A spatifillo in the house
The spatifillo is one of the most widespread plants in apartment cultivation in Italy; it is a herbaceous plant, which therefore does not produce woody stems: from the roots, long, arched, spatula-shaped leaves develop, 40-70 cm long, of an intense green color, slightly leathery and wrinkled, carried by long semi-rigid petioles; throughout the year, stems are produced between the leaves that carry a small panicle of white flowers, gathered in a spatice, as happens for example in the street; also in the Spathiphyllum the spatice is wrapped in a spate, or in an enlarged white bract. The type species has candid white flowers, but there are varieties with lilac or rosé flowers, which are uncommon.
How to grow it
The spatifilli are perfectly adapted to apartment living, in fact they love places that are not too bright, which they can easily find in our homes; in nature they live in tropical rain forests, so they generally prefer a fairly humid climate. At home the air tends to be very dry, so raise the humidity often by spraying our Spathiphyllum, and also the other plants that we grow in the apartment; to increase humidity we place the jar of our spatifillo in a tray containing expanded clay immersed in water, which constantly releases humidity into the environment. From March to October we water the Spathiphyllum with regularity, while we thin the waterings during the winter; in general the soil must always remain slightly damp, but not soaked with water. Every 10-12 days we supply fertilizer for flowering plants, stopping the fertilization during the winter.
Spathiphyllum plants are evergreen, but in any case the foliage dries and dies periodically; Let us remember to have the foresight to remove the withered leaves, which besides being unsightly are easy prey to pests and diseases, which would easily spread to the rest of the plant. At least every 2 years, in autumn, we repot the plant, supplying it with a slightly larger pot, filled with a good universal soil, lightened with little river sand or with fine-grained pumice stone. When the plant reaches dimensions that are excessive for us, we can divide the bread of roots, repotting each portion individually, and thus obtaining new plants; remember to maintain healthy and well-branched roots for each portion we are going to practice. In order to enjoy the leaves for a long time we try to keep them clean from dust, we can use a slightly damp microfibre cloth; if in summer we can place the plant outdoors, before moving it, let's have a quick "shower" with the garden lance, in order to completely clean the leaves.
Spathiphyllum - Spathiphyllum: Pests and diseases
Generally the Spathiphyllum is a vigorous plant, which hardly gets sick if cultivated in a proper way. Excessive watering can favor the development of collar or root rots, which often start from previously ruined or withered leaves. We avoid leaving too much water in the saucer, and we always try to wait some time between one watering and another. In a very dry and hot climate the leaves of the spatifillo are greedy prey for the mites, which nest on the underside of the foliage and tend to make it quickly turn yellow; we promptly eliminate the leaves attacked by the red spider and we vaporize the plant more frequently, to increase the environmental humidity.