Anthurium is an exotic house plant most famous for its unique shape and amazing waxy flowers. It is the largest genus of the Araceae family, with more than 1000 species of perennial Anthurium plants native to the Americas. They can be found from Mexico to Argentina and in some parts of the Caribbean. The most popular varieties are Anthurium andreanum and Anthurium scherzerianum.
The beautiful name Anthurium is a combination of two Greek words, ‘anthos’ meaning flower and ‘oura’ meaning tail, hence Tail Flower, one of its popular names. Perhaps its most known name is Flamingo Flower, although some gardeners like to refer to it as Flamingo Lily, Laceleaf, Oilcloth, or Boy Flower.
Anthurium can be grown outdoors in warmer climates, while in colder areas it is often seen indoors or in greenhouses. Fortunately, these plants are not only for people with large backyards, as they are very compatible with indoor spaces. Even if you live in a colder climate, adding one to your collection is a must! However, keep in mind that the Flamingo Flower can be quite demanding and require some extra TLC so they can beautifully bloom all year long.
Like most house plants, the Flamingo Flower has certain requirements that need to be met in order for it to thrive. You might think that it can be quite a hassle at first, but we promise it will be worthwhile! Keep reading to find out for to grow and care for this amazing flowering plant
About Anthurium Plants
- Anthurium is the largest genus in the Araceae/arum family, encompassing more than 600 species, so these plants are not just very beautiful, but also diverse. Anthuriums come in many different colours such as red, pink, cerise, burgundy, chocolate, orange, white, yellow, and even green.
- These beautiful flowering ornamentals come from tropical rainforests. Dr Karl van Scherzer, an Austrian doctor and botanist, discovered the first variety of Anthurium in 1857 and named it after himself ‘Anthurium scherzerianum’. The second variety of Anthurium was found by Eduard Francious Andre, in 1876, and was, thus, named Anthurium Andreanum.
- The common name ‘flamingo plant’ is more commonly associated with Anthurium scherzerianum, as the colour of its bract is usually pink. However, nowadays a lot of people attribute this name to other types of anthurium flowers.
- Anthuriums are a symbol of hospitality and are popular gifts worldwide due to their large heart-shaped flower also called the Heart of Hawaii. Furthermore, they are lucky plants in Feng Shui believed to bring good luck and lusty love in relationships. This plant inspires happiness and abundance, so keeping one at home or the office will bring prosperity.
- The Flamingo Flower looks indeed dashing, but its bright colours are also an indicator of its toxicity. Make sure to wear gloves when handling it. The plant contains calcium oxalate crystals, like most members of the Araceae family, which are poisonous if chewed or touched. Keep your pets and small children away from this beauty. Common signs to watch for include oral pain, drooling, vomiting, decreased appetite, and even swelling of the upper airways.
- Back in the day, Anthurium was used as a remedy for muscle pain and joint pain caused by arthritis. The leaves were cut and boiled and then applied over the painful areas. However, the plant is toxic and can cause rashes, so we recommend avoiding using it this way.
- The flowers of the Anthurium are among the longest-lasting of all plants, which means that with proper care you can enjoy their incredible colours for months on end. Moreover, they will bloom throughout the year, so they can be your centrepiece even at the Christmas dinner table.
- Besides bringing life to any dull corner, Anthuriums add oxygen and even purify the air in your home. According to NASA’s famous clean air study conducted a few years ago, some plants can neutralize toxic substances from the air via natural processes. Anthurium is very effective at removing ammonia, xylene, formaldehyde, and toluene from the air. It is the ideal plant to place around printers, copiers, or adhesives.
Anthurium Features: An Overview
- Anthuriums are perennial plants that grow at a slow or moderate pace, depending mainly on the lighting conditions. Although they will grow faster with ample light, there is always a risk of sunburn, so make sure to place them away from direct sunlight.
- Most Anthurium varieties are epiphytes, meaning they grow on the surface of another plant like a parasite. However, unlike parasites, they do not rely on support from the host plant. Instead, they take their nutrients from the air, compost that gathers in tree crevices, and from the falling rain. These types of plants are more common in moist tropical climates.
