RHOEO SPATHACEA (boat lily, Moses in the cradle)

10 deg C/50 deg F

This is is the only species of the genus. and is usually sold under its other name of R. discolor. It is of Mexican and West Indian origin, and in its young stage grows as a rosette of pointed, broad. sword-shaped leaves, later developing a short thick basal stem. In the species the leaves are dark green and purplish below, but there is a form ‘Vittatum’ or ‘Variegata’ with the foliage finely striped in cream along its entire length. Normally, the leaves reach 20cm (8in) long or more, but there are dwarf cultivars with foliage very much shorter. The common name is derived from the

flowers. These are white and formed at irregular intervals throughout the year. They are small and inconspicuous. each one being surrounded by a boat-shaped purple bract about 5cm (2in) in length. The plants are useful for relatively shaded positions in the home, and can be grown in 13cm (5 in.) pots for some time.

Any good potting compost will suit and potting is best done in spring. After a few years, the plants tend to deteriorate but the plants are easily air layered. Alternatively cuttings can be taken from old plants that have branched out; these should be from basal shoots 7.5cm (3in) long, and can be rooted easily on a window-sill in spring if given a temperature of 15 deg C (59 deg F).

Maintain high humidity and water freely in summer, sparingly at other times. Pests and diseases tend to be uncommon.

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.