Flamingo flower, Tail flower, Oilcloth flower, Painter’s palette
Anthurium “blooms,” which are actually colored waxy leaf bracts called spathes, are essentially flat and cordate (heart shaped), often with a puckered or ruched texture and either glossy or matte surfaces. Novelty “tulip” varieties are more cup shaped and somewhat resemble callas.
Arising from the notched apex of each spathe is a fingerlike protrusion called a spadix. The “bumps” on the spadices are the actual flowers. Stems are thin, usually 12 to 24 inches in length, smooth and leafless.
Spathe colors include burgundy, red, pink, hot pink, dark pink, red-orange, orange, salmon, yellow, green, purple, cream, white, brown and brown-red. Bicolors and multicolors (called obake [oh-BAW-kee]), one hue of which is always green, also are available. Still other varieties feature white, cream or green spathes with green or red veins or red edges. Spadices are usually white, cream, yellow or green.
With proper care, cut Anthuriums typically last from 8 to 21 days, or longer, depending on variety and growing conditions and methods. Often, the longer the stems, the larger the blooms and/or the larger the stem diameter, the shorter the vase life.
Cut Anthuriums are available year-round.
Unpack Anthuriums immediately upon their arrival, carefully removing from each bloom any shredded paper that may have been used as insulative packing material.
HYDRATION AND NUTRITION
Recut the stems with a sharp blade, removing at least 1 inch of stem, to eliminate desiccated (dried-out) ends as well as any dirt and microbes (bacteria). Immediately after cutting the stems, dip or place them into hydration solution, then into storage containers or vases partially filled with properly proportioned flower-food solution. Anthuriums usually derive no significant benefit from the nutrients in flower-food solutions, but they still should be used to control microbial growth in the water (microbes/bacteria can clog stems, impeding water uptake); these flowers are particularly suseptible to stem blockage.
After processing Anthuriums, place them into a tropical flower cooler, operating at 55 F to 65 F, and allow them to hydrate for at least two hours before selling or arranging them. If refrigeration at 55 F to 65 F is not an option, leave the flowers out, at room temperature, because extended exposure to temperatures lower than 50 F can induce chill damage, which can cause the spathes to turn blueish or purplish (sometimes even gray or black) and the spadices to turn brown and/or wilt.
If Anthuriums arrive or become dehydrated, submerge the flower heads into room-temperature water for 30 minutes to two hours. Following that, recut stems, dip or place them into hydration solution, then into flower-food solution.
Also, because these flowers lose a lot of water from evaporation through the spadices, dipping the fingerlike protrusions into a 3 percent solution of carnauba wax, such as Sta-Fresh 819 from FMC Co., can prevent this water loss and increase vase life considerably.
Anthuriums are not affected significantly by exposure to ethylene gas, but always take precautions to reduce ethylene levels and limit all flowers’ exposure to the gas in your facilities.
Because Anthurium stems are easily clogged by microbes in vase water, advise consumers to change the nutrient solution and recut stems every other day or two. sfr
WHAT'S IN A NAME The genus name “Anthurium” is from the Greek “anthos” (flower) and “oura” (tail), referring to the slender tail-like spadix that protrudes from the spathe. The specific epithet (species name) “andraeanum” was given in honor of Edouard Francis André, a French botanist, horticulturist, horticulture professor and editor, and landscape architect, who collected the species in Colombia in 1875.
FAMILY MATTERS Anthuriums are members of the Araceae (arum/aroid) family. Close relatives include callas (Zantedeschia), peace lilies (Spathiphyllum), Chinese evergreens (Aglaonema), elephant’s-ear plants (Caladium and Alocasia), dumb canes (Dieffenbachia), arrowheads (Nephthytis/Syngonium), pothos (Epipremnum) and Philodendrons.
HOME SWEET HOME All species of Anthuriums are native to the tropical rain forests of Central and South America, with A. andraeanum indigenous to Colombia.
•Buy Anthuriums when 50 percent to 75 percent of the spadices are “rough.” The “bumps” on the spadices are the actual flowers, and spadix maturity is determined by the number of open flowers (or degree of “roughness”).
• Avoid flowers that show signs of chill injury (discoloring of the spathes, browning and/or wilting of the spadices). (See “Vase Life Extenders: Refrigeration.”)
Anthuriums contain oxalic acid crystals and several toxic proteins that can cause skin irritation in some people as well as severe mouth burning, if ingested.
To view 49 Alstroemeria varieties, please download the PDF.
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Some information provided by:
Botanica, by R.G. Turner Jr. and Ernie Wasson
Chain of Life Network® , www.chainoflife.org
Cut Flowers, by C. Gelein
Cut Flowers of the World
by Johannes Maree and Ben-Erik van Wyk
Hortus Third, by Liberty Hyde Bailey and Ethel Zoe Bailey
Stearn’s Dictionary of Plant Names for Gardeners
by William T. Stearn