One look at the regal Anthurium veitchii is enough to tell you why it’s called the King Anthurium.
Its leaves can grow to majestic proportions and can reach almost 6 feet (2 meters) in length. The foliage will also change its shape and appearance as the plant grows, and no two leaves will look alike.
It’s an amazing addition to any home, and caring for it isn’t too difficult either. Our gardening experts reveal everything you need to know to grow Anthurium veitchii in your home in this guide.
What Is Anthurium Veitchii?
Anthurium veitchii, also known as the King Anthurium, is a tropical epiphytic plant native to Colombia, grown for its spectacularly large foliage. Once a rare houseplant, its rising popularity among collectors has now made it easier to find in garden centers. It takes its scientific name after John Veitch, a Scottish horticulturist who founded several exotic plant nurseries in the 19th century.
When the plant is young, Anthurium veitchii leaves are heart-shaped, with a glossy look, and will change color from rusty or maroon to vivid green. In mature plants, the leaves will take on an elongated, spear-like shape, a darker green color, and a thick, leathery feel.
The veins and midrib will also become more prominent, giving the foliage a corrugated appearance. In indoor cultivation, the leaves will usually grow around 3 feet (90 cm) in length, with long petioles, and will turn the plant into a veritable exotic centerpiece.
Anthurium veitchii is an epiphyte in its natural habitat, which means that you will find it growing on trees high up in the rainforest canopy. When grown as an indoor houseplant, you can keep it either in containers or hanging orchid baskets.
– Does Anthurium Veitchii Flower?
Yes! Anthurium veitchii belongs to the Araceae family, a group of plants known as aroids, which produce an arrow-shaped inflorescence. This inflorescence consists of a light green spathe and a spadix, which can be either cream or pale pink.
If you have two King Anthuriums in your home, you can cross-pollinate them, and the plant will produce berry-like fruit, which contains small seeds that you can use for propagation.
– Is Anthurium Veitchii Toxic?
All Anthurium plants contain calcium oxalate crystals in their stem and leaf tissue. This substance is toxic to both humans and animals, which is why we recommend keeping your Anthurium veitchii away from pets and children.
Anthurium Veitchii Care Guide
With its large, glossy leaves and regal appearance, Anthurium veitchii can seem a bit intimidating. Yet caring for this tropical plant is not as difficult as you may think.
Here’s everything you need to know about planting and growing the King Anthurium in your home.
– Light Requirements
Anthurium veitchii grows best in bright filtered light. Although tropical epiphytes can tolerate some partial shade, this does not apply to this majestic plant. In the wild, the Anthurium will grow high up in the canopy, using its large leaves to absorb as much sunlight as it can.
Finding the right spot for this plant can be a bit of a balancing act. Direct sunlight will scorch the Anthurium veitchii leaves, causing discoloration and browning edges. If you keep it in a shady spot, the leaves will struggle to produce photosynthesis, which will result in leggy growth and yellow, chlorotic stains.
The ideal room for keeping your Anthurium veitchii happy should have eastern exposure. It can tolerate direct sun for a couple of hours in the morning so that you can keep it close to the window. Failing that, keeping it close to the window in a room with western exposure but behind a sheer curtain will also work wonders.
In a room with southern exposure, you can place it about 2-3 feet (60 to 90 cm) from the window and make sure to use sheer curtains to filter out the intense midday sun. Unfortunately, a north-facing room will be too dark for this plant.
– Temperature Requirements
The temperature range required for growing Anthurium veitchii indoors is between 59 and 78 F (15 to 26 C). This tropical plant actually prefers cooler temperatures and will produce abundant growth if the room it’s in is not too hot. If temperatures soar above 84 F (29 C), you will notice that its growth becomes stunted, especially if the air is very dry.
Similarly, exposing it to temperatures below 55 F (13 C) for long periods can permanently damage the plant.
To keep the temperature even, we suggest keeping Anthurium veitchii away from any air vents or heaters. This plant is very sensitive to hot and cold drafts or sudden temperature fluctuations.
Often, they will shock the plant, and cold drafts, in particular, can easily kill your Anthurium. You can tell whether the plant has been exposed to drafts if it starts drooping, if the leaves become faded or yellow, or if they develop burn-like marks.
– Humidity Requirements
Anthurium veitchii needs a lot of humidity. Ideally, the humidity levels needed for this plant should be at least 60 percent, but in its native range, it is used to a humidity level as high as 100 percent. Meeting its air moisture needs can be a bit of a challenge, given the fact that most homes sit at around 30-40 percent.
If the air in the room is too dry, you will notice that your plant’s leaves become faded and develop brown, crispy edges. High humidity will encourage abundant growth, a healthy gloss on the foliage, and leaves that grow larger and unfurl faster.
We’ll be honest with you: the only effective way to meet the Anthurium veitchii humidity requirements is by using a humidifier. This will be of great help, especially during winter when heating makes homes dryer than normal or if your Anthurium is the only plant growing in the room. Simply set the humidity on the device to around 70-80 percent, and you will never have to worry about daily misting or topping up pebble trays.
