Anthurium cutucuense is one plant that should be in your garden because of its eye-catching looks.
It may be difficult at first because of its substrate requirement, but if you can get that right, it will be super easy for you. Keep reading the plant guide and learn more about this plant from the way you have to take care of it, to even ways it can be propagated.
- What Is Anthurium Cutucuense Plant?
- Anthurium Cutucuense Plant Care
What Is Anthurium Cutucuense Plant?
Anthurium cutucuense is a weird-looking plant that you can only find naturally in Ecuador. The unique epiphyte has light pendant stems with long green leaves. In Ecuador, this plant only grows in two provinces which are the Morona-Santiago and the Zamora-Chinchipe Provinces.
Anthurium Cutucuense Plant Care
Even though the cutucuense plants look special and unique, they are pretty easy to grow. However, you need to be patient with the plant as it will need to adapt to its environment and it is also a slow-growing plant. Here are the essential tips to grow your cutucuense plants:
– Soil Requirements
This plant requires a very loose substrate. The substrate should be airy and have a pH of 5.5-6.5. The best type of substrate is a mixture of a two-part orchid mix, one-part perlite, and a few amounts of peat moss or vermiculite. The substrate needs to be light so that you can move it easily as you’d move it often to water it.
A very simple potting mix that you can grow the plant in is wood shavings or tree bark as the plant is an epiphyte. You should also remember to perforate the pot with large drainage holes so that excess water will not stay in the pot for up to one hour.
– Water Requirements
Watering this plant is both unique and fun. As a plant growing in a very loose substrate, you can water it by dipping the pot with the plant on it in a large bowl of water so that the water will get soaked in the pot. You should leave the pot in the water for a few seconds and then remove it.
Allow the pot to dry outside before you take it inside back to its location. However, if you do not like the dipping method, you can water the plant by misting it. Please water your cutucuense in the morning so that their pot and substrate will get dry quickly so that their roots do not drown in the water.
– Light Requirements
This anthurium grows best in the north-facing window as it does not need a lot of sunlight. In the wild, the plant is covered by tree canopies, so it gets bright and indirect sunlight.
This is why the north-facing window is best for the plant. If you are growing the plant in a spot where the amount of sunlight is high, you should block off some sun rays using a shade cloth.
This plant also grows perfectly fine under grow lights so you can get those as well. Just make sure that the cutucuense receives at least eight hours of grow light daily.
Well, even though this plant grows slowly, it will surely give you signs when you grow it under exposure to too much or too little light. We will talk about the lighting problems later.
– Humidity Requirements
Your plants rely on the humidity for many processes including water movement and transpiration.
To help them grow optimally, you need to keep them in a place where they can grow at their preferred humidity range. As for cutucuense plants, they require 70 to 80 percent humidity. This seems high, but it reflects what they are used to in their natural habitat.
Even though this plant needs high humidity, you should make sure that the room is not stuffy. Make the room as ventilated as possible and do not allow moisture to build up on the leaves or roots of your plants.
– Temperature Requirements
After humidity, the next thing to consider is temperature. This plant needs 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit to grow as quickly as it can. Growing it outside this range will not only slow its growth rate but can also kill it slowly. If you like, you can grow it in a greenhouse or a place with controlled environmental factors.
Please do not keep your anthurium plant pot close to a heater or an air conditioner. These appliances that alter the temperature can do so faster than the rate at which your plant can adapt.
– Fertilizing Requirements
You should note that, unlike other plants, this anthurium does not need excess fertilizing. This is an epiphyte in its natural habitat and gets very little nutrients from the tree and atmosphere. You only need to feed the plant once every three to four months with quarter-strength fertilizer. This means that you will only fertilizer it three or four times annually.
You do not need to amend the potting mix with compost or any source of nutrients. The roots of the cutucuense will grow just fine in a nutrient-depleted substrate as long as they get their little dosage of fertilizer occasionally.
– Pruning Requirements
Sometimes, the plant can produce more stems and leaves than you need. If you feel that it has grown more than the shape and size that you want, you need to prune it.
Using a sterilized pruning scissor, cut off the excess stems from their base and dispose of them (i.e. do not leave them on the substrate). However, if you like the bushy appearance of your plants, you do not need to prune the plant.
Asides from the excess leaves and stems, you should also remove the weak ones that can no longer stand firm. Remove the yellow and dead leaves as well.
Even though this plant looks unique and weird, it is easy to propagate. However, you should know that propagation in cutucuense plants takes a lot of time, so you need patience. To propagate your plant, you will need a cutting from a mature plant.
Make sure that the cutting has at least two nodes. When you get the cutting, use either the soil or water methods of propagation below:
– Propagating Through Cuttings in Soil
After you get the cutting, wait until the bottom dries up in a few hours. While waiting, you can prepare the potting mix or soil if you do not have it yet. You want to make sure that the substrate is new, but you can reuse it as long as you can properly bake it. When you get the substrate, pour it onto the pot.
Plant the bottom part of the cutucuense cutting into the substrate. At least two inches should be in the substrate. You should then keep the pot in a cool spot where the light, temperature and humidity levels are just right. Pour water into the substrate and not directly on the cutting so that you do not displace it.
You may need to wait for up to five weeks before you can see any sign of growth. If the propagation is not successful, the cutting will start to rot in a few days, so if you see that the cutting is still standing tall and fresh, you can rest assured that it is growing.
