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Re: Aroids growing better in water?

  • Subject: Re: Aroids growing better in water?
  • From: "Ron Iles" <roniles@eircom.net>
  • Date: Tue, 28 May 2002 18:01:14 -0500 (CDT)

Surely in hydroponics & aeroponics roots are in intermittent contact with water but not continuously IN water, submerged, inundated?   However it IS my hypothesis that many  Spathiphyllum can be grown maybe better IN water just like other water lovers like Anubias, Cryptocoryne, Lagenandra etc etc.   Growing Spathiphyllum in this way with roots submerged & leaves intermittently irrigated would surely eliminate the few pest & disease hazards which beset them in terrestrial conditions.   My question is whether the water be running, aerated or most simple, or static, with plants rooted in bottom substrates?   I tried many theoretical designs which seemed good at first but proved less so afterwards...  
The bare roots of some hybrid Spathiphyllum transferred from pots to aerated warmed waters here have sometimes rotted here, yet S. wallisii & related forms thrived when their pots were submerged.     I sense that the Spathiphyllum used in the "Betta in a Jar" were of the latter kind.  The lighter modern green leaved Spathiphyllum often seem too "soft" to survive permanent inundation?  Indeed in Florida especially they seem susceptible to Cylindrocladium & other rots.  Maybe the soft tissues are not sufficiently aerenchymatous?  I cannot justify risky experiments with rare kinds of which I have only small nuclei.  So for the moment other aroiders experiences of plants growing IN water in the wild & in captivity are invaluable.    Certainly, from the scant literature it is not clear which Spathiphyllum Sections & species grow best IN water in the wild.   And even if I succeed in growing pecies well IN water, this does not entitle me to regard them as natural water plants. 
I have of course plenty of "designer" hybrids.   These are mostly from a tiny range of probably line & inbred parents with maybe depleted gene pools.  That maybe is why so many look alike & seem more delicate & susceptible to rots?  Modern "Designer" Spathiphyllum cultivars are chosen for arbitrary human reasons, as pot plants - for elegance, being ultra- floriferous, capable of withstanding cold, owner neglect etc.   They may be less suitable as water plants than species from the wild.  As you reported privately Spathiphyllum species come from the widest range of habitats & ecological niches.  But still each form has to be evaluated on its performance, I cannot make arbitrary generalisations.   Obviously, whether or not one species can grow IN water sheds little light on the tolerances & preferences of the genus as a whole.  But in your private communication you mentioned that you saw Spathiphyllum growing epiphytically.  That really is most interesting.  Have you any idea what species?   Would that distinctive species be happy with its roots permanently in water?   I have no true epiphytic Spathiphyllum & apparently true epiphytes are rare in water plant genera????    Regrettably, S. solomonense, a hemi-epiphyte(?) has apparently not been collected In PNG since the 1960's & only herbarium specimens exist, & there are seemingly none in cultivation?   So, was that the epiphytic species you saw?  As I said I need specific wild observations to draw tentative supportative conclusions about best cultural needs of each kind before I can decide what is to be grown IN water or not.  For easier & more successful growing I hope I can get observations & ideas from others to accelerate my inundation of as many of the genus as possible   
So - I need to know enough about the conditions in which species of flora & fauna thrive in the wild in order to achieve the best in cultivation?  To treat Spathiphyllum just as swamp plants would be wonderful & easiest for me but how good for the plants? Like animals it may be that captive plants adapted to un-natural artificial conditions & inbred may lose some of the wild vitality &  characteristics which made them what they are as species.  So idealistically, (and what is Man without ideals?) should one not at least try to culture each & every captive species according to its specific optimum preferences?  To me the rarer the species the more important that principle seems to be.  More & more in captivity we consider the preferences of rare fauna yet are not plants still widely grown  for their tolerances?  Indeed commercial pot plants are maybe scheduled for brief spectacular lives, short futures & repeated quick profit?   On the other hand, for those natural species for which we accept cultural custody it seems of paramount importance to know the parameters of their wild environments?    Yet how often do we see detailed reports by "observers" in the wild of light intensity, temperatures, humidities, soil & water quality etc etc in the niches in which aroids live?  Detailed Field Observations with experienced horticulture are surely the way to find out what each species really needs?
Summarising - What Spathiphyllum species in the wild actually grow best IN water & which Sections & species will & won't in captivity?   Published literature does not seem much to answer these questions.  
Finally, this brief discussion chain about growing Spaths (& other aroids) IN water again suggests to me a need for aroiders to have a dedicated place for serious public discussion & debate?  Aroid-L is the only arena that allows public dialogue about aroids.  Sadly the most interesting chains sometimes become tortuous & things of moment buried?  Discourse may become diffused & nebulous like chat.    Aroid L is obviously good for those things but for things of lasting moment?   A lot of World Members do not involve themselves in Aroid-L matters.  So, for serious discussions rather than just that "chat" would not a formal Web Members Dialogue/Debate Site with Print back up seem to be desirable?  For me it would merit the extra time spent in properly refining ones contributions & finely tuning worthwhile ideas for posterity?  Would it not need to have disciplined debate/discussion structure to avoid those meandering chains & eventually inappropriate titles.  Could debates be under under "Subject/Topic" headings for lasting reference?   Now, within the confines of a maximum eleven page newsletter, is not dialogue & debate for more than five hundred World Members restricted?   Dedicated Member dialogue with real "meat" might attract those who want more than Aroid-L "chat" & who are not on line lovers anyway?  Meanwhile I hope that those on line who read Aroid-L can continue more & more to debate for the good of all aroiders....
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Tuesday, May 28, 2002 2:30 AM
Subject: Re: Aroids growing better in water?

I would venture to say that just about ANY plant can be grown in water (hydroponically).
----- Original Message -----
From: Ron Iles
Sent: Friday, May 24, 2002 2:24 PM
Subject: Re: Aroids growing better in water?

I am still wondering....!
Put simply:
What terrestrial aroid species have you found to grow as well or better in water? 

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