Anthuriums (aka the Flamingo Plant) is the world’s longest blooming plant, which makes it an extremely wanted houseplant to have which only requires relatively simple care. If you’re careful and create the right conditions for your Anthurium by following these instructions, you can be sure that your plant will thrive indoors.
Before we dive deep into the topic of Anthurium care, here’s a summary of the most important information you need to know.
In order to follow proper Anthurium care, you’ll need to keep track of the these elements:
- Light: Anthuriums do best if they are exposed to a bright indirect light, not direct sunlight as it can burn its leaves.
- Soil: Anthuriums work best with a half and half mix of potting soil and orchid soil – since they do best
- Water: Only water when the soil is dry to the touch, as it is pretty susceptible to root rot.
- Fertilizer: For fertilizer care, Anthuriums aren’t too demanding – once every three or four months will do with a ¼ strength fertilizer.
Even though that’s basically everything you need to know for Flamingo Plants to survive, we’ve only covered the basics of Anthurium care. You won’t need a lot to help this beautiful house plant to flourish, but everything you will need you’ll find in this guide.
Where Do Anthuriums Grow?
Anthuriums are native to tropical America, which hosts over 800 species of these plants.
Anthuriums do best in cooler areas, but are such as areas within the USDA zones 10 or higher. If you are not familiar with the term, the USDA zones is a reference map developed by the US Department of Agriculture where you can see which plants are most likely to grow at a specific location based on specific zones. If you’d like to learn more, click here to go to their website.
In comparison to other plants, Anthuriums are considered on the slower end of the spectrum when it comes to growth speed – this is specially true if low light conditions are present. If they have favorable conditions, however, they will grow faster.
Anthurium Care – The Fundamentals
When it comes to water care with Anthuriums, it’s best to remember it’s a plant that fares well under dryer conditions. Anthuriums are, overall, pretty susceptible to waterlogging and root rotting and are quick to develop yellowing of the leaves. Reason why it’s best to keep your Anthurium in well-draining compost, in addition to letting the soil get relatively dry between each watering session.
In and around summer (March through September), you can water your Anthurium plant approximately twice per week. During winter you can cut down to half of that (once per week) or even every ten to fourteen days, since the Anthurium will go into dormancy.
Remember these are simple guides but not written in stone, as your own plant will tell you when it’s best to water. Check it regularly, and once you notice a pattern in your own Anthuriums watering care needs, water then.
How Do You Water an Anthurium?
To determine if your plant needs some water, simply stick your finger into the soil, and if it feels dry (and only when it’s dry) then water. If it feels moist or somewhat moist, then skip this step until it does. Once it needs watering, add a considerable amount of water, until it runs through the bottom of the drainage holes and then stop. However, if you see standing water on the soil, stop watering to avoid over roots to form.
What Indoor temperatures Are Best for Growing an Anthurium?
Since Anthuriums are plants native to Latin America, they do best in warm temperatures, specifically in temperatures between 70°F (20°C) and 77°F (25°C) if you are planning on keeping it indoors. At night, try to keep the lower degree of this temperature to allow it to thrive.
The lowest temperature where you can expect them to do well is above 50°F (10°C) since any lesser temperature will cause a bit of damage. Even though most people keep Anthuriums indoors, if you want to take it outdoors once the weather warms up, then be sure you remember to bring it back inside at night since the temperatures can drop unexpectedly.
Does an Anthurium Need Humid Conditions?
As you could probably guess, the Anthurium’s natural habitat is mostly humid, as it thrives in the tropical jungle of Latin America, standing at around 80 percent humidity. This means that for the best results, you’ll need to try to get as close to this number as you possibly can.
But if you live in a location where this can be more challenging, try to place them in humid environments like bathrooms. Conversely, keep them away from hot radiators as they will soak up the humidity from the air.