– Water Requirements
Anthurium veitchii is not drought-tolerant and should be watered regularly and abundantly. During spring and summer, you may need to water it once every 5-7 days. In the winter, you can water it less frequently.
Allow the substrate to dry out slightly in between waterings. If the soil is kept constantly wet, it can become a breeding ground for pathogens, which will result in root rot. The goal is to keep the soil moist but not waterlogged.
Use the soak and drain method to water your Anthurium veitchii. Slowly pour water through the substrate until it starts dripping through the drainage holes. If your Anthurium is very large, you can even give it a soak in the shower, using room temperature water. Then allow the pot to drain in a sink before placing it back on the tray.
Knowing when to water your Anthurium veitchii depends greatly on the type of substrate used. For a plant grown in a soil-based mix, allow it to dry out to a depth of about an inch (2.5 cm) before watering again. If your Anthurium is growing in a sphagnum moss mix, water it when the top layer of moss feels a bit crunchy to the touch.
One of the most common problems you’ll come across when growing Anthurium veitchii is overwatering. Contrary to popular belief, overwatering isn’t actually caused by giving the plant too much water.
Anthurium is a tropical plant used with rains that sometimes last for days. It can survive in rainforests without developing root rot because of the type of substrate it’s growing on. So let’s take a look at one of the most important elements in keeping your Anthurium healthy: soil.
– Soil Requirements
Before you start buying soil for your Anthurium veitchii, it’s important to understand how it grows in its natural habitat. This plant is an epiphyte, which means that it will use its roots to attach itself and climb onto the surface of the trees.
Once it gets there, the Anthurium grows in very little substrate, usually just dead leaves that have fallen from the tree or other plant debris. In the wild, you will rarely find this plant growing on soil.
When growing Anthurium veitchii indoors, you can replicate the type of substrate it enjoys in its natural habitat with the right potting mix. The easiest way to do this is by planting it in a mixture of sphagnum moss and orchid bark. Both these growing media have excellent water retention abilities.
They provide aeration to the roots and are light enough that they enable excellent drainage. We also recommend using a bit of horticultural charcoal to further boost drainage and aeration, filter impurities and prevent fungal and bacterial growth, which is a common problem in moist potting media.
You can also grow Anthurium veitchii in soil, but only if you use other amendments on the side. This plant should never be potted in just soil, as this will result in several health problems, most notably root rot.
Here’s a soil-based mix you can try for your Anthurium:
- 1 part soil rich in organic matter
- 1 part pine or orchid bark
- 1 part perlite
- 1 part coarse sand
- 1 handful of horticultural charcoal
– What Type of Container Does Anthurium Veitchii Need?
Pots or hanging baskets – which is best for Anthurium veitchii? Honestly, it depends on the age of the plant. Most King Anthuriums are sold when they’re still small, usually in plastic nursery pots. You can keep the plant in plastic or terracotta containers while the leaves are still small. Make sure that the pot has several drainage holes at the bottom; otherwise, the roots will sit in water and begin to rot.
As the plant matures, we strongly recommend moving it to a hanging basket. Anthurium veitchii leaves will grow to be more than 2 feet (60 cm) long and will need plenty of space to unravel. Not only that but keeping your Anthurium in a pot on the ground will cause the leaves to bend and even tear, and they will never recover from that damage.
Our favorite method for displaying Anthurium veitchii is in an orchid hanging basket. This type of container mimics the way the plant grows in its native range, suspended from tree branches. By keeping it above the ground, you will also provide it with much-needed air circulation. You can either buy this type of basket from a gardening shop or make your own.
Here’s a quick and easy tutorial you can use:
- Start with the outer frame. You can buy metal hanging baskets from most gardening or hardware stores, or you can even make one out of chicken wire.
- Next, prepare the lining. We recommend using coconut husks because they are an inert material that takes up to 10 years to decompose, and most manufacturers sterilize them before packaging. Lay the husks in a circular shape around the frame, kind of like a bird’s nest. The thickness of the layer should be about ½ inch.
- Fill the basket with a mix of sphagnum moss, bark, and charcoal, then place your Anthurium in the middle.
- Attach the hanging basket hangers to the rim of the container, and then simply suspend it in a spot where the King Anthurium can be admired in all its glory.
– Fertilizer Requirements
Anthurium veitchii will benefit from monthly fertilizer applications throughout spring and summer. In winter, the plant will enter a period of dormancy when it doesn’t need any additional feeding.
However, if you are using grow lights for your Anthurium during the darker months, it will continue to produce new growth, and you can keep using fertilizers once every 6-8 weeks.
You can use a liquid fertilizer designed for aroids, with a nutrient ratio of 12-12-12. In the case of mature Anthurium veitchii plants, you can also use a fertilizer that’s rich in phosphorus, such as orchid fertilizer, to encourage blooming. If you’re looking for an organic alternative, you can use fertilizers such as fish emulsion or bonemeal. Make sure that all fertilizers are a bit more diluted than the manufacturer’s specifications.