- Contrary to popular belief, the colourful heart-shaped, waxy bloom of the Flamingo Flower is not a flower at all. It is actually a modified leaf that protects the spadix which contains several small flowers. The spathe can come in a variety of colours, including pink, burgundy, lilac, white, and orange. Some can even be spotted or bi-coloured.
- The flowers spiral closely together on the spadix, which is normally elongated and has a spikey appearance, although it can be globe-shaped as well. The inflorescence holds the tiny flowers which contain both male and female characteristics. Anthurium plants also produce fruit from the flowers of the spadix. These are berries of different colours that typically contain two seeds.
- The spathe is located under the spadix and is a type of lance-shaped bracts. Sometimes it covers the spadix. Many Anthurium breeders focus on the spadix and spathe when they developed cultivars with the most unusual shaped and bright colours. The only species that grow red spathes are Anthurium andreanum and Anthurium scherzerianum.
- You might be wondering what the differences between A. scherzerianum and A. Andreanum are. For starters, their spadix is quite different. The spadix of A. Andreanum is straight, while the spadix of A. scherzerianum is curved. Other notable differences are the plastic-like aspect of A. Andreanum blooms and their heart-shaped bract.
- Anthurium Andreanum is more common in nurseries and flower markets and some of the most interesting and unique-looking hybrids that you can find are ‘Black Beauty’, ‘Champion’, ‘Livium’, ‘Oaxaca’, ‘Purple Miss June’, ‘Simba’, and ‘Zizou’.
- Another interesting type of Anthurium that is worth mentioning is Black Anthurium (Anthurium watermaliense) which has glossy dark green foliage and a very dark-coloured bloom.
- Flamingo Flowers can be grown outdoors as a landscaping plant in USDA zones 10 and above. If you live in hardy zones below 10, you can grow it as a houseplant in a container or a greenhouse.
Growing Anthurium Plants
In the wild, flamingo flowers grow in rainforests, so this gives a lot of clues about their care requirements in your home. To keep them blooming regularly throughout the year, it’s best o replicate their natural environment.
Anthurium plants appreciate plenty of bright, indirect light, but they don’t like direct sunlight, as it can burn their leaves. When kept in low-light conditions, they will produce fewer flowers and their growth rate will slow down. If there isn’t a bright spot in your home, you still have a chance to grow Anthurium plants – you can use a grow light. If you have plenty of sunlight in your home, then it is best to filter it using sheer curtains or place the plant further away from the windows.
Wild Flamingo Flowers live at a temperature above 60°F (15.5°C). Because they love warmth, it’s best to maintain a steady temperature between 64°F and 85°F (18°C and 30°C). If the temperature drops below this level, the plant will stop growing. If your house gets too hot, the plant will wilt. Mimicking their natural conditions will ensure the plant thrives. Make sure to keep them away from hot radiators, fans, and draughts.
- Unit Type: lot (100 pieces/lot) , Package Weight: 0.03kg (0.07lb.) , Package Size: 10cm x 10cm x 5cm (3.94in x 3.94in x 1.97in) , Product Type: Bonsai , Cultivating Difficulty Degree: Very Easy , Style: Annual
- Flowerpot: Excluded , Size: Mini Medium Large Small , Function: Interest , Full-bloom Period: Spring , Applicable Constellation: Virgo , Location: Courtyard
- Unit Type: lot (100 pieces/lot) , Package Weight: 0.01kg (0.02lb.) , Package Size: 10cm x 10cm x 10cm (3.94in x 3.94in x 3.94in) , Brand Name: YHNOO , Full-bloom Period: Winter , Applicable Constellation: Leo
- Type: s , Flowerpot: Excluded , Cultivating Difficulty Degree: Very Easy , Function: Air Purification , Classification: Happy Farm , Variety: Anthurium Andraeanu
- Use: Outdoor Plants , Style: Perennial , Climate: Subtropics , Location: Balcony , Size: Medium , Product Type: Bonsai
- Hardiness zone.10-12
- Grow.The best planting medium is vermiculite which has been previously moistened. Lightly press the seed into the vermiculite, leaving an inch. between.Place the flat where temperatures are at least 70 degrees Fahrenheit,using a seed mat if necessary.germination in about five to seven days.
- Tall.12-18 in,9- to 12-inch spread
- Use.Anthuriums are listed in NASA's air purifying plants list. They are one of the best houseplants that purify indoor air.