This is why some Anthurium experts recommend keeping a humidifier near the plant or a humidity tray (a little tray with water in it) to maintain a higher percentage of humidity. You could also spray its foliage (not the flowers) with room temperature water every once in a while (every other day) for the same purpose.
Anthuriums fare best under a medium to bright, indirect sunlight – but do poorly under direct sunlight. It’s a tricky plant, as it also doesn’t like little light, as it will produce fewer flowers if this is the case.
Remember that Anthuriums are epiphytic plants, meaning they grow under the cover of other plants in their natural habitat – reason why they like to avoid direct sunlight, as they generally don’t receive it.
How Much Light Does an Indoor Anthurium Require?
As a general rule, it’s best to keep your Anthurium near a window, but not directly at the window. The ideal location can be a bit tricky as it can change as the sun drops, so make sure to keep it away from even the slightest direct sunlight to avoid leaves getting sunburnt.
What Happens to Anthuriums with Improper Lighting?
Improper lighting can come in the form of too much, or too little light. With too much light, an Anthurium can get its foliage burnt. With too little light, you will notice your Anthurium will start turning pale and losing its brightness of its leaves and flowers. In more extreme cases, when light conditions are simply too low, most Anthuriums can stop producing flowers all together.
What Soil Does an Anthurium Need?
In terms of soil care, Anthuriums require a highly organic soil with good water retention and good drainage capability – in other words rich, coarse and porous. If you want to get even more specific, they grow best in soil with a pH of 5.5 to 6.5 on average.
However, the best thing you can do is simply use a soil mix that’s suited for epiphytes, or in other words, orchic mix for the common man. In its natural habitat, anthuriums will grow on tree branches, which means that the soil they are accustomed to is a breathable blend composed of a mix of moss and leaf litter
If you want a DYI approach to soil mixing for your Anthurium, then simply create a soil mix equal parts peat, perlite and pine bark & mix them together.
Does an Anthurium Require Fertilizer?
Anthuriums are easy to take care of when it comes to fertilizers. Many experts simply use normal compost, and some recommend fertilizers in a water-soluble blend with a heavy amount of phosphorus as it is good for its roots and flowers. As a best practice, try to fertilize your anthurium every two months in order to keep it healthy.
Try to synchronize your fertilizer schedule with its natural growth patterns too. During spring and summer, fertilize it as mentioned above. During fall and winter, you can avoid doing so, as its natural growth stagnates so its in need of little fertilizer.
If you see that your plant starts getting small brown spots on its leaves, or if the leaves are losing their deep green color, but you are sure you are giving it proper lighting and you are not overwatering it, then these can be signs of overfertilization. This can be a common issue since salt can build up on the Anthurium and cause the roots to get burned.
To solve this issue, simply diminish the amount of fertilizer you are using, both in frequency and quantity. Then, follow the steps found directly below in the Salt Build Up section.
Do I Need to Flush the Soil to Remove Fertilizer Salt Build up?
Finding fertilizer salt build up is a natural occurrence in many houseplants, but it’s less common for Anthuriums since they aren’t heavy feeders (require little fertilizer). However, this can happen, and it can cause foliage burning – so it’s best to flush the soil every couple of months.
You might be wondering: how can I flush the anthurium’s soil if there is salt build up? Simple, just grab your pot and place it under the sink with slow running water. Make sure that the water runs down the soil and is properly draining out the drainage holes. Keep this process going for several minutes and you’re good to go. Remember to do so every couple of months.
In order to ensure the best bloom from your new Anthurium, follow these tips to make sure it blooms easily for the next two to three weeks.
As soon as you receive your Anthurium, prepare a clean vase and fill it with tap water. Then, cut the Anthurium’s end of the stalk approximately 5 cm deep and place the flowers inside.
In general, Anthuriums are really clean plants, which mean they keep the water clear. This means that you should make sure to change up the water every week to keep them this way. Every week, also don’t forget to cut off approximately 1cm off every time too to avoid the stalk from rotting.
Do Anthuriums Flower Every Year?
