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  Re: Aroids growing better in water?
From: "Ron Iles" roniles at eircom.net> on 2002.05.28 at 23:01:14(8916)

Surely in hydroponics &
aeroponics roots are in intermittent contact with water but not
continuously IN water, submerged, inundated? However it IS
my hypothesis that many Spathiphyllum can be grown maybe
better IN water just like other water lovers like Anubias,
Cryptocoryne, Lagenandra etc etc. Growing Spathiphyllum in this way
with roots submerged & leaves intermittently irrigated would surely
eliminate the few pest & disease hazards which beset them in
terrestrial conditions. My question is whether the water be running,
aerated or most simple, or static, with plants rooted in bottom
substrates? I tried many theoretical designs which
seemed good at first but proved less so afterwards...

The bare roots of some
hybrid Spathiphyllum transferred from pots to aerated warmed
waters here have sometimes rotted here, yet S. wallisii & related
forms thrived when their pots were submerged. I sense
that the Spathiphyllum used in the "Betta in a Jar" were of the latter
kind. The lighter modern green leaved Spathiphyllum often
seem too "soft" to survive permanent inundation? Indeed in Florida
especially they seem susceptible to Cylindrocladium & other rots.
Maybe the soft tissues are not sufficiently aerenchymatous? I
cannot justify risky experiments with rare kinds of which I have only small
nuclei. So for the moment other aroiders experiences of plants
growing IN water in the wild & in captivity are
invaluable. Certainly, from the scant literature it is not clear which
Spathiphyllum Sections & species grow best IN water in the
wild. And even if I succeed in growing pecies well IN water,
this does not entitle me to regard them as natural water plants.

I have of course plenty
of "designer" hybrids. These are mostly from a tiny range
of probably line & inbred parents with maybe depleted gene pools. That
maybe is why so many look alike & seem more delicate &
susceptible to rots? Modern "Designer" Spathiphyllum
cultivars are chosen for arbitrary human reasons, as pot plants -
for elegance, being ultra- floriferous, capable of withstanding cold, owner
neglect etc. They may be less suitable as water
plants than species from the wild. As you reported privately
Spathiphyllum species come from the widest range of habitats
& ecological niches. But still each form has to be evaluated
on its performance, I cannot make arbitrary
generalisations. Obviously, whether or not one species can
grow IN water sheds little light on the tolerances & preferences
of the genus as a whole. But in your private communication you
mentioned that you saw Spathiphyllum growing epiphytically.
That really is most interesting. Have you any idea what
species? Would that distinctive species be happy with its roots
permanently in water? I have no true epiphytic Spathiphyllum &
apparently true epiphytes are rare in water plant genera????
Regrettably, S. solomonense, a hemi-epiphyte(?) has apparently not been
collected In PNG since the 1960's & only herbarium specimens exist,
& there are seemingly none in cultivation? So, was
that the epiphytic species you saw? As I said I need specific wild
observations to draw tentative supportative conclusions about best cultural
needs of each kind before I can decide what is to be grown IN water or
not. For easier & more successful growing I hope I
can get observations & ideas from others to accelerate my inundation of
as many of the genus as possible

So - I need to know enough
about the conditions in which species of flora & fauna thrive in the
wild in order to achieve the best in cultivation? To treat
Spathiphyllum just as swamp plants would be wonderful & easiest for me but
how good for the plants? Like animals it may be that captive plants adapted
to un-natural artificial conditions & inbred may lose some of
the wild vitality & characteristics which made them what they are as
species. So idealistically, (and what is Man without ideals?) should
one not at least try to culture each & every captive species according to
its specific optimum preferences? To me the rarer the species the
more important that principle seems to be. More & more in
captivity we consider the preferences of rare fauna yet are
not plants still widely grown for their
tolerances? Indeed commercial pot plants are maybe scheduled for
brief spectacular lives, short futures & repeated quick
profit? On the other hand, for those natural species for
which we accept cultural custody it seems of paramount importance to
know the parameters of their wild
environments? Yet how often do we see detailed
reports by "observers" in the wild of light intensity,
temperatures, humidities, soil & water quality etc etc in the niches in
which aroids live? Detailed Field Observations with
experienced horticulture are surely the way to find out what each
species really needs?

Summarising -
What Spathiphyllum species in the wild actually grow
best IN water & which Sections & species will & won't in
captivity? Published literature does not seem much to answer
these questions.

Finally, this brief
discussion chain about growing Spaths (& other aroids) IN water again
suggests to me a need for aroiders to have a dedicated place for serious
public discussion & debate? Aroid-L is the only arena that
allows public dialogue about aroids. Sadly the most interesting
chains sometimes become tortuous & things of moment buried? Discourse
may become diffused & nebulous like chat. Aroid
L is obviously good for those things but for things of lasting
moment? A lot of World Members do not involve themselves
in Aroid-L matters. So, for serious discussions rather than
just that "chat" would not a formal Web Members Dialogue/Debate Site
with Print back up seem to be desirable? For me it would merit
the extra time spent in properly refining ones contributions & finely
tuning worthwhile ideas for posterity? Would it not need to have
disciplined debate/discussion structure to avoid those meandering chains
& eventually inappropriate titles. Could debates be under
under "Subject/Topic" headings for lasting reference? Now,
within the confines of a maximum eleven page newsletter, is not
dialogue & debate for more than five hundred World
Members restricted? Dedicated Member dialogue
with real "meat" might attract those who want more than Aroid-L
"chat" & who are not on line lovers anyway? Meanwhile I hope that
those on line who read Aroid-L can continue more & more to debate for the
good of all aroiders....


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