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Classification, origin and description
Common name: Anthurium.
Etymology: the name derives from the Greek anthos, flower, and ourà, tail, due to the inflorescence, the characteristic spadix, which rises above the spathe, without being wrapped around it, as if it were a small tail.
provenance: tropical and umbrella forests of Central and South America.
Genre description: includes about 550 species of evergreen, epiphytic or terrestrial plants, from greenhouse and apartment, mainly herbaceous and cultivated both the beauty of the variously colored spathe and the particularity of the leaves, which can be lobed, whole or deeply septate, palmate or lanceolate, with leathery or velvety lamina and, even, corrugated between the depressed veins. They have fleshy roots, which suffer greatly from stagnation of humidity.
Anthurium andreanum Red Champion (photo website)
Species and varieties
Anthurium andreanum: originally from Colombia, it reaches 45 cm in height. It has heart-shaped leaves of a beautiful dark green color, which reach 25 cm in length. From May to September, it produces inflorescences consisting of a yellowish-white cylindrical spatice with a waxy (crimson or coral) spatum (up to 12 cm long and up to 7cm wide) at the base. On the market there are varieties with a differently colored spathe: "Album", which has a white spathe and pendulous spadix with a white base, a pink-purple central part and a yellow tip; "Giganteum", with a pinkish-red spathe and a white-yellow spadix; "Guatemala", with beautiful crimson spatas with yellow spadix.
Anthurium comtum: native to southern Brazil, it has leathery dark green leaves, arranged in a rosette, with short petiole and rather marked veins. This species blooms very hardly even in a greenhouse. The inflorescence is composed of a pink spathe and a purple spatice. It can adapt, more than other species, to less bright environments, but requires high environmental humidity. It can be multiplied by division of the rosettes of leaves, if there are more than one or apical cutting equipped with roots, using porous soil and at a temperature of about 24 ° C.
Anthurium crassinervium: native to the Panama and Venezuela canal, it has rosette, shiny, leathery and rather fleshy leaves with an elliptical plate, wavy at the edges and with prominent ribs on the lower page. Over time, the basal leaves tend to fall to leave a stem from which aerial roots start which stretch until they re-enter the ground. It can reach large dimensions, even if it is a slow growing species. It requires high environmental humidity, in order to maintain a beautiful texture of the foliage. Especially in winter, spraying and washing of the foliage will be useful. This species sometimes produces adventitious stems that can be used as cuttings. Particularly awkward plants can be improved by cutting the rosette of leaves with a piece of stem accompanied by roots and planting it in a peat and sphagnum compound at a temperature of about 21 ° C. The stem of the mother plant will emit new shoots. The best period for this practice is that of the vegetative restart.
Anthurium crystallinum: native to Colombia and Peru, it has cordate, ovate and heavy-textured leaves, which reach a length of 40 cm. and the width of 25 cm. The upper page of the leaf blade, dark green or reddish green (in the young leaves it is violet) is velvety and has the veins underlined by brilliant silver-white stripes as if they had incorporated crystal fragments (hence the name) ; while the lower page takes on a color that can go from pink to purple. The inflorescences have a light green and insignificant spathe. It requires high environmental humidity which must be increased by any means, avoiding spraying the leaves which would risk leaving limescale spots or favoring the development of fungal diseases. This species also lends itself to the multiplication by apical cutting of the stem (which usually easily emits aerial roots making it easier to take root) which will stimulate the emission of new shoots from the remaining stem.
Anthurium miquelianum: native to Brazil, it is an uncommon and sarmentose species, which can grow up to 100-150 cm in height. It has light green leaves and green lanceolate spatas.
Anthurium scherzerianum: originally from Central America, it can reach 25-50 cm in height. It is the most suitable to be grown in an apartment due to its ability to tolerate even very humid and hot environments. The inflorescence consists of a curved spadix and a spatula about 8-10 cm long in the shape of a heart and red, pink, white, yellow. It has lanceolate and dark green leaves that reach 20-35 cm in length. Although at the juvenile stage it does not present a stem, it develops one (usually short) with time, along which adventitious roots continue to form. It often stirs, emitting new shoots to the collar. It can be multiplied by apical cutting, provided it has adventitious roots, or by placing basal suckers at the temperature of 21 ° C in containers filled with peat, sand and sphagnum, without any covering.
