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My Most Elegant Indoor Plant: Mikado

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I hate to play favourites, but it is so hard not to when you have a plant like this (Please don’t tell my other plants). I can hardly pass up a rare plant when the price is right. That is why when I laid my eyes on this plant that looked liked it would be on the set of Star Trek, I couldn’t help bringing it home with me. Syngonanthus chyrsanthus aka Mikado, looks out of this world with its golden flower buds and long thin flower stalks. Interesting fact: There are only 2 companies in the whole world that have selling rights to these plants.

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Mikado, a native plant of Brazil is found naturally growing in swamps. They grow well in warm tropical temperatures which makes them great as indoor plants. One thing they love though is humidity… lots of it. It is best to keep the humidity level between 60-70% which may be more than you could provide indoors. You can increase the humidity around the plant by placing it on a tray filled with water and pebbles, or grouping plants together. Better yet, you could place soaked moss between the container it is in and a decorative pot. You could also keep them in a bathroom or kitchen as they tend to be humid than most rooms in the rest of the house.

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I haven’t done so yet, but I plan to set mine up as I did  Benji, my fly trap, that is, placing it on wet pebbles in a tall glass vase. This way the evaporating water can keep the environment around the plant humid. The plant has to be kept moist at all times as drier conditions will cause the plant to wilt. It is has to be a fine balance of moisture to prevent fungal growth.

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Beautiful gold buds

Mikado prefer acidic soil that is airy enough but can also hold on to moisture. According to Anthura (one of the companies that own the patent), it is best to water the plant from the bottom of the pot rather than from above. If you wish to add fertilizer, you should water from the bottom, otherwise you can water from the top with fertiliser-free clean water. They prefer bright but indirect sunlight. This I can provide in the spring and summer time in my home. Come winter, I will have to substitute the right amount of light with some artificial lighting,

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Mikado does not grow very big so 4 inch pots are ideal. The plant is shaped like a rosette, and to me looks like an airplant. The flower stalks shoot out from the center of the rosette. The buds are a beautiful golden colour which at first I thought could not be real. They look like giant pins and oh did I mention how beautiful they are? The buds open up to reveal beautiful fluffy button-like flowers.

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Mikado, unfortunately is susceptible to pests such as aphids and fungus. Mikado is such a rare specimen and hard to find. If you are a plant collector of all things weird, rare, or unique, this is the plant for you. If you have a Mikado, please share pictures and/or care tips below.

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14 Comments
  • Angie says:

    Hi, great site thank you for the info. I came across this stunning plant in my local garden centre in the Algarve and was quite struck by it but did not buy it. When I came home I looked it up and decided I had to have it so called my mum who lives closer to the garden centre and she popped in and bought it for me. Can you tell me what other plants would look nice with it in the pebble tray?
    Thank you
    Angie

  • […] that really hard-to-find house plant you’ve been looking for (like the Hindu rope plant or mikado). That is what I love about this place. What kind of flower shop would you expect from a florist […]

  • Sharon says:

    This plant is very interesting looking. Almost like grass but those flowers are breathtaking. Never seen this plant before but would love to have one

  • Michelle says:

    I just brought this one home. Hope I can keep it happy and healthy!

    • Barbara says:

      That is beautiful Michelle. I find it likes a lot of humidity so keep it on a tray or jar filled with pebbles and water if you do not have a humid area in your home. All the best with your Mikado and thanks for sharing!

  • Rebecca says:

    Hello….I purchased this little beauty along with 2 types of Pitchers and a Fly Trap on Monday…So excited to have them….You speak about Fungus, how would I know if I had fungus?? How would I deal with it along with Aphids?? I researched them through the winter so I knew what would be good for my area and I’m hoping these are going to be good…Thanks so much for all the good info…R.Odell

    • Barbara says:

      Hi Rebecca,
      Glad you were able to get those plants. Pitcher plants are on my wish list!
      Mikado likes humid areas so growing it in a humid area may promote fungus growth. You would notice white stuff (mold) on the top of your soil. Usually these are not harmful, but can become unsightly. I get rid of them by scooping a few centimetres off the top soil and replacing with fresh soil. Some say adding cinnamon as well to the top soil deters their growth. I have tried this but cant say that it works 100%. I haven’t encountered aphids, thankfully, but this website has good information on what they are and how to get rid of them http://houseplants.about.com/od/pests/a/Aphids.htm Hope that helps.

  • Adorablest says:

    Just lovely! I’d never heard of this plant, thanks for sharing 🙂 Looks a little like Armeria with its adorable tufty leaves, but it’s no where near as rare as your Mikado. Congrats!

  • Peter/Outlaw says:

    How interesting! I thought it was a tillandsia until you showed the flowers. There’s nothing like the thrill of finding something new and unusual to add to one’s collection! Happy new plant to you!

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