The Ultimate Anthurium Guide: How To Care For, Buy, And Propagate
If you’re looking for the perfect indoor plants, start with Anthuriums. These popular houseplants offer a variety of leaf sizes, colors, and flowers – and with nearly 1,000 species of Anthurium, there’s something for everyone. It’s clear to see why they’ve increased in popularity in the last few years.
In this Anthurium care guide, we’re explaining everything you need to know about growing Anthuriums inside. While not as easy to grow as some plant types, I wouldn’t say a green thumb is required for Anthurium success. Instead, follow our simple care suggestions for tips on how to make these plants thrive.
What Is An Anthurium Plant?
The word Anthurium comes from Greek words ‘anthos’, meaning bloom, and ‘oura’, meaning tail. Anthuriums are a genus typically known for their large green leaves – often with white or yellow veins – and brightly colored flowers. We’ll talk about some of the most famous varieties in just a moment.
When grown outdoors, they are used as landscaping plants in USDA zones 10 and up, especially in shade gardens. But for most of us in the U.S., they make more sense as a houseplant.
Here are some of the most popular Anthurium plant varieties, including their botanical name and their common name:
As you’ll notice, there’s quite a bit of variety when it comes to different anthurium leaves or flowers. Some Anthuriums don’t flower indoors at all – or their flowers are insignificant. Most of these still have stunning leaves, though, so they make excellent foliage houseplant options.
Origin And Family
Anthuriums are a genus of Arums from the Araceae family. This beautiful plant genus is from the Caribbean, northern South American, and Central American rainforests.
Known for their aerial roots and large green leaves, Anthurium has become a popular indoor plant in recent years, thriving as indoor plants in most households with a moderate to high humidity level.
Eduard André discovered this interesting plant in 1876, and it’s a terrific addition to any indoor grower’s collection.
Popular Anthuriums To Try
Are you ready to take the plunge into the world of Anthuriums? Here are some varieties of Anthurium you should try:
Anthurium clarinervium: Sometimes known as Velvet Cardboard, is a gorgeous aroid with dark green leaves and eye-catching white veins. At first glance, the leaves resemble those of the crystallinum. However, upon closer study, you will see that it has larger heart-shaped leaves.
Anthurium crystallinum – Anthurium crystallinum is also known as Crystal Anthurium and Crystal Laceleaf. The leaves are oval and velvety, with white veins cascading from the base. The backs of the leaves appear to be coated in hundreds of tiny crystals.
Anthurium scherzianum – Anthurium scherzerianum, sometimes known as pigtail plant for it’s curly pink spathe. Keep it at temperatures of 60 degrees Fahrenheit or above. It is an epiphyte that grows on trees in the jungle.
Anthurium warocqueanum – Queen Anthurium is a gorgeous plant with large, dark-green velvety leaves and silvery-white veins.
Anthurium andraeanum – The andraeanum, also known as Flamingo Lilies or Painter’s Palette, is an Anthurium variety notable for its long-lasting vivid red flowers and yellow spadix.
Where To Buy
If you want to buy an Anthurium, a local nursery is a good place to start. However, Icarus Plants is an online shop that has some great Anthurium options. That said, we’ve found that the best way to buy these lovely tropical plants is actually through online shops, such as Icarus plants or even Etsy. Etsy has growers from all over the country for some decent deals.
Anthurium andraeanum for Sale:
Anthurium Plant Size
When grown indoors, the size of an Anthurium varies on the variety. Below we’ve included a few Anthuriums, including their height and width.
They typically grow at a slow-to-moderate rate.
How To Care For Anthurium
Like any houseplant, your Anthurium will thrive with proper care. The most important factors for Anthuriums are indirect light, light soil to promote air circulation, and high humidity. We’ll dive into all of these specifics below.
In terms of care difficulty, the Anthurium is easy-to-moderate to care for. It may not be the best plant for a beginner, but you should be fine as long as you focus on the light, humidity, and soil needs of this plant. Check out this plant humidifier from Amazon.
The Anthurium plant growth rate depends on the variety, but most are either slow-to-moderate or moderate growers. Their growing period is typically considered to be between spring and summer months.
Anthurium plants generally prefer a pot with good drainage. It may depend a bit on the variety of Anthurium, but you generally want a low plastic pot with plenty of drainage holes.
It’s common to use pots between the sizes of 8, 7, or 5 inches.
You typically need to repot your Anthurium every two to three years years or until you notice roots circling the top of the potting soil. This is the sign that you should transfer the plant into a larger pot.
Only increase the pot size by an inch or two in diameter, which should give new roots plenty of room to grow.
The plant should be repotted at the same soil level as it was in the original pot.
Anthuriums, like orchids, have aerial roots, meaning they’re air-loving plants.
Because of this, you want to use a soil that has great access to air circulation – something like an orchid mix is a suitable choice.
Use peat moss, sphagnum moss, perlite, and pine bark if you make your own mix or to improve the existing soil.
