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Anthurium (Flamingo Flower, Tail Flower)

ANTHURIUM (Flamingo Flower, Tail Flower) Araceae A. species

HABITAT: Exotic ornamentals native to Central and Southern American jungles. Hardy Zone 10.

USES: Greenhouses, pots, terrariums (smaller species), and cut flowers.

HABIT: Upright plants with petal-like leaves (bracts) often velvety or silver patterned. Uppermost bracts are orange, red, pink, or white and glossy like patent leather; bear tail-like structures called spadixes on which are crowded the plant's tiny true flowers. Plants vary from 12 inches to 3 feet in height; blooming continuously with single bracts lasting up to a month.

SEED GERMINATION: Remove seed from berry and plant immediately. Sow fresh seed in moist Park's Grow Mix and cover lightly. Keep moist constantly but not soggy wet; maintain a minimum day and night temperature of 80 degrees Fahrenheit inside the soil medium. Mist with room temperature water. Cover flat with a sheet of glass or bell jar and raise sheet of glass slightly with a pencil to allow some air circulation. Bottom heat is a necessity to maintain high soil temperature. Transplant to 3 inch pots when first leaf is large enough to handle (seeds may be sown directly into peat pots or pellets to eliminate transplanting).

CULTURE: Pot into a soil mixture containing ample humus or equal parts of Fir bark and Park's Grow Mix. Place potted plant on pebble-filled tray containing water to provide needed humidity. Must have 80 percent humidity. Keep moist. Fertilize every other week with an all purpose house plant fertilizer such as Algoflash. As high crowns and aerial roots develop, cover the crowns with more bark. Keep plants in indirect or diffused light (a curtain-filtered window location is ideal), with night temperatures of 60-65°F and day temperatures of 75-80°F. Shift plants as they become large enough into a 6 or 7 inch pot. Most Anthuriums are best staked; care must be exercised when dividing due to the very fragile root system. Flowering will usually occur 1 1/2 to 2 years from seed.

INSECTS: Mealy Bugs, Mites, White Fly, Scale: Use an approved insecticide such as Kelthane for control. Avoid Malathion which may damage tender bracts.

DISEASES: Brown Soft Rot: Sterilize soil medium and maintain warm temperatures.

PROPAGATION: Side shoots, top cuttings, division, and seed.

REMARKS: Anthuriums with their "lacquered" bracts require much time and patience but are worth it.