Considered lucky in Chinese culture, the Aglaonema ‘Siam Aurora’, commonly referred to as the Red Aglaonema, is a wonderfully decorative plant that will add a splash of color to any room! This subtropical plant does perfectly well when grown indoors. Even better, Red Aglaonema care is easy, so let’s jump into this Aglaonema ‘Siam Aurora’ care guide!
Table of contents
The Aglaonema ‘Siam Aurora’ is a subspecies of the genus aglaonema, which are a class of tropical perennial plants and are commonly referred to as Chinese evergreens. In general, aglaonemas grow as shrubs with glossy, blade-shaped leaves. On the Red Aglaonema, the leaves have a variegated pattern of green and reddish-pink. Due to this unique coloring, the Red Aglaonema is beloved among collectors as an ornamental houseplant.
- Common Name: Red Aglaonema, Siam Aurora, Chinese Evergreen
- Scientific Name: Aglaonema ‘Siam Aurora’
- Mature Size: up to three feet tall
- Sunlight: bright, indirect sunlight
- Water: when soil is completely dry
- Soil: well-draining soil
- Temperature: 65°F-76°F
- Propagation: stem cuttings and root division
- Hardiness Zone: 10-11
- Toxicity: toxic to humans and pets
Growth Pattern and Habits
The Aglaonema ‘Siam Aurora’ is a hybrid of multiple species that originated in subtropical Asia. Therefore, it has a preference for moderate temperatures and light conditions. Unless you live in USDA planting zones 10-11, you will likely raise this plant indoors. Fortunately, it’s pretty low-maintenance, so it doesn’t take much effort to enjoy this plant’s dramatic appearance.
The Red Aglaonema is a moderately slow grower. A Red Aglaonema’s maximum height and width is around three feet tall and wide, but it may take several years for a specimen to reach this size. Instead of fueling growth, most of its energy will go to producing its vibrant, multicolored leaves. Most owners find that a pot with a diameter of 6-10 inches is a sufficient size for the lifetime of this plant.
When temperature, light, and soil conditions are just right, your Red Aglaonema may bloom. The plant will produce whitish-green, calla-like flowers in the late summer to early fall. The flowers will appear small and underwhelming compared to the visually impressive leaves. If you prefer, you can prune any flowers as they appear so the plant can continue dedicating its energy to leaf growth.
In its native habitat, the Red Aglaonema is accustomed to a shady environment thanks to the rainforest canopy. For this reason, it’s best to raise the Red Aglaonema in indirect lighting conditions. When raising indoors, a warm spot near a west- or east-facing window is ideal. For an outdoor plant, consider a shaded patio or the dappled shade provided by a large tree.
Understanding your Red Aglaonema’s light requirements will ensure that you get to enjoy its full range of colors. While it tolerates low light reasonably well, your Aglaonema ‘Siam Aurora’ will look more green than red if it’s not getting enough sunlight. If the leaves of your plant look a little dull and green, try moving it closer to its light source. On the other hand, your plant’s leaves will develop dry, brown spots if it’s exposed to too much direct sunlight. If you see this symptom on your plant, move it away from its light source by several inches or try putting up a filter, such as a translucent curtain.
The Red Aglaonema is extremely drought-tolerant with a propensity for developing root rot. Therefore, overwatering is much more harmful to this plant than underwatering. Most people find success with the “drench and dry” method. This entails watering just enough to drench the soil, then waiting until the entirety of the soil has dried out before watering again.
Get in the habit of testing the soil for dryness before watering your plant. The frequency of your watering schedule depends on several factors including your soil type, pot size and material, and the conditions of your local climate. Expect to water your Red Aglaonema about once every 7-9 days in the spring and summer. In the winter, the frequency will likely drop to once every 4-6 weeks due to the plant falling into dormancy.
Again, the Red Aglaonema’s water requirements are quite minimal and therefore won’t suffer if left to dry out a bit longer than optimal. If you are a heavy handed waterer, consider waiting until the plant droops slightly before watering! Within a couple of hours after being watered, a dry, drooping Red Aglaonema will perk up.
Like many other tropical houseplants, Red Aglaonemas appreciate a substrate that has both water-retentive and well-draining properties. A commercial houseplant mix marked as “well-draining” is perfect. You can also make your own formula by starting with a peat-based soil and mixing in pumice, coconut coir, or orchid bark for a drainage boost. When mixing your own, the ratio should be one-third soil to two-thirds aerating components.
To better care for your Red Aglaonema, be sure to plant in a pot with a drainage hole. I also prefer terracotta pots over any other container material.
Temperature and Humidity
Your Aglaonema ‘Siam Aurora’ will be happiest when it’s kept in the temperature range of 65-76°F. It can survive occasional spikes to 85°F but will not fare as well after being exposed to temperatures below 65°F. As long as the plant is relatively warm and protected from cold drafts, it will thrive with whatever thermostat setting you’re most comfortable with in your house.
Along with warmth, the Red Aglaonema needs relatively humid conditions. However, it can survive arid conditions pretty well if its other needs are met. Look for crispy, brown tips on the leaves, which are a sign that your plant is losing too much moisture from exposure to dry air. If you don’t live in a naturally humid environment, you can provide extra humidity with a humidifier, pebble tray, or some light misting with a spray bottle.
The Aglaonema ‘Siam Aurora’ should be fertilized once a month during its active growth phase, which occurs during the spring and summer. The best fertilizer for this plant is a water-soluble, balanced houseplant fertilizer that has been diluted to half-strength. Stop fertilizing from mid-fall through the winter when the plant goes dormant and stops absorbing nutrients from the soil. If your plant develops yellow leaves, it could be a sign of too much fertilizer.