Anthuriums bloom all year right if you have the proper care, which means good lighting, water and regular fertilization. You can expect the flowers to grow in a cycle of three months of flowering, then one or two months no flowers and then back to three months with flowers.
Some tall tale signs about good health for your Anthurium are shiny leaves and new flowers blooming.
How do I get my Anthurium to Bloom?
In order to get your Anthurium to bloom, the best practice you can have is to make sure that its fundamentals in care are being met, which include:
- Soil: Growing it in soil that drains well, with a container with sufficient drainage.
- Watering & Humidity: Watering it only when the soil is slightly dry, while making sure it is in a humid environment at home.
- Light: Keeping your Anthurium in an area of your house with medium to bright, indirect sunlight at all times during the day.
- Fertilizer: Fertilize your anthurium every two months with high in phosphorus fertilizer.
Remember that flowers are a sign of a healthy houseplant – and if your Anthurium is feeling any less than ideal in any of the fundamentals we mentioned above, it will fail to produce healthy blooms.
How Many Blooms are Normal in an Anthurium?
You can expect a healthy Anthurium to have, on average, six (6) flowers per blooming cycle. Even though that isn’t a lot by other plant’s standards, Anthuriums make up for it with long-lasting blooms that thrive for as long as six (6) to twelve (12) weeks at a time, if you have them in a pot. And, as we mentioned above, if you are a bit patient after its blooming period, you can expect after a couple of months for them to bloom back.
However, for cut anthuriums, you can expect the blooms to last for at least six (6) weeks.
Which Colors Do Anthurium Flowers Have?
The most common colors for any Anthurium are the light shades of red or pink, hence its name the Flamingo color. But you can also find varieties with white, strong red, strong pink or salmon colors too.
How Do I Know If My Anthurium Has Root Rot?
The first signs of root rot in anthuriums are if the leaves are losing their bright color, turning a bit yellow and wilting overall. The definitive sign of root rot is if the areas around the base start turning dark brown or black, in combination with them becoming mushy.
In order to solve a root rot issue with your anthurium, follow these steps:
- Determine how bad the black spots are – if there are few, you can still save your plant.
- Remove the anthurium carefully, shake the soil and look at the roots.
- Trim the infected roots with clean pruning tools.
- Replant the anthurium at the same depth it was before, in a new soil mix that drains well.
- Don’t water it for a couple of days after repotting and then continue the normal watering schedule.
Leaves turn yellow?
When an Anthurium’s leaves are becoming yellow, this generally means that it is getting too much direct sunlight. To solve this issue move it away from the window.
If your anthurium starts yellowing on the edges of the leaf, and then slowly transitions to the rest of the leaf, this could be because of overwatering. To know which cause might be it, stick your finger into the soil and make sure it’s dry before you water again. If you’d have to choose, it’s best to underwater anthuriums than overwater them.
Leaves turning brown & brown tips?
When an Anthurium’s entire leaves or leaf tips have started to turn brown, and it seems to keep spreading to the rest of the leaf, then this is a sign of underwatering. To know which is correct, feel the soil to determine how moist it is. If it’s somewhat moist, then don’t water for another week. If it’s somewhat dry, then water it right away – until water comes out of the bottom of its drain holes.
Remember that the browning of the leaves won’t disappear, so you can simply trim these sections with pruning tools to allow it to continue growing well.
To avoid this issue happening again, then create a watering check-up schedule every other day and, as usual, stick your finger in the soil. If it’s recurrently feeling dry, then try to adjust your check up routine.
As a rule of thumb, you can remember to water it once a week during the summer and spring, and in winter once every other week.
Pruning & Propagation Care
Do Anthuriums Need Pruning?
Fortunately, not much pruning is needed with Anthuriums – the main reason you might need to do so is in case the leaves are turning yellow or flowers have already died out to leave room for a stronger remaining plant.
