The plant world is filled with cultivars offering interesting foliage and avant-garde flowers. If you’re new to caring for houseplants (or have a finite amount of time to dedicate to your collection), investing in any of these rare beauties can be incredibly daunting.
The good news is that not all rare plants are difficult to care for. Even those without a green thumb can reliably keep many of these jaw-dropping species alive.
One such example is Aglaonema pictum tricolor, which features leaves bearing a distinct camouflage pattern. This evergreen is intensely sought-after by collectors of rare houseplants. Yet it’s also perfect for beginners.
Wondering if you should invest in a so-called Camo Plant? Here’s everything you need to know about this deceptively low-maintenance houseplant.
|Botanical Name||Aglaonema pictum tricolor|
|Common Name||Chinese Evergreen Tricolor, Camouflage Plant,|
|Size||2 feet high|
|Pet Friendly||No. Toxic to pets|
Aglaonema Pictum Tricolor Origin
Aglaonema is a plant genus containing over 20 different species. These subtropical plants — also known as “Chinese Evergreens” — are native to parts of Asia and New Guinea.
Aglaonema pictum is a species of Chinese Evergreen sometimes sold as a houseplant. It has variegated foliage featuring green and silver splotches.
Aglaonema pictum tricolor is a variety of the Aglaonema pictum species. Collectors often call this subspecies Chinese Evergreen Tricolor or Camo Plant.
Instead of dual-colored leaves, Chinese Evergreen Tricolor’s foliage features three or more shades of green, white, or silver. This pattern closely resembles military camouflage (hence the colloquial name!).
Aside from its unique variegation, Aglaonema pictum tricolor boasts oval-shaped leaves and an upright growth habit. Mature plants can reach up to 2 feet high and live up to eight years with proper care.
Like all varieties of Chinese Evergreen, this plant is toxic when ingested. Keep Aglaonema pictum tricolor out of reach of children and pets.
How To Care for Aglaonema Pictum Tricolor
Don’t let this plant’s exotic appearance scare you! Aglaonema pictum tricolor is a great houseplant for nearly anyone — regardless of experience.
Here’s everything you need to know about caring for the stunning Camo Plant:
Light and temperature
Chinese Evergreens are famous for their minimal lighting needs. Very few houseplants can tolerate as little sunlight as this plant genus.
Most Chinese Evergreens will even grow under fluorescent lighting. But this light source won’t always be enough for variegated varieties.
Aglaonema pictum tricolor needs medium or bright, indirect light to thrive. Direct sunlight will burn this plant’s foliage.
Some great places to keep this houseplant include next to (but not right on) a well-lit windowsill or in a shaded sunroom. You can use a grow light to supplement as needed.
If your Chinese Evergreen Tricolor only receives light from one direction, rotate the plant regularly to encourage even growth.
Meeting the light requirements of Aglaonema pictum tricolor doesn’t just ensure the plant’s survival. Without adequate light, its one-of-a-kind variegation may become less pronounced.
While leaf variegation is the result of genetics, many plants will stop producing these patterns if they don’t receive enough sunlight. (You can think of these patterns as freckles, in a way!)
If you notice all-green foliage coming from your Aglaonema pictum tricolor, it’s time to reassess your home’s light conditions.
As for temperature, Chinese Evergreen is incredibly adaptive. Almost any temperature over 60° Fahrenheit will suffice.
Keep your Aglaonema pictum tricolor away from vents and air conditioners. Avoid placing this plant on a cold windowsill.
Aglaonema pictum tricolor requires regular watering just like any other houseplant. With that said, it’s almost always better to let it get too dry rather than too wet.
You must use a container with drainage holes. Anything else is almost guaranteed to cause root rot and may kill the entire plant.
Monitoring the soil is the best way to prevent under- or overwatering. Aim for the top one or two inches of potting soil to be dry before adding water.
Generally, the more sunlight this plant gets the more often it should be watered.
Water your Chinese Evergreen by completely saturating the soil and allowing the excess water to drain before returning the plant to its normal location. This method ensures even moisture and flushes unwanted mineral build-up from the potting soil.
For the best results, apply a balanced houseplant fertilizer once or twice during the growing season.
Chinese Evergreen, like many tropical and subtropical plants, goes into dormancy during the winter months. Fertilizing is not necessary during this time and can even do more harm than good.
