Anthurium plants, also known as the flamingo flower or the tail flower, are known for their vibrant and showy blooms. These tropical plants are native to South America, and make for great houseplants, as well as for outdoor decor in warm weather.
Not only are these houseplants easy to grow, but they also bloom for long periods with stunning flowers of different colors depending on the variety. The blooming varieties are known for the colorful, heart-shaped waxy spathes and red or yellow tail-like flower spikes. Other varieties feature large leaves with deeply veined foliage.
All anthuriums require high humidity and warmth to thrive and can live about 5 years indoors with proper care. But with our guide, you’ll be able to propagate your plant and have healthy anthuriums indefinitely.
In this article, I’ll explore the different aspects of anthurium care as a master gardener, including light, soil, water, temperature, and humidity, as well as the different types of anthuriums and how to propagate them.
Botanical Name: Anthurium spp.
Common Name: Anthurium, tailflower, flamingo flower, laceleaf
Plant Type: Herbaceous, perennial
Hardiness Zones: 11 – 12 (USDA)
Sun Exposure: Partial sun
Soil Type: Well-drained
Soil pH: Acidic
Bloom Time: Spring, summer, fall, winter
Flower Color: Red, white, pink
Native Area: Central America, South America, Caribbean
Anthurium Plant Care
To begin with, the first step to successfully growing anthurium plants is to ensure that they receive the right amount of light, water, and nutrients.
Failure to do so can cause a number of issues, such as stunted growth, wilted leaves, and root rot. Let’s take a closer look at each of these factors.
Light plays an important role in the growth and development of anthurium plants. While they do not require direct sunlight, they need bright, filtered light to thrive. Direct sunlight can scorch their leaves and cause damage.
Therefore, it’s best to place them near a window with curtains or blinds that can filter the light. If you are growing anthuriums outdoors, it’s best to place them in a spot that receives filtered light or partial shade.
It’s important to note that the amount of light anthuriums need can vary depending on the species and the time of year.
Some species, such as the Anthurium crystallinum, require more shade than others. It is important to research the specific needs of your anthurium plant to ensure that it receives the right amount of light.
The right type of soil is crucial to the growth of anthurium plants. They require well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter.
You can use a mixture of peat moss, perlite, and vermiculite to create a light and airy soil mix that is perfect for anthuriums. Avoid using heavy clay soils, as these can retain too much moisture and cause root rot.
For an easier option, go for potting soil tailored for orchids and add a few handfuls of sand and peat moss to the mix.
It is also important to note that anthurium plants are susceptible to soil-borne diseases, such as Pythium and Phytophthora. To prevent these diseases, it is important to use sterile soil and to avoid overwatering.
Anthuriums need to be watered properly in order to thrive. They should be watered when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch. They prefer moist but not wet soil since you may not see blooms if your plant has soggy soil.
Overwatering can cause root rot, whereas underwatering can cause the leaves to wilt and the plant to become stunted. It is important to ensure that the pot has good drainage, and that excess water can drain out easily.
Plus, it is important to use room temperature water when watering anthuriums. Cold water can shock the roots and cause damage.
Temperature and Humidity
Anthuriums thrive in warm and humid conditions. Ideally, they should be kept in indoor temperatures between 60 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
Plus, they require high humidity levels to prevent their leaves from drying out. You can increase humidity levels by placing a tray of water near the plant, or by misting the leaves with water regularly.
If you live in a dry climate, you may need to use a humidifier to ensure that your anthurium plant receives enough moisture.
Fertilizing anthurium plants is important to ensure that they receive the necessary nutrients. You can use a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer once a month during the growing season. However, overfertilization can cause salt buildup in the soil, which can damage the roots and leaves.
It is also important to note that anthurium plants require different types of fertilizer depending on their growth stage. During the growing season, they require a fertilizer high in nitrogen to promote leaf growth. During the flowering season, they require a fertilizer high in phosphorus to promote flower growth.
Types of Anthurium
Anthiriums are a popular choice for indoor plants due to their vibrant colors and unique shapes. There are over 1000 species of anthurium plants, each with its own distinct characteristics and features.
