The Araceae family (Araceae) prides itself on having among its relatives genera of very resistant plants that we grow indoors. Among these illustrious members, it is worth mentioning several extremely popular genres, largely thanks to its hardness to survive with medium or even low lighting: the singonium (Syngonium spp.), the aglaonema (aglaonema spp.), the zamioculcas (Zamioculcas zamiifolia) or Adam’s rib (delicious monstera). All of them are very good recommendations when you do not have much of a green hand with the care of indoor plants.
Another Araceae species worthy of being on the podium of very resistant plants is the white flag or spatiphyll (Spathiphyllum wallisii), which also receives other curious names such as peace lily or Moses’ cradle. Originally from Central and South America, it is one of those domestic plants that can be found in countless interiors: homes, offices, restaurants and any place that has been decided to landscape. Its low price, its speed of growth and its ubiquity in all florists and nurseries have boosted its popularity, coupled with the ease of its cultivation.
There will always be some plant that becomes a teacher, if not all of them are, but the squirrel has a highly developed gift for teaching the ignorant, for instructing the apprentice with its anatomy. This is how Milagro Jimena, a doctor from Cordoba and a fan of plants by family tradition, relates those lessons. To measure her passion, suffice it to say that this nutrition specialist counts among hers her vegetable “patients” with a ficus (Ficus elastic) and an asparagus (Asparagus plumosus) with 42 years and three removals in tow, and with her that they continue to grow, so happy. “My son has a squirrel that he calls ‘the hysterical plant’ and it’s because he says it becomes limp, hysterical, when it has to be watered,” he says. “When I went on a trip with my husband and he was home alone, the first few times he would put it in front of the TV so he wouldn’t forget to water it, and when it was dry, depressed, he would water it,” she says amused. In the words of this doctor, the squirrel “warns and revives”, which is why she speaks to us with his body.
It is better not to go to that extreme, to prevent the plant from suffering water stress that can lead to weakness and disease. But in the event that it happens and withers before our eyes, we will know when to anticipate that risk. But, as often happens with indoor plants, it is better not to water excessively and not always keep the substrate waterlogged, to avoid fatal rot in its roots.
As for light, the white flag is very good for growing close to a window. We can even try growing it a little more inside the brightest rooms, to see how it adapts. But we must keep one thing in mind: a plant that we have just bought in a nursery will come with the best growing conditions that the nurseryman has been able to provide. This results in a large number of leaves, and most likely their white inflorescences.
When we take it home or to the office, these conditions will no longer be the same, so the plant will undergo an adaptation to its new growing medium. Since the lighting may very well have dipped, you won’t be able to hold as many blades anymore, so you’ll have to rebalance. In this way, it will lose some of the leaves, since it does not have as much light energy. Far from being scared, we must then observe and wait until how far this loss reaches. If we see that it is very severe, and that it even stops flowering, it will be a clear warning that the light it has is not adequate, and we will have to move it closer to a window. In this rebalancing due to a lack of more powerful light, the new leaves may no longer be as big as the ones you brought from the store. But that’s where a lack of nutrition can also come into play.
Being a very floriferous plant, together with its great capacity to form new leaves quickly, a liquid organic fertilizer will come in handy, at least once a month, if we want to ensure its robustness and the emission of more floral spadices and more than its merry leaves. If we do without those subscribers, as so many people do, it does not mean that it will die on us, but it will not look as lush or maintain as much flowering. In fact, we can almost forget about it and only resort to those risks that keep the substrate moist when needed. This extreme of the rough plant is certified by Nena van Flow, who has a botanical services company and who gives workshops related to it, and who tells us about her family’s squirrel. “It is a half-immortal plant. My mother Encarna had never transplanted it, and a few years ago I changed its pot. She was inherited from my grandmother Delia’s house. Nobody pays any attention to her, and she endures and lives alone, ”says Van Flow.
Within the very different varieties of squirrel we find from those with smaller leaves, such as the variety yes wave Chopinwhich do not usually exceed 50 centimeters in height, even the largest such as mauna loa either sensation, with leaves that can even reach a meter in height. Consequently, we can find it with the perfect size for smaller or larger corners.
To conclude, we must not forget its supposed purifying aspect. Thanks to different laboratory studies that have used the squirrel as a guinea pig, it has been awarded the medal of being an air purifying plant, due to its ability to fix harmful compounds such as benzene. Teacher and healer, the white flag awaits us to teach us with its beauty.