Monday, March 21, 2016

Colour me Red!

A plant that flowers all-year round; with bright, glossy leaves and flowers that look eternally new; so much so that you can fib to your friends that someone recently gifted it to you! That’s the exotic Anthurium.
Anthuriums are well-known for their brightly-coloured and heart-shaped spathes. They are usually seen to have deep-red colouration; however they occur in many other colours like green, pink and orange as well. They belong to the Arum family, which is known for plants with bright foliage consisting of a central rod-like spadix enclosed within a brightly-colored spathe. They are native to the Americas, especially to countries like Mexico and Argentina. 

The botanical details of this plant are as follows:
Kingdom: Plantae
Family: Araceae
Genus: Anthurium
Other names: Flamingo, Painted Tongue, Tail Flower

Anthuriums are easy to grow in pots at home provided a few of their requirements are taken care of.

Temperature Requirements
  • Anthuriums grow best in the temperature range of 23°C-30°C.
  • You can know when the temperature is too high for the plant, when the foliage and flowers start to dry despite adequate watering.
  • Lower temperatures will result in yellowing of leaves and slow growth.
Light Requirements
  • In their natural habitat, Anthuriums are found growing as epiphytes (like Orchids) on trees or in tree canopies in tropical rainforests. So it is understood that these plants do not prefer direct sunlight.
  • Anthuriums grow best in partial shade if outdoors or in bright, indirect light indoors, like 5-8 feet away from a window.  
  • You can know if the light is too much for the plant, when the leaves start show signs of getting burnt.
  • Low amount of light can cause slowing of growth, distortion of leaves and decrease in the number of flowers borne.
Soil Requirements
  • Anthuriums grow well in well-drained and coarse soils. At the same time, the soil must have good water-retention capacity.
  • To increase the coarseness and drainage capacity of the soil, peat moss, semi-rotted wood and coconut husk can be supplemented in the potting medium.
Irrigation Requirements
  • Anthuriums do not prefer soils which are continually moist. Hence the soil must be allowed to dry before watering again. That means that the plant must be watered only when the soil feels dry when touched.
  • If the plant gets too dry, this may affect the growth of the plant.
  • Anthuriums are susceptible to root rot; hence over-watering should be avoided. During watering, it should be ensured that water is drained out from the plant. The roots should not be left standing in excess drained water. Over-watering may also result in yellowing of leaves.
  • A layer of moss can be placed covering the roots and stems; this helps retain moisture.
Pest Control
  • Anthuriums are susceptible to aphids, mealybugs and scales. Prevention is better than cure; hence the plants need to be monitored to prevent any attacks by pests.
  • A diluted soap solution smeared over the affected parts should take care of the pests.
  • An effective way to control these pests without usage of chemicals is periodic wiping of leaves to eliminate dust and insects. A gentle water spray also helps.
Anthuriums, when grown well, retain a healthy and glossy look. The plants seem to be smiling, uplifting the spirits of everyone around them.  Make sure to follow the above-mentioned requirements to have healthy, smiling Anthuriums around you all through the year! 

Keep Gardening!
Team MudFingers

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