The Flamingo Lily is perhaps the most well-known type of anthurium. It is prized for its bright red or pink flowers, which resemble the feathers of a flamingo. The Flamingo Lily is native to Colombia and can grow up to 2 feet tall.
The Tailflower, also known as the Anthurium Scherzerianum, is another popular type of anthurium. It is named for its long, cylindrical blooms that resemble the tail feathers of a bird. The Tailflower is native to Central and South America and can grow up to 18 inches tall.
The Painter’s Palette is a unique type of anthurium that is prized for its leaves, which resemble a painter’s palette. The leaves are typically green with splashes of white, yellow, or pink. The Painter’s Palette is native to Ecuador and can grow up to 3 feet tall.
The Crystal Anthurium, also known as Anthurium Crystallinum, is a striking type of anthurium with clear, translucent leaves. The leaves have a waxy texture and can grow up to 2 feet long. The Crystal Anthurium is native to Colombia and is often used in floral arrangements due to its unique appearance.
Other types of anthuriums include the Bird’s Nest Anthurium, which has leaves that resemble a bird’s nest, and the Paddle Leaf Anthurium, which has large, paddle-shaped leaves. No matter what type of anthurium you choose, these plants are sure to add a touch of tropical beauty to your home or office.
How to Propagate Anthurium
While anthuriums are relatively easy to care for, they can be a bit finicky when it comes to propagation. In this guide, I’ll explore two methods for propagating anthuriums: stem cuttings and division.
Propagating anthuriums from stem cuttings is a popular method that can yield excellent results.
To get started, you’ll need a healthy anthurium plant with at least one stem that has two or more leaves. Using a sharp, clean pair of scissors or pruning shears, cut the stem about 4-6 inches from the base of the plant. Be sure to make a clean cut, as jagged edges can make it harder for the plant to heal.
Next, dip the cut end of the stem into rooting hormone. This will help encourage the development of new roots. If you don’t have rooting hormone, you can still propagate the stem, but it may take a bit longer for roots to develop.
Once you’ve dipped the stem in rooting hormone, plant it in a pot filled with well-draining soil. Make a small hole in the soil with your finger or a pencil, and gently insert the stem into the hole.
Be sure to cover the cut end of the stem with soil, and press the soil down firmly around the stem to help it stay upright.
After planting the stem, water it well. Keep the soil moist, but not waterlogged, and place the pot in a warm, bright location. Anthuriums prefer bright, indirect light, so avoid placing the pot in direct sunlight.
Within a few weeks, you should start to see new growth and roots developing from the stem.
Another method for propagating anthuriums is division. This method involves separating an existing plant into two or more smaller plants, each with its own root system.
Division can be a bit more challenging than stem cuttings, but it can be a great way to rejuvenate an older plant or to create multiple plants from a single specimen.
To divide an anthurium plant, start by removing it from its pot. Gently shake off any excess soil, and inspect the roots. Look for natural divisions in the root system, where the roots have formed separate clumps or clusters.
Using a sharp, clean pair of scissors or pruning shears, carefully separate the roots into two or more sections. Be sure to make clean cuts, and avoid damaging the roots as much as possible.
Once you’ve divided the roots, transplant each section into its own pot filled with well-draining soil. Water the plants well, and place them in a warm, bright location. Be sure to keep the soil moist, but not waterlogged, and avoid placing the plants in direct sunlight.
With a little patience and care, your anthurium plants should thrive and grow, providing you with years of beauty and enjoyment.
Whether you choose to propagate them through stem cuttings or division, these tropical plants are sure to bring a touch of exotic elegance to your home or garden.
Potting and Repotting Anthurium
When it comes to potting and repotting anthuriums, there are a few things you should keep in mind to ensure that your plant thrives. Anthuriums are native to tropical regions, and as such, they require specific conditions to grow successfully.
Firstly, let’s talk about the pot. Choosing the right pot is crucial to the health of your anthurium. As mentioned, anthuriums prefer pots that are slightly larger than their current pot. This is because they require space for their roots to grow.