When the cutting has new leaves, you can switch to the usual form of watering and then take the pot back to your preferred location.
– Propagating Through Cutting in Water
One downside of the previous method of propagation is that you cannot check the progress of the roots. Even though you can dig off the substrate to reveal the roots, you must be very cautious so that you do not ruin the roots by accident. If you need a more transparent method, the water method is right for you.
When you get the cutting, keep it in a glass of water. Make sure that the water covers up to three inches of the cutting. Your regular duty is to replace the water every two days so that algae, bacteria and fungi do not have access to your cutucuense cutting. Continue doing this for weeks until you see roots growing.
Even though you may be very excited when you see the roots, you should wait until you see a sign of growth above the water, especially on the nodes of the cutting before you transfer the young plant to a suitable potting mix.
Remember that you need patience before you can see the result of your propagation. You should wait for four to six weeks before you can conclude that the plant is not growing. Also, do not forget to use only sterilized tools so that your cutucuense will be free from contamination.
If you can learn to avoid or fix these problems, you will grow your exotic plant to be healthy with ease:
– Leggy Plant
The stem of the cutucuense plant is thin and tall, so you must take care of it, else it cannot firmly hold the leaves. A leggy plant stem is one that is very weak and you will usually see it resting on the substrate or on another object. Many factors can cause leggy stems, but the most common are external force and lack of light.
If someone heats the stem by mistake, it can lose its firmness and will become weak. If you do not keep your cutucuense in a place where it can get enough light, the stem will grow tall trying to reach the available source of light and become weak in the process. This can make the stem useless afterward as it will no longer be pretty, yet it continues to collect nutrients from the plant.
To prevent this, you want to keep your cutucuense in a place where people cannot accidentally hurt them. Also, make sure that there is sufficient light as well.
This is a delicate plant, so you must pay attention to its watering needs. You want to make sure that you do not overwater it as when the substrate is filled with water, the plants’ roots will not find air to breathe and they will slowly start to die. Overwatering can lead to root rot as fungi will start attacking both the decomposing and healthy roots of your cutucuense.
When you develop your cutucuense watering plan, stick to it and do not be overzealous about it so that you do not kill your plants by accident. Note that you can achieve this by amending the substrate as well. To water your plants regularly, you must ensure that the substrate can drain off the excess water.
Well, if you see that your cutucuense plants are suffering after you water them, you must first find a way to remove the excess water. Carefully take the plant off its substrate and let it dry outside. If there are dead or decaying roots, remove them then rinse the rest. You should then plant it in a new substrate or try to bake the previous one first.
What if you make a lighting mistake and place your cutucuense plants in a spot where they can get too much light? This can kill the plants as they are not used to bright direct light. Remember that the cutucuense plants are epiphytes, so even if they grow on trees naturally, they have large tree canopies that block the sun from reaching them directly.
This means that your plants need bright light, but make sure that it is indirect. The best way to prevent sunburn is to cover the window with shade cloth so that direct light will not reach your plants. You can also take the pots some feet away from the window.
Just in case you see the leaf tips of your cutucuense plants burning, do not panic. After you reduce the access to the plant’s light exposure, you only need to water the plants regularly. You can also remove the damaged leaves if you think that they are not redeemable.
Asides from giving your plants too much light, something else that can kill them is giving them too many nutrients. Please be reminded once more that as an epiphyte, cutucuense does not grow in nutrient-rich soil. Therefore, the plant collects as many nutrients as it can from the atmosphere as well as its substrate.
This means that the substrate that you will use for this plant does not need to be too nutritious. The substrate should be very loose so that excess nutrients can drain off quickly. Remember that you only need to fertilize this plant three or four times per year with low-strength fertilizer.
Overfeeding is similar to sunburn in symptoms, so when you see brown cutucuense leaf tips, you should check if the problem is from the light or the nutrients. If the symptoms are coming just after you fertilize the plant, you should pour a lot of water into the pot so that it can wash off the excess nutrients.
– Pests and Diseases
You are not the only one who loves the anthurium cutucuense plant. Just like you, pests such as scales and mealybugs love the plant. Unlike you, however, they want to destroy the plant by consuming its leaves. You must prevent these pests by using a cutucuense-safe pest repellent.
You can use your hands to remove large pests from your plant so that they do not damage the leaves. If you are growing your cutucuense plants outside, you can introduce predatory insects such as ladybugs so that they can control the population of scales and other smaller insects.
Some diseases such as bacterial blight can affect the plant as well. The best way to prevent this disease is to isolate any plant in your garden that looks sick. Also, remove damaged leaves and other parts of the plant immediately you see them so that the disease does not spread.
Now you can grow your anthurium cutucuense plants even though they looked challenging to grow at first. Please remember these points:
- As an epiphyte, the substrate of your cutucuense should be very loose so that the roots can breathe with ease.
- The optimal humidity and temperature to grow this exotic plant are 70 to 80 percent humidity and 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Grow your plants in at least five hours of light so that they do not get a leggy stem.
- As long as you have a cutting of this plant, you can propagate it in either soil or water.
- Isolate your sick plants so that they do not spread the disease. If you can, prune off the damaged parts.
Congratulations as you are now a pro at growing this exotic plant. It is time to wear your green thumbs and start planting.