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  • From: "Ron Iles" <roniles@eircom.net>
  • Date: Tue, 1 May 2001 17:39:51 -0500 (CDT)

In the tropics nowadays plants as well as mere humans are subject to
increasing threats to their existences.    There seems to be argument for
separate "Arks" which can be safe from  natural and manmade catastrophes.
Conventionall greenhouses are easily damaged by storms, difficult to heat
enough when it is very cold.   In hot seasons especially in the sub-tropics
and in other areas of extreme climate variations, unless vented losing
humidity, plants are grilled or roasted.  Greenhouses are good for
"eurythermal" plants which require relatively high light intensities and
which tolerate wide temperature and other environmental variations.

Spathiphyllum and other aroids, Marantaceae and so many other genera and
species are stenothermal i.e. they prefer and tolerate narrow temperature
and other environmental variations.   Naturally they are sheltered by the
rain forest canopy in constant warmth but never roasting hot.   They thrive
only in shade not much higher than 25% and commonly less than 10% of
sunlight.  In these days of high efficiency lighting and space age
insulation and heating, it can be argued that ubiquitous tropical shade
plants can be grown safer, better, much cheaper but in enclosures without
sunlight not in greenhouses.

In England cold for seven months of the year I grew 10,000 Spathiphyllum,
other aroids and Marantaceae in such enclosures under fluorescent lights
which also provided controlled warmth for ten years.  Here in Ireland if a
World Spathiphyllum Reference is able to be completed within time these
principles will be carried much further.  The water plants will be grown
with submerged roots in rockwool in re-circulating streams.    It is
interesting to observe the unfavourable paling of leaves of Spathiphyllum
grown in presumably shaded greenhouses in May to those even in February.
Observations of Peace Lilies and other "good" house plants in equitable
homes suggest they thrive in astonishingly deeper shade than those
recommended by greenhouse producers of un-naturally forced cultivars".

I hope these thoughts shared by a newcomer are not impertinent.


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