Feel free to use whatever fertilizer works best for you. Aglaonema pictum tricolor responds well to both liquid and slow-release granule formulas. You can safely use organic fertilizers like fish emulsion or compost tea for this houseplant as well.
The flowers of Aglaonema pictum tricolor take the form of a spathe and spadix. This type of flower is typical of the genus’ overarching family, Araceae, which includes common houseplants like Peace Lilies and Anthurium.
Pruning is not a regular part of Chinese Evergreen maintenance.
If you do need to prune your Camo Plant, do so very conservatively. Aglaonema pictum tricolor is a slow-growing variety of Chinese Evergreen and taking away too much foliage could affect the plant’s health and appearance indefinitely.
Do not cut directly at the crown — or the point where new leaves emerge. Damaging this tissue can kill Aglaonema pictum and other species of Chinese Evergreen.
Two ways pruning can benefit a Chinese Evergreen is by removing dead leaves and flower stalks. You can also leave old leaves to fall off naturally or pull them by hand.
Outside of these scenarios, it’s best to just put the pruners away.
Many houseplants must be repotted every year. This is rarely the case with Aglaonema pictum tricolor.
On top of being a slow-growing variety of Chinese Evergreen, these plants actually prefer containers on the small side.
Repot your Camo Plant every two years to prevent overly bound roots. But don’t be surprised if it never shows signs of outgrowing its original container.
When it comes time to upgrade your plant’s container, go for one that is just a few inches larger in diameter. Going too big increases the risk of soil compaction and waterlogging.
You can also take this opportunity to split your Chinese Evergreen. Return one half to the original pot and move the other into a container of the same size. (More info about propagation below!)
Repotting in the spring or summer is the least traumatic for your Aglaonema pictum tricolor. Avoid transplanting in winter, when the plant is in dormancy.
Aglaonema pictum tricolor (and other varieties of Chinese Evergreen) is susceptible to common houseplant pests.
Watch for early signs of infestation from spider mites, mealybugs, aphids, and scales.
Chinese Evergreens are fairly resistant to insects, even when fully infested. The most common side effects include slowed growth and leaf discoloration. More serious cases may result in dropped leaves.
This plant can handle popular commercial and household treatments, including isopropyl alcohol, neem oil, dish soap, and chemical pesticides.
Root rot is the most common issue seen in Chinese Evergreen. Aglaonema pictum tricolor is no more or less likely to experience this problem than other varieties.
Take care when watering your Aglaonema pictum tricolor to prevent oversaturation. Well-draining soil is a must for this houseplant.
How To Propagate Aglaonema Pictum Tricolor
Propagating Chinese Evergreen is extremely easy, even when it comes to rare varieties like Aglaonema pictum tricolor. There are several different methods that work.
In nature, Chinese Evergreen typically reproduces via seed.
Chinese Evergreens kept as houseplants can — and often do — flower. But the chance of these flowers producing viable seeds is very low.
If that wasn’t enough, the coloration of Aglaonema pictum tricolor is a result of the plant’s genes. Reproduction by seed is not guaranteed to transfer these genetics to the next generation.
Even if you have multiple plants flowering at the same time, this method of propagation is best left to Mother Nature.
Instead, the best ways to propagate domestic Chinese Evergreen are through splitting or cutting.
Splitting is very straightforward. Just divide your healthy Camo Plant at the roots and plant each section in its own container.
For faster propagation, many home gardeners turn to cutting pieces of stem from their Chinese Evergreen. These segments must be several inches long — six inches or longer is ideal.
When placed in a cup of water or soil, each stem segment will eventually produce its own roots. You can apply a hormonal rooting powder to each segment to speed up the process.
Both splitting and cutting are forms of cloning. So either method is guaranteed to replicate Aglaonema pictum tricolor’s unique foliage — no need to worry about genetics!
Frequently Asked Questions
Spending money on a rare houseplant can feel like a gamble. Will you be able to keep your new prize alive? Or will the plant’s specific needs prove too much for you to handle?
There’s no need to worry about such things when it comes to Aglaonema pictum tricolor.
Despite boasting vibrant foliage that’s earned it the name Camo Plant, this Chinese Evergreen variety is extremely easy to care for. It thrives in the average home environment, and won’t punish you for forgetting to water it for a couple of days.
So if you’re interested in expanding your houseplant collection to include rare cultivars and unique variegation, you can’t go wrong with Aglaonema pictum tricolor.
Be sure to check out all of our Plant Care Guides!