Friday, January 15, 2016

Anthurium no. 0527 "Ms. Lucia Love"

For all the problems of the Anthurium seedlings lately, there is one bright spot, which is that I have sort of found a way to manage the thrips without going bankrupt or devoting myself to thrips-management 24/7.

For a while now, I've been reluctant to spray water on the Anthuriums because I didn't want to wash off the white oil, or predator mites, or whatever the treatment du jour happened to be. But since giving up on all of those, I've inserted a step in the watering process: it's now 1) water, 2) blast the crap out of the blooms and foliage with the sprayer set to "flat," 3) add fertilizer and allow to drain for about 10 minutes. This isn't sufficient to completely eliminate the thrips,1 but it does remove enough of them that I've seen improvement, especially on the leaves. For example, compare old and new leaves on 0420 "Adriana Le Glam:"

or, even more impressively, 0414 "Trudy Vocean:"

Results not typical, sure, but the seedlings that get better get way better, and none of the seedlings seem to be getting drastically worse. Not really any reason not to keep doing it, especially since it doesn't take a lot of extra time or money.2

None of that is directly relevant to 0527 Ms. Lucia Love, whose foliage has never been very damaged by thrips in the first place, but I thought that after the last Anthurium post, maybe I owed it to y'all to find something positive to report.

(30 November 2015)

As for Lucia, well. The one bloom so far has been pretty small. Thrips damage is about average, maybe slightly better than average. More than I'd like, in any case. She does have one interesting quality that I don't believe I've seen in any previous blooms, which is that the spadices start out yellow, in contrast to the red spathes,

(24 November 2015)

And then change over time to a color that matches the spathes:

(30 December 2015)

Just to underline it: that's the same bloom in all three photos.

I have lots of seedlings that bloom red / yellow, and I have a smaller but still substantial number of seedlings that bloom red / red, but Lucia is the first seedling to do both. She also seems more eager to bloom than most; the first bloom is still there as I write this (5 January), and she's already got two buds coming along to replace it.

So that's neat enough to buy her some time. It helps that her leaves have been, so far, mostly unscathed by thrips --

-- and that the plant overall seems reasonably healthy and well-formed.

So maybe not the most amazing seedling ever, but fairly healthy, enthusiastic about blooming, and doing something I've never seen before. Lucia gets to stay for a while.


1 And it's useless for the scale, as far as I can tell: the only remotely effective control for them is zero-tolerance. Though since imidacloprid has sort of helped in the past, and zero-tolerance is sort of helping in the present, the combination of the two might be just the solution I'm looking for (especially since I already have some leftover imidacloprid from the last attempt). I mean, probably not. And for the moment I don't really want to invest the time into applying the imidacloprid; I've only just gotten life back to normal after the mass Schlumbergera bloom. Maybe soon, though.
2 The worst thing about it is that I wind up spraying myself with the water to some degree or another, so I spend large chunks of Anthurium-watering days (Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday) slightly damp. Which is uncomfortable.


Ginny Burton said...

What a relief that you're not using all that poison any more! And I love the way Lucia's spadix changes color. If you ever decide to toss her, let me know and I'll buy her. (Have you ever read the Lucia stories by E. F. Benson?)

Vickie Feminist said...

Thanks for a helpful blog. Because of you I now know that the philodendron that needs repotting a second time brings down trees in Florida and needs a different home. It has greatly enjoyed the past 10 summers in DC, but I will not break my back to meets its relentless growth. Happy jade plants and a hibiscus are more my speed. Thanks.