Keep in mind that Anthurium prefers a relatively moist but not soggy growth medium, and your soil should accommodate this.
For this Anthurium, you’ll want your soil to be acidic to neutral pH, approximately between 5.5 and 6.5.
If you need to raise your pH, you can add a little calcitic lime or dolomitic lime, wood ashes, or baking soda.
If your soil is too alkaline, you can lower pH with sulfur or Aluminum sulfate.
To identify if the soil has low pH, try testing for the pH value.
You should aim for a relatively moist but not soggy potting mix when watering Anthurium. You want to water when you notice drier soil on top.
If you stick your finger into the soil and any more than an inch is dry, the Anthurium is not likely getting enough water.
Another consideration is the quality of the water. Tap water can sometimes damage Anthurium leaves, typically due to fluoride or other substances in the water. Diluted water is preferred, but not a requirement.
When I have plants that struggle with tap water, I fill up a watering can from the faucet, and then let that sit out 24 hours before using it. This gives the water time to release chemicals that could damage the plants’ leaves.
Overwatering and soggy soil are some of the most common causes of indoor plant death. When in doubt, it’s usually preferable to underwater than overwater Anthuriums.
Also, always use well-draining soil and a pot with drainage holes in the bottom of the pot.
Bright Indirect Light
This houseplant prefers bright indirect light for 6-8 hours and no more than 3-4 hours of direct sunlight hours a day. Their leaves can scorch if exposed to too much light or full sun.
If there isn’t enough light, flowering varieties won’t flower, and all varieties will have less vigorous foliage growth.
Remember, you’re trying to give Anthurium a home that’s similar to its natural climate. Since Anthurium comes from the rainforests of the Caribbean, northern South America, and Central America, it’s expected to absorb the indirect light under the canopy.
If you’re concerned that your Anthuriums aren’t getting enough light, start by adjusting their location closer to a window. Grow lights are also good options for this plant, but you don’t want to place them directly underneath bright light.
When it comes to care of Anthurium plants, aim for high levels of indirect light. A little light goes a long way. And direct sunlight can cause scorched leaves or even kill your plant.
Every three months from spring to fall, you should apply a 1/4 strength slow-release fertilizer (liquid fertilizer is fine too) that’s high in phosphorus. Anthuriums need a healthy amount of nitrogen too, but be careful not to add too much fertilizer that’s high in this nutrient.
Overfertilization can cause issues of its own, including brown or burnt leaves.
In the colder months of winter, you typically shouldn’t fertilize your Anthurium plants.
Propagating an Anthurium can be done at the right time of the year through a simple method called division. Here are our recommendations for successful Anthurium propagation.
Anthurium Propagation Through Division
Start with a healthy Anthurium plant. You don’t want to take any leaves that are scorched from being in direct sunlight.
Remove the plant from its pot and separate it into at least two parts at its roots. Look for easy-to-separate offshoots and roots. Take these out and replant them in a new pot. Depending on the size of your anthurium, you could divide it in half or create ten new plants.
Anthuriums make excellent gifts, as they can be pretty expensive to buy!
Humidity And Aeration
Anthuriums are tropical perennials that prefer moderate to high humidity levels– for best results, we recommend you stay between 60-80%.
Brown leaf edges or tips are a good sign that your space lacks sufficient humidity levels. An easy way to combat low humidity is by purchasing a humidifier and placing it near the Anthurium.
When raising an Anthurium, you want to make its environment similar to a tropical rainforest. Cold drafts, dry air, and a generally dry climate do not mix well with Anthurium care.
Dusting Your Anthurium
Cleaning your plants from time to time not only improves the aesthetic of the plant but can also help the leaves better photosynthesize.
To properly dust, just take a damp cloth and wipe it over the leaves of the plant.
You can also use a spray bottle full of water on the plant, but make sure you use the cloth to carefully dry them off.
Dusting is a good rule of thumb for Anthuriums, but it’s not a must for all plants, such as succulents.
For proper Anthurium care, warm temperatures are preferable for your plant, but it can thrive in a temperature range of 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. It may be able to survive in lower temperatures, but we recommend keeping it, at a minimum, in the high 50s.
Consistency is just as important. Anthuriums don’t like extreme changes in temperature, so keep them away from cold windows and air conditioners, as well as any cold or hot drafts.
A warm climate and high humidity are all ideal conditions for Anthuriums. Make sure to go over the humidity portion as well.
Some Anthuriums are grown for their foliage, and others are grown for their flowers. Anthurium flowers typically have a colorful spathe and spadix.
Not only are there a variety of colors, but the shapes of the spathes differ from one kind to the next. There are various common shapes, such as the Ribbon Shape, the Heart Shape, the Cup Shape, the Tulip Shape, and so on.
Here are some of the most common Anthurium varieties grown for their new flowers:
- Anthurium Andraeanum (sometimes called the Tailflower)
- Anthurium Scherzerianum
- Anthurium Amnicola (Tulip Anthuriums)
These plants have fewer flowers in the winter, but as spring arrives, the Anthurium awakens from its dormancy and begins to flower more.
