Anthurium Plant & Flower Care

You might think that the different colors of red, pink, white, or purple found in Anthurium plants are flowers, but they are not! These heart-shaped flowers are called spathes, which grow from the base of the soft spike where you can find the real tiny flowers. Inflorescence, the flower, sprout from the center structure.

Some of the common names are flamingo flower, laceleaf, painted tongue, red peace lily, and tailflower. It’s native to the Americas and is common in the areas of northern Argentina to northern Mexico.

Here’s a thorough guide on Anthurium plant and flower care that we hope you’ll enjoy!

Anthurium plant in the wild

How do you take care of it?

There is no one rule in taking care of plants because it differs from one variety to another. For example, taking care of a Hibiscus tree is different from taking care of a Tomato plant.

The first thing you need to know about it is that they are poisonous if ingested. If you have children or pets, including cats and dogs, at home, keep it away from them. We recommend you to put it at an elevated place far from their reach.

Caring for it
Sunlight Water Temperature
Humidity Fertilizer Soil

Aside from being poisonous if ingested, the sap may cause skin irritation. Take note of these two very important things.

Taking care of one these may be divided into five different topics that we need to consider. These are sunlight, water, temperature, humidity, fertilizer, and soil.

Sunlight

They need warm, indirect sunlight when they are flowering. Take note that you should never expose it to direct sunlight. Doing so will scorch the spathes and leaves.

If you want yours to grow more spathes, you should expose it more often to sunlight. If you want it to grow fewer spathes, lessen its exposure to sunlight. 

Water

Growing one requires you to give much attention to the soil. When about an inch of the soil is dry to the touch, water immediately. When water starts to drain from the potholes, stop to avoid overwatering. The roots are very delicate, making them susceptible to rot. During the winter season, it does not need as much as it is not actively growing.

If it receives much indirect sunlight, it will need more water. Check the soil once every few days to ensure the soil is not too dry. On the other hand, if it does not receive much indirect sunlight, it will need less.

They will show signs whenever it is stressed or thirsty. To find out if it is thirsty, try to lift the pot. If it feels light, then it is most likely thirsty. Another sign to pay attention to are puckering leaves.

Temperature

It thrives the most in warm temperatures that range from 70°F to 90°F. If you are thinking of placing it indoors, don’t worry because it is very adaptable. 

What is important with the plant in terms of temperature is to avoid extremes. If the temperature drops below 50°F, it will stop growing. If it is hot, it will wilt.

Humidity

A wide range of their species thrive in humid weather, but the ones that flower can tolerate dryness more than the ones that don’t flower. The ideal humidity is 60%. If it goes below that, using a humidifier is a quick way to increase humidity.

Aside from using a humidifier, putting your indoor plants close to each other can increase the humidity of the immediate area surrounding them. You can also try to fill a small tray with water and pebbles.

Fertilizer

Spring and summer are the growing seasons for them. During these seasons, apply 1/4-strength liquid fertilizer once a month. 

Measuring the fertilizer applied is very important because adding too much can harm them. A fertilizer that contains high phosphorus content encourages it to bloom more during the growing season.

Soil

In the wild, they grow on trees, which allows them to receive a lot of water from fog and rain while allowing it to drain fast. Allowing it to drain quick prevents the roots from rotting. 

It prefers a soil that is rich, porous, and coarse. When making the soil, consider adding one part peat moss, one part perlite, and one part fir bark. Mix these thoroughly before planting. 

Indoor Care

girl holding up an Anthurium plant

Indoor plants often receive less sunlight than outdoor ones, so it’s important to know which can thrive indoors and which ones can’t. It thrives both indoors and outdoors, but they are most often found indoors due to its glossy, waxy leaves and rich spathe colors. Because of these characteristics, it’s a common mistake to think it’s an artificial plant.

If you one in a part of your house that gets little to no sunlight, you should consider placing it sometimes at a location that gets sunlight. A few hours a week should be enough.

When it does not get exposed to much sunlight, it is likely for the soil to dry slower. Controlling the amount of water it receives is the best way to prevent the roots from rotting and the plant from dying.

Repotting

Since they are common indoor varieties, it’s likely for you to place them in a pot. It will come a time when you need to repot it. The best time to do this is early in the year, right after new roots start to grow. 

A pot that is six to seven inches tall is the ideal size. Fill half of the pot with rocks and the other half with your soil mixture. They need a loose, organic soil mixture so water can drain well.

