With its stunning flowers, Anthurium andraeanum is an increasingly popular houseplant. It’s a low-maintenance plant that’s perfect for beginners.
However, it’s important to get the basics right.
In this guide, our experts explain the ideal growing conditions and reveal the care secrets that are vital to growing an incredible Anthurium andraeanum.
What Is Anthurium Andraeanum?
Anthurium andraeanum, also known as flamingo flower, painter’s palette, or laceleaf, is a flowering plant native to the tropical forests of Columbia and Ecuador. It belongs to the Araceae family, and it’s one of the most popular and easy to find Anthuriums within the houseplant trade.
Its main feature is the inflorescence, consisting of a red spathe leaf and a yellow spadix, which looks like a red flower with yellow stamen. The Anthurium andraeanum flower makes a vivid contrast with the dark green, heart-shaped leaves. Red is the ‘classic’ look for this plant, but you can also find Anthurium varieties that come in white, purple, pink and dark, chocolate brown.
Anthurium andraeanum is often listed among houseplants that help purify the air. In fact, the NASA Clean Air Study found that it can clean the air of particles such as formaldehyde, xylene, and ammonia.
Anthurium Andraeanum Care Guide
– Light Requirements
Anthurium andraeanum grows best in bright, indirect light. This plant naturally grows underneath the dense canopy of tropical forests, where it receives dappled sunlight, so pick a spot in your home that mimics those conditions. A room that’s south or west-facing is ideal, but avoid placing it close to the window. Too much sun will scorch the leaves, causing discoloration.
Anthurium goes dormant in winter, so it will tolerate a bit less light. However, try not to keep it in a dark place for too long. If the leaves aren’t receiving enough light, they will grow pale, leading to problems with photosynthesis and nutrient deficiencies. Anthurium andraeanum also needs light to start flowering, and if your room is too dark, it will not bloom.
– Temperature Requirements
Although it is a tropical plant, Anthurium andraeanum will thrive in average home temperatures. It tolerates a wide temperature range, from 60 °F to 90 °F (15 °C to 32 °C).
You can also grow it outdoors in your garden throughout spring and summer. Make sure to bring it back inside once temperatures drop below 60 °F (15 °C), to prevent permanent damage to the plant.
– Water Requirements
Keep the soil of your Anthurium andraeanum moist but not soaked. It’s best to water the plant when the top inch of the soil is dry. Use your finger to test the potting mix, then give your Anthurium a good soak. Make sure that the water runs through the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot, and avoid leaving any stagnant water in the container tray.
On average, your Anthurium andraeanum needs to be watered once a week, but this may vary depending on the time of the year. The plant will need more water during its growing season, from spring until early autumn. It will also need watering more during hot, dry periods, which causes water to evaporate much quicker. But as it enters dormancy in winter, you will need to reduce your watering frequency.
– Humidity Requirements
Like all tropical houseplants, Anthurium andraeanum needs a lot of humidity. Although you can grow it in humidity levels of 50%, you may notice that the leaves are starting to turn brown and crispy around the edges. The optimum humidity level for this plant is 80%, which is considerably higher than the average in most homes.
The most efficient way to raise the humidity in the air is to use a humidifier. This allows you to monitor the humidity level in your home and adjust it as needed.
Other ways to increase humidity are placing the plant pot on top of a pebble tray, or placing it in a bathroom that has a window. Grouping several humidity-loving plants together also help. You can also mist the leaves with room temperature water, however, this is a short-term solution, and your Anthurium will need daily misting.
– Fertilizer Requirements
Anthurium andraeanum is not a heavy feeder, so it only needs fertilizers during the growth period. Apply a diluted fertilizer that’s rich in phosphorus once a month, from spring until the beginning of autumn. This variety of anthurium is prized for its inflorescence, and phosphorus will help stimulate abundant flowering. Cut down on fertilizers when the plant is dormant.
– Soil Requirements
Anthurium andraeanum is an epiphyte, and in its natural habitat, it typically grows on tree branches. As a result, it needs well-draining, aerated soil that’s also slightly acidic, with a pH ranging from 5.5 to 6.5.
The best potting mix for Anthurium andraeanum should include equal parts peat, perlite, and pine bark. Peat provides a great substrate for holding nutrients in the soil. Meanwhile, perlite helps with moisture retention, while pine bark aids with drainage, as well as adding a bit of acidity to the soil. You can also use commercially available orchid or African violet soil mixes, amended with a bit of perlite to help the soil retain water.
Can You Grow Anthurium Andraeanum in Water?
Yes! Anthurium andraeanum is one of the many houseplants that you can grow in just water, without any soil. This is a great technique if you’re worried about watering your plant too much or too little, and it’s also perfect for avoiding pests and diseases that live in the soil.
To grow your Anthurium andraeanum in water, start by removing it from the soil. Gently wash any soil off the roots using room temperature water, and trim off any roots that are damaged or unhealthy. Fill a wide glass container with water, and watch it grow. You will need to change the water once a week, to prevent unpleasant smells and bacteria growth.
