plant is not picky about the kind of blend you use. A 15-15-15 or 20-20-20 N-P-K product works well.

Only apply fertilizer during spring and summer which is the plant’s growing season.

Once a month is sufficient for optimal growth. And dilute the application to half strength each time.

Stop feeding the Aglaonema Chocolate by fall and only restart once spring comes back around.

 

Chinese Evergreen Chocolate Pruning

The Aglaonema Chocolate will grow to about 2 to 3 feet tall and 2 to 3 feet wide. In most cases, it will grow taller than wide. But you can control its shape by pruning.

Another thing worth noting is that the plant is a slow grower.

Its size and growth rate mean that you don’t need to prune a lot.

Additionally, is leaves grow out from the middle and don’t get too messy or go all over the place. Therefore, pruning is a low maintenance task for this plant.

That said, you can trim it to control is size and shape the plant.

Additionally pruning is good idea if you want your Chinese Evergreen Chocolate to get bushier.

Of course, don’t forget to remove any damaged, yellow, brown, diseased or dying foliage.

 

How to Propagate Aglaonema Chocolate

The Aglaonema Chocolate can be propagated from stem cuttings as well as division.

Which method you decide to use will depend on what you’re looking to do.

If you don’t want to unpot the plant or want to grow several new plants at once, then stem propagation is the better option.

On the other hand, if you feel your Chinese Evergreen Chocolate has gotten big or you don’t have the patience for the new plants to root, then division is a better choice.

Here’s how to do both propagation methods.

 

Propagating Aglaonema Chocolate from Stem Cuttings

To propagate the Aglaonema Chocolate from stem cuttings,

  • Take healthy stem cuttings. Make sure to disinfect your cutting too before you cut any stem off.
  • Also, choose stems that have at least 2-3 leaves on it.
  • Then prepare a pot and fill it with well-draining potting mix. And plant the cuttings in the soil mix.
  • Water the soil to keep it moist.
  • Leave the pot in bright, indirect light.

It takes about a month for the cuttings to develop new roots.

Of course, you can also do water propagation instead.

Here, you’ll root the stems in water.

To do so, place the cuttings in a container filled with water. Then leave it bright, indirect tlight.

In about 3-4 weeks roots will develop.

You can then move the cuttings to a pot with well-draining potting mix.

 

Propagating Aglaonema Chocolate by Division

To divide the Aglaonema Chocolate,

  • Carefully unpot the plant by gently tipping it on its side. Then, slide the root ball out. You can use a trowel to slowly help the root ball out as well.
  • Remove excess dirt and soil from the root ball. This will let you see the clumps.
  • Decide how many segments you want to divide to root ball into and where you’ll be separating them. Make sure each division has roots and leaves.
  • Then carefully, take the clumps apart. You can use your hands to do this or a sterile knife.
  • Plant each of the divisions into their own individual pots with well-draining soil.

 

How to Repot or Transplant Aglaonema Chocolate

Repot once every 2 years or so.

The plant’s grow growth means that you don’t need to move it to a larger container often. So, avoid repotting annually.

You can refresh the soil each year which does help keep its texture and replenish the nutrients.

As for repotting, wait until the Aglaonema Chocolate has outgrown its container.

The biggest sign to look for here is when you see roots peeking out from the bottom of the pot’s drainage holes.

This tells you that they need more room to grow.

 

Is It Toxic/Poisonous to Humans, Cats & Dogs

Yes, the is toxic when ingested. Thus, this makes it safe to work on, move and hold.

But keep it away from cats and dogs who may accidentally or out of curiosity chew or consumer some of the leaves.

Doing so will result in pain, irritation and swelling of the oral cavity and the digestive tract.

The same is true for very young children who tend to eat different objects.

 

Aglaonema Chocolate Problems & Troubleshooting

Pests

The Aglaonema Chocolate is not prone to pests. But like all houseplants, it needs to be healthy for its resistance to stay up.

If unwell or stressed, it becomes susceptible to aphids, scale, mealybugs and spider mites.

As such, regularly checking the plant for bugs is important.

Also, any time you see even one pest, immediately start treatment.

That’s because these bugs reproduce very quickly. And they lay several eggs at once.

Therefore, make sure to use neem oil or insecticidal soap to get rid of them as soon as possible.

 

Diseases

Diseases are likewise not a common issue for this plant.

But man-made problems can cause these diseases.

The most common is overwatering and excess moisture. Overwatering can lead to rotting. So, always be mindful of how much you water and when you water the plant.

Additionally keeping the leaves wet can lead to bacterial and fungal infections.

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