Repotting Anthurium Plants – When and How

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Anthuriums are tropical plants and a massive genus of perennials hailing from the Araceae family, estimated to have over 1,000 individual species.

Anthuriums are gorgeous plants that make beautiful accents in your home. Their unique foliage and blooms fit perfectly on a side table, as a centerpiece, or even as an office plant.

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With such a big family tree, it should be no surprise that many types of Anthuriums have become popular houseplants throughout the country.

Anthurium plants are prized for their colorful spathe leaves, which most people mistake for flowers (the actual flowers tend to go unnoticed).

Due to their cold intolerance, these plants, sometimes called flamingo flowers, laceleaf, or tall flowers, can only be planted in USDA hardiness zones 11 of 12 and some sheltered parts of zone 10.

This means you’ll most likely want to keep your Anthurium in a container.

Containers have their disadvantages, of course, and this boils down to the limited space and the tendency for the soil to accumulate toxins and lose nutrition.

As a result, anthuriums, like all houseplants, will need to be repotted occasionally.

The good news is, the process is pretty much the same for all species and cultivars.

Repotting can also be part of the solution for a persistent pest problem or a case of root rot.

Related: Anthurium Diseases and Pests

Anthurium Repotting

Your Anthurium hates being rootbound and can suffer if not repotted. When your anthurium has grown to 20″ inches tall in a pot with a five-inch diameter, it’s time to graduate it to a new pot.

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However, while the process is pretty easy, a few rules to follow to ensure your plant has the fastest possible recovery.

Repotting your anthurium will give it the space it needs to grow and continue developing healthy new blooms. 

When is the Best Time to Repot Your Anthurium?

As a general rule, your flamingo flower will only need repotting once every year or two, but the exact frequency will depend on how fast your plant is growing.

To repot an Anthurium, first, remove any wilted flowers and brown leaves. Then prepare your potting soil, which should ideally be the same as the Anthurium’s current potting mix.

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As mentioned, root binding is a significant risk for this plant, so signs of root binding are also a clear message it’s time to repot.

If possible, do the repotting in spring when new growth is beginning to form.

However, signs that your plant is actually root-bound and not just beginning to overcrowd may require a more immediate transplant.

Some clear warning signs of root binding on this plant include:

  • Roots visible above the soil or poking through the drainage holes
  • Water leaving the drainage holes as soon as you begin watering
  • Make sure to drain excess water so that the roots do not sit in standing water. It may be best to water more frequently during the week rather than trying to triple water all in one day. 
  • Wilting, despite adequate watering.

The Soil is Important

When you go to repot your Anthurium, you should have the right soil.

Ideally, you will be using the same potting mix as you have in the current pot since this will reduce the effects of transplant shock.

However, this may not be possible – for example, in cases where you’ve purchased the plant and are repotting it for the first time.

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The soil should be kept slightly moist and never allowed to dry out completely. Set the pot in a tray with rocks or gravel that has water. The plant’s water can drain there and help keep humidity levels higher around the plant. 

In these instances, try to use a similar soil or mix your own to get the proper consistency.

You can use ordinary potting soil, but considering the anthurium grows like an orchid, it will prefer something lighter and better aerated, like an orchid mix or a 50/50 blend of orchid mix and houseplant mix. 

A popular choice for amended commercial soils is 2 parts of orchid potting soil mixed with 1 part each of peat moss and one part perlite.

Alternatively, you can make a homemade fresh potting mix using equal parts of peat, perlite, and pine bark.

These blends help ensure the soil is light, full of nutrients, and well-draining.

Try to aim for a soil pH of about 6.5 unless your particular species or cultivar requires something more acidic or neutral.

The Process

Now that you have the right soil, grab a pot that’s one size larger than the current pot.

If you’re buying growing medium at the store, avoid standard potting mixes. They’ll usually be too dense and clingy for Anthurium roots. 

Red anthurium plant with exposed roots.Pin
Photo Credit: Instagram @justaddice

Instead, look for a blend that’s meant for orchids – bonus points if it’s specifically intended for Phalaenopsis orchids (like this one), which are epiphytes like Anthuriums and have similar growing needs. 

If you don’t know the size of the current pot, just measure the diameter and add 1-2 inches to it.

You should water the plant a couple of hours before transplanting.

This will make the process easier on you and a little less stressful on the plant.

Gently slide the Anthurium out of its old container and measure the root ball.

Using your finger, gently tease the roots apart.

You will want to fill the bottom of the pot with enough soil to bring the top of the root ball about 1” inch below the pot’s rim.

Insert the plant and slowly fill around it until the soil level covers the roots to the same height as in the previous pot.

You can give the soil a slight tamping with your fingers, but be careful not to compact it too much.

Once you’ve filled the pot, add a little distilled water evenly over the surface to help the soil settle, topping it up with a little more soil if necessary.

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Make sure the crown isn’t submerged any more than the old plant, as this can lead to rot.

Your Anthurium will look a little haggard, and may heaven have a small amount of initial wilting as it recovers from transplant shock.

Place it in a shaded spot free of drafts for a few days and avoid feeding the Anthurium fertilizer for at least two months.

The structure slowly breaks down, unable to hold enough moisture or nutrients to feed the plant or to keep the roots in place. 

Divide and Repot: Propagating Rootbound Plants

The best time to repot your Anthurium is in early spring (similar to propagating or pruning anthurium plants), just as the growing season kicks off. 

Repotting can cause shock, so the quicker your plant can recover from any potential damage, the better. 

While there are several ways to propagate tall flowers, root binding can be the perfect excuse.

There are two methods to try during this time: air root clippings and division.

The air root method is a little unusual, and in the case of anthuriums, the term “air roots” refers to roots that find themselves above the soil line.

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Simply clip these, dip them in rooting hormone, and plant them in their own pot while you’re preparing to repot the mother plant.

If successful, the roots will begin to send up new shoots in about 4 to 6 weeks.

The division is an even easier method you’re probably already familiar with.

Start repotting as usual, but try to get as much old soil off the roots as possible.

This may involve rinsing them with distilled water.

Find a joint where two stems meet for your division point, and slowly peel the two stems apart.

Be careful not to tear the roots, and use a sharp, sterile knife to cleanly cut any roots too tangled to separate by hand.

Go over the plants and remove any dead or damaged leaves and any roots that show signs of rot or disease.

Finally, complete the repotting process, giving each plantlet its own fresh pot.

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