Chinese Evergreen – Aglaonema Cold Tolerance

Aglaonemas only have one thing to sell. .. foliage .. . and attractive foliage at that. Any type of damage… environmental, mechanical, or pest related can ruin the plants beauty and saleability.

Cold is one of the biggest production problems with growing Aglaonemas. Low temperatures don’t just slow the growing side but also the quantity and varieties of plants available for you to purchase. Aglaonemas that are exposed even briefly to cold temperatures can be easily damaged.

The time it takes to just carry a plant from the car to the warm toasty indoors could be enough to cause damage or plants that are placed too close to a door which gives a good “cold blast” when it’s opened can be damaged. Temperatures that dip into the 50’s can cause spotting on the leaves.

Identify Cold Damage

You can identify cold damage on an Aglaonemas by the dark greasy patches on the surface of the leaves. You’ll see the damage show up between 2 and 10 days later.

The University of Florida has always been a “testing lab” for plants and their ability to handle different conditions. They also have been breeding new Aglaonemas to meet market demands.

Since there have been so many new varieties introduced in the last few years and so much claim to be able to handle lower temperatures … they put them to the test… the Cold Tolerance Test.

The UF research center took twelve Aglaonema cultivars grown in 8 inch pots and chilled them for 24 hours in walk in coolers at 55, 45, and 35 degrees.

The plants were evaluated daily for the next 10 days and the percentage of damaged leaves were recorded.

Here are the results

of leaf damage after 10 days

Variety 35oF 45oF 55oF
Emerald Star 0 0 0
Stars 0 0 0
Jewel of India 0 0 0
Black Lance 18.3 12 0
Maria 32 8.3 0
Green Lady 34 9 0
Green Majesty 50 17.3 4.7
Royal Queen 51 34.1 14
Moonshine 54 10 2
Silver Queen 68.3 37.7 29.7
Manila Pride 73 15.3 13.3
Silver Frost 80 4.7 0

Here were some key findings:

  • Young leaves were more resistant to cold than older leaves.
  • Three varieties showed no real damage after 10 days at 35 degrees. 

They were:

Jewel of India

Emerald Star


Most of the plants out performed one of the most widely grown varieties “Silver Queen.” What does all this mean to you… the ultimate plant owner?

  • As good and durable as “Silver Queen” has been… it’s time to KNOW the name and variety of the plants your buying and not just buy “foliage” alone.
  • These new Aglaonemas really can handle lower temperatures. 
  • Plants that are subjected to “extremes” and survive… will thrive with care
    and reduced stress.
  • Breeders are on the right track developing cold tolerant varieties and traits
  • You can buy Aglaonemas with less worry of cold damage
  • We now have more information on what to expect from these new plants

Additional notes about these new Aglaonemas:

  • These new varieties have a lot more leaf patterns
  • These plants are more compact

Aglaonemas are gaining in popularity every year. If you haven’t taken a look at them you should and the reasons are simple.

They are:

  • Great indoor plants
  • Used in a wide range of available light situations even low light
  • Easy to care for
  • Available in more choices than ever

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