Anthurium: Greenhouse Plants
T – tropical, minimum of 18°C (65°F)
At low temperatures these plants may not die, but neither will they grow or flower well. Fluctuation in temperatures results in unattractive uneven growth giving the leaves a crumpled blotched appearance. They heartily dislike loam-based, favouring an open peaty mix with sphagnum moss and charcoal chippings. If you have a tropical house for them they will appreciate the warmth and humidity. Although they grow in pots most are naturally and prefer to grow on ‘trees’ made of poles covered in sphagnum moss to which the roots can be bound with wire or nylon fishing line. Having done this they will need to be kept moist by frequent damping down, especially in summer. With this in mind it is a good idea to use a feed which is foliar as well as being taken up by the roots. Fantastic displays can be made in this way. Propagation is by division. Anthurium andreanum from Colombia is available with flowers in white, pinks or red. As with all Araceae the flower consists of a spathe and spadix. The spathe is waxy and almost gross in its showiness. The red ones always remind me of a baboon’s backside. A. scherzenanum from Costa Rica is the Flamingo Flower, the spadix arising with a twist out of the top of the red spathe. A. crystallinum is a superb foliage species. Large, heart-shaped leaves are a deep metallic green, the veins outlined with silver. It is worth visiting tropical collections in the hope of seeing A. longifolium, which is uncommon. Its leaves are long and narrow, dangling down as long as 1.5 m (5 ft).
The flowers are not showy in colour but the spadix is long and corkscrews in a most astonishing way. A. wendlandii is a great favourite of mine though not a practical choice for a small greenhouse as given the tropical temperatures it likes, it will grow huge to form a large clump 2.5 m (8 ft) round. It bears rather unshowy flowers on long stalks but the spadix of each has a wonderful bluish ‘bloom’ to it when young, something like the colour of a plum. Flowers are followed by bright red fruits.