Anthurium scandens violaceum: Pearl Anthurium

Anthurium scandens is perhaps the loveliest of this group of plants not only because of the colour of its fruits but also because of its small size and ease of cultivation in a centrally-heated home.

The variety is native to the whole of tropical America according to some authorities, but according to others only to the Antilles. It is a relatively small plant that grows as an epiphyte in the juvenile stage. Attachment to the bark of trees is facilitated by the sticky pulp of the berry, as in mistletoe, and growth is very slow. The strong roots penetrate the cracks in the bark where they obtain moisture as well as nourishment from the humus deposited there. Not until later does the plant begin to grow in length to become a typical climbing, or rather creeping plant as indicated by its Latin name (scandens meaning ascending). The leaves, together with the stalk, do not exceed 15 cm (2 in) in length, but are often shorter. Flowers are produced by very young plants. The inflorescence, a spadix, grows from the axil of each new leaf and measures about 5 cm (2 in) in length. Whereas in other anthuriums pollination is generally rather complicated, in this case self-pollination occurs very frequently, if not to say regularly, so that the appearance of decorative fruits is almost always assured. They are waxy and coloured white or faintly tinged with blue in the type species, violet in the variety.

A. scandens is most effective when grown as an epiphyte on bare cork oak bark without any com-post. It remains small and compact, and at the same time bears a profusion of flowers. It tolerates full sun but prefers partial shade. It may also be grown in a small pot in a light peaty mixture, in which case growth is more rapid. It is readily propagated by sowing the berries on or just below the surface of a sterile peat and sand mixture.

15. November 2011 by Dave Pinkney
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