Anthuriums are tropical plants and a massive genus of perennials hailing from the Araceae family, estimated to have over 1,000 individual species.
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 its cold intolerance, these plants, sometimes called flamingo flower, laceleaf, or tallflower, 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 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.
Related: Anthurium Diseases and Pests
Your Anthurium hates being rootbound and can suffer if not repotted.
However, while the process is pretty easy, a few rules to follow to ensure your plant has the fastest possible recovery.
When 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.
As mentioned, root binding is a big 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
- Wilting despite adequate watering
The Soil is Important
When you go to repot your Anthurium, you should have the right soil on hand.
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 for the first time.
In these instances, try to use a similar soil or mix your own to get the proper consistency.
A popular choice for amended commercial soils is 2 parts orchid potting soil mixed with 1 part each of peat moss and 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.
Now that you have the right soil grab a pot that’s one size larger than the current pot.
If you don’t know the size of the current pot, just measure the diameter and add 1 to 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.
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.
Divide and Repot: Propagating Rootbound Plants
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.
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.
Division is an even easier method you’re probably already familiar with.
Begin repotting as usual, but try to get as much of the 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.