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If your Aglaonema Pictum Tricolor doesn’t match what some websites depict as camouflage plants, remember that the photos may be of material plants that allow variegation to be exaggerated.
Aglaonema Pictum Tricolor is a hybrid member of the Araceae (aroid) family with parentage native to Australasia and the Philippines. This tropical shrub looks much like the bushy dumb cane (Dieffenbachia) but is distinguishable by its distinct lateral veins.
Continue reading if you wish to learn how to propagate this unusual plant and maintain its camouflage leaves.
Aglaonema Pictum Tricolor Care Summary
Following the guidelines in this post, you’ll find that the camouflage plant is relatively easy to care for and keep flourishing. Your primary focus in caring for an Aglaonema Pictum Tricolor will include:
- Ensuring your soil is not compacted can manage water retention while providing aeration. See below for details.
- Ensuring you don’t overwater the plant but also prevent drought conditions.
- Provide your Aglaonema Pictum Tricolor with medium light, i.e., light from an East or West-facing window.
- Maintaining a growing environment temperature of between 60 and 85 °F (~15 to 30 °C)
- Maintain relative humidity levels above 60%
- Regularly feed your Aglaonema Pictum Tricolor – more details follow.
- Use the guidelines below to propagate the camouflage plant.
- Repot your Aglaonema Pictum Tricolor every two years, as informed by root growth.
- Stave off any pest or disease challenges.
Every plant has different needs, usually informed by the plant’s natural habitat. While we can acclimatize plants through hardening off, we cannot change their biological requirements inbred by evolutionary adaptations over millennia.
Aglaonema Pictum Tricolor Potting Soil Options
Most indoor plants need soil rich in organic matter that drains well yet retains moisture. Our ideal soil will provide our plant with adequate aeration (avoiding anaerobic conditions), maintain the proper pH, and ensure the soil has sufficient cation exchange capacity (CEC).
When working with containerized plants, it’s worth remembering that their needs are similar to the needs of most life forms. Humans, for instance, can go without food for three weeks, without water for three days, and without air for three minutes.
As critical as air is to us, plant roots also need to be able to breathe – something they cannot do when drowning in water, your soil needs to manage the tensions between water and air needed by the static roots.
If you’ve had the opportunity to read my Composting Masterclass book, you’d understand why I’m so passionate about using compost, even in potting soil. A good potting mix for your Monstera Standleyana should include the following ingredients in the given proportions:
- One part compost (25%)
- Two parts coconut coir (50%)
- Half a part of pumice (or perlite) (12.5%)
- Half a part expanded shale, or LECA (lightweight expanded clay aggregate) (12.5%)
Each of the above serves a specific purpose in emulating the Aglaonema pictum species’ natural habitat.
Aglaonema Pictum Tricolor Light Needs
Aglaonema pictum is a species native to the jungle understory, where it has adapted to growing with limited light availability. The hybrid A. pictum ‘Tricolor’ has less chlorophyll in the variegated leaves and needs light compensation for continued health.
If your Aglaonema pictum Tricolor does not get enough light, the plant will reduce the variegation to increase chlorophyll levels needed for healthy photosynthesis. Your hybrid A. pictum will revert to green if light levels are too low.
Conversely, if your Aglaonema Pictum Tricolor gets too much light, it is poorly adapted to process these levels and will be damaged. Balancing between the two light levels is crucial to your camouflage plant’s success.
Light management challenges are one of the reasons this plant is so rare and why quality plants are so expensive.
Indoor Available Light
Most of your interior spaces can be classified as having high, medium, or low light. Examine where you want to cultivate and put plants in your house or business.
To gauge the amount of light in different regions, use the following principles:
- The optimum light for plant development is typically found near windows and glass doors, and the amount of light available will also depend on the size of the windows.
- In the Northern hemisphere, South facing windows have increased light exposure throughout the year for plants that need high light levels (not your Aglaonema Pictum Tricolor)
- East and West windows generally get morning or afternoon sunlight. These are generally referred to as medium light zones – ideal for your camouflage plant.
- North-facing windows (in the Northern hemisphere) are low light zones –ideal for non-variegated Chinese Evergreens, Snake Plants, and the Golden Pothos.
- Proximity to the window increases light availability. As you move more to the side or back from the glass, light levels will be lowered significantly, with light intensity dropping from 1,000 to 100 foot candles in only a few feet.
Watering Your Aglaonema Pictum Tricolor?
Overwatering is the main reason why potted plants die. When surrounded by water, roots can’t breathe – a need as crucial to roots as it is to humans.
The general rule is to only water when necessary. To decide when to water, one may utilize the following techniques:
- Touch-Test: The most accurate test for soil moisture is to feel how dry the potting soil feels. If the mixture is dry at your fingertip after inserting your finger up to the second digit, it needs water.
- Tap the Pot: When potting mix in a clay pot starts to dry up, it shrinks away from the pot’s sides. Use a stick or your knuckles to tap the pot’s side. Water is required if the sound is hollow; if the sound is dull, the soil is moist.
- Estimate weight: It’s easy to see a weight reduction as potting mixtures dry up.
Deep watering removes accumulated salts and ensures that most of the roots in the bottom two-thirds of the pot get enough water. Empty the tray, and don’t let the pot sit in the accumulated water.
