Anthurium (Painter's Palette / Flamingo Flower)

The Anthurium

A number of Anthurium species have started to become quite trendy of late, tending to appear more frequently in many shops and nurseries. Anthurium Andreanum or the Painters Palette with a flowerThey're not the cheapest houseplants you can purchase, especially if compared with the other indoor plants you may find situated nearby. However despite the price tag they're certainly exotic and striking and arguably well worth the money.

The flowers are long lasting and it's not unusual for an Anthurium to be in almost continuous flower. With the bright waxy tough flowers hovering above the contrasting dark green leaves for months on end they certainly have many fans.

Plants belonging to the Anthurium family in general come from the tropical regions of South America and so thrive in warm and humid environments. This is not the natural environment in our homes so these plants are normally difficult to keep as houseplants, therefore you will typically only find two species which are sold as houseplants. Both are fairly accommodating of indoor environments, although even then they can be tricky, but if you've had general experience with houseplants (or are keen to learn) you should be fine. The two you will likely come across are as follows.

Painter's Palette (Anthurium Andreanum)

This is the more difficult one out of the two, but funny enough the Painter's Palette is the easiest one to find in shops. It has arrow shaped and highly polished leaves with an almost unreal looking appearance, which may get people wondering if the plant is genuine or artificial. The leaf or spathe surrounding the flowering spike is normally red but either way the flower spike itself is always straight (picture above).

Flamingo Flower (Anthurium Scherzianum Hybrids)

Photo of the Flamingo Flower (Anthurium Scherzianum)You may struggle to find the A. scherzianum hybrid (pictured right) aka the Flamingo Flower but if you prefer it over A. andreanum then it's obviously worth the search. Both plants are very similar except the Flamingo Flower has different shaped leaves, being longer and more slender. The flower spike is also curly and usually the same colour as the spathe whereas the Painter's Palette has a straight spathe which is typically yellow or white. Providing they are in flower, this is therefore the easiest way to tell the two varieties apart. The final visible comparable difference is that the Flamingo Flower is generally more compact than the Painter's Palette.


Anthurium Care Instructions

Light

Good light is needed for all Anthurium's, but you must always avoid direct sunlight otherwise the leaves will go brown and crispy.

Watering

Anthurium's don't like dryness at the roots, but occasional experiences of this wont be a deal breaker. For best results use tepid soft water and try to keep the soil at least slightly moist at all times.

Humidity

The plant will need a reasonable level of humidity in order to thrive. The majority of homes should be suitable but if you have very dry air, regular misting will help with this in addition to helping prevent dust from building up on the leaves.

Feeding

In order to do well Anthurium's require warmth and if you're providing this requirement it will grow all year round. This means regular gentle weak feeding all year (if it's actually growing) would definitely be helpful although not essential. Assuming you do decide to feed, anything from every two weeks to once a month is good.

In order to thrive indoors Anthurium's need warmth and humidity

Temperature

It must have warm temperatures, so choose your plants location carefully. No lower than 16°C / 60°F and for good growth 20°C / 68°F plus. If you can't meet the minimum temperature requirement all year round then ease up on the watering and feeding when it gets colder.

Repotting

Look to repot your Anthurium every couple of years in Spring if needed. When it comes to the potting medium no special requirements are needed, normal potting soil is completely fine.

Propagation

You can remove any offsets that have grown when you repot. However the primary reason Anthurium's are so expensive is because they take a long time to grow into an attractive looking and flowering sized plant. So bear this in mind if you are attempting to expand your collection through propagation.

Speed of Growth

Moderate.

Height / Spread

The Painter's Palette can get quite large at 60cm / 2ft in in both height and spread, where as the Flamingo Flower is often smaller at around 15cm / 18in.

Flowers

The flowers on Anthurium's are unique looking and often long lasting. If a constant warm temperature is achieved then flowering can occur at anytime of the year, if not then expect the waxy vibrant flowers to appear between February through to September. There isn't any special trick to get the flowers, if you follow the Anthurium care tips they will come in time.

Anything else?

The Painter's Palette and Flamingo Flower can make great plants for the work office. The majority are air conditioned or heated to maintain a consistent temperature all year round, this combined with good light means optimum growth and flowering potential.


Help! My Anthurium is Dying

Crispy brown leaf edges

Caused by poor watering technique, i.e. not keeping the soil moist. Another common cause is that the humidity is too low or the light levels are too bright.

Aphids

You can either squish the Aphids with your fingers by gently running them up and down the stem where the colony has set up home. Or spray with a spray mister containing 9 parts water to 1 part washing up liquid / liquid soap.

No Flowers on my Anthurium

Your Anthurium plant will only produce flowers if it's happy. Warm temperatures, moist soil and reasonable amounts of light are needed. The plant will also need feeding from time to time, and be warned that it will hate you if the temperature fluctuates wildly, i.e. very warm during the day swinging to cold temperatures at night.


Also on OurHousePlants.com

(Article / Gallery) Photo credit of the Flamingo Flower in a window to Romwriter
(Gallery) Photo credit of the Anthurium Scherzianum flower close up by JJ Harrison


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