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Addicted to Aroids | Plant profile | Gardening Australia

Addicted to Aroids | Plant profile | Gardening Australia

Jerry Coleby-Williams meets a man who’s obsessed with Aroids – the showy, large-leafed plants found in subtropical jungles around the world, as well as in many houses!

Wayne Lyons says it was a trip to North Queensland that started his addiction to the plants. He now runs a nursery and garden south of Brisbane to house what is now one of Australia’s biggest collections of Aroids.

Aroids are part of the Araceae family, which includes philodendron, monstera, rhaphidophora, and the giant taro (Alocasia macrorrhizos), which is one of the many aroids referred to as Elephant’s Ears. Another common house and garden plant is the Swiss cheese plant, (Monstera deliciosa).

Aroids are all perennials and grow on the ground, up a tree or on a tree.

When asked about his favourites, Wayne points out a few:

Flask philodendron (Philodendron martianum), which is squat with large thick leaves, and thick stems that have earned it the nickname ‘Fatboy’
Anthurium dolichostachyum, which grows around the Cairns area
Caladium praetermissum ‘Hilo Beauty’, with variegated patched on the leaves
Philodendron warszewiczii, which has delicately indented leaves and grows like a vine up a pole – the aerial roots provide structure as well as helping to feed the whole plant
Swiss cheese vine (Monstera adansonii) – the windows or fenestrations in the leaves allow air to pass through the leaf to help cool the plant and resist strong winds without the stems being damaged

Wayne has created a wall of aroids, all growing through a layer of felt over a large support. The idea is to show the plants growing as they would in nature – up a tree or other support, rather than simply sitting in a plant pot, as many gardeners are used to seeing them. The aerial roots attach to the felt and obtain their water and nutrients that way.

The more rare and unusual aroids have helped make them such a sought-after plant.

Wayne’s collection includes:

Philodendron verrucosum, which has a lovely sheen to the heart-shaped leaves, hairy petioles (leaf stems) and distinctive colour markings around the veins.
Philodendron ‘Black Knight’, with dark purple leaves.
Monstera deliciosa ‘Borsigiana Variegata’, which has almost no green in its leaves at all; Wayne’s plant has just one large, white leaf.
Philodendron hederaceum ‘Brasil’, with green, lime green and yellow variegations in its vine leaves.
Philodendron ‘Whipple Way’ – with delicate pink tinges around the leaf stems and mottle green markings on the otherwise white to pale-pink leaves.
Philodendron ‘Florida Ghost’, pure white new leaves that turn green as they mature.

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