As it grows, its roots will raise the level of the entire plant above the rim of the pot. When this happens, put some moss around this area to keep it moist. You can cut off the stem to level with the rim of your pot, then repot. Do this yearly or whenever the roots have raised the entire plant above the pot’s rim.

Common problems

They are easy to grow and maintain, but you may still face some problems while growing it. Addressing these issues is easy, so don’t worry about it. 

Common problems
Too much light Overwatering Overfertilization
Little to no flowering Bacterial problems Fungal problems
Insects No blooming  

Anthurium plant

Too much light

You will know it is overexposed to sunlight if its leaves start to look bleached in the center. Another indication of overexposure to sunlight is if the tips turn brown. When this happens, increase the shade where your plant is. You can either move it to a location that gets less sunlight or use thicker curtains for your windows. 

Overwatering

The leaves will turn yellow when overwatered, just like you will experience with cucumbers. If this happens, check the drainage holes of the pot and make sure it is not clogged. It does not like to stand in water, so make sure all the water gets drained whenever you are watering it. 

You might also need to check how frequently you water them and adjust accordingly. The last option is to repot it to give some air around the roots area.

Overfertilization

The leaves in the lower part will turn yellow. The tips will also turn brown, which will gradually increase in coverage.

Applying too much fertilizer to them can do more harm than good. You will have to reduce the amount of fertilizer and leach the soil thoroughly. Check the roots for any infection or damage. 

Little to no flowering

A mature one normally produces a lot of flowers and leaves. If this is not the case, then there could be a problem with the positioning of the plant. 

Reposition it to a location that receives high levels of indirect sunlight. Remember not to expose it to direct sunlight as this could scorch the leaves and flowers. Continue to expose it to indirect sunlight as long as it does not develop any problems mentioned in the too much light section. 

Bacterial problems

Bacterial problems are not rare and may happen in all parts. Signs of bacterial usually start on the leaf margins near the hydathodes, which is where bacteria enter. Lesions are the first cosmetic sign of bacteria. It appears translucent, water-soaked, and yellowish. It may take time for it to spread but will eventually encompass the leaf margin, then through the center of the leaf.

If it gets systematically infected, it will show signs of stunting, loss of leaves in the lower area, and yellowing. If left untreated, it will eventually die.

The treatment of the bacterial problem is quite tricky. You will have to remove symptomatic leaves and limit overhead irrigation so the pathogen won’t spread to the other parts of the plant. The point is to limit the pathogen within the infected areas to avoid further damage.

Fungal problems

The common fungal problems they usually experience are flower blight, leaf spot, and root rot.

A flower blight or leaf spot are small lesions on the spathe issues or the leaves of the plant. They turn black as they enlarge and are wet in appearance. In high moisture or high temperature, they can easily encompass the entire leaf or flower as these are favorable conditions for the development of pathogens. In low moisture or low-temperature conditions, they can appear papery. 

You can characterize the rotting of the roots by leaves wilting and yellowing. In the early stages of the rotting of the roots, you may see water-soaked brown or gray lesions, which can rapidly expand and affect the entire portion of the roots. When detected at a later stage, there may no living roots left, and will make it impossible to save the plant.

Fungal problems are difficult to cure when they’re already there, so the best cure is prevention. It is advisable to grow it on raised benches and to use clean pots.  

Insects

Insects such as spider mites, scale bugs, thrips, and aphids attack and cause damage. The best way to handle insects is to monitor the plant closely. It needs treatment at the earliest stage of an insect attack. For soft insects, insecticidal soap should do the trick. For insects that have a hard outer shell, use a stronger insecticide. 

No blooming

The plants that do not bloom are either underexposed from indirect sunlight or are too young to bloom flowers.

How long do they live?

They have a typical lifespan of five years or even more. However, propagating it by division lets it last indefinitely.

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Should I mist it?

It thrives most in high humidity. Regular misting of it will help keep the humidity up. It is important to mist it every few days. It also helps if you keep it in an area with natural humidity, such as the bathroom or the kitchen.

When you mist, do not use cold water but use lukewarm water. Spray the entire plant evenly to keep it moist but not soggy. Remember that these love water, but they do not like being soaked in it for an extended period.

It is best practice to keep it in soil that is loose. This way, water will easily flow through the soil and drain properly. Remember to water the soil evenly.

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How often should I water it?

What makes it an excellent household option  is that it requires low to medium amounts of water. Before starting, make sure the soil is dry. Remember that the roots rot easily when it stays in contact with water for an extended period, so be careful.

