Anthurium (an-thyoo-ree-uhm) is the largest genus of the arum family, Araceae, and consists of about 1,000 different perennial species. This tropical plant is native to the Americas, distributed from northern Mexico to northern Argentina and parts of the Caribbean.
Anthurium plants are prized for their gorgeously bright leaves and flowers. They come in various colors (red, pink, yellow, and a combination of the three) and shapes (spiral, club, tapered, and globe).
The flowers of some wild Anthuriums are quite fragrant and would often be used in perfumes and body sprays.
Anthurium plants are often referred to as:
- Tail flowers
- Flamingo flowers
- Painted tongue plants
Like most aroids, Anthurium plants can be grown indoors. They’re relatively easy to take care of and don’t require anything overly special. With little attention and care, your Anthurium plants can easily thrive indoors all year round.
Anthurium Plant Care
Size and Growth
Anthurium plants usually grow anywhere between 20”–35” inches, depending on the species. However, with over 1,000 recorded Anthurium species globally, it’s challenging to find an average size and growth estimate.
For instance, Anthurium andreanum have big, heart-shaped leaves that can grow up to 24″ inches at their maximum maturity and as wide as 10″ – 12″ inches. The same is said for Anthurium crystallinum.
Anthurium scherzerianum, on the other hand, can grow up to 12” to 28” inches, while Anthurium faustinomirandae, also known as the Faustino’s Giant, can grow up to a massive 72″ inches.
Anthurium plants are slow to moderate growers. Anthuriums can grow 15″ – 20″ inches in about 2 – 5 years in optimal conditions. However, if light levels are too low, Anthuriums might not grow at all.
Anthurium Flower and Fragrance
Anthurium plants come in various fragrances, from sweet marzipan, blueberry, and mango, to old shoes and vomit.
Some Anthuriums, like Anthurium crystallinum, smell like nothing at all. Flamingo flowers (Anthurium andraeanum) are often used in colognes, body sprays, perfumes, and even candles because they smell like a medley of blooms: sweet and tropical!
Most Anthurium plants bloom all year round. Bloom lasts anywhere between several weeks to 2–3 months. Anthurium flowers bloom when placed in high humidity areas and when given enough indirect sunlight and water.
Light and Temperature
Potted Anthurium plants thrive in high humidity levels and warm temperatures. Therefore, they do pretty well in temperatures between 75º to 85º degrees Farhenheit, especially during the day. However, at night, they won’t say no to temperatures between 70° to 75° degrees Farhenheit.
In exceptional cases, Anthurium plants can tolerate temperatures as high as 90°F and as low as 45°F. However, it’s important to note that Anthurium plants don’t do very well in these temperatures for a prolonged period.
As with most other indoor plants, Anthurium plants must be placed in bright, indirect light.
Watering and Fertilizer
Keep the soil of your Anthurium plants slightly moist at all times. Don’t let it completely dry out. Even so, it’s better to underwater it than overwater it. Overwatering can lead to root rot, a serious issue that can affect your Anthuriums’ long-term health.
Anthurium plants don’t require much water. However, if you live in a particularly hot or humid location, water your Anthuriums once every 2–3 days.
Make sure the top of the soil is about 25% dry before watering again. During winter, water your Anthuriums every 5–10 days. Anthuriums don’t actively grow in winter, so you won’t need to water them as much as in summer.
Soil and Transplanting
Anthuriums need to be transplanted every two years. Rootbound Anthuriums should be repotted as soon as possible to avoid stunted growth and wilted foliage.
As much as possible, repot the plant in the same potting soil it had lived in before. Most Anthuriums need super light and loose-medium potting soil that has a pH of around 6.5. You can also use two parts orchid mix, one part perlite and one part peat.
Grooming and Maintenance
Anthuriums rarely need grooming or maintenance. Instead, regularly wipe the dust that accumulates off their large leaves, remove any discolored or dead leaves, and cut dead or wilted blossoms from the base of the plant’s stem.
You can also occasionally twist wayward leaves off to keep the plant looking nice and tidy.
How to Propagate Anthurium Plants
There are two ways to propagate Anthurium plants, either by seeds or vegetatively through cuttings.
Seeds can be purchased online or collected from the Anthurium’s flowers. They take about 5–7 days to germinate after placing them in adequately fertilized soil.
They can also be propagated from cuttings. In this case, you’ll need to carefully select a healthy-looking stem that’s at least 6 inches long and comes with 2–3 sets of leaves.
Dip the cut end of the stem in rooting hormone to help it grow, and bury it in a pot with a decent amount of potting mix. Once done, water the plant. Roots will start developing in about 4–6 weeks.
Anthurium Pests or Diseases
Like most houseplants, Anthurium plants are susceptible to pests like aphids, mealybugs, scale, and whiteflies.
Luckily, it’s quite easy to kill and prevent these pests. You can either use insecticidal soap or horticultural oils like neem oil. Dilute two tablespoons of neem oil per gallon of water and pour the mixture into a spray bottle.
Spray the affected plant every 5–14 days until the pests are no longer a threat.
Anthurium plants also have their fair share of diseases, including leaf spots, blights, and fungal rots. These are mostly caused by overwatering.
Anthuriums are among the most popular types of household plants. Apart from their gorgeous aesthetic, they’re relatively straightforward to take care of. So if you’re still deciding whether to adopt an Anthurium plant or not, I highly encourage you to go for it!