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One thing to love about anthurium is its heart-shaped spathe extending over its deep green-colored leaves. These spathes that come in different colors (red, pink, white, orange, purple) surround a pale yellow spadix. At first glance, you’d mistake anthurium for a plastic plant because of its glossy appearance.
Aside from being a popular choice for florists, many have also gained interest in growing potted anthurium indoors. However, caring for this ornamental comes with a high price. You’d have to seriously put in time and effort in care and maintenance because it’s not going to be easy.
|Scientific Name||Anthurium spp.|
|AKA||Flamingo flower, Flamingo lily, Tail Flower, Laceleaf|
|Similar to||Peace lily|
|Native to||Central America, the upper part of South America, the Caribbean|
|Shape||Heart-shaped leaves and spathe|
|Maximum size||12 to 18 inches, 9- to 12-inch spread|
|Light requirements||Bright, indirect light|
|Preferred temperature||60 to 85 F (15 to 29 C)|
|Soil||Coarse, moist potting mix
Prefers pH range of 5.5 to 6.5 (slightly acidic)
|Fertilizer||Once every six months using general-purpose houseplant fertilizer|
|Propagation method||Seeds or cuttings|
|Toxicity||Cats, Dogs and Humans|
|Vulnerable to||Fungal rots, blights, leaf spot|
Anthuriums are primarily cultivated for their cut flowers. Having attractive blooms that come in colors of red, pink, white, orange, and purple, they make perfect bouquets, centerpieces, and other decorative floral arrangements.
It’s a tropical plant belonging to the arum family (Araceae). Although its origin can be traced back to Central America, the upper part of South America, and the Caribbean, anthurium has gained huge popularity around the world. It’s no doubt that most people are familiar with this plant.
Anthurium won’t need daily watering but it prefers its soil to be moist. This means that you don’t have to wait for the soil to completely dry before watering it again. Once you’ve noticed that the surface of the soil is already dry, then, it’s time to give water.
The frequency of watering depends on what season is prevailing. During dry seasons, you can water the anthurium twice or more in a week. In winter, once a week watering is already enough.
Use water that’s of good quality. Rainwater is the best option but if not available, tap water will do. You just have to let the water sit for 24 hours to get rid of harmful chemicals such as chlorine and fluorine.
The best light condition for anthurium is bright, indirect light. Make sure to place this plant in a well-lit room but avoid direct contact with sunlight. Providing good lighting will encourage the growth of more flowers.
If you’re relying on Mr. Sunshine for light needs, you can place anthurium in an east to west-facing windows. Use seethrough curtains to filter the light and lessen exposure to strong light intensities.
If your room happens to be dark, you can make use of artificial light as an alternative source. Place the anthurium near the light source with at least 6 to 12 inches distance in between them. You may also do this during the winter season where daylight hours are less than normal.
As a tropical plant, anthurium loves an environment that’s highly humid. It prefers a room condition where there’s a high level of moisture in the air. Such spots include your kitchen or comfort room so you now have an idea where to put them.
If you’re having trouble with low humidity, you can mist an anthurium regularly in the morning. This will help raise the moisture level around the plant. Don’t mist your plant at night because it will take time for the water droplets to evaporate when the temperature is lower.
If you’re quite busy and cannot squeeze enough time for misting, then use a pebble tray instead. Set a tray with pebbles on it and fill it with water just half the height of the pebbles. Place the potted anthuriums on top of the pebbles (not touching the water below) and let the water that evaporates add moisture to the air.
Plant Food and Soil
The best potting mix for anthurium is one that’s loose and light. It has to be well-aerated and slightly acidic (pH of 5.5 to 6.5). To achieve such mixture, you can combine 1:1:1 peat:perlite: bark or 1:1 peat: perlite or 2:1:1 orchid mix:peat: perlite.
Anthuriums wouldn’t need much fertilizer. You can feed the plant once every six months with a general-purpose houseplant fertilizer. No fertilizer should be added during winter when plants are dormant.
To encourage blooms, you may do regular fertilization. But, make sure that your anthurium is receiving enough light.
