A new home for Fausto

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The rainforest now is home to this
beautiful anthurium.

Anthurium faustomirandae, one of my favorites, has moved from the conservatory to the rainforest as preparations are made for construction of the new science village.  The conservatory plants will be moved to the nursery or, like Fausto, find a natural setting.

This lovely plant that is native to Chiapas, Mexico, has huge heart-shaped leaves and a leathery texture. It feels comfortable in shade, high humidity and in soil with excellent drainage. Container-grown A. faustomirandae likes the same conditions, so a blend of peat moss, pine bark mulch and sphagnum moss is recommended. A controlled-release fertilizer such as Dynamite (13-13-13) will serve this plant well in the ground, with leaf mulch or compost around the root zone.  (I use Peter’s Excel, 15-5-15 Cal-Mag on orchids and potted aroids.) The soil should stay moist but not wet. Thick-leaf anthuriums are relatively cold tolerant, and Fausto is apparently among these, but I cover my plant in the ground anyway since I’m a worrywart. Bird’s-nest anthuriums, such as A. schlechtendalii at the top of the waterfall in the sunken garden, may be the hardiest for our gardens.

It will be fun to see how big this plant’s leaves will get in the ground. Some aroid growers report leaves up to 53 inches long.  Steve Lucas, whose website, exoticrainforest.com, says Anthurium regale can produce leaves larger than six feet (I have one of these, too) and may be larger than A. faustomirandea. These big handsome plants can become addictive.

This bird's-nest anthurium is a crown for the waterfall .