GAR­DEN

STUN­NING IN­DOOR PLANT THAT THRIVES ON NE­GLECT NOW HAS AN IN­TRIGU­ING NEW FAM­ILY MEM­BER

Life & Style Weekend - - CONTENTS - GREEN THUMB WORDS: MA­REE CUR­RAN

Ilove hav­ing plants in my home, and re­ally en­joy ex­per­i­ment­ing, try­ing lots of dif­fer­ent plants in var­i­ous po­si­tions. But I must ad­mit I’m a bit ne­glect­ful, so I need plants that aren’t too fussy. I’m do­ing re­ally well with fid­dle leaf figs, so well in fact that I’ve had to prune a cou­ple as they grew so tall they reached the ceil­ing. Peace lilies are an­other favourite, and there are al­ways a few flow­er­ing pha­laenop­sis orchids some­where in the house. Di­ef­fen­bac­chias, mon­stera de­li­ciosa and even maiden hair ferns are also achiev­able if I put them in the right po­si­tion. But one of my ab­so­lute favourites is the Zanz­ibar Gem (za­miocul­cas za­mi­ifo­lia). This beau­ti­ful thing thrives on ne­glect, which suits me very well. With glossy, deep green leaves re­sem­bling a cy­cad, a Zanz­ibar Gem will sit in a pot, even in a dark corner, with barely any wa­ter and look great for years. I wa­ter mine only about once a month in sum­mer, and even less in win­ter, and it just sits there in its pretty pot look­ing gor­geous. So imag­ine my ex­cite­ment when I learned about a new form of this plant, be­ing sold here in Aus­tralia un­der the name Jun­gle War­rior, and known in Amer­ica as Raven. The big dif­fer­ence be­tween this one and the one plant ne­glecters have come to know and love is that the leaves emerge bright green, but then turn black. Dur­ing the grow­ing sea­son, the plant will have both green and black leaves. Dur­ing the more dor­mant pe­riod, the leaves will all be black. Jun­gle War­rior is as tough as its more widely grown cousin, tol­er­at­ing very dark po­si­tions as well as brighter ones, and pre­fer­ring to be kept quite dry. These plants grow quite slowly, which is great for an in­door plant be­cause it means you don’t have to keep re­pot­ting and trim­ming to keep it to a man­age­able size. My Zanz­ibar Gem has been in the same pot for four years and con­tin­ues to pro­duce new leaves. It may need to be re­pot­ted into a larger con­tainer next spring. I fer­tilise it with a slow re­lease fer­tiliser a cou­ple of times a year, and that’s all it needs. Like many other mem­ber of the ara­cae fam­ily, these plants may be harm­ful if eaten, so please don’t be tempted to taste them. Be­cause the Jun­gle War­rior is new to the mar­ket here, it may be a bit hard to find and will be a bit more ex­pen­sive than the green Zanz­ibar Gem, but it is def­i­nitely worth look­ing out for.

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