Colours and shapes
Aglaonema’s leaves offer fantastic colours with delicate markings. The pale green versions are the best-known, but this fabulous houseplant is also available with a silver, yellow and red tinge.
The plant does flower, but modestly at best. The flowers are under the leaf and grow in an ear surrounded by a bract, with female flowers at the base and male flowers higher up. The male flowers have the tiny shiny stamens from which the plant derives its name. As the flowers are pretty unimpressive and Aglaonema puts a lot of energy into them, it’s best to cut them off in order to preserve the plant’s decorative value.
The name Aglaonema derives from the Greek and combines ‘agláos’ (shining) and ‘néma’ (thread). This refers to the flowers’ shiny stamens.
Aglaonemas grow wild in the subtropical rainforests of Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia, where the plant is happy beneath the leaf canopy of larger trees and shrubs which ensures that the sun can hardly reach the Aglaonema. The first published reference to the plant was in 1704, by Camellus, a Jesuit priest on the Philippines. The plant is a member of the Araceae family, also known as the Arum-likes, and includes some forty species. Indigenous Aglaonemas also have variegated leaves and generally remain quite small. Alongside the fantastic foliage, this plant’s greatest strength is that it’s very easy to look after compared to other foliage plants. Aglaonema can take a knock, tolerates forgetful waterers and is not quick to disappoint. That makes it a real boon for plant lovers who are just starting out. As an attractive foliage plant, Aglaonema also purifies the air, creating a healthier indoor climate.
The Aglaonema is the recurring theme in the hit film 'Léon’. The eponymous hero treasures it, and at the end of the film Mathilda gives the plant a fresh start. A very appropriate role for this tough guy.