However, it is important not to choose a pot that is too large, as this can lead to overwatering and root rot. A good rule of thumb is to choose a pot that is 1-2 inches larger in diameter than the current pot.
In addition to size, it is important to choose a pot with good drainage holes. Anthuriums do not like to sit in water, and pots without drainage holes can lead to waterlogged soil and root rot.
When choosing a pot, look for one with at least one drainage hole. If the pot you choose does not have a drainage hole, you can create one yourself using a drill or hammer and nail.
Next, let’s talk about soil. Anthuriums require well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. A good potting mix for anthuriums should contain a combination of peat moss, perlite, and vermiculite. These ingredients will help to provide the plant with the necessary nutrients, while also allowing excess water to drain away from the roots.
When it comes to repotting, it is important to do so when the plant has outgrown its current pot. Signs that your anthurium needs repotting include roots growing out of the drainage holes, a lack of growth or flowering, and a general decline in health.
To repot, gently remove the plant from its current pot, being careful not to damage the roots. Once the plant is free from its pot, remove any dead or rotted roots, and trim any excessively long roots.
Place the plant in the new pot, ensuring that it is at the same height as it was in the old pot. Fill the pot with fresh soil, gently pressing it down around the roots. Water the plant well after repotting, and place it in a bright, indirect light. Avoid placing the plant in direct sunlight, as this can scorch the leaves.
By following these tips, you can ensure that your anthurium thrives in its new pot, providing you with beautiful blooms for years to come!
Common Pests and Plant Diseases for Anthurium
If you want your anthurium plant to remain healthy and vibrant, it is essential to be aware of the common pests and diseases that can affect it.
Spider mites are one of the most common pests that can infest anthurium plants. These tiny pests can cause significant damage to the leaves, causing them to turn yellow and eventually fall off. Spider mites thrive in dry conditions, so ensure that the plant is kept moist but not overwatered.
Mealybugs are another common pest that can infest anthurium plants. These small, white, fluffy insects can be found on the underside of leaves and at the base of the plant’s stem. They feed on the plant sap, causing the leaves to turn yellow and wilt. Mealybugs can be controlled by using insecticidal soap or neem oil.
Thrips and scale insects can also infest anthurium plants. Thrips are tiny insects that feed on the plant’s sap, causing the leaves to turn brown and curl up. Scale insects, on the other hand, are small, oval-shaped insects that attach themselves to the plant’s stem and leaves, sucking the sap and causing the plant to weaken. Both thrips and scale insects can be controlled by using insecticidal soap.
Common Plant Diseases
Root rot is one of the most common plant diseases that can affect anthurium plants. This disease is caused by overwatering or poor drainage, which leads to the roots becoming waterlogged and eventually rotting. To prevent root rot, ensure that the plant is not overwatered and that the soil has good drainage.
Bacterial blight is another common plant disease that can affect anthurium plants. This disease is caused by a bacterium that infects the plant’s leaves, causing them to turn brown and wilt. Bacterial blight can be controlled by removing the infected leaves and treating the plant with a copper-based fungicide.
Anthracnose is a fungal disease that can affect anthurium plants. This disease causes brown spots to appear on the leaves and can cause the plant to wilt and die. Anthracnose can be controlled by removing infected leaves and treating the plant with a fungicide.
By being aware of the common pests and diseases that can affect anthurium plants, you can take the necessary steps to prevent them from infesting your plant. Regular inspection and prompt treatment can help keep your anthurium plant healthy and thriving for years to come.
Now that you know how to care for anthurium plants and prevent pests and diseases, you can confidently add these beautiful plants to your indoor or outdoor garden. With proper care, your anthurium plant will bloom and flourish, adding color and vibrancy to your space.
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Melissa Pino is a biologist, master gardener, and regular contributor for Planet Natural. Melissa's work focuses on promoting environmentally-friendly practices, helping people create healthy gardens and finding ways to achieve overall health and wellness.