When using fertilizers, it’s important to regularly flush out salt and minerals building up in the substrate. If you notice that the leaves are starting to droop or turn brown at the tips, or if the new growth is small and wilting, give the soil a good flush in the shower. Once a month, slowly run water through the soil for 10 minutes, then let the pot drain, and repeat the process for another 10 minutes.
– Pruning and Maintenance
Anthurium veitchii needs regular pruning. Simply use a sharp, sterilized pair of scissors to remove the old, yellowing leaves from the bottom of the plant. A mature plant will also have clusters of red cataphylls at the bottom of the leaves. Cataphylls are a modified type of leaf that protects the young leaves before they unfurl. Allow them to dry off completely, then pluck them off with your fingers.
King Anthurium leaves can gather a lot of dust, especially in between the veins and midrib. Once a week, use a damp cloth to wipe both the front and the back of the leaf. Avoid using leaf shine products, as they will only damage the foliage.
– Repotting Anthurium Veitchii
Anthurium veitchii has a slow growth rate. Usually, it will produce a new leaf once every three months. You should only need to repot it once every 2-3 years, usually when you see that the roots are starting to come through the bottom of the container.
The best time to repot Anthurium veitchii is in spring or summer when the plant is actively growing. Start by lifting the plant from the container by holding it from the bottom of the stems. Remove as much of the old potting medium as you can.
Then transplant it in a container that’s one size larger and filled with a well-draining substrate. Water the plant well, and monitor it for the next couple of weeks to make sure it doesn’t suffer from transplant shock.
Anthurium Veitchii Propagation Guide
There are two methods you can use to propagate Anthurium veitchii: through stem cuttings or plant division.
Let’s take a closer look at each one.
– Propagating Anthurium Veitchii Through Stem Cuttings
Here’s our step-by-step guide on how to propagate Anthurium veitchii through stem cuttings:
- Start by finding a section of the stem that has at least two growth nodes. If the nodes also have some aerial roots, this will make the propagation much faster. The stem sections don’t necessarily need to have a leaf attached, but if they do, it will help speed up rooting.
- Use a sharp, sterilized blade and cut the stem into 1 inch (2.5 cm) sections. If you’re making several cuts, make sure to sterilize the blade after each cut.
- Take a plastic container with drainage holes and fill it with either perlite or sphagnum moss.
- Place the stem cutting in the pot, making sure that half of it is above the potting mix.
- Use a spray pump to moisten the substrate, then cover the pot with a transparent plastic sheet or even a ziplock bag. This will help retain moisture around the cutting and encourage it to grow roots faster.
- Keep the pot in a warm room with bright, indirect light. Make sure that the substrate doesn’t go dry, and mist it daily if needed.
- The cutting should take about 6-8 weeks to develop roots and small leaves. Keep it in its propagation pot for another two weeks, then transplant it to a larger pot.
– Propagating Anthurium Veitchii Through Plant Division
Plant division is the easiest method you can use for propagating Anthurium veitchii. Essentially, you are separating an already developed plant from a larger cluster. We recommend using this method simultaneously when repotting your King Anthurium to avoid disturbing the roots too much.
To propagate Anthurium veitchii through plant division, start by taking the plant out of its container. Remove as much of the substrate as you can until the roots are exposed. Use your fingers to untangle the roots and separate the smaller plant from the main plant.
Then, simply plant the baby Anthurium in a container filled with a well-draining potting mix, and monitor it for the next 2-3 weeks to make sure it has become established.
Common Pests and Problems
Overall, Anthurium veitchii is tolerant of most pests and diseases. Here are a few problems you should keep an eye out for.
– Root Rot
The most common problem when growing Anthurium veitchii is root rot, which is caused by overwatering and poor-draining potting mixes. Symptoms include drooping, yellowing leaves that quickly turn brown and soft. Remove the plant from the container. Use a sterilized blade to cut any roots that are soft or black. Then repot the plant in a well-draining substrate.
– Yellowing Leaves
If your Anthurium is not overwatered, yellowing leaves can indicate that it’s not receiving the right amount of light. This plant should receive bright filtered light throughout the day but should not be exposed to direct sun, which will scorch the foliage.
The thick, leathery leaves of the Anthurium veitchii make it resistant to pests, but they can, on occasion, suffer from thrips infestations. Thrips are small insects that feed on plant tissue, causing discoloration and silvery-white spots on the foliage. To get rid of them, prune any infested leaves, and spray the plant with an insecticidal soap solution.
Anthurium veitchii can certainly make a regal addition to your home, and while it can be a little fussy, you can be sure that yours will thrive with this guide.
Let’s take a quick look over the basics:
- Anthurium veitchii is an epiphytic aroid that can grow leaves up to 6 feet (2 meters) long.
- It needs bright filtered light, high humidity levels, regular watering, and a very well-draining potting mix.
- You can propagate the King Anthurium using stem cuttings or through plant division.
- This plant is resistant to most pests but is very sensitive to overwatering.
- The leaves and stems contain toxic calcium oxalate crystals, so keep this plant away from pets and kids.
Now all that’s left to do is find your own Anthurium veitchii and watch it grow into a king!
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