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Re: Spathiphyllum

Hugo Hoekstra wrote: 
> A petshop gave me a Spathiphyllum sp. without roots.
> The plant still looks good. Any chance of it surviving, and what
> would be the best way to promote root growth if possible?

Is there a section of the tap root left or is it only leaves? This is a
rather difficult plant so I'm not sure that it could regenerate itself
from only a leaf segment or stem but if the growing tip, the meristem is
intact, its always possible.

I would give the plant the very best of conditions possible with good
strong light and CO2 supplementation and don't give up on it until its
really dead and the leaves have turned yellow and there is absolutely no
growth at all from the central tip where new leaves emerge. It is really
very slow growing even under the best of conditions so you might wait
several weeks while the outer leaves look poorly before you can see a
change in one of the new leaves.

The other thing you can do, if the root was broken off and can still be
found, you can try growing it too. Sometimes a new plant can start from
a piece of root.

You could try potting the plant in a small container with some clay I
think, covered with a little gravel to keep the clay from clouding up. A
little fertilizer such as a Jobe's stick added to the clay later on
should improve the growth rate. I wouldn't suggest topsoil, peat or
other soils with humus or organic material since the roots are not
developed enough to prevent anoxic conditions that might arise. Better
yet, you could mix the clay with sand or silt or use a subsoil (which is
usually a mixture of particle textures) because it will be rich in micro
nutrients but not labile (subject to decay). The fine clay particles
coat the coarser sand particles which is better than having a dense
substrate of very fine clay. I think the pottery clays are good because
they have extremely fine texture and thus can be used in small
quantities, mixed together with sand, producing a good mixed texture of
mineral particles.

Since the plant isn't going to be able to extract many nutrients from
the substrate due to a lack of roots, you should follow an hydroponic
approach to fertilization such as with PMDD initially. Later on, the
plant should be able to begin feeding also from the roots.

You can see a picture of Spathiphyllum on my website. A cute plant;
never a danger of taking over the tank!

Steve Pushak                              Vancouver, BC, CANADA 

Visit "Steve's Aquatic Page"      http://home.infinet.net/teban/
 for LOTS of pics, tips and links for aquatic gardening!!!