Anthurium (an-THUR-ee-um) is a tropical, perennial, evergreen shrub that can grow to be about 3″ feet high. Homeowners love these houseplants because of their bright, interesting, beautiful flower spathes and attractive leaves.
Anthurium is a member of the Araceae family of plants and hails from tropical America and Mexico. Anthurium is a woodland plant, so it does well in bright, indirect sunlight. In nontropical settings, Anthurium grows as a houseplant. In a tropical setting, it may be grown outside.
The name, Anthurium, means “flower tail” and refers to the tail-like spadix which protrudes from the plants’ spathe. You may also hear Anthuriums referred to by the common names:
- Flamingo Flower
- Little Boy Plant
- Tail Flower
- Lace Leaf
Under the right indoor conditions, your Anthurium flowers year-round. Blooms may last for weeks or months, either on the plant or used in the cut arrangement.
Handle Anthuriums With Care!
Keep this plant out of the reach of cats, dogs, kids, and livestock, and be careful of the plants’ toxic sap when pruning or handling. All varieties of Anthurium are quite poisonous in all parts.
Skin contact may cause contact dermatitis. If ingested in large quantities, the sap will cause mouth pain and gastric distress. Contact with the eyes causes irritation. The toxic principle of this plant is calcium oxalate. [source]
How Do You Identify Anthurium?
With their brightly colored spathes and interesting central spadix, these plants make an excellent conversation piece and do well in a wide variety of business, home, and office settings.
The flowers’ structures range in color from shades of pink to deep red. The leaves are deep green. The plant’s spadix houses the tiny blooms, which transition into small berries as the plant matures.
The spathe color may be:
The tiny flowers on the spadix may be seen in various white, yellow, green, brown, and burgundy shades.
The heart-shaped spathes are waxy textured and may last a couple of months. Even when the plant is not in flower, which is seldom, the foliage is quite attractive.
The leaves are dark green and leathery. They may be lance-shaped or heart-shaped, depending upon the variety.
When broken or crushed, the stem is aromatic. The blooms are unscented.
Depending upon the variety, this plant may stand erect or climb and/or send forth adventitious aerial roots.
Anthurium Care Quick Reference Q & A
Do Anthuriums Need Sunlight?
Give your Anthurium 6 hours a day of bright, indirect sunlight to enable the plant to bloom consistently. Low light will reduce the number of blooms you can expect. Excessive sunlight and/or direct sunlight will cause leaf scorch. Too little sunlight will cause stretching, legginess, and a scraggly growth habit.
Do Anthuriums Like Humidity?
These tropical plants like a high humidity level. Use of a pebble tray and/or a humidifier is recommended.
The right amount of light the proper humidity level will help keep your Anthurium healthy.
What’s The Best Way To Water Anthurium?
Water thoroughly when the top couple of inches of soil become dry. Be sure that the pot has plenty of drainage holes.
The roots of your Anthurium plant should be kept moist, but the plant should never stand in water. When overwatered or grown in less than optimal conditions, Anthurium may be subject to infestation by common houseplant pests such as:
- Plant Scales
Be careful not to overwater as this is the leading cause of weakening which will make your plants subject to infestation by pests and cause them to experience problems with fungal infection.
Is Anthurium Safe For Cats?
It would be best if you placed your Anthurium out of the reach of cats and other pets. All parts of this plant are toxic.
What’s The Best Anthurium Soil?
These plants like ist, rich, well-draining soil. Soil for Anthuriums should be coarse and well-draining but should consistently retain moisture.
A peat moss-based soil is best. Mix perlite, pine bark, and peat moss in equal amounts to create a good, light, well-draining soil that retains just the right amount of moisture.
Every couple of years, repot your Anthurium plant using a completely fresh potting mix.
How Do You Propagate Anthurium?
You may wish to divide the plant to create two or more new plants at the time of repotting. When propagating your Anthurium by division, make sure that each root section has a minimum of two stems.
What’s The Best Anthurium Fertilizer?
Fertilize Anthuriums once every couple of months from early spring until late summer. Fertilize with a very light mixture of high phosphorus houseplant fertilizer to promote blooming.
What Temperature Do Anthuriums Need?
Generally speaking, if you are comfortable, your Anthurium will be comfortable. If you maintain a consistent temperature between 65° – 86° degrees Fahrenheit in your home, your plant will be happy. You should note that it will grow faster and more at warmer temperatures.
How Often Do I Need To Prune My Anthurium?
Regular pruning is not necessary. Instead, trim away yellowing, decaying, and/or dead foliage from the plant as needed.
How Many Species Of Anthurium Are There?
More than a thousand Anthurium species of these aroid Araceae family members. Below are 17 of the most popular Anthurium varieties.
17 Top Choices in Anthuriums
Anthurium Crystallinum is also known as Anthurium Ace of Spades. This plant has very large, attractive, elongated leaves that have pretty veining patterns. The leaves are slightly furred and can grow to be 2′ feet wide.
The plant itself grows to be 3′ feet high with an equal spread. The leaves are pale green. The flowers are dark green with a pale green spadix. The flowers are not especially attractive, and many growers prune them as they appear.
Anthurium clarinervium is also known as Velvet Cardboard Anthurium. Its deep green, heart-shaped leaves have interesting, bright white veining patterns.
Unlike many other varieties of Anthurium, this variety is grown for its attractive foliage. As a result, the flowers are quite small and inconspicuous. Many growers clip them off as they appear because they add nothing to the plant’s appearance and take energy from the plant.
Another difference in this variety is that it is a climbing plant, so you should provide it with a trellis or a moss pole to clamber up.
