Sue Burke (mount_oregano) wrote,
Sue Burke

A splashy pink birthday gift

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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