Date Last Edited: 08/24/2001
Hawaii Cooperative Extension Service
Two decades ago, anthuriums were cultivated largely as a cut flower crop.
Now, anthuriums are internationally produced and traded as both cut
flowers and potted blooming plants. Large anthurium nurseries can be
found the world over:
In 1993 potted anthuriums ranked 23rd in total sales among all potted foliage and flowering plants sold through the Dutch auctions (a good indicator of global trends). Anthuriums showed an 18% increase in average auction price since 1990, attaining 5.98 Dfl ($3.33) across all pot sizes to rank as the third most valuable commodity after phalaenopsis orchids and howea palms. Approximately four million pots were sold, with Anthurium scherzerianum outnumbering A. andraeanum types by about 2.5 to 1 (International Floriculture Quarterly Report, Vol. 5, 1995). While similar statistics are not available for container anthuriums in the USA, over three million anthurium microcuttings (tissue culture propagated plants), comprised principally of potted cultivars, were produced in the USA in 1993 (Matsumoto and Kuehnle, 1996).
Potted flowering anthuriums have the potential to be an increasingly important commodity for Hawaii's growers, as indicated by the 1994 Hawaii Foliage Industry Analyses. Durability during shipping and handling, in addition to desirable features of lush foliage and year-round flowering with a large array of colors, make anthuriums an attractive export crop. Efforts are underway to allow export of Hawaii-grown container anthuriums to Japan to meet that country's escalating market demand for blooming interior plants. Meanwhile, importation into the United States of anthurium plants in approved growing media is now allowable under revised Quarantine 37 regulations. Now, more than ever, Hawaii's competitiveness stands to benefit from the development of new anthurium cultivars for container production.
Containerized anthuriums can be used for interiorscapes and landscapes in warmer climates. Plants of relatively compact stature are generally preferred in homes or offices, while plants with larger foliage and flowers carried on long peduncles can be accomodated in hotels, banks, hospitals, or office building lobbies and reception areas. Under low-light conditions, anthurium plants can maintain attractive foliage, but continual blooming may be interrupted. Exterior use in Hawaii is under moderate shade, such as provided by tree ferns.
Potted flowering anthuriums may be grouped into three basic categories
distinguished by parental background (Table 1).
Table 1. Categories and description of potted blooming anthuriums. Pot General Early plant types comments cultivars Source A. scherzenianum Pig-tail anthurium; well 'Dutch Treat' Rancho Tissue established in Europe; grown Technologies in the USA in cooler Inc., Rancho locations such as CA; more Santa Fe, CA tolerant of cooler temperatures than A. andraeanum types. A. andraeanum Standard heart shape spathe Royal series Twyford Plant types with cordate foliage, grown Labs, mainly as a cut flower. Sebring, FL A. amnicola Compact growth; small Lady series Oglesby Plant hybrids flowered with attractive, Labs, Inc., A. antioquiense lanceolate foliage. Altha, FL hybrids
The predominant potted anthuriums available commercially in Europe are
A. scherzerianum cultivars from Zwinkels, De Lier Holland and
Anthura Arndt, Bleiswijk Holland (formerly G. Arndt, Borken Germany).
However, new flower and foliage forms, such as the Sweetheart series from
Anthura B.V., Bleiswijk, Holland, reflect a growing interest in A.
In Hawaii, A. andraeanum-type cultivars, including those for cut flowers, are increasingly popular in large-scale interiorscapes. These cultivars may flower later or less profusely than the other categories of potted anthuriums due to their larger flowers and foliage. However, some proliferate offshoots naturally, resulting in a full plant (e.g.,'Kaumana'). Moreover, some cultivars have inflorescences that remain attractive for several months and thus give the appearance of many flowers per growing point (e.g., 'Tropic Ice').
To provide a full appearance, propagators commonly provide two to three plugs or plants per pot. Horticultural practices such as topping may be employed to stimulate axillary branching to produce more flowering stems per pot. Growth regulators such as gibberellic acid or benzyladenine may be used to induce suckering (Imamura and Higaki, 1988).
Hybrids of A. amnicola or A. antioquiense are usually floriferous with compact growth. The most successful cultivar to date is the rosy pink 'Lady Jane', released in 1984 by Oglesby.
A fourth category may be emerging, namely Andraecola (Interior Landscape, Winter 1995), to designate interspecific hybrids between A. andraeanum and A. amnicola. This would include recent hybrids from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, 'Andraecola-l' and 'Andraecola-2' (Kamemoto et al., 1993) with larger flowers and longer stems than earlier A. amnicola hybrids such as 'Southern Blush' from the University of Florida. Similar floriferous but more compact hybrids may fill a niche in the container anthurium market.
Numerous cultivars are available from commercial propagators (Table 2).