Plants in the Anthurium family are considered toxic to cats, dogs, and humans. The insoluble calcium oxalate crystals are the main issue with Anthurium plants.
If ingested, this plant will cause the following symptoms: pain and mouth swelling, oral irritation of the tongue and lips, vomiting, and difficulty swallowing – caused by insoluble calcium oxalates. In most cases, this plant is considered non-life-threatening.
While Anthurium plants are safe to touch, chewing any part of these Arums will cause the lips and mouth to burn. We have a newborn, so our Anthuriums are kept safely away from her hands and mouth until she’s older.
The sap of Anthuriums can also cause skin irritations in both humans and pets.
#Anthurium cv ‘Obake’ is a large, variegated anthurium grown here in the #Araceae #garden at #WaimeaValley. The name obake means ‘ghost’ due to the color change in the flower. They are somewhat larger than the more common solid red, green, and pink anthuriums. #botanicalgarden pic.twitter.com/rqw1RcexiK— Waimea Valley (@WaimeaValley) November 2, 2021
Pests, Diseases, And Other Problems
Anthurium, like all plants, is prone to a few diseases, pests, and other problems. That said, I would say that Anthuriums are fairly disease and pest-resistant plants.
Here are some quick tips for curing common ailments, as well as some general suggestions for keeping these interesting plants healthy and thriving.
Spider mites leave behind small webs to mark their presence. You can always see the larvae. Neem oil mixed with water and Castille soap is a good option for fending off spider mites.
In terms of ratio, take one teaspoon of neem oil, mix it with .25 teaspoon of Castille soap and 1/4 cup warm water.
Spray this over the leaves every few days.
Fungus gnats are commonly found around damp soil, as it’s where they lay their eggs.
It’s their larvae that are the real problem. They eat the roots of your Anthurium, which can cause stunted growth or be a leading factor in killing the plant.
Because hydrogen peroxide kills fungus gnat larvae on contact, it is a quick and effective way to get rid of that pest.
Mixing a solution that’s four parts water and one part hydrogen peroxide, spray the soil of the plant.
There are various products on the market that target either the larval or adult stages, but either is fine. If you reapply frequently, you should be able to kill these annoying plant flies in just a few weeks.
Powdery mildew is a fungal disease that can be found all across the United States.
It is caused by a number of closely related fungus species, each of which has a specific host range. This disease is favored by low soil moisture mixed with high humidity levels at the plant surface.
To treat powdery mildew, start by moving your plants to a sunny location, and then pruning any parts of the plant that are infected. Put a fan in front of your plant to improve circulation.
Neem oil mixed with water sprayed on the leaves weekly can help prevent these funguses too.
Why Are The Tips Of My Anthurium Turning Brown?
The two reasons for brown leaves are a nutrient deficiency and lack of humidity. If the leaf itself is turning a brown color, it’s likely a sign that it needs nutrients. Consider increasing your fertilizer applications.
It could also be a sign that you’ve been overwatering, which is causing root rot, which is preventing your roots from successfully absorbing nutrients.
If the tips of the leaves are brown – and seemingly burnt – this is either a sign that the plant is getting too much direct sunlight or your home doesn’t have the needed humidity levels.
The main causes for Anthurium leaves turning yellow are overwatering, underwatering, or your plant is receiving too much direct light.
Anthuriums infested with scale insects generally show signs of water stress, such as yellowing leaves and premature leaf loss. Plant sections that are highly infected may eventually die.
Prune and dispose of affected branches, twigs, and leaves to get rid of scale insects. When scale numbers are low, they can be manually rubbed or scraped off of plants. When infestations are light, dabbing individual pests with an alcohol-soaked cotton swab or neem-based leaf shine will also work.
Anthuriums can be infected with root rot, which can be diagnosed by browning and rotting roots, as well as yellowing or browning stems and leaves. If you notice this, remove the Anthurium from its pot, remove the rotting parts, and replace the healthy components with new well-draining potting compost.
Root rot and other fungal diseases, as well as bacterial infections, can be caused by an excessive amount of moisture in the soil. It’s best to prevent root rot than treat it.
Anthurium Cut Flower Tips
Buying Anthurium cut flowers is pretty common, especially for the more elaborate-looking varieties. After purchasing anthurium cut flowers, cut around 5 cm off the stem and place them in a clean vase filled with tap water. Refresh the water once a week, and trim 1 centimeter off the stalk.
This way, the anthuriums will bloom for two or three weeks. Anthurium flowers do not require cut flower food, but they will tolerate it.
There are so many Anthurium varieties available – all of which have beautiful and unique features that will turn your home into a garden oasis.
While not as easy to grow as some plants – such as the purple waffle plant – it’s easy to see why indoor growers enjoy the challenge.
Have you grown Anthuriums at home? We want to see them. Please email any pictures to [email protected]. If we like them, we may feature your plants on our blog!