– Repotting Anthurium Andraeanum
Anthurium andraeanum growth rate is slow, and only needs repotting once every 2 years. You can usually tell when your plant is ready to be repotted by inspecting the bottom of the container. If you can see roots coming out through the drainage hole, it’s time to move it to a new pot.
The best time to repot Anthurium andraeanum is in spring and summer, during the plant’s growth period. Start by picking a container that’s one size larger than the previous one, or 2 inches (5 cm wider). Using containers that are too big will mean that the soil stays wet for longer, which can lead to root rot.
Anthurium andraeanum is not too pretentious about the type of material used for the pot. You can use plastic, ceramic, or terracotta containers, depending on your preference.
Plastic is usually recommended for keeping the soil moist. Clay, on the other hand, will wick the moisture from the soil, so your plant might need to be watered more often. Regardless of the material you choose, always make sure that the container has drainage holes at the bottom.
– Pruning and Maintenance
Anthurium andraeanum needs minimum pruning. Every now and then, you will need to trim dead leaves or flower heads that have started to wilt. Always use a sharp tool, such as a pruning shear, and take the time to disinfect the blades after each cut. This will prevent any diseases from being transferred to your plant.
The Anthurium andraeanum leaves should be wiped with a damp cloth once a week, to remove any dust building up.
Is Anthurium Andraeanum Toxic?
Anthurium andraeanum is toxic to both humans and pets. All parts of this plant produce saponins and calcium oxalate crystals. If ingested, they can cause severe irritations to the mouth and throat, difficulties breathing, and also vomiting.
When pruning your Anthurium, make sure to use gardening gloves, as these toxic substances can also cause blisters and rashes on the skin.
Anthurium Andraeanum Propagation
Let’s take a closer look at each one.
– Plant Division
The easiest way to propagate Anthurium andraeanum is through plant division. You can do this in spring or summer when you’re repotting a larger plant.
Simply lift the plant out of the pot, and remove some of the soil to expose the roots. Gently separate the root ball in half, so that you have enough stems and leaves on each section. Plant each half in a container with fresh potting mix. And you’re done: you now have two Anthurium plants!
You can use stem cuttings to propagate Anthurium andraeanum the same way as you would other types of aroids, such as Monstera or Pothos plants. Start by locating the leaf nodes on the plant, then cut half an inch below the node. Ideally, each cutting should have at least two nodes, but propagation will also be successful with just one.
Place the cutting in a container with water, and keep it in a warm, humid room, away from direct sunlight. The cutting should start growing roots in about a week. After a month, the roots should be developed enough for you to transplant the Anthurium andraeanum into the soil.
– How To Propagate Anthurium Andraeanum From Seeds
Seed propagation for Anthurium andraeanum is a bit tricky, but not impossible. To get started, keep an eye on the inflorescence after it has stopped dropping pollen. If you notice small, green berry-like lumps on the spadix, that’s a sign that the plant has produced fruit. Wait until these berries turn red, then remove the entire fruit from the plant.
Remove the red pulp to expose the seeds, then soak the seeds in a cup of water for at least a day, until all of the red pulp has fallen off. If any pulp is left on the seeds, it can cause mold later on. After the seeds have been soaked, sow them in a potting mix. Lightly water the soil, and cover the pot with a clear plastic sheet to retain moisture. The seeds should take 3 to 4 weeks to germinate.
Common Pests and Problems
Anthurium andraeanum has a few pests and problems. Most of the time, the problems you may encounter are caused by incorrect watering, low humidity, too much or too little light.
Yellowing leaves are the most common symptom of overwatering. Only water your Anthurium andraeanum when the top inch of the soil is dry, and make sure to use a well-draining potting mix. However, yellowing leaves can also be a sign of too much light, so make sure that your plant is not positioned in direct sun.
Brown and crispy leaf edges are a sign that the air in your room is too dry. Anthurium andraeanum grows best in humidity levels of around 80%, and the easiest way to meet those levels is by using a humidifier.
The most common pests for Anthurium andraeanum are fungus gnats and spider mites. You can keep fungus gnats under control by spraying the plant and top of the soil with a neem oil solution and using mosquito bits to get rid of the larvae. For spider mites, wipe the leaves once a week using a water and isopropyl alcohol solution.
Anthurium andraeanum is a uniquely stunning houseplant that can add a splash of color to any room. With this guide, growing it at home couldn’t be easier!
- Humidity is important for Anthurium andraeanum, which requires levels of around 80% to thrive;
- Avoid direct sunlight, and instead place your Anthurium andraeanum somewhere it will receive plenty of indirect light throughout the day;
- Anthurium andraeanum goes dormant over winter and will require less light, water, and fertilizer.
Now all you need to do is grab your own Anthurium andraeanum and get growing!
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