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  Cultural tips for Chlorospatha?
From: RAYMOMATTLA at cs.com on 2004.03.03 at 19:12:53(11213)
Can anyone give me any recommendations on growing Chlorospatha? In
particular C. mirabilis and C. "china". Are these seasonally dormant aroids or are
they considered to be evergreen? I understand they are from Humid areas of
Western South America, but are they high altitude cloud forest plants or are they
from lower elevations areas where temps are normally alot higher? Thanks for
any help in advance.
Michael Mattlage

From: Aroideae at aol.com on 2004.03.03 at 19:42:54(11214)
hi michael,
you're very lucky to have these plants! Chlorospatha occurs from sea
level to 3000 m, many in cloud forest. they don't go dormant and require
constant moisture at the roots, high humidoty and shady conditions with good air
circulation. i don't know where you're located, but you might not be able to grow
them without considerable modification of the environment. i've grown them
for many years and keep them in the greenhouse, under ca. 80% shade, 60--90 deg
F, in well-drained medium of either all sphagnum moss or a mixture of
peat-based potting mix cut by half with coarse perlite and some orchid mix. C.
mirabilis occurs at low elevation, 0--150 m usually, and is a strong grower, so
that's a good choice. i don't know what C. "china" is. didn't know there were
any cultivars. do you know the 'parent'? C. mirabilis grows 'erect', so you
can bury the stem, but most Chlorospatha grow with the stem running along the
soil surface and they'll rot off if you bury the stems. they don't like the
cold and don't like heat.


From: Riley2362 at aol.com on 2004.03.03 at 19:47:39(11215)
Hi Michael,
I am making an assumption that these plants are from Ecuagenera, in Ecuador
since it is highly unlikely that anyone else is growing, propagating and
selling these unusual Aroids. I happen to work for Ecuagenera and can certainly
tell you how we grow them at the nursery. Ecuagenera has a low-elevation nursery
where we grow most Aroids, even if they come from higher elevations; because
they will tolerate warmer temperatures and grow and propagate faster. Both of
these species of Chlorospatha grow in the lower-elevation nursery at 2800
feet. The humidity is very good at that location and they grow well and without
much interruption in terms of dormancy cycles. The problem I have had with C.
mirabilis in cultivation ... in New York City (elevation ... 2nd floor,
Manhattan) is that it sometimes "calls for" a dormancy cycle and I have rotted out
the tuberous stem by not letting it dry off slightly. The light requirements
for both species seems to be moderate to low. The leaf shape and patterning
on both are quite spectacular. If I were forced to give a difference in
cultural preferences, I might guess that C. "china" (not a species name) likes
relatively warmer temperatures than C. mirabilis, but culture of these species is
somewhat new for everyone. Let us know what works for you!
Good growing - Michael Riley

From: RAYMOMATTLA at cs.com on 2004.03.04 at 17:36:50(11220)
Thanks everyone for all your help. Yes, these did come from Ecuagenera and I
must say they are quite beautiful, healthy looking plants. Hopefully I can
keep them this way in my greenhouse. I put them in straight spaghnum and will
probably pot the C. mirabilis up in a mix later in the spring. I figure if I
can successfully grow these tough little guys I can grow just about anything!!
(J/K.) Lynn, if you want I can send you pictures of the C. "china". I know
VERY little about this genus so I couldnt tell you if this is a true hybrid or
maybe an unidentified species? Michael, do you know? Will post pictures on
my website later if anyone else wants to look at them.

From: "ron iles" <roniles at eircom.net> on 2004.03.05 at 04:46:24(11222)
A suggestion not a "tip" - Why not try slowly submersing their pots over
weeks in warm
water? Spathiphyllum can grow supremely this way & even brief drying out
From: Aroideae at aol.com on 2004.03.05 at 14:28:29(11226)
hi michael,
am anxious to see the photo of 'china' on your website. let me know when
you post it. sphagnum is great for re-starting stems that have decided to
give up at the apex! if you do your final potting in sphagnum, don't pack it
From: "G. D. M." <doji at interpac.net> on 2004.03.05 at 15:24:02(11227)
Hi Michael,

Here in Hilo, HI, Spathiphyllum is a pest. I find it popping out in the
middle of a lawn that is mowed every 5 days, and on a rock wall with 1"
thick stems, both in full sun. I agree that high humidity is beneficial if
not necessary and may be suitable for Chlorospatha as well. My
Spathiphyllums do grow in the water - a flowing stream, temp. 67F- but all
are rooted on land and extend out into the water but continue to grow and
grow and etc.