If you do need to prune it, make sure you use clean pruning tools or you clean with alcohol your current pruning tools – to avoid it getting a disease and becoming unhealthy as it can be a fickle plant when it comes to higiene.
How to Propagate your Anthurium
If you want to propagate your anthurium, then simply wait until spring and then divide a mature plant. This means you’ll need to separate the root mass into multiple sections, each containing at least one leaf and healthy roots, and then plant each one as you normally would.
How Often Should I Repot my Anthurium?
As a rule of thumb, try to repot your Anthurium once it has outgrown its pot. This means every two to four years, and once you do, go up one pot in size. You’ll be sure to know when it’s time to repot your anthurium when its root system starts wrapping circularly or starts coming out of the drain holes.
The best time to do so, will be around the spring or the summer as it is closer to its natural habitats temperature.
How to Repot my Anthurium?
If you notice it’s time to repot your anthurium, then you must do the following steps:
- Find a container that’s slightly larger or simply one size larger than the current pot it’s standing on – make sure it has proper drainage holes.
- Fill the new container with potting mix to ¼ full.
- If it’s the case, carefully snip the roots growing out of the drainage holes – to avoid it “holding on” and damaging the root system.
- Remove the anthurium from its current pot, which should come out easily – and place it in the new pot.
- Cover it with fresh potting mix up to the level of how deep it was before you repotted it – and make the soil firm by slightly pressing down with your hands and add a little water.
- Finish the process by placing it back to where it used to thrive.
You might be wondering: why a slightly larger container and not a large one to avoid this process several times? What happens is that if the container is too large, then the roots won’t be able to drink up all the water, generally leading to root rot.
Which Type of Container/ Pot Should I Keep my Anthurium in?
Anthuriums aren’t strict plants when it comes to containers. You can keep it in practically any one you’d like, as long as it has proper drainage holes to avoid water accumulation and root rot.
Other than that, you’ll only need to follow a couple of extra considerations depending on the material from the pot. If it’s in clay materials (like terra cotta), you’ll want to water it more often than those in plastic counterparts, as the material tends to dry the soil more quickly.
Since Anthuriums are widely renowned for its beauty, we recommend you keep them in two pots or double potting it. This is as simple as keeping it in one pot that sits inside of another. The inner pot should be picked due to its draining qualities and the outer pot for its appearance to compliment your wonderful plant.
As a rule of thumb, try not to repot your anthurium from its original or nursery pot, as it will likely be able to keep on growing for some time with no signs of trouble. If, however, you notice that it’s outgrowing its pot, then refer to the “repotting section” below.
Pests & Disease Care
The most common pests that you will find with your Anthurium are: spider mites, aphids, and mealybugs. Regarding diseases, the most common ones are bacterial blight and bacterial wilt.
In order to deal with the common pests, first you should identify which creepy crawler you’re dealing with, but most deal with the issue of environments that are too wet for your plant.
Spider Mites are tiny, white insects that hover around that linger in the air after you’ve shaken the leaves of your anthurium. In order to get rid of these, try to make the soil around your plant dry, so cut back a bit on your watering schedule and then use an insecticidal soap once a week on your entire anthurium and you’re good to go.
Aphids are pear shaped insects that generally appear in extremely wet conditions and latch under the leaves and in new stems. To get rid of aphids on your anthurium, simply use insecticidal soap once a week on your entire anthurium and that should do the trick.
Mealybugs are common in very wet conditions that group together into cotton-like figures around the leaves. To solve the issue of mealybugs, use insecticidal soap once every week on your entire anthurium.
If you are dealing with diseases, chances are its either with Bacterial Blight or Bacterial Wilt.
If you are giving your plant enough water, but you notice that the veins within the leaves of your anthurium start to yellow, and then the leaf starts to turn brown, then you are dealing with Bacterial Wilt.
The main cause for bacterial wilt in your anthurium is by using tools or containers that might have the infection. The best way to solve this issue is by cleaning up your products constantly, and only using fresh soil when repotting.