Anthurium veitchii: originally from Colombia, it is a species that has large, heart-shaped, green-blue colored leaves (up to 90 cm long), curved downwards, with prominent or sunken ribs of a metallic green color, with the central one lighter. It can reach 1 m in height. Its spadix is straw yellow in color, while the spathe is green.
Anthurium warocqueanum: has leaves up to 90 cm long. velvety and characterized by ivory ribs. It produces yellow-green spathe.
Anthurium (website photo)
Environmental requirements, substrate, fertilizations and special precautions
Temperature: the optimum temperature is 16 ° C, while the winter minimum must not be lower than 13 ° C; with the exception of the species A. scherzerianum for which the values become 13 and 10 ° C respectively (bearing in mind that, also for this species, if, during the semi-rest period, the temperature exceeds 16 ° C, flowering will be compromised) . The anthuriums are very afraid of sudden temperature changes. Some species, if kept at a constant temperature of 24-27 ° C, can bloom all year round.
Light: tolerate fairly moderate light and do not tolerate direct sunlight.
Watering and environmental humidity: abundant in summer, regular in winter, taking care to avoid water stagnating at the bottom of the pot. The soil should never dry out completely. The humidity should be increased by any means. Smooth leaf plants can be sprayed and washed frequently, unlike velvety leaf plants which risk staining with limestone and developing fungal diseases if the drop of water stagnates on the epidermis for a long time. In all cases it may be useful to place the pots on bowls filled with gravel and water (taking care that this does not reach the base of the pot) which, by evaporating, keeps the atmospheric humidity high.
Substrate: very porous, composed of peat and earth of leaves (in equal parts) with the addition of chopped sphagnum, sand or perlite.
Special fertilizations and tricks: from May to October liquid fertilizer is distributed every two weeks. Plants must be repotted every two to three years, taking care not to cover the stems with soil. Since aerial roots are frequently formed on the stem, it is advisable to wrap the base of this with sphagnum to keep moist (avoiding to press it too much to avoid root rot), to allow the aerial roots to absorb moisture. To avoid stagnation of water on the bottom of the pot, this should be filled with a third of drainage material.
They can be multiplied by division of the tufts, cutting or seed. The division of the tufts is carried out in March-April, taking care that each part has at least one bud and using a mixture of soil equal to that used for the mother plant. Reproduction by cutting is carried out in June using portions of leaves, roots or stem. The cuttings must be placed on a very porous substrate (formed by peat, crushed sphagnum and sand or perlite) kept humid, but without stagnant water. The ideal temperature should be around 21-24 ° C. Reproduction by seed is not simple: since specific pollinating insects are missing, manual pollination must be carried out. Sowing should take place immediately after the collection of the seeds which easily lose germination. If you can still get seeds, they must be placed on a mixture of peat and crushed sphagnum at a temperature of about 24-27 ° C. Germination is usually rapid, while the first flowering occurs after about three years.
Diseases, pests and adversities
Anthuriums can be damaged by:
- Aphids: attack leaves and flowers. They suck the sap and leave the plant sticky. They are eliminated by washing the plant and treating it with specific products.
- Fungal diseases: they occur on the leaves with brown or yellowish spots and more easily attack the species with velvety leaves on which water drops stagnate for a long time. The affected leaves must be removed and the plant treated with anti-cryptogamic products.
- Cotton mealybug: it can attack anthuriums, especially in the presence of a hot and dry climate. It is necessary to eliminate them, to treat the plant with an anticoccidic product and to raise the humidity level (the spraying and the washing of the leaves allow to eliminate the cochineals in the larval state).
- Root rot: pay close attention to the drainage of the pots, to avoid stagnant water on the bottom of the pot (fill it with a third of drainage material).
- Yellowing of the leaves: it can be caused by excessive watering.
- Flowers that do not appear or do not open completely: the plant has not been well fertilized.