From: "ron iles" <roniles at eircom.net> on 2004.03.05 at 16:37:02(11228)
Wonderful! Forget the boring lawn Gary & have a BIG pond full of your
delightful Spathiphyllum! The thick leaved species like S. cannifolium in
water apparently tolerate/thrive in sun but the most graceful thin leaved
ones like lottsa shade. Lynn - I don't know anything about Chlorospatha
except from the literature but I sensed it might do well in hydroculture
once it had developed "water roots"?

Best Wishes


From: RAYMOMATTLA at cs.com on 2004.03.05 at 17:58:47(11229)
Here is the link to my gallery page for those of you who wish to see the
Chlorospatha "China". Thanks Lynn, Michael, and others for all your tips. Hope
this works, you may have to cut and paste it. Michael Mattlage


From: Aroideae at aol.com on 2004.03.06 at 09:50:24(11232)
hi michael,

this isn't a Chlorospatha or a Xanthosoma but rather, a Caladium. i've seen
the flowers, so i'm sure it's not Chlorospatha. still, it's one of the
Caladiums that grow in similar habitats, in the same conditions. they don't really
go dormant but do seem to go up and down periodically, during the year, for no
reason i can figure out. lovely, little plant! the largest leaf i've seen
was about 30 cm long. thanks for posting the photo!


From: Aroideae at aol.com on 2004.03.06 at 09:55:03(11233)
ron---i think it's worth a try. i think they might well grow in such a
'bog', if the water were kept 'fresh', but the medium breaks down so fast in a pot,
when things are grown this way.


From: "ron iles" <roniles at eircom.net> on 2004.03.06 at 14:26:18(11234)
Lynn, just a quickie

Experimenting with growing Spathiphyllum with entire root systems submerged
even above petiole bases (!!!) seemingly once they have "water roots" even
when the compost is malodorous & the water stagnant, the plants still
thrive. I have noticed the same in aquariums where their substrate sand is
blackened & presumably oxygen deficient submerged aquatics can remain
healthy. I am not suggesting that stagnant water & malodorous compost is
an ideal growing situation only expressing my amazement at the tolerance of
such plants & their dogged persistence & tolerance. I gave many people
Spath cultivars in pots & outer buckets filled with water this winter & none
of the plants have died in spite of the fact that some were in nocturnally
unheated Irish houses in the dead of Winter. The temperatures must have
dropped below 55F or even below 50F. Two years previously my target
temperatures were above 70F & preferably above 80F, a massive charge on
heating budgets. It would be interesting to hear of other aroid genera
which will grow maybe better in water & how increasingly tolerant they are
then of otherwise unfavourable environmental factors e.g Spathiphyllum
cannifolium emersed in water seemingly thrive in full tropic sunlight but if
they dry out completely under such conditions its goodbye plant. A lot of
fundamental questions for which I needed to seek answers but it is now too
late. After another eighteen months, the removal of my Spathiphyllum to
Nancy & maybe Kew is imminent & had I the time, money, energy I would be
reluctant to terminate custody of this genus. But I must give thanks for
the precious gift of Life with other much greater gifts I was priveleged to
be born with & likewise garnered. Any person who cares deeply about life &
has an instinctive for how plants feel can be a fine gardener & Genevieve
Ferry & Kathie King at Kew are prime exemplars for the Collection.


From: "ron iles" <roniles at eircom.net> on 2004.03.06 at 16:10:23(11235)
Sorry it should read "privileged". Also "the" not "their" substrate, the
submerged aquatics observed were Ceratopteris & Vallisneria not


From: Aroideae at aol.com on 2004.03.07 at 17:20:11(11236)

i don't think this would work for Chloro. i've been growing them for about 7
years and whenever the medium becomes 'stale', they quickly succumb.
spathiphyllum, on the other hand, appear to be one of the world's toughest plants!
have seen them growing in stale puddles, off to the sides of streams, in
habitat. sounds like your collection of Spaths is in good hands! that has to be a
great relief!

From: "ron iles" <roniles at eircom.net> on 2004.03.08 at 11:44:44(11239)
Hi Lynn

Should not one try to arrange for all Life in ones custody to have its prime
needs met & never subject it to adversity creating conditions which push
tolerances unfairly? Tragically for the first time ever this year the Spaths
have had to be in such unfavourable conditions as I would never ever have
wished & survived. As you say, Spaths (some kinds) can be incredibly
tenuous of life in seemingly dire adversity. However some species are
"difficult" & these are the ones seemingly most rare?

If I can at last "let go" the first batch of plants will be in Nancy by 15th
March IF they can survive longer.


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