Today's Gardener (todaysgardener.com) participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program.
Ahh, the camouflage plant! Or, Chinese Evergreen. Have you bought it yet?!
This lovely shrub from the Araceae family will be an excellent addition to your indoor tropical rainforest, so go get one now!
And, if you are worried about how to properly care and nurture it, well, you’ve come to the right place. ‘Cause, I’m about to tell you all there is to know about the best care tips and tricks to make your beautiful APT thrive! Let’s dive right in!
Ah, this is the food equivalent!
This is precisely why you need to pay the most attention to this.
As is the case with the majority of Araceae plants, Aglaonema Pictum Tricolor likes to have its soil rich, but non-compact.
Compact soils typically have poor drainage properties and Aglaonema pictum tricolor needs exactly the opposite.
As an optimum soil choice, you can mix up perlite, some peat, and orchid bark. Such a mixture will give the optimum nutrients and provide for adequate soil moisture.
Namely, note that it is a subtropical plant we are talking about that is typically found in Sumatran volcano slopes.
Accordingly, it will require frequent watering with plenty of humidity. However, note that lots of humidity is not equivalent to overwatering.
Should you make such an omission, make sure to dry the root out ASAP since otherwise, it will start rotting away before you know it.
If you aren’t sure if the soil you picked is a well-draining one, there’s an easy way to check.
Pour some water on top of it and if it drains out rather quickly – this is it!
Light Requirements for Aglaonema Pictum Tricolor
Seeing how it originates from the subtropics, you’d naturally think it will need plenty of direct sunlight.
But, you’d be kinda wrong.
Remember, it’s variegated species we’re discussing; so, giving it direct exposure is not a good idea.
If you do that, be ready to face the burnt leaves.
Instead, for optimum care, keep it in a room with low light preferably shaded.
The ideal solution functionally and visually is to stack it under your other plants. In this way, you imitate the native conditions, that is bright, but shaded light.
Since it is a variegated version, plenty of shaded light is your best ally to keep this plant in its optimum growing conditions.
I know you like to have it all in exact numbers and figures, but plant care is not about this at all.
It is about carefully observing and listening to your plant’s desires.
This is what I mean.
I can’t tell you you have to water it every day, cause you won’t always have to.
You need to find the middle ground since this tropical pricey beauty is draught-intolerant and it can’t stand overwatering either.
The soil should be slightly, SLIGHTLY, moist at all times, but never too much.
Too much water will cause root rot and too little with affect the leaves first that will start drying out.
So, to tell you exactly it’s time to water, I first have to tell you that you need to check your plant quickly every day.
If the topsoil layer is about to dry out completely, then this means you need to water the plant.
Naturally, the watering schedule over the winter months will be different than during summer.
Most notably, you can reduce the watering frequency cause this cute camouflage plant won’t need much water in its dormant period.
Temperature and Humidity Requirements
I like to keep these two together, cause in real life, these two always come hand in hand.
Not to say that one affects the other.
Let us first check the…
This subtropical plant likes heat!
Again, a subtropical plant is what we are dealing with.
If you want to keep your costly jungle gem at optimum temp. conditions (as I’m sure you do), try this.
It’s the 60°F to 85°F (16°C – 29°C) range we’re talking about here.
Short-term, it can tolerate lower temperatures, but try to avoid these in any case.
Too low a temp. is just unnecessary stress so steer clear of this. Whatever you do, make sure that the temp. doesn’t get below 50°F (10°C).
This beauty will hardly recover from that.
Humid, more humid, more!
Obviously, high humidity levels are where Aglaonema Pictum Tricolor thrives.
The more you approach the subtropical jungle conditions, the better.
If you want to talk numbers and exact facts, then any humidity level above 65% is more than fine.
But, always bear in mind – the higher, the better!
So, high temp and humidity make ATP thrive.
Yeah, I’m that sucker for natural plant growth and all.
Accordingly, I believe you do realize that I don’t like to force fertilizer on my plants.
I like to let them grow on their own.
However, if I do see my plant is truly struggling, I still have to boost it a little by adding some fertilizer.
