They are herbaceous perennial plants growing to 20-150 cm in height. The leaves are alternate on the stems, lanceolate to narrowly ovate, dark to medium green, 10-45 cm long and 4-16 cm broad, depending on the species. The flowers are relatively inconspicuous, white or greenish-white spathes that can give way to red berries.
The sap of this plant is poisonous to health. It causes irritation in skin and if taken orally causes irritation of mouth, lips throat and tongue.
Chinese evergreens are very tolerant plants that do well in a variety of settings. Several species are available, some with dark green leaves and others that are variegated. Aglaonema flourish for years.
They prefer indirect light and partial shade. They do best in shadow-less light, such as a north window. They prefer heavy soil, which should be kept moist but not soggy. They do not tolerate the cold; they should not be exposed to temperatures below 10°C (50°F), with optimal growing conditions between 20°C (68°F) and 30°C (86°F). High air humidity is also important. They are easy to propagate from cuttings, which will root in a glass of water, or from divisions.