You need to use a pot with plenty of drainage holes on the bottom corners for the best results. The tray often blocks drainage holes only on the bottom – unless you space them off the tray.
Aglaonema Pictum Tricolor Temperature Needs
Being native to tropical rain forests, the Aglaonema Pictum (and its hybrid Tricolor) prefers warmer temperatures. Sudden changes in temperatures (or humidity levels) will negatively affect your plants.
Your average household temperature should be acceptable if it doesn’t get below 65 °F (~18 °C).
Aglaonema Pictum Tricolor Humidity Needs
The essential part of managing humidity for your Aglaonema Pictum Tricolor is keeping it constant. Fluctuating humidity levels will cause your plant to lose leaves. Aim to maintain a humidity level of above 60%.
An ideal indoor humidity level for humans is between 30% and 50%, so your camouflage plant may need a humidity level that is slightly uncomfortable for you.
To achieve a 60% relative humidity level, you will need to implement one of the following three solutions:
- Cluster plants together so that their combined transpiration boost RH
- Place the pot in a tray of LECA that is kept damp. The evaporation will boost RH
- Acquire a humidifier, opting for one that provides a reasonable cycle between needing a refill.
Fertilizing Your Aglaonema Pictum
Use a balanced houseplant fertilizer diluted by half once a month during the growing season and start reducing applications in October to allow your camouflage plant to enter into dormancy.
Repotting Your Aglaonema Pictum Tricolor?
The Aglaonema Pictum Tricolor prefers slightly rootbound conditions, so don’t rush to repot it. Repotting should only be done once you notice roots growing out of the pot’s drainage holes or the pot’s water-holding capacity is noticeably limited.
Aglaonema Pictum Tricolor is simple to repot, but avoid buying a pot that is significantly larger than the one the plant is currently in. Ideally, the new pot should only be one size larger than the current pot.
Aglaonema Pictum Tricolor Challenges
Aglaonema generally has few pest problems but is occasionally affected by insects or diseases. Root rots, with symptoms of brown or nonexistent roots, are commonly promoted by overwatering.
Blackening of the leaf margins or tips can be caused by overwatering, inadequate watering, or excess fertilizer (because of the buildup of salts in the soil). The discoloration of the soil is often accompanied by leaves becoming yellow.
The most common insect pests infesting camouflage plants are mealybugs and scales. Mealybugs appear as white, cottony masses, frequently in the leaf axils, on the lower surfaces of leaves, and even on the roots. Check out my Get Rid Of Mealybugs From Your Plants! article
Scales look like bark-colored bumps on the stems and leaves and are sometimes difficult to distinguish from the plant material on which they feed. These pests may produce copious amounts of honeydew (many, but not all, do), so the leaves and nearby surfaces may be sticky and sooty mold may develop.
Low light can result in loss of variegation. Low temperatures or abrupt changes from very high to moderate temperatures can cause scattered brown patches, usually located in the center of the leaf, especially if plants are thriving.
Propagating Aglaonema Pictum Tricolor?
Cuttings or air-layering are both simple methods for growing the Aglaonema Pictum. In 3–4 weeks, cuttings take root in water or vermiculite; in 1-2 weeks, buds will begin to grow under warm conditions. The best practice is to group many rooted cuttings into a single container.
Propagate Aglaonema Pictum in Water
Find a section of your Aglaonema Pictum stem with a few leaves and a few nodes, then propagate it in water (where the leaves and roots grow out of the stem). Cut at a 45-degree angle, about a quarter-inch below a node, with a clean set of shears.
If you cut below a node, the node will be part of the cutting. Because that is where new roots will grow, it is crucial to add.
Place the cutting in a jar with room-temperature water, ensuring that at least one node—preferably more—is submerged. If there are any leaves below the surface, remove them gently because they have a propensity to decay.
Within the first week or two, you should notice little roots forming, but it will be at least a few weeks before the roots are sufficiently long to allow you to pot the cutting. Give the roots room to grow to a few inches.
You can treat your cutting like a typical plant after you’ve placed it in potting soil and given it a good watering!
Propagate Aglaonema Pictum in Vermiculite
To propagate your Aglaonema Pictum in vermiculite (or perlite, or pumice), start with the same first step to take a cutting.
Place the base of your cutting into a small container with moistened vermiculite. Make sure at least one node, more if possible, is buried. Don’t bury any of the leaves – rather, remove them.
Keep the vermiculite moist (but not wet), allowing the roots to develop. Regularly misting the vermiculite keeps it sufficiently moist for root growth.
Before a new root system forms, at least a few weeks will pass. You may check this by giving the cutting a very light tug after about a month. If there is resistance, a root system has developed, and you can plant it (them) in a potting mix (see above)
Aglaonema Pictum Tricolor Frequently Asked Questions
Aglaonema Pictum Tricolor Care Wrap-up
The Aglaonema Pictum Tricolor is a true gem in the houseplant collection, with its beautiful variegation making it stand out. If you’re prepared to manage this plant’s specific lighting and care needs, you’re in for a treat.
If you look after your Aglaonema Pictum Tricolor, it will continue to produce beautiful leaves for many years. My other articles on other indoor plants may also be interesting: 25 Types Of Philodendrons The Ultimate Houseplants List.
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