When it comes to Aglaonema Pictum Tricolor, I typically go for diluted fertilizers.
However, half the strength is key.
APT will not tolerate too strong ones nor too much fertilizer in general, so I try to keep the balance with diluted fertilizers.
Of course, you fertilize in the active season that is spring to summer. Every two weeks will be just fine.
I do it even less frequently than that.
Should it happen that your camouflage plant gets in really bad shape, you might think that increasing the fertilizer qounty might help.
Quite the opposite.
It will just do more harm and cause severe burns to the plant
So, be careful.
Of course, completely omit to fertilize in the winter months since it’s pointless.
Pruning and Repotting
Besides the functional requirement for these two, they also contribute to the visual aspect of your plant.
If you want to keep it pleasing to the eye at all times, then these two steps should not be omitted.
Pruning Aglaonema Pictum Tricolor
You may not realize at first why pruning is that important.
But, imagine this.
You have a festering wound. You do nothing about it.
Your body directs its overall energy to heal the wound.
The wound doesn’t heal and the body is left weak and exhausted.
This is exactly what happens to the plant when one of its leaves gets dried or sick.
In the case of your body, you have other options, but with the plants, pruning is the best solution.
Once you notice your plant has a problem localized to a single leaf, or two, just cut the leaf in question so it doesn’t spread the infection to the neighboring leaves.
I just did that couple of weeks ago with my Alocasia odora.
Besides this functionality issue pruning is also great since you can use it to direct the growth of your APT.
Yes, it is a shrub, and they should grow whichever way they like; but, if there is a leaf that just doesn’t fit the pattern, well, just cut it!
Don’t throw it away.
Use it for propagation, instead (more on that later)!
Repotting Camouflage Plant
Plants outgrow their original pots, and that is normal.
I mean, the plant is not what you see only.
Underneath, there’s a whole root system that actually keeps the plant alive.
So, once this root system grows too big for the current pot you need to repot it into a larger one.
Now, to better understand the repotting time, you need to understand that the highest this slow-growing shrub can get is 12 – 20 inches (translated to 30 – 50 cm).
Also, their stem is some 0.1 – 0.8 inches (equal to 0.2 – 2 cm wide).
Now, the most important information from the previous two lines is that this is a slow-growing plant.
What this means to you in terms of the repotting requirements is that you will have to do this every 3 to 5 years.
So, yeah, it’s not very demanding in this regard.
In any case, you already know that you’ll have to go for a larger pot than the current one because the rooting system will need more space.
I will not go into the procedure itself since I believe it’s common knowledge – you know, carefully pull the plant from the existing pot, put some fresh soil in the new pot, place Aglaonema Pictum Tricolor on top of it and keep adding soil until you fully cover the root network.
As for the new pot design and material, I believe you will choose so it fits the environment.
Or, to make a complete contrast, depending on your preferences.
Aglaonema Pictum Tricolor Propagation
This little camouflage monster is an exotic plant that is not cheap, to be honest.
When you buy one, I believe you will do anything to keep it alive.
However, once you tackle the business of keeping this beauty alive and kicking, you will soon start thinking about how to make more of it, without purchasing a brand new one, of course.
Luckily, Aglaonema Pictum Tricolor does the job for you.
It is so easy to propagate, that you won’t believe it.
Let’s see how!
Propagation from Cuttings
Do you remember how some paragraphs ago I said you shouldn’t throw away the healthy leaves you pruned?
What is important, though, is that the leaf you pruned includes the stem part, cause that will give the best results.
Note that this is the preferred propagation method and it typically requires a stem cutting with multiple leaves on it, but sometimes even one, or no leaves at all, will do the trick.
The procedure itself is nothing out of the ordinary.
All you need is the right stem cutting equipment (clean, so as not to infect the cutting) and to figure out which cutting to take (the ones with terminal buds give the best success rate).
Once you’ve prepared the cutting, you can place it in water, soil, perlite, etc., and wait for it to grow roots.
Now, I know you’d like this to happen in 10 days tops, but 25 – 45 days is the best you can hope for.