If you believe you have used too much fertilizer, flush the soil to wash out any extra salts that have accumulated in the soil. The easiest way to accomplish this is to hold the pot over your kitchen sink, add water to the top of the pot, and let the water drain freely from the bottom into your sink drain. Alternatively, you can transplant your Red Aglaonema to a pot of fresh soil. You should choose transplanting over flushing if you notice a white crust forming on the surface of your soil, which is a sign of advanced salt accumulation.
A Red Aglaonema can be propagated using stem cuttings and through root division. Both ways are simple and straightforward. Keep reading to learn how to propagate a Red Aglaonema.
Propagation by Root Division
A healthy, mature Aglaonema Siam Aurora can be successfully propagated by dividing it at the root into two or more separate plants. To accomplish Red Aglaonema propagation by root division, follow the succeeding steps:
- Carefully unearth the plant and its root ball. Gently remove excess soil that is clinging to the roots so you can better visualize the structure.
- Use a sterilized knife or pair of shears to cut the root ball into sections, making sure each section has two or three leaves attached to it.
- Plant each section into a pot with well-draining soil and keep it well watered until it begins to grow independently. This means that the soil should be kept slightly moist at all times until you see new leaf growth. At this time, provide mature Red Aglaonema care.
Propagation by Stem Cuttings
Compared to the simplicity of root division, it’s usually a bit more difficult to propagate a Red Aglaonema via stem cuttings. You can decrease the margin of error by harvesting cuttings in the spring, when warmth and light are plentiful and the plant is in its active growth phase.
- Starting with a healthy, mature Red Aglaonema, use your sterilized shears to take some stem cuttings. The cuttings should measure at least four inches in length and have at least two leaves attached. If necessary, strip off any lower leaves and dip the cutting in some rooting hormone.
- Plant your cuttings in a container of freshly watered soil. Alternatively, you may choose to place the cuttings in a clear container with water. This allows you to easily visualize root growth.
- To increase your chances of successful Red Aglaonema propagation, loosely cover your container of cuttings with a plastic bag to trap warmth and humidity.
- Place it in a warm, shaded spot and keep the soil damp until the cuttings begin to show signs of new growth, which should take 2-4 weeks. Once you see your cuttings showing signs of growth, you can transplant them into their permanent containers. Begin mature Red Aglaonema care at this time.
The Aglaonema ‘Siam Aurora’ is highly susceptible to root rot, which is usually caused by overwatering. Early signs of overwatering are wilted leaves, yellow or brown spots, and a moldy odor. To prevent this condition from setting in, always check your soil before watering this plant. Also, you should make sure to use well-draining soil and a pot with drainage holes.
Dry, Brown Leaves
Dry, brown leaves are a sign of inadequate humidity levels or too much direct sunlight. Typically, the browning will occur at the tips if humidity is to blame. On the other hand, sun scorch will occur wherever the plant has been exposed to direct rays of sunlight. If you see this symptom on your plant, you will need to move your plant or find a way to boost the humidity of its immediate surroundings.
Your Red Aglaonema may attract common household pests like scale, mealybugs, spider mites, or aphids. These tiny insects subsist on plant sap, and a heavy infestation can literally suck the life out of your plant. Often too small to see with the naked eye, you will instead notice webbing, coffee-like residue, or a cottony substance clinging to the surfaces of your plant. It’s important to address any infestations as soon as possible to minimize potential damage to your plant.
If your Aglaonema ‘Siam Aurora’ is infested with pests, separate it away from any other houseplants and remove any visible insects by hand, if possible. Then, dip a cotton ball in alcohol and wipe down the surfaces of your plant daily until the infestation clears.
To repel any future pests, apply a solution of organic neem oil once a month as an all-natural remedy. Try to save chemical pesticides as a last resort, reserving this for cases of heavy infestation that won’t respond to natural interventions.
The Red Aglaonema is considered toxic to both humans and animals due to its calcium oxalate content. Calcium oxalate is a compound made up of tiny, salt-like crystals that are extremely sharp and insoluble in water. These crystals can cause micro-abrasions when they come into contact with your bodily tissues, such as the inside of your mouth or the surface of your skin. When ingested in high amounts, the crystals can also cause gastrointestinal symptoms including upset stomach, vomiting, and diarrhea.
As a preventative measure, wear gloves when handling this plant to avoid touching the sap, which has high amounts of calcium oxalate. If you do touch the sap, thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water. Always supervise young children and pets around any plants that contain calcium oxalate. If a loved one has eaten any part of your aglaonema, clear their mouth of any lingering plant bits and encourage them to rinse with cool water.
In cases of accidental ingestion, a cold drink of water or milk can soothe any irritation in the throat. Eating a small meal or snack can also absorb calcium oxalate and protect the digestive tract from potential irritation. In most cases, symptoms of calcium oxalate toxicity will resolve on their own. You should contact poison control if you or your loved one experiences breathing trouble or worsening symptoms, which are a sign of serious illness.
The Red Aglaonema, or Aglaonema ‘Siam Aurora’, is an attractive tropical plant that, luckily for us, thrives indoors. By providing high quality care, your Red Aglaonema will display dark pink/red leaf margins which are in perfect contrast to the dark green inner portions of the leaves.
Enjoy your Red Aglaonema in a bright room to keep its colors vibrant. Via propagation, you can easily share its beauty with friends and family.