Aglaonema Silver Bay (Chinese Evergreen) is a beautiful, exotic looking houseplant that’s easy to care for and works great in the home or office. The Silver Bay variety is the most popular Aglaonema, featuring silver leaves with green edges
However, if you’ve recently acquired this houseplant, you might be wondering “how do I care for my Silver Bay?”
You may have already seen some conflicting advice online, or maybe your Chinese Evergreen is showing signs of a problem. Don’t worry, we have you covered!
Read on and I’ll show you exactly how I’ve cared for my Aglaonema Silver Bay plant in my home so that you can keep yours green and healthy all year round.
I also share tips on propagating your own Aglaonema Silver Bay if you want more than one!
This article may contain affiliate links to products I know and love. You can read my full disclosure at the bottom of the page.
How to Care for Aglaonema Silver Bay (Chinese Evergreen)
For Aglaonema Silver Bay care, the 3 most important factors are the following:
- Provide some form of light. All plants need some amount of light to live. However, Aglaonema Silver Bay can tolerate a variety of light conditions. (Notice I said tolerate and not thrive.) To really thrive and grow fast, your Chinese Evergreen will need moderate to bright indirect light. But these plants can certainly tolerate and survive under low-light conditions or florescent lighting like you might find in an office.
- Water your Silver Bay thoroughly once the soil has mostly dried from the previous watering. You can stick your finger a few inches into the soil to feel for moisture, or you can use this moisture meter to check if the soil registers as wet or dry. Once dry, water your Silver Bay so the soil is saturated from top to bottom. Allow any excess water to drain out of the drainage holes in your pot.
- Plant your Silver Bay in a well-draining pot and soil mix. I recommend making a soil mix of 2 parts all-purpose potting soil, 1 part perlite, and 1 part bark. Adding this extra perlite and bark will help improve the drainage and airflow in the soil and around the roots, which help prevent root rot. Also, use a pot with multiple drainage holes, as this again helps with drainage and airflow around the roots.
If you follow the above 3 care fundamentals, your plant will be happy and healthy.
Now, let’s walk through each of these factors in more detail and discuss other less important but still helpful care tips and advice for your Aglaonema Silver Bay (Chinese Evergreen).
We’ll also discuss Aglaonema Silver Bay propagation in case you’d like to make new plants!
How Much Light Do Aglaonema Silver Bays Need?
Aglaonema Silver Bay plants can tolerate a wide variety of light conditions. They can survive under low light and even office fluorescent lighting (but may grow very slowly and will need much less water).
Note that by “low light” I mean near a north-facing window or a maximum of 5 feet from a window facing any other direction. Low light does not mean no light (let’s not starve our plants!)
However, to really thrive and grow fast, your Chinese Evergreen will need moderate to bright indirect light. Just avoid long periods of direct sunlight so the leaves don’t burn.
If your plant starts to decline and not seem very healthy, it’s probably because it’s not getting enough light and/or it’s receiving too much water. These two issues usually go hand in hand, because when a plant doesn’t receive enough light, it’s not able to process the water in it’s soil very quickly.
As a result, if your Silver Bay is very slow to take up water and you keep watering it on the same schedule and never allow the soil to dry out, the roots will eventually rot and the plant’s health will decline rapidly until it dies.
So, the moral of the story is you can avoid overwatering issues if you provide plants with adequate light (near a window is best but artificial lighting can also work, especially for Aglaonemas) and wait for their soil to mostly dry out before watering again.
If you feel your plant is not receiving enough light, try moving it to a brighter location or supplementing with artificial light.
If you’re using artificial light, the tips of the leaves should be about 6 to 12 inches from the light source, and the light should be turned on for approximately 14 to 16 hours during the day.
I personally keep my Aglaonema Silver Bay near an east-facing window from spring to fall, and 1 to 2 feet from my west-facing sliding glass door during winter.
I do this because my west-facing sliding glass door receives a lot of sunlight (including many hours of direct sunlight) from spring to fall, so it’s a bit much for my Silver Bay. The east-facing window receives a couple hours of direct sunlight in the morning, but the rest of the day is bright to moderate indirect light. This is perfect for Silver Bay.
However, during the winter, my east-facing window receives much less light since the sun changes position and the days are shorter. It’s probably more equivalent to moderate to low light.
Technically, the Silver Bay will do fine in these lighting conditions and I could probably leave it there all year, but I always like to give my plants a bit more light than their minimum requirements to keep them growing and looking great.
So, I move my Silver Bay a couple feet from my west-facing sliding glass door in winter because it receives moderate to bright indirect light in that location with no direct sunlight during winter.
It can be fun to experiment with the different locations in your home and observe how your plants respond to different amounts of light.
What Soil is Best for Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema Silver Bay)?
When it comes to potting soil, you want a mix that will drain well and allow for good airflow. I personally use a mix of 2 parts all-purpose potting soil, 1 part perlite, and 1 part bark. Adding the perlite and bark helps improve drainage and airflow in the soil and around the roots, which help prevent root rot.
