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Anthurium — perfect for the indoors

Individual flowers will last for a couple of months, providing a great dramatic effect in the interior landscape.

During the dark days of winter, gardeners search for plants which will add beauty to the indoor landscape and which will tolerate the low light levels offered by many of our indoor environments. One plant that will meet these challenges is the flamingo flower anthurium. This lovely foliage plant will not disappoint with its performance.

Anthuriums are as exotic as their common name implies; the bright-red, glossy flowers are very unusual and appear almost artificial. Individual flowers will last for a couple of months, providing a great dramatic effect in the interior landscape. The flowers aren’t really flowers at all, but inflorescences consisting of a large, flat spathe surrounding a thin, arched, or strongly twisted spadix. The plants will have more bloom if the light levels are not too low; keeping the plant near a window – even a north-facing one – will produce the best results. In very dim light the leaves tend to

become elongated and somewhat unattractive and fewer spathes are produced.

Ordinary room temperatures are suitable for a flamingo flower. The plant should be watered frequently enough so that the planting medium remains moist without being sodden. Feeding with a soluble fertilizer at half-strength will keep the plant vigorous. Reduce the frequency of watering during the winter when its growth rate will be slowed.

An anthurium can be propagated by pulling apart an overgrown plant carefully so that each section has some healthy fleshy roots attached. Pot the new sections into a peat-based planting mix in small pots and hold off fertilizing them for a couple of months or so. As the plants grow they can be gradually potted up into larger pots.

The leathery, attractive leaves are easily wiped with a soft cloth to remove dust and keep them looking attractive. Anthuriums also like high humidity which can be achieved in the winter by placing the pot on a pebble tray, ensuring that the water level is kept below the bottom of the pot. Treated with care, a flamingo flower will provide beauty to the indoor garden, not just during the winter, but all year long.

– Albert Parsons writes from Minnedosa, Manitoba

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