If you notice that your leaves are quickly dying by becoming brown after they have yellow lesions (cuts) in their leaves, you might be dealing with Bacterial Blight.
The main cause for Bacterial Blight is when there is an unusually humid environment in combination with warm temperatures. The way to solve this by lowering the indoor temperature and humidity levels, in addition to proper ventilation around the house.
Common Mistakes Anthurium Beginners Make
Here’s a small list of the 7 most common mistakes that beginners make when first taking care of their Anthuriums – so you can avoid them and have yours really thrive.
The most common mistake any Anthurium owner will make is probably overwatering. Unlike other plants, Anthuriums do well when their soil can partially dry out for a bit before you water it again. As with all plants living in pots, watering an Anthurium too frequently or too much will prevent its roots from being able to recollect all the water around it, leading them to soak in moist soil and eventually leading to root rot.
As a rule of thumb, you can aim to give it around 6 ice cube’s worth once a week.
The flipside is also dangerous for your Anthurium. Even though you want to aim for your Anthurium’s soil to partially dry out between watering, you never want it to completely dry out. However, if this does happen, then you might need to apply the full-soak technique.
As a rule of thumb, keep watering to once per week and your Anthurium should be fine for both overwatering and underwatering.
Too Much Direct Sunlight – Sunburnt Leaves
Even though Anthuriums have relatively thick leaves, they can get too much exposure to direct sunlight – leading to sunburnt leaves. If you start noticing that your Anthurium’s leaves are yellowish, too much direct sunlight might be the problem, so make sure to move it to a more appropriate location where it can really thrive.
As a rule of thumb, keep your plant in a well-lit and bright room, but avoid placing it under direct sunlight.
Low Temperature & Humidity
Anthuriums are plants that are native to the tropics, meaning they grow best in temperatures around 70°F and 90°F (20°C- 30°C), with an average humidity of around 80%. This is why you should try to keep your anthurium in a humid environment like your bathroom, or regularly spray its leaves to increase the overall humidity around it.
Not Repotting your Anthurium
Failing to repot your Anthurium is a pretty common mistake that many beginners make. It just isn’t something that people have in mind when they first purchase a house plant. However, as your plant grows, so will its roots, and the need for a larger container will grow as well.
As a general rule, an Anthurium should be repotted every 2 to 3 years due to its natural growth rate. However, every specific plant will give you indications of when it needs to be repotted.
Some indicators that your Anthurium has outgrown its pot are:
- If roots can be seen coming out of its drainage holes.
- If roots can be seen circling back to the surface of the soil.
For a guide on how to repot your Anthurium, please read above.
Throwing it out right after flowering
Most people can’t imagine an Anthurium without their patented flowers. However, after some time, generally after three months of bloom, your Anthurium will stop to produce flowers for a brief period of time. This is when many people throw it away, but if you’re patient, you’ll be able to get another full bloom lasting another 3 months!
In order to re-incentivise the re-growth of its flowers, you can simulate your very own winter conditions: give it very little water and don’t feed it either for a period of time. Then, after 6-8 weeks, start giving it water, food and indirect sunlight and the flowers are likely to come back.
Poisonous to people and pets?
Anthuriums can be considered to be toxic both to people and pets (cats and dogs) – since it contains calcium oxylate crystals. This is why it’s best if you keep it out of reach of your cats or dogs and children, since these can cause irritation to the mucus membranes.
A good place where you can check if any plant is considered toxic is at the ASPCA website, which you can reach here.
Flowers staying green?
If an Anthuriums flowers seem like they will never bloom, and they stay green, this is an indication that it is getting too little light. To solve this, simply move it closer to the window.
Can I grow an anthurium in my bathroom?
Anthuriums prefer a naturally moist environment, which is why they will likely do well in any bathroom that is commonly used. Just make sure, as with any plant, that the other care fundamentals are taken care of too. This means making sure it gets adequate light too.