Also, use a pot with multiple drainage holes, as this again helps with drainage and airflow around the roots.
I personally use these clear plastic nursery pots for most of my plants because they have lots of drainage holes, and they’re clear so I can keep an eye on the root health and soil moisture level.
The 6 inch clear pots linked above fit perfectly into this decorative 6.1 inch cover pot!
How Do You Repot Chinese Evergreen (Silver Bay)?
Aglaonema Silver Bay plants tend to grow a bit slow, so they don’t need to be repotted often. I repot mine about every 2 years.
A good sign that it’s time to repot is when the roots fill it’s current container (as shown below).
When you repot your plant, choose a pot that is only slightly larger than the current pot. This keeps the excess soil from getting too soggy and prevents root rot.
In my case, I repotted a Silver Bay that was in a 4 inch pot and placed it into a 6 inch pot.
Be sure to use a pot with plenty of drainage holes.
I really like using these 6 inch clear plastic nursery pots because I can easily see the condition of the soil and roots. And to make it look nicer, I place it in this decorative cover pot that fits perfectly (shown below).
After mixing those 3 ingredients together, add this soil mix to the bottom of your new pot and make sure the top of your Silver Bay plant will be at the same level it was in it’s old pot.
Then, gently remove your Chinese Evergreen from its current pot, and gently loosen the roots at the bottom of the plant (as shown below).
Lastly, place your Aglaonema Silver Bay into it’s new pot and fill in the sides around the plant with the soil mix.
Make sure to water your plant thoroughly after repotting and allow the excess water to drain out of the drainage holes.
Protip: Avoid repotting your plant in the winter, because this is usually when the plant is dormant and prefers to be undisturbed. For the best results, repot in the spring or summer.
How Often Should You Water Aglaonema Silver Bay?
Once established, Aglaonema Silver Bay plants don’t need to be watered very often.
You should always let at least the top half of the soil dry out before watering. You can even let the soil completely dry between waterings and the plant will be just fine (this is what I do).
To test the soil moisture, stick your finger a few inches into the soil to feel for moisture, and feel the soil around the drainage holes.
Or you can use this moisture meter to check if the soil is wet or dry.
If you use the moisture meter, make sure to take measurements in different spots and at different depths to get an accurate assessment. If the readings are showing dry, it’s time to water.
If the plant is in a pot with drainage holes (which it should be), water thoroughly and allow the water to drain out of the drainage holes for a minute or so. This will help leach out any built-up salts in the soil.
Does Chinese Evergreen need high humidity?
Aglaonema Silver Bay plants do not require high humidity to survive, but they’ll grow more lush and quicker in higher humidity environments.
I personally don’t worry too much about the humidity for this particular plant. The humidity in my home varies a lot from 25% to 60% depending on the season and weather. And my Silver Bay does just fine.
If you think increasing the humidity in your home would help your plant (or your family), I personally use and highly recommend this humidifier for myself and my plants that are more sensitive to humidity.
What Temperatures Can Aglaonema Silver Bay Tolerate?
Aglaonema Silver Bay plants will thrive at temperatures between 60 and 80°F or 18 and 27°C.
However, they don’t do well at temperatures below 55°F or 13°C. So if you keep your plant outside, bring it inside if the temperature might drop below 55°F.
Also, make sure there are no hot or cold drafts hitting your plant if you have central air, as this could damage the leaves.
What is the best fertilizer for Aglaonema Silver Bay?
Aglaonema Silver Bay plants don’t need a lot of fertilizer to thrive.
I use this balanced houseplant fertilizer every 2 to 3 months while my Silver Bay is actively growing (usually spring to fall).
If your plant is in a location with low light and/or you notice the growth stops or is very slow, don’t fertilize your Silver Bay. You may risk overfertilization and burn the leaves.
How Do You Prune Silver Bay?
To prune your Aglaonema Silver Bay, cut any dead or dying leaves off where the leaf attaches to the stem.
I like to use these trimming shears to prune leaves off my Silver Bay because they have a microtip that is very thin and easy to get into tight spaces without accidentally cutting nearby leaves. Just note that these shears work best for fine stems and leaves.
If you need heavier duty shears for cutting the thick Aglaonema stems or for outdoor gardening, then I like to use these heavy-duty shears.
Make sure to disinfect your pruning tools before and after use by wiping the blades with a household disinfectant like rubbing alcohol to avoid causing any infections in your plants.
How Do You Propagate Aglaonema Silver Bay?
Aglaonema Silver Bay is easy to propagate by either cuttings or plant division. This is best done while the plant is actively growing (likely from spring to fall) rather than when growth has slowed (likely during winter).
Follow these steps to propagate Aglaonema Silver Bay via cuttings:
- Use a pair of clean, sharp cutting shears like these to cut the stem of the Aglaonema you’d like to propagate. Make sure you have at least a couple inches of stem on your cutting.