Table 2. Some potted plant anthurium cultivars available commercially in the USA. Cultivar Spathe and spadix color Licensed propagator Red Hot (developed by Univ. of Florida) red and pink Oglesby Kohara Double red Oglesby Champion (developed by Anthura B.V.) white obake Oglesby Leilani light lavender Oglesby Mazie red and white Agri-Starts Mary Jean white and pink Agri-Starts Sherry-Lynne pink Agri-Starts Lollipop reddish pink and cream Twyford Pink Aristocrat (developed by H. Tagami) pink Twyford Pink Frost pink and white Twyford A. scherzerianum Shazzam red and pink Twyford Pixie Pink pink Rancho Tissue Technologies Allura white Rancho Tissue Technologies A. scherzerianum Dutch Treat red Rancho Tissue Technologies
Many are patented or have their names trademarked. A description and
performance evaluation of 21 cultivars for interior use was made by
Henley and Robinson (1994) under greenhouse conditions in Florida.
Production practices complement the features provided by breeding. Light levels and nutrition (fertilizer ratio, rate, and type) affect leaf size and number, flower number, color retention, and general plant quality. A further example is use of two to three plants per cell or pot rather than relying on offshoot production for some otherwise outstanding cultivars. A description of production factors and associated physiological, disease, and pest problems is found in Henny et al. (1994).
UH Research on New Potted Anthuriums
Prior to the 1980s, the focus of the UH breeding program was on developing plants with outstanding inflorescences and high yields for the cut flower market. The attractiveness of foliage was also a consideration.
In 1980, J. Kunisaki published the technique for micropropagation of anthurium using shoot tip and bud culture. This was a milestone in the industry; its development in Hawaii allowed rapid, high-volume multiplication of hybrids. Micropropagation is important because it allows anthurium to be competitive with other types of potted plants. Also, shortly before 1980 the compact, mini-flowered species A. amnicola became available to breeders. The University of Hawaii anthurium breeding program now includes specific potted plant breeding objectives to provide Hawaii's producers a diversity of plants to evaluate for their own needs. A summary of UH selection evaluation criteria is found in Table 3.
Table 3. University of Hawaii potted blooming anthurium selection evaluation criteria. Feature Desirable attributes and comments Foliage and plant habit Attractive, glossy, dark green leaves; good sucker production resulting in full dense growth in pots; short internodes. Flowers Numerous, attractive, glossy flowers positioned above the foliage; contrasting colors of spathe and spadix; fragrance, novel colors, in addition to more standard shapes. Disease resistance Resistance to bacterial blight, Xanthomonas campestris pv. dieffenbachiae and anthracnose or black nose, Colletotrichum gloeosporioides. Production Finishing time 10-14 months from plugs (1-3 plugs/pot) in 6-8" containers; 10" for some A. andraeanum types. Post production Should ship well; plants hould maintain flower production during interior use; flowers should retain color or turn greenish, not brown with age.
Table 4. Some University of Hawaii anthurium release with potential for potted sales. UH Cultivar Hort Digest selection no. name Description Issue Cross 724- A. x antro-oquiense Crosses between A. Cross 727 antrophyoides and A. (reciprocal) antioquiense; mini white spathe, sweet minty scent No. 85 (1988) Cross 729 A. x amni-oquiense Cross between A. antioquiense and A. amnicola; mini light lavender spathe; minty scent No. 85 (1988) UH1068 ARCS Small purple tulip No. 85 (1988) UH1067 ARCS Hawaii Small purple tulip No. 89 (1989) UH1070 Pink Elf Small pink tulip No. 94 (1991) UH1051 Tropic Ice White obake; old flowers remain attractive; blight No. 104 tolerant (1995) UH1016 Kalapana Red obake; developed for cut flower use; blight tolerant; US Patent No. Plant 8,320, Jul. 27, No. 104 1993 (1995) UH931 -- A cut flower selection with large standard orange spathe suitable for potted plant use -- UH1245 Tropic Fire Bright red, blight tolerant; patent pending
Several cultivars were bred for dual purposes (cut/potted). Others were
developed as cut flowers but adapted by growers and designers for use in
large interiorscapes. Some outstanding attributes of UH cultivars
include anthracnose resistance, bacterial blight tolerance, attractive
foliage, long-lasting flowers, and free-flowering.
Henley, R.W., and C.A. Robinson. 1994. Evaluation of twenty-one potted anthurium cultivars grown for interior use. Proc. Fla. State Hort.Soc. 107:179-181.
Henny, R.J., A.R. Chase, and L.S. Osborne. 1994. Anthurium. Foliage Digest 17:1-4.
Imamura, J., and T. Higaki. 1988. Effect of GA3 and BA on lateral shoot production on anthurium. HortScience 23:35-354.
Kamemoto, H., A. Kuehnle, J.T. Kunisaki, M. Aragaki, J.S. Lichty, and T.D. Amore. 1995. 'Pink Champagne', 'Andraecola-l', and 'Andraecola-2' anthurium. Univ. of Hawaii, Hort. Digest 104:4-6.
Kunisaki, J. 1980. In vitro propagation of Anthurium andreanum Lind. HortScience 15:508-509.
Matsumoto, T., and A.R. Kuehnle. 1996. Micropropagation of anthuriums. In: Biotechnology in agriculture and forestry, high-tech and micropropagation V (Bajaj, Y.P.S., ed.) Springer Verlag, Berlin (in press).
Department of Horticulture, CTAHR
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