Anthurium andreanum is known as Oilcloth Plant because it seems almost like an artificial flower because of its waxy texture and almost unbelievable red color.
You may also hear this plant referred to as the Flamingo Flower. The bright red, heart-shaped spathe is very glossy. In its center, a straight, spiky spadix emerges.
The spadix may be yellow or white. The leaves of this plant are deep green and heart-shaped.
Queen Anthurium (Anthurium warocqueanum) also has very long, large, attractive, stunning foliage. The leaves are deep green, lance-shaped, and richly furred, and marked with lovely silvery-white veins.
In the wild, the leaves may grow to be 6′ feet long. Their drooping growth habit makes this plant attractive in a hanging basket.
Queen Anthurium must have consistently warm temperatures and very high humidity.
Anthurium veitchii is also known as King Anthurium. This plant has very long, large, pendulous leaves. The leaves may be 2′ foot long when the plant is grown as a houseplant.
If this plant is grown in a greenhouse or its natural tropical setting, the leaves may grow to reach several feet long. The leathery leaves are quite thick, lance-shaped, and tend to hang over the sides of the container. This quality makes this type of Anthurium a good choice for use in a hanging basket.
In the wild, King Anthurium grows in the trees, and it tends to like a bit more sun than other varieties.
Anthurium scherzerianum is similar to the Flamingo Lily. The difference is in the spadix. The second variety has a curled spadix and is more oval-shaped than heart-shaped. Additionally, close inspection will reveal that the leaves are slightly larger and a bit longer.
In addition to being twisted, the spadix is also an attractive shade of pink in this variety. You may sometimes hear this variety referred to as Pig’s Tail Anthurium because of this quality.
Anthurium vittarifolium has slim, long, strap-like narrow leaves that tend to dangle over the sides of the plants’ container. In the wild, the velvety leaves can grow 6′ feet long with a width of only a few inches.
The blooms of this variety are bright red, and the spadix produces dangling pink berries. This is a lovely choice for a hanging basket.
One cultivar of this plant has variegated leaves in shades ranging from pale yellow to green. Like some other varieties, the leaves of this variety are a bit furry.
Anthurium forgetii has oval leaves. This variety hails from Columbia and is a very nice choice as a houseplant. The flat, shiny, deep green leaves are quite velvety and have pretty, prominent white veins.
The spathes are green with purple edges, and the spadix has yellowish-green tiny flowers that transition into orange/red as the plant matures. When flowering is complete, the flowers transition into deep purple berries.
Anthurium watermaliense is also known as Black Anthurium. The spathes of the plant are an extremely deep shade of purple that looks to be black. The spadix is deep chocolate brown.
The leaves are very deep green and glossy and grow in a rosette formation. For this reason, this type of Anthurium is sometimes called Bird’s Nest Anthurium. The deeply lobed leaves are lance-shaped and have no veining.
Anthurium cabrerense is also called Black Anthurium and looks similar to Anthurium watermaliense. Several other varieties are purple/black. These go by the common names:
- Black Beauty
- Black Queen
- Black Love
Anthurium hookeri is also known as Bird’s Nest Anthurium. The leaves of this variety are elongated and have a growth habit that resembles the shape of a bird’s nest. As with some other types of Anthurium, the interesting foliage of this plant is its calling card.
The long, oval-shaped leaves are a bright, shiny shade of green marked with very small black spots.
The spathes of the flower are unremarkable, but the purple statices stand as tall, erect spikes. The tiny flowers on the statuses transition into bright white berries.
This plant grows well in a large container in a protected setting. Consistently warm temperatures are important to encourage this plant to bloom.
Anthurium magnificum transitions in color from deep burgundy to a deep shade of green. The flowers of this variety are unremarkable, but the leaves are large, oval or heart-shaped, pale to deep green, velvety, and sport attractive, prominent white or cream-colored veins.
This is an excellent choice as a houseplant. The spathes are green with purple edges, and the spadix is covered with pale yellowish-green tiny flowers that transition orange/red as the plant matures. When flowering is complete, the flowers transition to deep purple berries.
Anthurium pendulifolium has long, attractive, tapering, dangling green leaves just a couple of inches wide, but they may grow to be 4′ feet long. This variety does quite well in a hanging basket.
The flowers are quite unremarkable and often removed as they appear.
Anthurium pachyneurium is also called Big Red Bird Anthurium. This variety has attractive leaves that bear wavy edges. It is pretty similar to Bird’s Nest Anthurium in that the leaves are lance-shaped, long, broad, and have an interesting growth pattern.
The new leaves roll in an opposing spiral inward from the margins. In cooler temperatures, the leaves take on a reddish hue which explains the common name.
Anthurium scandens or Coral Lace Leaf Anthurium is a climbing plant hailing from Brazilian and southern Mexican rainforests. The lance-shaped or oval leaves are thick and dull green and may grow to 2′ to 5′ feet in length.
The spathe is pale green with a yellow-green spadix that transitions to white berries. Overall, the bloom is insignificant.
Anthurium pedatoradiatum has very deeply lobed leaves that resemble the fingers of a predator. Hence the specific epithet in the name.
The leaves range in shade from lime to bright green. Hailing from Mexico, this plant does best in bright, indirect sunlight. The pale leaves burn incredibly easily in direct sunlight.
Anthurium superbum is a Birds Nest Anthurium variety from Ecuador. The plant has long, dark green, erect oval leaves. The undersides of the leaves are deep purple. This plant may grow to be 3’-5’ feet high.
Other Anthurium Varieties To Consider
- Anthurium Amnicola
- Antherium Coriaceum
- Anthurium Luxurians
- Anthurium Gracile