Sunday, April 17, 2011

Random plant event: Anthurium cross pollination

About two months ago, I went through a phase where I ran around trying to cross-pollinate everything that was in bloom: Chlorophytum, Nematanthus, Saintpaulia, Anthurium, Murraya. I'm not sure why. It seemed like a good idea at the time, I guess.

Mostly, this was useless. The possible Nematanthus fruit that I was so excited about dropped off without developing; the Saintpaulias weren't even willing to pretend that something had happened. The Murraya produced a few fruits, but I haven't been able to get any of the seeds to sprout; ditto for the Chlorophytum.

I thought that the Anthuriums were another case where nothing happened at all, and wasn't that surprised, because I had no idea how to cross them (it's not easy to tell when the flowers might be receptive; it's only barely obvious when they're shedding pollen), but it turns out that at least a few worked, as you can tell from the lumpiness developing in the spadices:


As for how I did it: I took a cheap plastic paintbrush and went around "painting" the spadices of all the Anthuriums then in bloom, in varying sequences, on multiple occasions. That's all. I'd tried other methods in the past (both rubbing spadices together and using fingers instead of a paintbrush), which never worked.


This doesn't mean I'm going to get seedlings out of this, and if I do, I won't know which plant was the male parent, but it does, at minimum, move me from the nothing-happened Saintpaulia category up to the something-happened-but-I-still-didn't-get-more-plants category. If I do get fruit and seeds from the Anthuriums, I'm fairly confident that I know what to do from there. Keep your fingers crossed for me.


Anonymous said...

A little OT, but at least about Anthuriums: I see claims that a plant in circulation under the name Anthurium 'Oaxaca' is much less troubled by the usual Anthurium dislikes: drought, temperature fluctuations, even surviving a light frost in the landscape. Have you ever trialed it? Hmmmmm, probably not your kind of plant, now that I think about it, as they say it turns pretty quickly into a large plant.


mr_subjunctive said...


I hadn't heard of it, but I looked it up and it's the sort of thing I'd like if I could find a small one. (That it would later become big wouldn't keep me from buying it if I could afford it. I am irrationally optimistic about how much room I'm going to have in the future.)

From an indoor perspective, I think Anthuriums are already pretty drought-tolerant, so I don't know if my experience with 'Oaxaca' would tell you much of anything, if I had experience with 'Oaxaca.'

Pat said...

I would slam the thermostat up to 90, feed with a low nitrogen full-spectrum fertiliser and put a cold fog machine nearby. If I could afford it all.

Zach said...

Cool! I'm anxiously awaiting your update!

Diana said...

Just a few days after your post I noticed something odd on one of my Anthurium flowers. Seeds are forming. I posted about them over at

Want seeds?