Sorry to disappoint you!
In any case, when this happens know that you have a fully functional new camouflage aglaonema plant!
Other Ways of Propagation
Another frequent propagation method with Aglaonema Pictum Tricolor is the root division. However, I’d say it’s rather impractical since you don’t want to disturb the plant before its repotting time.
You can also try propagating from seeds or tissue culture but I don’t see the point.
There, I said it!
Aglaonema Pictum Tricolor – Common Problems
I know, I know!
You’d rather grow plants that never encounter any problems.
Sorry to disappoint you, but I don’t think that’s possible.
However, if any of the potential plant problems is detected early, the solution is simple and the plant can be saved.
The majority of the problems you will encounter in the APT care routine are related to either improper care or pests.
Let’s check these ones by one.
Poor Care Consequences
Ok, I’m not saying you’re doing it purpose.
It’s normal at first to not be sure how much water is just the right amount of water.
Or, how much light is enough light.
I’m not judging – we all make that mistake a couple of times.
Now, let’s see what could be the consequences and how to efficiently fix them.
Drooping leaves on your APT are typically an indicator of inadequate light or watering conditions.
Namely, if the camouflage plant gets exposed to too strong light for too long (yes, I’m talking hours, not days) the leaves will start drooping and curling.
When you notice this, move it away immediately.
Plenty of shaded light is what you need to give to it.
On the other hand, insufficient water can also cause the leaves to droop.
It can save water for quite some time in its stems, but, make an effort to maintain a regular watering schedule.
In addition, besides watering, keep the air humidity at its optimum values and your APT will be just fine.
These are typically a sign of overwatering.
When the leaves on your camouflage plant start turning yellow, this means you need to cut back on watering.
Also, check the root system if the damage is not too far gone.
If yes, try to separate some of the healthiest parts and repot them in the fresh soil.
Brown leaves are an indicator that moisture and humidity conditions are poor.
Namely, you are either underwatering the camouflage plant or the air is too dry.
Fix this by re-establishing a regular watering schedule.
In the summer months, this practically means that you need to keep the soil moist at all times.
In addition, if you live in a drier climate, provide humidifiers so they can keep the humidity levels at an optimum for your APT.
Here’s good news for you – typically, APT is undisturbed by pests.
However, some mealybugs and spider mites might attack it, but nothing serious.
In any case, it is important to discover the infection early and you’re good to go.
At the beginning stages, you can just isolate the plant from the others and cut out the infected area.
If, however, the infection has advanced, then go for an insecticide and use it as instructed on the package.
Before I officially conclude these comprehensive tips and tricks, I will just share with you some of the most typical questions people ask regarding this lovely plant.
I may have answered some of them already, but let me say them loud and clear!
1. Can I just buy Aglaonema Pictum Tricolor anywhere
Unfortunately, you can’t.
It’s kind of a rare plant.
I say kind of ’cause it is propagated by large in Thailand but it takes time for it to reach the USA or anywhere else.
2. Why is it called tricolor?
Well, that’s simple.
It is a variegated form that consists of different shades of green.
So, tri as in three and color as in color.
If you’ve seen it, you know what I’m talking about.
3. What is the price for APT?
Hmm, this is a tough one, to be honest.
As I’ve said in Q1, the supply across the USA is scarce, it takes time to get this plant, so accordingly, the price is very high.
It is typically found for 200 USD, but I wouldn’t rely on this price much.
If you think it’s too expensive, here’s a thought – if you have plant-loving friends – order one and propagate it.
That’s easy at least!
4. Is Aglaonema Pictum Tricolor difficult to care for?
If you’ve read the rest of the article, we can all agree that it’s a simple plant to care for.
Just give it shaded light and high humidity levels. That’s about it!
So, my dearest ones, this has been a practical guide on how to properly care for and maintain Aglaonema Pictum Tricolor in your home.
I believe you’ve fallen in love with this beauty at first sight, so if you have been wondering is it hard to keep it alive, you can see that it’s not.
When you get yours, or if you have one already, send us some photos so we can all admire them together!