- Self-seeding.Grow from seed and enjoy growing with your family.
Last update on 2023-08-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Anthuriums prefer high humidity levels, but they are quite adaptable and can tolerate more dryness. If the humidity level in your home is less than 50%, it’s recommended to use a humidifier and increase the level to a minimum of 60%. Alternatively, you can fill a tray wider than the plant’s foliage with 2-3 inches of pebbles and pour water so that you leave the top half-inch of the pebbles dry. Place the pot on top of the pebbles so that the water will evaporate around it. You can even use a larger tray and place more than one plant on top.
Grouping tropical plants together will also help maintain a higher humidity level as they release extra water from their leaves. Other options include misting the plant daily or moving it to a high-humidity area such as the bathroom, provided you have sufficient light there.
Another aspect you must consider when growing Anthuriums is pruning. If you notice your plant has wilting or dying leaves, it’s best to remove them so that the plant won’t put its energy into trying to revive them. Pruning will help the plant direct its energy into creating new leaves and blooms. Remove any faded flowers as well if you do not wish to produce seeds. Make sure you use clean hand pruners and avoid cutting off too many leaves.
Anthuriums don’t grow very fast, so you won’t have to worry about moving the plant into a bigger container for at least two or three years. In their natural environment, Flamingo Flowers are climbers and can reach 15 feet (5 meters). Indoors, they will grow as much as you allow them to, and reaching their maximum size will take a while.
The best indicator that your Anthurium needs repotting is when its roots fill the pot, and you start noticing too many air roots. Keep in mind that you should not use a much larger pot than the previous one – no more than 2 inches (5 cm). Choose the container’s material based on your watering preferences. If you tend to overwater your plants, a terracotta pot is the best choice. On the other hand, if you often forget about your plants, choose a plastic pot that can hold moisture better. In any case, make sure there are multiple drainage holes.
Anthuriums prefer well-draining soil that can hold some moisture. Waterlogged potting mix can kill the plant by depriving the roots of oxygen and causing root rot. In nature, these climbing beauties grow on a host, and even though they receive a lot of rain, their roots are hanging in the air rather than being buried in the ground.
To ensure your Anthurium is healthy, use a potting mix designed for orchids. You can even create your own peat-based mix or pine bark mix with perlite and volcano rock so that the roots will be sufficiently aerated.
Flamingo Flowers don’t require too much fertilizer. In their natural environment, epiphytic plants cannot get nutrients from the soil, so they constantly absorb small amounts of dissolved minerals from rainwater and decomposed vegetation. To mimic nature and encourage blooming, you can feed your plant once a week small amounts of liquid fertilizer that is rich in phosphorus. Choose a fertilizer that is designed for flowering plants and dilute it to 10-20% of its strength.
Anthurium Common Problems
Anthurium flowers last approximately 6 weeks and return every few months. One of the most common reasons why indoor Anthuriums don’t flower is insufficient light. Make sure to move your plant to a location where it receives plenty of indirect sunlight all day long. If this is not an option, use a full spectrum grow lamp instead and keep it on for approximately 9 hours every day. If the plant still doesn’t produce vibrant blooms, you might have a temperature issue. Try to keep the Anthurium plant comfortable at a steady temperature between 64°F and 85°F (18°C and 30°C) as rapid temperature changes can adversely affect the plant.
Yellowing leaves or brown spots and tips can be an indicator that it is receiving too much direct sunlight. Try moving the plant further from the window or use sheer curtains to filter the light. Yellowing leaves and tips can also be a sign that your Anthurium is not getting enough water. If the soil feels too dry, decrease the time between waterings.
Anthuriums that grow in improper conditions become susceptible to many different types of pests and without intervention, these pesky invaders might be transferred to other plants as well. The most common pests when it comes to anthuriums are sap-sucking insects that feed on the plant’s sap and gradually deplete it. Spotting an infestation early on is very important, but in some cases, noticing sap-sucking insects can be quite difficult as they tend to hide on the undersides of leaves.
