Why do we have a conservatory in South Florida?
Fairchild's conservatory houses tropical botanical collections that would suffer in Miami's outside environment. Temperatures in Miami's subtropical climate occasionally dip into the 40's during winter months, and exposure of truly tropical plants to these temperatures could cause damage and even death. The enclosed areas of the conservatory maintain a temperature of at least 55°F, preventing cold damage on some of Fairchild's rarest specimens. In addition to temperature requirements, many of the conservatory's plant collections require a planting medium with a neutral to acidic pH. Fairchild's outside soil present a high pH, which would compromise the health of some species. For these plants, the conservatory soils supply a planting medium with a low pH, providing optimal conditions for the collections.
|Lush green epiphytes transport visitors into the
|Aroids, melastomes, orchids and bromeliads
frame Chihuly's macchias.
Every day you will see new plant species blooming in this dynamic horticultural display room. Two greenhouses supply the potted plants that rotate through this display. You can view some of Fairchild's most prized aroids, bromeliads, orchids, along with unusual new species and horticultural selections. Permanent installations include Fairchild's Amorphophallus titanum 'Mr. Stinky' and a 40 foot long Tillandsia screen that displays plants suspended in mid-air.
Permanent Display Areas
View one of the world's largest ferns, Angiopteris evecta, that can produce fronds up to 40 feet long or stand below our Pelagodoxa henryana, a rare palm species with less than 12 individuals left in the wild. Cyrtostachys renda, the red sealing wax palm, thrives in the hot humid conditions, and is one of the conservatory's most prized palms for its beautiful red crownshafts. Many plants also produce intoxicating fragrances; highlights include the ginger scented leaves of Alpinia latilabris and the sweet-scented flowers of the Magnolia coco. Flowering trees, palms and cycads, aroids, and ferns represent the plant diversity of the tropical world and create a dramatic display. Visitors will view many species that are on display in only a few gardens in the United States.
An Amorphophallus titanum was repotted
Audrey III, one of Fairchild's Amorphophallus titanum, was repotted on May 22, 2007, a few weeks after its large leaf died down. To repot this large corm, Jennifer Davit, Fairchild's conservatory manager, and volunteer Steve Foreman, removed the soil from around the corm and then removed the corm from the large pot. We then rinsed the corm with water to remove all old soil. We applied Neosporin triple antibiotic ointment on areas of the corm that were broken or appeared damaged. The corm weighed 62 pounds and measured 19 inches in diameter and 12" high. New soil was put into the pot, along with a healthy amount of fertilizer. We expect the plant to produce a leaf this year, which should begin to grow in a few weeks. We do not expect any of the Amorphophallus titanum to bloom this year, but have had blooms from other species.
|Steve Foreman washing the corm prior to repotting|
|Amorphophallus titanum corm in its new pot|