Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Random plant event: Philodendron 'Moonlight' flowers

This has been going on for a while now (the earlier of these photos was taken Nov. 30), but it's still timely, because they're still doing it. The 'Moonlight' Philodendrons are the only ones I've noticed blooming so far, and all of them of a certain size (6-inch pots and up) are doing it now. The other varieties we have in the greenhouse are growing just fine, but not interested in blooming.



The flowers are often nearly as thick as the main stem of the plant, and consist of a pink-red spathe wrapped almost completely around a long (maybe about five inches / 12.5 cm) white spadix. They're also relatively long-lasting, at least in greenhouse conditions: I never wrote it down anywhere, but I'd guess that the one in the first picture lasted for a good 4-6 weeks before the spathe started getting kind of a water-soaked look to it and I removed the flower (the plant responded by producing two flowers right away).



'Moonlight' has more decorative flowers than most Philodendrons I've seen: the typical flower for the genus tends to be smaller and greener, though I have seen pictures of a few that were deep red with a white spadix. My plants at home have never done this, though all of them but one are, realistically, probably still too small.


13 comments:

Sarah S said...

That is such a cool bloom! I've never seen either moonlight or congo (or whatever the other large leaved varieties are called this week) in anything smaller than a six inch pot. Do you have "baby" pictures you can share?

Tracy said...

That is just amazing....I can't say I like the flowers....I am not a fan of the spathe flowers, but they are very cool to see. I really hope mine is flowering too now. Keep us posted with more pics, it should open up some more right?

mr_subjunctive said...

The second picture there is from the plant that did the water-soaked-look thing; that was about as far as the bloom ever opened.

The 'Congo' varieties are a different thing from the 'Moonlight' / 'Prince of Orange' / 'Autumn' / 'Black Cardinal' group; they get much bigger, and have fleshier leaves. We get the 'Moonlight,' etc., plants in as three- or four-inch pots on a somewhat regular basis. The post for 'Autumn' had a picture of a plant in a four-inch pot; 'Moonlight' is the same thing except for the color.

hylzz said...

Ooh...I have one that is currently blooming in my office (which surprised me, being 1. super low-light 2. air conditioned/heated and 3. an OFFICE). How, specifically, did you remove the bloom to produce more? Mine has been blooming for a couple weeks, so I'm sure it's going to fade soon.

mr_subjunctive said...

hylzz:

This is an old post; I don't remember any of the specifics of how I did it. I'd think it'd be enough to cut through the stalk the inflorescence is on with a clean, sharp knife. If it was anything more complicated than that, I'd probably have a better memory of it.

hylzz said...

Thanks for the response! I totally didn't notice the post date. Wow. So I appreciate the answer! I'll give it a try!

Cynthia Fuerstenberg said...

I rescued a Moonlight Philodendron from the Walmart clearance plant tray back in early December. Surprisingly it was in fairly good health with the exception of a couple of brown leaves, which I removed.

It had one new leaf unfolding dark green in color and another just starting (very pale yellow). Trouble is neither leaf has made any progress in 4+ weeks time. Is this normal?

Thanks,
Cindy

mr_subjunctive said...

Cynthia Fuerstenberg:

It may or may not be fine, but I'd go ahead and assume that everything's normal unless you have some more dramatic reason to suspect otherwise. Philodendron leaf development tends to be fast, once it gets started, but if you just got the plant, then it's dealing with a new environment, plus it's winter and plants tend to slow down then anyway, so it may just be trying to get its feet back under it again. So to speak.

It will occasionally happen that a plant will develop a leaf that appears to be fully-formed, but it never completely opens, or it opens but is distorted, or whatever. Philodendron 'Moonlight' is one of the plants that do this,[1] and it happens to me regularly enough that I consider it "normal" (inevitable and not cause for alarm) even if it's not normal (part of the natural development of the plant). My best guess for why this happens is that it's related to drought stress, but I don't know.

If the leaves eventually get translucently thin, dull, and pale, then the plant's given up on them and you can go ahead and remove them. Until that happens, I'd assume that it's just 'Moonlight' being 'Moonlight.'

-

[1] Others: P. gloriosum, P. 'Imperial Green' and several other hybrid Philodendrons, occasionally Strelitzia nicolais, a handful of Aglaonema varieties, and most Dieffenbachias.

Cynthia Fuerstenberg said...

Thanks!
I think I will try re-potting too. It's is a 4 inch pot. Maybe that will help spur some growth. =)

Cindy

Cindy Fuerstenberg said...

Hi, update on moonlight philo...repotted and move to better light...those 2 leaves never did open but has grown one new one...but now there is this stem like thing (attached to very base of plant) emerging from the soil in an arc....what is this?

Thanks,
Cindy

mr_subjunctive said...

Cindy Fuerstenberg:

It's hard to guess without a photo. Possibly a new growing tip? They will branch, sometimes.

Cindy Fuerstenberg said...

Is there a way to upload a photo here?

mr_subjunctive said...

Cindy Fuerstenberg:

No, but if you upload one to some other service (Twitter, Instagram, Blogger, etc.) and send me a link, that would work.

Or you could send one to me by e-mail; see the PATSP sidebar, near the top of the page, for instructions.