Aphids that infest anthuriums can be brown, black, green, red, white, or brown. Thrips and spider mites are also difficult to spot because they are very small. If you notice that the leaves and stems are covered with a fine webbing, you may have a spider mite infestation. Check if the upper surface of the leaves is mottled. Under the leaves, you should be able to spot mites and eggs. Treat the plant with a spray containing plant oils or fatty acid and improve air circulation and humidity in the room.
Mealybugs are another common pest that often attacks houseplants. They look like cottony, sticky balls on the leaves and stems. At higher numbers, they can weaken the plant and cause leaf yellowing and curling. Apply an insecticide to a cloth and wipe them off. Avoid using too much fertilizer, as it can attract the mealybugs. Another pest that can be attracted to your anthurium plants is scale, which is a bit easier to distinguish as it has a hard body and sticks to the underside of leaves and on the stems.
Another common issue with tropical plants, including anthuriums is root rot which usually develops due to stagnating water, improved watering, and overwatering. The first symptoms of root rot include brown roots, stems and leaves that wilt and turn yellow or brown, and unpleasant smelling roots. When you notice these symptoms, the first course of action should be to take the plant out of the pot, check the roots, remove the rotten parts, and move the healthy parts into fresh soil.
Unfortunately, saving a plant that’s been attacked by root rot is often an impossible task because plants affected by root rot deteriorate very rapidly. Therefore, it is best to avoid root rot altogether, so keep reading to learn more about watering these plants correctly.
Watering Anthurium Plants
As mentioned in the previous section, anthurium plants are susceptible to root rot, so avoid overwatering. Only water when the first inch (2,5 cm) of the soil feels dry to the touch and stop pouring as soon as you see water draining into the tray. As a reference, water once per weak during winter and twice during summer. However, keep in mind that your plants might need more or less water depending on their environment. As a general rule, the soil should be kept moist and never be allowed to completely dry out, as this can affect the root ball.
Keep in mind that the more light your plant gets, the more water it will need. If you have a south-facing window, chances are that the water will evaporate faster. Furthermore, if you grow Anthuriums in the garden or bring your plants outdoors during summer, you can water them every two or three days. Pay attention to the plant, as it will show signs of thirst. Wet feet are not the only problem that can emerge from incorrect watering. Anthuriums that are watered from above can develop leaf blight. The good news is you can easily avoid this issue by watering at soil level.
Propagating Anthurium Plants
Flamingo Flowers are such beautiful and rewarding plants to grow that you might just want to have more! Propagating is also recommended for plants that don’t bloom so often or have stopped altogether. There are four ways you can propagate: by dividing, from stem cuttings, root cuttings, or seeds. Although you can grow Flamingo Flowers from seeds, it can be as long as four years before you start seeing flowers, so we will focus on the other methods mentioned below.
The perfect time to propagate Anthurium plants is when you repot them, especially if you want to divide them as well. If you notice plenty of fleshy, knobby air roots growing above the soil line, it means that your Anthurium is ready to be repotted. Gently divide the plant into two (or more, depending on the size) using your fingers, and make sure each division has a healthy supply of roots and leaves. Offshoots will be easier to separate. Plant in containers that are the same size or slightly smaller than the one you had before. If you don’t need so many Anthuriums, you can offer the new divisions as gifts to your loved ones.
To propagate from stem cuttings or root cuttings you will need to use a pair of sterilized pruners, a clean pot, proper potting mix, and some hormone rooting powder. Start by cutting an aerial root or a stem that is at least 4 inches (10 cm) long, with two or three leaves on it. Next, dip the end into the hormone rooting powder and plant it into a fresh potting mix. Water thoroughly and make sure to keep the soil moist for the following weeks. Place the pot into a warm spot with plenty of indirect sunlight.
Anthurium plants are a great addition to any home, as they can bring life to any dull corner. Their unique shape and vibrant waxy flowers have made them popular ornamental plants throughout the world. They are appreciated by florists and used in bouquets and flower arrangements thanks to their long-lasting blooms.
Native to tropical forests, most Anthuriums varieties are epiphytes, meaning they don’t grow in the soil but on the surface of another plant host. This means that in order to thrive and bloom, they need conditions similar to their natural environment. This may seem like a hassle at first, but if you are up for a challenge, you will be rewarded with your own little piece of tropical paradise!
Are you growing Anthuriums? Share your experience in the comments!