When I was a schoolgirl, I called them "dog's dick flowers". Anthurium were not as common as they are today, nor did we have all the different varieties and hybrids I saw in the nursery last week, just good old pink and white (yes, dog's-dick-pink). I guess I must be grown up after all, because their flowers don't seem as phallic as they did thirty-odd years ago. No embarrassed giggles, just a big beaming grin when I brought home all this:
Apart from the bromeliad, my shopping strategy was "buy one, get one free", and so I chose plants that had already started to divide. From six pots of anthurium, I ended up with nineteen individual plants! And two pots of parsley aralia (at the bottom of the picture) have given me umpteen cuttings that I have already tucked in to bed and hope to raise more than enough aralia to make some pretty borders in the garden downstairs.
But back to the anthurium - nicknamed the flamingo flower - which apparently is native to Colombia. It likes humid conditions and good drainage, but not direct sunlight, which makes it a good indoor potted plant, as well as a pretty addition to shady areas in the garden. I stirred up a nice batch of potting mix with coco peat, soil, manure, home-made compost, perlite, charcoal and pot shards this evening, and have just finished potting my indoor anthurium. The charcoal, perlite and pot shards give the roots more air and space, and help keep the pot draining well, so the plants should like this. I even dampened some cotton wool and carefully wiped down the leaves to clean them. I'll only do that once in a while - too often would be too much. As with fertiliser - anthurium don't need any for at least a year after planting, if you use a good potting mix, they'll be fine on their own.
The ones for the garden will have to wait for the weekend, when I plan to plant some of them around one of our big old trees, and the rest to spruce up a rather pathetic and unloved long narrow plot round the back. But I'll need to enlist the help of Mr. Arasu and his good strong knees to get the plots dug and cleared and ready.
Meanwhile, the indoor anthuriums are all settled in, in some very pretty pots I picked up earlier this week - the white ones are all from my favourite haunt Krishnendra Nursery, and the other two I picked up from a roadside stall just outside the Catholic cemetery!
And here's what transformed my living room tonight: