Anthurium (Andreanum-Hybrids): Flamingo Plant

In the preceding section on foliage plants mention was made of several members of the large genus Anthurium, native to tropical America. It should be noted that foliage anthuriums are more suitable for room decoration than species with handsome flowers, for these have high temperature as well as high humidity requirements and thus often do not flower or else their blooms are not as lovely as those of greenhouse specimens.

Two groups of hybrids are grown for their beautiful and striking blooms, one derived from A. andreanum, native to Colombia, the other, designated as Anthurium x hortulanum, from A. scherzerianum, native to Costa Rica and Guatemala.

Anthurium andreanum and its hybrids are distinguished by long-stalked, elongate heart-shaped leaves borne on a relatively short stem. A. scherzerianum has a shorter stem so that the longish lanceolate, rather short-stalked leaves form a ground clump.

The flowers, like those of all aroids, are composed of a spadix enclosed in a spathe. Whereas the spadix is soberly coloured, the spathe of hybrids is large and flat and coloured briliant scarlet, salmon-pink, pale pink or white, depending on the cultivar. The flowers are extraordinarily long-lived; even cut flowers last more than a month in a vase. For this reason, anthuriums are among the most valuable flowers grown by florists for cutting.

In the home, both groups of cultivars should be grown in a light, only slightly shaded spot in a room that is aired only occasionally and kept at a relatively high temperature. The potting compost must be adequately porous but at the same time water-retentive. Ideal is a mixture of peat and beech leaf mould, plus loam, sand and a little crushed charcoal. The stems of anthuriums should be wrapped in sphagnum moss kept permanently moist; the surface of the soil in the pot or dish may also be covered with sphagnum. Plants are readily propagated from seed, the cultivars, however, only by vegetative means — generally by dividing up the roots when re-pot-ting.

15. November 2011 by Dave Pinkney
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