Monsters, anthuriums, caladiums, dieffenbachia … Representatives of the Aroid family are considered one of the most popular categories of indoor plants. And not the least factor in their widespread use is diversity. Aroids are represented by aquatic plants, epiphytes, semi-epiphytes, tuberous and lianas. But despite such diversity, because of which it is sometimes difficult to guess about the relationship of plants, aroids are very similar to each other. Their common features arise, first of all, from the growing conditions they require in a room or greenhouse format. So, what do all indoor plants of the Aroid family expect from us?
Monsters, anthuriums, caladiums – what do all plants of the Aroid family want?
1. A special substrate is needed for any aroid
All plants from this family love slightly acidic or at least neutral, light texture, air and water permeable, high quality, complex component substrates. Optimum pH values are from 5,0 to 6,0. The best composition is sand or inert additives, high moor peat, coniferous and leafy soil in equal parts.
The proportions of the components can be changed, achieving a lighter texture, but it is still better to choose proven high-quality ready-made substrates: in the line of soil mixtures of any manufacturer with a good reputation, there is also a substrate for aroids.
2. Drainage and loosening agents are required
All plants of the Aroid family are grown in containers with large drainage holes, which provide a free outflow of water. In addition, it is obligatory to lay a high (up to 1/3 of the tank height) drainage layer made of coarsely fragmented materials. Expanded clay can be replaced with lighter alternatives, but a coarse fraction is required for aroids.
Even in the finished soil, when planting aroids, it is worth adding high-quality additives that guarantee good air permeability of the soil even in the absence of an annual transplant. Coconut, coniferous bark, perlite, vermiculite, small expanded clay – these are just a few options for additives that aroid will like. Both sphagnum and charcoal can be mixed into the substrate as a preventive measure.
3. Transplant only on demand
All aroids themselves signal the need to increase the capacity. These plants do not tolerate transplanting well and if the entire substrate has not been mastered, they should not be disturbed. You can restrict yourself to replacing the top soil shake.
If the plant has grown enough, the transplant is carried out only by the method of careful transshipment with the greatest possible preservation of the earthen coma. Only in cases of infection of the substrate and suspicion of rot is it worth removing the soil from the roots.
The timing of transplantation is also common for all aroids – if you carry out the procedure “on demand”, then you can transfer the plant not only in spring, but also in summer, subject to careful care and the ability to limit temperatures.
4. Shade tolerance of aroids is relative
Aroids are often advertised as almost shade-loving plants. And although some species can really take root in moderate lighting, they should never be placed in the shade. Even species such as philodendrons and monstera’s ability to tolerate the lowest light levels should not be confused with a love of shade.
In rooms without a constant light source, in dark corners, in the depths of the interior with non-southern windows, not a single plant from this family will grow. Aroids allow you to freely vary within the light and semi-shady areas of the premises, moving away from the window sills and decorating the rooms with green accents, they do not like the direct sun.
In fact, the aroids will adapt and change their growth rates, but they will retain their decorativeness within the framework of comfortable light rooms anywhere. But you should never experiment with placement in the shade.
All aroids will prefer to move closer to the window or enjoy additional lighting for the winter.
5. Indoor aroids – plants from the tropics
Despite the diversity in nature, only subtropical and tropical aroids have moved into the rooms, but it is better to perceive them as purely tropical. The minimum temperature values for them must be limited to + 15 … + 16 degrees, with optimal indicators in summer not lower than + 17 … + 18 degrees, even at night.
Any strong temperature changes towards cooling cause serious problems with the condition of the plant’s root system and the rapid spread of rot. But the aroids are not afraid of the heat with proper care.
6. Watering is different, but love for air humidity and soft water is not.
Some plants from this family require careful watering and light constant soil moisture, such as anthuriums. Others love the high moisture content of the substrate and will only tolerate the drying of the upper layer, like spathiphyllum and dieffenbachia.
But all aroids require careful selection of quality water, the temperature of which corresponds to room temperature, with mild characteristics and a pH value of 5,0 to 6,0, or slightly acidified for correction.
And one more point of care always remains unchanged: the air humidity should not fall below 50%. Humidifiers and sprays will work, but Aroids cannot be kept in dry air.
7. Top dressing only not in winter
Even if the plant is as stably decorative as monstera, or a period of complete dormancy is almost imperceptible in its development, as in some dieffenbachia, it is not worth feeding for aroids all year round. Only actively growing plants that release new leaves and shoots can be fed. And only in the period from early spring to mid-autumn.
In winter, even when kept in flower showcases, feeding should be excluded from the care of these amazing plants.
8. All aroids love complex fertilizers
Experimenting with fertilizers for aroid is not worth it. They love complex, containing macro- and microelements, mineral fertilizers. Special fertilizers for aroids are better suited, but high-quality universal preparations will also fully satisfy the requirements of these plants.
And if you dissolve fertilizers in slightly acidified or controlled soft water a little warmer than room temperature, then trace elements will be absorbed more efficiently. It is better to lower the dosage recommended by the manufacturer, preferring weak frequent feeding to rare and intense.
9. Cutting is the best way to propagate any aroid houseplant
With the seed reproduction of aroids, even aglaonema and anthurium, there are always more problems than successes. Any indoor aroids are best propagated vegetatively, and not by division, but by cuttings.
At the same time, apical, stem or root cuttings, daughter plants separated for rooting, need the same conditions. They take root in any inert material or light soil, sphagnum or sand, under a hood and at high, stable humidity.
10. Identical pests
Aphids, whiteflies and spider mites are the three main enemies of all indoor aroids, regardless of their species. And you only need to deal with them by combining two methods:
- correction of care, restoration of the optimal environment of detention;
- the use of insecticides or biological products.
If representatives of this family are kept in optimal conditions, they are not afraid of any insects.
But with aroids, it is necessary to monitor not only the aerial parts: not only tuberous, but also any species of aroids are extremely vulnerable to nematodes. Even dieffenbachia or monstera cannot boast of the ability to maintain decorativeness when soil is infected, to say nothing of alocasia, which can die in a couple of weeks.
You need to carefully and constantly monitor the soil, its condition and quality. The best prevention is to disinfect the substrate prior to planting.
And do not forget about the mosaic viruses common to all aroids: the affected plants must be destroyed, the struggle is useless.