DESCRIPTION: These are tropical, climbing plants found wild in tropical America, Mexico and Costa Rica. Its large, leathery, leaves can grow to 3 feet. They are deeply divided and perforated with holes. Its flowers are yellow and resemble the Calla Lily. They produce a cylindrical, edible fruit in the wild, resembling a Pineapple and that has a Pineapple-Banana taste to it. It rarely fruits outside the tropics, however. It has woody branches that cling to trees with long, cordlike aerial roots.
POTTING: This plant will flourish in 60- to 70-degree temperatures. The compost should consist of three parts of turfy loam, two of peat moss or leaf mold, one of coarse sand and one of well-decayed manure. It has vigorous growth, therefore, it's only suitable for large hothouses or conservatories and for indoor use in large rooms. Planting is done in February or March. Wires or trellis should be attached to the wall and roof, to which the shoots should be trained. The plants need a lot of water in the summer and a humid atmosphere. They should be sprayed with water daily. Shade is provided during the sunniest part of the day. Less humidity and water is needed in the winter. Pruning consists of shortening the most vigorous shoots and thinning out weak growths in the spring.
PROPAGATION: The stems can be cut into lengths, each consisting of three or four joints. Each piece is inserted in a propagating case heated to 75 degrees. When well rooted, they are potted separately in 4-inch pots and returned to the glass case until established. The next move is into 6- or 7-inch pots.
VARIETIES: M. delicioas (has yellow flowers & Pineapple-like fruits, stands shade well & is a nice houseplant when small); M. acuminata; M. Friedrichsthalii; M. dubia.
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