Alocasia korthalsii: Anthurium magnificum

One would be hard put to find a plant that is more attractive, exotic and at the same time simply ideal for the modern home than Anthurium magnificum. The fears of growers acquainted with this species in botanical gardens that they could not possibly satisfy the plant’s high requirements have proved to be groundless. Modern, light, centrally heated homes meet the needs of this plant far better than a greenhouse and it will readily attain its fullest beauty.

There are approximately 550 species of anthurium and they are found chiefly in Central and South America. The species from Colombia grows on steep rock faces. The leaf blades, which may be more than 60 cm (2 ft) long, would often touch the substrate on level ground and thus be exposed to the danger of rotting. That is why if this, or another large-leaved anthurium, is used in a larger arrangement, dish or paludarium it should be put in an elevated spot, such as on a hollow stump, where, as an added bonus, it makes a striking feature.

Very like the species is Anthurium crystallinum, with only slightly smaller leaves, oval leaf stalk, and different, but not particularly attractive, flowers. Several other species, for example A. forgetii, A. leuconeurum and A. regale, also have veins of a contrasting colour and heart-shaped or shield-shaped leaves. The beautiful A. warocqueanum has leaves more than a metre (a yard) long but only about 25 cm (10 in) across at the widest point, terminated by a long, tapering point and coloured dark velvety green with silvery veins. A. veitchii has equally long leaves, which, though they are entirely green, are marked crosswise with prominent corrugations. These are only a few of the many anthuriums with ornamental foliage. Except for the first two, however, they are rather delicate and better suited to large indoor plant-cases.

Anthuriums should be grown in a compost consisting of peat, sand, and loam with bits of rotting wood or rotted wood dust. Alternatively, use one of the soilless composts. The simplest method of propagation is by sowing the seeds on the surface of a peat and sand mixture in a warm and moist propagator.

15. November 2011 by Dave Pinkney
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