The most rewarding feeling of caring for anthurium is when the blooms start showing. After all, this is what we’re all waiting for. Well, a good thing because anthurium is a generous flowering plant.
When anthurium starts blooming, they continue to do so throughout the year. That is if it’s grown under favorable conditions. There are a few tricks you can play to encourage the blooming of anthurium.
First, make sure it receives ample indirect light. Second, fertilize the plant during spring and summer with a fertilizer that’s high in phosphorus. Dilute the fertilizer to just ¼ of the original strength and feed it once a month
From time to time, you would need to prune your anthurium to keep it healthy. The first thing to remove would be the aged leaves. Cut them off down to the base and discard.
Leaves that look disproportionate should be removed as well. We should maintain the plant’s orginal shape so we have to get rid of the leaves that appear out of place. Also, remove the blooms that are already dead.
When the plant starts blooming, cutting off some leaves will be beneficial. This will draw the anthurium to spend its energy in producing blooms rather than sustaining the leaves. You can prune as much until there’s at least 4 leaves remaining.
Repotting an anthurium can be done once a year or depending on the need. Once the plant gets too dense and outgrows its container, then it’s time to do repotting. By this time, your anthurium has probably developed a root-bound and it needs your rescue.
A sickly anthurium, especially the one that’s suffering from root rot and fungal diseases, should be repotted as well. This will prevent the plant from getting a further infection. We surely wouldn’t want our dear anthurium to die.
Anthuriums are exquisite enough that you’ll surely want more of its kind. Propagation can be done in two ways. You can use seed or cuttings to multiply the plant.
Using seeds is rarely done because it’s time consuming and quite challenging. However, it can be rewarding as well because you’ll have the chance to do cross-pollination. This can result in seedlings that are superior in characteristics.
However, if you’re up for a more convenient option, then go for anthurium cuttings instead. All you need is to divide the mother plant into smaller ones. Plant them separately in different pots and you now have anthurium babies to tend.
The common pests you’ll encounter with anthurium are mealybugs, spider mites, whitefly, and scale. You can manually pick them out everyday until they’re completely gone.
Another way to deal with them is using water spray. Add enough pressure when you spray the infected parts until they’re totally out. You may also use solutions such as diluated soaps and detergents.
Anthurium is a very pretty indoor plant but you have to handle it cautiously. This ornamental is toxic to pets and humans when eaten. Insoluble calcium oxalate crystals are present in the plant that will get released once chewed.
Some signs of posion caused by anthurium includes drooling, pawing at the face or mouth, oral pain, decreased appetite, and vomiting. It can also cause skin irritation so make sure to use protective gloves when you touch this plant.
Why is my anthurium leaves getting yellow?
If you notice your anthurium leaves turning yellow, the most probable reason is lack of sunlight. Is its current location a little darker? If yes, then, you have to move it somewhere well-lighted. Just avoid having directcontact with sunlight to avoid scorching the leaves.
How to care for anthurium cut flowers?
Assuming you have several varieties of anthurium and they finally bloomed with different colors, you may use the flowers and arrange them together in a single container. This will make an exquisite flower arrangement.
All you need is cut the mature flowers at the base of stem. Prepare a vase with clean water on it and place the cut flowers there. You may add other cut flowers and accessories too.
Replace water once a week. Cut the stem at least 5 cm off the base every time. Anthurium cut flowers can last two to three weeks if it’s well taken care of.
Why is my anthurium plant not producing flowers?
If the growing conditions are not ideal, you’ll have trouble encouraging your anthurium to bloom. The key is enough bright light. Growing anthurium in the dark will only produce foliage.
Another way to make it bloom is regular fertilization. Using liquid fertilizer that’s high in phosphorus will help the plant produce more flowers as well.
Caring for anthurium may seem a little fussy but the reward of getting lovely flowers will compensate for all the work done. You may have trouble tending on it on your first try. However, with strong dedication, you’ll surely make it work.
Just be careful to follow the tips written above and provide the ideal growing conditions as much as possible. The goal is for the anthurium to feel at home.