If you live in a generally hot area, you can do it once every two to three days. If you live in a rainy or cold area, water only when necessary. Your pot should also have unobstructed drainage holes so it can flow freely.

They can thrive through dryness around the root ball but still need regular, thorough watering for consistent growth. Leaving the soil dry for a few days will affect the speed of its growth cycle. It can also cause damage to the root area. On the other hand, overwatering can also cause damage to the root area and yellowing of leaves.

Beautiful Anthurium plant

Common Species

There are several species that are known, and they come in many colors and forms. Some are white, while others are pink. Some have pink and green leaves, while others are plants with red leaves.

Below are some of the common species, as well as some information for each species. 

Crystallinum

The Crystallinum is a species of the Araceae family. This species is native to the rainforest areas of South America and Central America. It grows to around 90 cm tall and is attractive with its velvety, large oval leaves. White venation is also prominent all over its leaves.

They are best grown indoors and in a position that has shade but still gets indirect sunlight. Soil that lets water pass through easily promotes growth.

This speciesrequires a minimum temperature of 16°C to grow healthy. They are also very similar in appearance to the Clarinervium, which is harder to maintain because it requires high light levels and high humidity. If the Crystallinum crossbreeds with the Magnificum, it produces a plant with red and green leaves with weight venation.

Andraeanum

The Andraeanum is a species of the Araceae family. They are native to the regions of Ecuador and Colombia and is a winner of the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit. It’s also commonly called flamingo lily.

It prefers warm, humid, and shady climates and thrive the most in tropical conditions such as rainforests. The most attractive feature of the Andraeanum is its bright spathe leaf and the spadix that sprouts from it. 

The spathe in this species looks waxy and is colored red. It usually measures eight to fifteen cm long, whereas the spadix measures seven to nine cm long.

Although it looks attractive, it is important to know that the whole plant is poisonous as it contains calcium oxalate and saponins. These elements may provoke painful irritations when penetration to the mucous membranes occurs. When it comes in contact with a human, it may cause severe blisters. If it gets ingested, it may result in vomiting, salivation, and difficulty in swallowing.

Superbum

The Superbum is a species of the Araceae family. They are native to Ecuador in the tropical, moist areas of the forest. The Superbum is also known for its nickname Bird Nest Anthurium, which derives from its rose-shaped format. Its leaves are broad and pointed with little shades of brown on the underside.

Before we discuss some essential caring tips, it is important to know that the Superbum is a hybrid plant, which means it is the result of crossbreeding different varieties. 

The Superbum thrives the most in a breathable and loose environment. In its natural habitat, it grows off tree branches and moss. To mimic this indoors, use a mixture of orchid soil and regular soil. Like other species, the Superbum cannot tolerate direct sunlight, so be sure to place it somewhere that receives indirect sunlight.

This specific variety has two growth phases, which are the active stage and the passive stage. The difference between these two phases is the amount of water it needs. During the active stage, which is from March to September, the soil should be kept moist. For the passive stage, check if the soil is moist once every few weeks.

Scherzerianum

The Scherzerianum variant, commonly known as pigtail, is a species from the family Araceae. It originated from the regions of Central America and South America. Their max height ranges between twelve inches to eighteen inches, which is ideal for people who are looking for an indoor plant that isn’t too big nor too small.

The spadix in this variety is color orange and is curly in form. The spathe is color red and has a very glossy texture to it. They usually bloom from spring to summer, where the flowers can last for weeks. The leaves are lance-shaped and grow up to eight inches long.

Similar to several other species, it is poisonous if ingested and can cause problems with digestion. If you have pets at home, keep away from them. It is advisable to place it in an area far away from their reach. When handling it, wear protective gloves.

Veitchii

The Veitchii, often called the King Anthurium, is a species of the Araceae family. It is native to the rainforests of Colombia, where they grow from other trees. The leaves extend up to two meters long and appear strongly corrugated. 

Since the Veitchii is an epiphyte, it gets its nutrients from the rain, wind, and debris that fall from the tree branches. It needs soil that is loose and well-draining. An excellent soil mixture for the Veitchii includes orchid bark, peat moss, sphagnum moss, perlite, and activated charcoal.

The  Veitchii grows best when it gets bright, filtered light. In its natural habitat, they grow near the treetop, where they get a lot of natural, filtered light. It is important to know that direct sunlight will scorch the leaves.

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