- For water propagation, place the stem in a small jar or container filled with water so the stem is in the water. Change the water every week or 2 to keep it clean. Within a month you should see new root growth. Most cuttings will grow new roots, but every now and then one may die during the process. This is just part of propagation, it’s never 100% successful. Once the roots are a few inches long, you can plant the cuttings in a pot with well-draining soil and care for the plant as usual.
- For soil propagation, you can plant the cutting directly in a pot with a well-draining potting mix. Water the soil and keep it moist but not soggy. New roots should develop within about a month.
- Keep your cuttings in a warm area with bright indirect light, and then after a few months they should be pretty well established.
You can also watch the video below to see an example of cuttings propagation via both water and soil propagation techniques with the resulting new root growth 36 days later. (Note that it’s a different variety of Aglaonema in the video, but propagation is the same for all Aglaonemas.)
Follow these steps to propagate a more mature Aglaonema Silver Bay via division:
- Remove your large Silver Bay plant from it’s container and shake away any loose soil.
- Inspect the stems and roots and notice the areas where the plant is naturally divided into different stems/plants. These are good places to separate and divide the plant.
- Then, plant your divisions in their own pots with a well-draining potting mix.
- Water and keep in an area with bright indirect light for a couple months while they recover and become reestablished. Then care for your new plants as usual.
You can also watch these Aglaonema plant division steps being performed in the video below.
Is Aglaonema Silver Bay Toxic to Cats or Dogs?
Aglaonema Silver Bay (Chinese Evergreen) is toxic to cats and dogs according to the ASPCA.
This is because it contains calcium oxalate crystals that can irritate a cat or dog’s mouth. So, it’s best to keep pets from chewing on any part of Aglaonema plants.
Related Aglaonema Silver Bay (Chinese Evergreen) Questions
Here are answers to some other questions people often ask me about Aglaonema Silver Bay plant care.
What is eating my Chinese evergreen?
Your Chinese evergreen is likely being eaten by pests, such as mealybugs, spider mites, or aphids. Check for these pests and start treating your plant as soon as you see any signs of them.
Mealybugs are small, soft-bodied pests that often create a white powdery/waxy film on the leaves and stems of plants.
Spider mites are tiny spider-like creatures that suck sap from plants, causing them to yellow and stunting their growth. You’ll often notice their webs first before you see the spider mites because they’re very tiny.
Aphids are small, green or black insects that feed on plant juices, often leaving a sticky residue on the leaves.
The methods for killing these plant bugs are the same and are listed below:
- Start by spraying your plant down with a water hose to try to knock as many of the bugs off as possible.
- If there are any parts of the plant that are severely infested or already dead or dying, trim those parts off.
- Then mix 1 teaspoon of dish soap with 1 cup of water and spray the mixture all over the plant and it’s leaves (including the bottom of the leaves). Do this in a shady location and leave the soapy water on the plant for 5 minutes, then rinse the plant with fresh water.
- Repeat weekly or as needed until the infestation is gone.
- If over time you find the dish soap spray isn’t getting rid of the infestation, then I recommend using this organic horticultural oil. It’s organic and safe to use around people and pets. Just follow the directions on the label and it should do the trick in my experience.
Why is my Aglaonema Silver Bay drooping?
First, I’d like to point out that the Aglaonema Silver Bay leaves sometimes have a natural droop to them. Especially the leaves on the bottom part of the plant. So if your plant is generally healthy looking but some of the leaves droop a little bit, it’s probably just part of it’s natural habit.
Other reasons your Aglaonema Silver Bay leaves are drooping may be underwatering, overwatering, and/or a lack of light.
You’ll know if your plant is drooping due to underwatering because the soil will be very dry and the leaves will be severely drooping and look weak. In this case, you’ll need to give the plant a good soaking and water a little more often. I like to water once I notice the soil has mostly dried from the previous watering.
You’ll know if your plant is drooping due to overwatering because the leaves will be yellowing or have brown spots, the soil will be very wet and heavy, and there may be white mold growing on the soil surface. To fix overwatering, you’ll need to allow the soil to dry out completely before watering it again. Then, water less frequently to help the plant recover.
If your plant is not getting enough light, this could also lead to overwatering issues. Plants that don’t receive enough light can’t process the water in the soil very quickly, and it can be easy to overwater these plants.
If the plant is not getting enough light, move it to a brighter location near a window.
How do I make my Chinese Evergreen bushy?
If you have a very large Chinese Evergreen that has gotten leggy, it’s best to trim your plant following the propagation guide earlier in this article and plant the cuttings in a new pot. You can put many cuttings in one pot to make the plant bushier.
Then for your original large plant, cut back any remaining stems to just above the soil, and soon you’ll see new stems start to shoot up from the soil around the old stems. Make sure to keep both plants in an area with bright indirect light for the best growth results.
On the other hand, if you’re simply not seeing much new growth on your Chinese Evergreen, you may just need to move your plant to a brighter location. Bright indirect light (such as near a window) provides the energy the plant needs to grow new leaves to make it look bushier.