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Fascinating ornamental

SPATHIPHYLLUM is an ornamental house plant, botanically known as Spathiphyllum wallisii. A native of Mexico, Peru and Brazil, the plant grows at the foothills of mountains, moist shady places and along the edges of rivers and ponds.

It is a herbaceous perennial plant, where the leaves are glossy and flower heads are arum shaped. The flower head consists of a spathe and spadix. The spathes are larger and white. The spadix is either green, white and cream. When the flower head is cut and placed in a vase, it keeps fresh for a while and retains its colour for about a week. The spathe gradually changes from white to light green.

The Spathiphyllum has short underground rhizomes and flowering occurs usually in spring. Under favourable conditions, it flowers throughout the year. Exposure to sunlight for long results in scorching of the leaves. The plants grow well between 20 and 25oC, and can be propagated by division of larger clumps. The plant is ideal for pot culture. The media should consist of equal proportions of leaf litter, sand, jungle soil and manure. Peat based soil mixture can also be utilised.

The Spathiphyllum is a moisture loving plant and it is necessary to water the plant moderately at frequent intervals.

Never let the mixture dry out completely. The plant is vulnerable to mealy bugs and red spider mites. In case of severe infestation spray any systemic insecticide and acaricide for mites along with neem oil.

P. THIRUVELAVAN
L. JEEVA JOTHI
R. MURUGESAN

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