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Mount Orégano
Sue Burke
A splashy pink birthday gift 
22nd-Jun-2019 01:17 pm
Let me see..
My brother’s family sent me this plant for my birthday yesterday.

They know me well. “Another plant for your growing jungle!” the card said. (Kathy, my sister-in-law, invented the fippokat as a child and lent it to me for Semiosis and hasn’t complained about the ways I’ve used and abused them.)

The card from the florist identified the gift as a “Green Plant(s). Moderately bright locations are preferred on most plants. Water thoroughly when soil is dry to the touch…”

I needed to know more, of course. What was it? How exactly should I care for it? Plants always want something from their service animals, sometimes something very specific, and I’m willing to acquiesce in order to have strong, healthy, happy houseplants.

The flower, a spadix, told me it’s a member of the Araceae or arum family. That narrowed it down to about 3700 species. But only a few of them were likely to show up in a Chicago florist shop. A peace lily (Spathiphyllum)? Wrong leaves. Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema)? Maybe. The variegation and texture of the leaves seemed familiar, but pink?

To make a long Google search short, it’s one of the many new cultivars of Aglaonema known variously as ‘Pink Splash’ or ‘Lady Valentine’ or ‘Lady Valentine-Favonian’ or maybe ‘Pink Dalmation’ although that one looks a little different.

In any case, the plant originated in Asian jungle undergrowth. The Missouri Botanical Garden, which has a large collection of Araceae, recommends partial to full shade and home-level warmth. NC State U Extension adds that they like humidity. No problem. I live next to Lake Michigan and it’s foggy here a lot.

Welcome to your new home, Pink Splash/Lady Valentine! May you live long and prosper. I’ll do my best to make that happen.
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