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What’s new this winter

Even if she hadn’t been running Collectors’ Plant Fair, Linda Ross would have been there before the gates opened to be sure of securing a swag of treasure.

Here’s part of her shopping list from this year.

Monstera deliciosa is a favourite indoor plant for its hardy habits and the fabulous form of its leaf.So how desirable is this variegated form!Just as easy to grow as its green parent, the white variegations have less chlorophyll, meaning less energy for growth. Bright light is essential to hold the colour.


Magnificent Monstera is so hot right now.


You had to be an early bird to nab the mighty King Anthurium, Anthurium veichii, which is prized for its pendulous, pleated velvety leaves. You may have seen this extraordinary Colombian native growing the cloud forest biodome in Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay.Local enthusiasts are eager to include it in their indoor or greenhouse collections.


King Anthurium, Anthurium veichii


One of the most popular items at the Fair were the silver air plants hanging in copper nets. We love how air plants (Tillandsia spp.) thrive in morning sun, indoors or out, taking moisture from the air and enjoying the odd spray from an atomiser. Dunking plants once a month in a bucket of water keeps them at their best.


Tilli's air plants - a newcomer to Collectors Plant Fair this year.


Collectors were amazed by the range of tropical treasures from Tropical North Queensland shown by Mike Ferraro in his first appearance at the Fair. As well Philodendron pastazanum, with heart-shaped pleated leaves, and boldly flowered Anthurium, Ixora and Medinilla, Mike also had a range of Licuala. These are tropical palms that need a warm, frost-free position and may need to be brought inside during winter in some parts of Sydney. Mike's helper Tiara is pictured here with a variegated licuala whose leaves look like they are being dappled by light falling through the rainforest.


Tiara, from Mike Ferrero Tropical Plants with a variegated licuala


The Plant Artisan created highly desirable living sculptures matching rare and collectible plants with unconventional and cleverly re-purposed containers. Her creations make an excellent table centre-piece, hanging sculpture or pint-sized memorial garden.


Creations by The Plant Artisan


James Lucas sells one of the most extensive succulent collections through his wholesale and retail nursery Succulents Australia. Collectors got in early for rare and collectible succulents like this Aoenium ‘West Rainbow’ and Haworthia and Echeveria hybrids.Succulents are a hit with low-space gardeners as they thrive in pots.


Some of James' stock featured at Collectors' Plant Fair 2019.


On the shelf

Brilliant Green

Are plants intelligent? How you answer depends on how you define intelligence, but if you think that developing complex responses to problems; using senses to gather information about the environment, including about gravity, electromagnetic fields, humidity and numerous chemical gradients; and communicating with each other and with other plant organisms, insects and animals, then you’d have to conclude that plants have smaerts. The age-old problem say the authors of this enlightening little book is that because they don’t move we’ve simply assumed that plants are dumb. Their book assesses current science and will change the way you look at and talk to you garden.

‘Brilliant Green: The Surprising History and Science of Plant Intelligence’ by Stefano Mancuso and Alessandra Viola, published by Island Press, $25.


About this article

Author: Robin Powell