A native to the tropical rainforests of Mexico, Uruguay, and Argentina, anthurium belongs to the Araceae family. The first thing that you will notice in this plant is its red, waxy, and heart-shaped flower, but technically speaking, this is not a flower but a spathe or a modified leaf flaring from where the flower grows. This will last long and in some cases, with proper care and maintenance, it may bloom year-round. Its stem has an approximate height of 15 to 20 inches, depending on the specific variety that you will plant.
There are more than 800 varieties of anthuriums around the world. One of the most popular is the Flamingo Flower, which is easy to grow and has long-lasting flowers. Even in the most adverse environments, the plant can still live for about one or two years. Another common variety is the Painter’s Palette, which is harder to grow as against Flamingo Flower. Regardless of which variety you will choose, there is one thing that you have to remember – anthuriums are poisonous. Ingestion can lead to stomach disorder while its sap can lead to skin irritation.
Planting and Growing Conditions
There are several ways by which you can plant anthurium. If you are up for the challenge, you can start with seeds, which you can obtain from a ripe anthurium fruit. Take out the pulp and remove the seeds, but you should do this with gloves as there is a possibility of suffering from skin irritation. Nonetheless, we recommend that you stay away from using seeds as this tends to be a long and tedious process. For those who are impatient, it is better to grow from an existing plant.
The best way to grow anthurium is to purchase an existing young plant. Once the plant is ready, choose the right pot. It should be larger than the plant and must have holes to allow water to drain. Once the pot is ready, fill it with the right type of soil, at about 1/3 of the pot. The soil mix must be well-draining and coarse. One of the best is a mixture of pine bark, peat moss, and perlite. Using orchid bark or coconut husk is also great, especially in terms of aeration. Place the plant on the top and cover it with more soil. Press the top firmly.
Once your plant in a pot is ready, the next thing you have to do is to find the perfect location. Look for a place that is warm with indirect sunlight. A favorable temperature ranges from 80 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. The plant will end up having burnt parts if you position it under direct sunlight. If it is in a place that is too dark, on the other hand, it will not bloom. The best place is a windowsill that faces east or south.
Humidity is another critical growing condition for anthurium. The humidity must be at least 80%. You can place the pot on the top of a shallow basin with pebbles and water to make it humid. Spraying the top part of the plant with water will also help increase humidity.
Pests and Diseases
Part of the challenge of growing anthuriums is having to deal with pests and diseases that will have a negative impact on its overall health. Some of the most common diseases that affect the plant include anthracnose, root rot, leafspot, and powdery mildew. On the other hand, pest infestation is commonly due to aphids, spider mites, thrips, and scales, among others.
Care and Maintenance
Here are some tips to ensure the healthy growth of an anthurium:
- Watering is one of the most important to keep the plant in its tip-top condition. Water only when the plant needs it. Touch the top of the soil and if it is too hard, water it. In most cases, you need to water the plant only once in three days. If the leaves are turning yellow, this is an indication that you are overwatering. Too much water can also cause root rot.
- Anthurium can grow tall and has the tendency to droop when the top becomes too heavy for the stem to support. With this, you need to build a stake to support the plant.
- You will also need to fertilize, but this is one thing that you need to do with caution. In the first few months after planting, there is no need for fertilizers. A liquid fertilizer with high phosphorus is the best during summer and spring, at least once in a month. This will encourage more radiant blooms.
- At one point, you will need to re-pot the anthurium if it survives for several years. This is because the plant is growing and hence, you need to transfer it to a larger pot so that the roots will have room for growth.
- Even in pots, it will also be good to add mulch on the top of the soil. This will help in the improvement of moisture.
- If there are dead and unattractive parts of the plant, remove them as soon as possible. if not, they can be a carrier of pathogens that can affect the health of the other parts of the plant.
Anthuriums are flowering plants that easily grow in pots and indoors. With the right growing conditions, including bright light, nutritious soil, and right water, among others, you can yield a high level of success.