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Anthurium, Bamboo, & Trumpet Vines

Ideas for beautiful Anthurium; growing the largest bamboo in British Columbia’s mild and not-so-mild climates; controlling the suckers from vines and shrubs such as Trumpet; and fall-blooming lilac and magnolia shrubs/trees!
by Art Drysdale
by Art Drysdale

email: art@artdrysdale.com

Art Drysdale, a life-long resident of Toronto and a horticulturist well known all across Canada, is now a resident of Parksville, British Columbia on Vancouver Island, just north of Nanaimo. He has reno-vated an old home and has a new garden there. His radio gardening vignettes are heard in south-western Ontario over radio station Easy 101 FM out of Tillsonburg at 2 PM weekdays.

Art also has his own website at http://www.artdrysdale.com


September 24, 2006


Above, two spectacular shots of Anthurium and their beautiful spathes, courtesy of www. orchidsasia.com. Below, the flowers of trumpet vine (Campsis radicans) take up to four or more years to be produced from a new vine, but once they start, the vigorous vine produces a good showing through the summer and early fall each year. Beware the suckers, however! Author photo.

Joanne Gourley of Toronto wrote: “I have two Anthurium plants in my kitchen window over the sink, facing west. I have had one plant for four years and the other for approx. 1½ years. I know they are too big for the containers they are in, but a bigger container will not fit in my window. Could I put the two plants in one large container and put it in my front bay window which faces south? Now that the fall is here I am a little afraid that there might be a draft and I wouldn't want to kill them.

“The other problem is that instead of growing upwards, they seem to be growing out to the sides. I'm wondering if this is because the pots are too small for the roots! If I plant them in one large container, should I tie something around the stems to train them to start growing upward instead of to the sides? Also one leaf has a longish brown dry patch in the middle of it and also one of the blooms seems to be deformed. Does it sound like I need help? Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you in advance.”

The fact that Anthurium come from exotic and hot climates, we should not be swayed into thinking they require abundant sunshine. They like and need plenty of light, heat and humidity but in the topics they are grown under various gradations of shade (up to 90 percent) to avoid having the sun bleach the stunning red and orange colour of the spathes. As to temperature, nothing lower than 18o C at night and around 26o C in the daytime (65 and 80o F) is ideal. So, it sounds to me as if your south-facing bay window would be fine providing you can maintain the temperature ideals. Drafts would not necessarily be negative provided the high temperatures are present. Humidity is also, as one might guess, very important. Growers generally recommend about 70 percent relative humidity (difficult with indoor climates in cold climates).

Obviously I don’t know in what medium your plants are growing now. You’ll need to add more when you trans-plant the two into the larger container. Growers like tree fern (used by orchid growers), wood shavings and bagasse in the mix to offer anchoring for the root systems. Even rockwool is used by commercial growers. As the plants grow they generally add mulch to the top of the growing medium to accommodate the new surface roots.

Staking the plants should accomplish your desires as to growth. Common on Anthurium is a bacterial blight disease, and even mechanical damage due to rain (or careless indoor watering). If yours does not spread, I would not try to fix a minor problem, but do avoid mechanical damage and when watering, keep it off the foliage.

Bob from Victoria (I think) wrote to ICanGarden.com with this: “A question, can giant timber bamboo grow here in Victoria BC? I have read that Phyllostachys heterocycla pubescens (MOSO) grows to a height of 75 ft. and diameter of seven inches and is excellent for the edible shoots, and timber, and grows fine in China and the southern USA. Is there a variety that thrives in this part of the world, and what would the height and diameter typically be; would there be special soil conditions and nutrients for a successful harvest? Many thanks.”

As it happens, Moso, or Phyllostachys heterocycla pubescens should definitely be hardy in Victoria (if that is Bob’s area). He can find it for sale at Canada’s Bamboo World, 8450 Banford Road, Chilliwack, B.C. The nursery does warn that it is slow to grow, but it really is the largest bamboo. And, be warned it is a “running bamboo” which means that it will eventually spread considerably. Those looking for bamboos which do not spread nearly so dramatically should look for the “clumping” types. In China, this bamboo is grown both for its new shoots which are used as a food, and for the timber value of the older wood. They sell five gallon containers for $89 and have both smaller and larger sizes. It is also said to be hardy at Sicamous, B.C. which is a considerably colder zone.

Evelyn Rosa in Simcoe, Ontario wrote with a common question to which there is not a great answer, unfortunately: “We have 3 hummingbird or trumpet vines in our back yard for our hummingbirds and orioles, but the vines have gone crazy sprouting new vines all over the place in the lawn, flower beds and vegetable garden, yards away from the original plants. It seems the more we pull them up, the more come up. Roundup does not seem to be strong enough to control it. Any suggestions?”

This annoying habit is common to many trees and shrubs. Roundup should be useful but you’ll have to use it ac-cording to my directions, not those on the container. Buy only the Roundup concentrate and mix it at a rate about two times that recommended on the label--mix in a plastic container. Apply it with an old paint brush to the foliage of the suckers when they first appear. That will give you your best control.

Finally this week, from Innisfil Ontario Madge Veitch wrote with this comment/question: “Just wonder if you have heard this from anyone else - my Lilac Tree is blooming again this week!!!!”

Actually I had not, but it is not unusual. It is all a matter of the particular weather patterns experienced over the summer this year. Most often it is saucer magnolia (Magnolia soulangiana) that puts out a significant number of blooms in the fall, about which folks call and write for a comment. The only comment can be that any blooms that come out in the fall will not be there next spring, as both plants have already produced all of their flower buds for next year.

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