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Anthurium Houseplants

A bit about Anthuriums

Several Anthurium species have become quite trendy as houseplants of late, tending to appear more frequently in many shops and nurseries.

Anthuriums are not the cheapest houseplants you can purchase, especially if compared with the other indoor plants you'll find stocked next to it. However, they're undoubtedly exotic and striking houseplants despite the price tag and arguably well worth the money due to their fairly simple care requirements.

Anthurium Andreanum houseplant or the Painters Palette with red flowers

Some Anthuriums produce flowers that can last for months

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 always the natural environment in our homes or places of work so some of these tropical plants can be challenging to keep as houseplants. Therefore you'll typically only find some of the more easy going species being sold as houseplants.

How do you pronounce Anthurium correctly? Say:
An-THUR-ree-um

The more popular and common species are Anthurium Andreanum and Anthurium Scherzianum which have long-lasting flowers that look good for months. So it's not unusual for these plants to be in almost continuous bloom. With the bright waxy tough flowers hovering above the contrasting green leaves for months on end they're good value and certainly have many fans.

The less common varieties skip the flowers and focus on the foliage instead. Anthurium Clarinervium, Anthurium Crystallinum and Anthurium Luxurians are three examples. These are typically classed as "rare Anthurium houseplants" as they're harder to come by and can have high price tags.

However, they're highly sought after, so more growers will likely be selling them within a few years, at which point you can expect their visibility in stores to increase and prices to tumble.

Why do epiphytes like Anthuriums make good indoor plants?
Epiphytic plants usually attach themselves to other plants or objects and do not have a constant supply of water or nutrients. They have to make do with limited rainfall and falling debris for nourishment.

All of this means they have to be tough to deal with these unusual growing conditions and fairly extreme environmental variables. Consequently, they'll put up with a lot and in turn make for unfussy houseplants.

The good news, most Anthuriums are epiphytes so they can put up with some poor treatment and can still do well even in the hands of a beginner. Their leaves are generally leathery and tough and can withstand a variety of indoor growing conditions.

They're not truly "easy care" plants though, and even experienced houseplant owners can find them tricky at times, but if you've had some experience with indoor gardening (or are keen to learn) you should be fine. They're pretty self-sufficient, so my top tip is not to fuss them too much.

We're going to quickly cover the more popular available species being sold in a little more detail, so you understand the differences before moving onto the care guide. Feel free to skip ahead.

Painter's Palette (Anthurium Andreanum or Anthurium Antioquiensis)

Of all the species, the Painter's Palette is the easiest one to find in shops. As it's one of the most popular cut flowers in the world, you're probably also going to recognise this plant easily when you see its picture below.

The spathe and flower spike (spadix) can be red, white, cream, maroon or purple or a combination of these. Newer cultivars have started to be sold which have multiple colors so the choice available is high.

Anthurium Andreanum with white, red and maroon flowers

When it comes to the availability of flower color with Andreanum you'll be spoilt for choice.

Looking past the flowers, it has arrow-shaped and highly polished leaves with an almost plastic-looking appearance at times, which may get people wondering if the plant is genuine or artificial.

You can tell it apart from Scherzerianum (below) by looking at the spadix, which is always straight.

Flamingo Flower or Pigtail (Anthurium Scherzerianum)

You may struggle to find the Scherzerianum hybrid (pictured below) aka the Flamingo Flower but if you prefer it over Andreanum then it's obviously worth the search.

Photo showing the curly spadix of Anthurium Scherzerianum

Although the Scherzerianum is harder to find in stores it's just as elegant as the Andreanum - photo by Romwriter

The flower spike is also curly like a Pig tail (hence the other common name this plant goes by) rather than straight and usually the same colour as the spathe whereas the Painter's Palette has a straight spathe. Providing they're in flower, this is the easiest way to tell the two varieties apart.

The other visual difference is Scherzerianum has different shaped leaves, being longer and more slender than Andreanum.

Anthurium Clarinervium / Velvet Cardboard

Large heart-shaped leaves that have highly contrasting markings make the Clarinervium pop where ever you grow it. New leaves are a red or rusty colour and as they mature, they'll gradually change to a darker green.

Like the previous species there are flowers, but they're pretty basic and can't compete with the foliage on this plant. Flowers can take up a lot of energy, so you're free to remove them once they start forming if you'd prefer your plant to focus its efforts into producing more leaves.

Anthurium clarinervium make excellent houseplants

It might look like it's going to be a diva, but actually, it's a very easy houseplant - Photo by Román__PG

Anthurium Crystallinum

Crystallinum is very similar to the Clarinervium, they have the same markings and share the dark velvety-green leaves which can get close to 40cm in length. They do however grow faster than the Clarinervium so in some ways they're a better plant.

What is the difference between Anthurium Crystallinum and Clarinervium?
The Clarinervium has slightly darker and smaller leaves, which are a little thicker than those of the Crystallinum. The Crystallinum also has a longer more elongated leaf shape.

The leaf shape is different though, the Clarinervium tends to be a little more desirable because the shape is very obviously heart-shaped. Although the Crystallinum has a similar shape, the heart is much more elongated, so it loses some of that "cute" compact appeal.

The price between the two plants can be significant too. Again this will vary between countries and is largely down to availability in your particular area. Both are fairly straightforward to care for, but again don't fuss them too much as they're fairly self sufficient once established.

Anthurium Crystallinum leaf

Anthurium Crystallinum - Photo by Ahmad Fuad Morad

Anthurium Luxurians

Another fairly new Anthurium where the focus is solely on the foliage. The leaves have ripples or blisters that distort the surface resulting in the light reflecting off it to create a real show stopper. Again largish leaves making this an impressive specimen and rare houseplant.

The reality for this one is that very few people will own it because the asking price is often incredibly high. Unlike almost all plants mentioned on this website, we don't own one (yet) so for now if you want to learn more check out Kaylee Ellen's youtube video.

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Anthurium Plant Photos

Anthurium Care Guide

Light

Good bright light is needed for best results. Providing this will help your Anthurium to produce new flowers and leaves.

They will still put up with some low light for quite a while but at the expense of new growth / repeat flowering. Some plants can cope with some direct sunlight if it's weak enough. If the sun is too intense, you'll notice the leaves scorching or going brown and crispy.

If you notice new flowers or leaves are smaller than the existing ones too much light might be the issue.

Watering

For a happy plant, try and use tepid soft water and keep the growing medium at least slightly moist at all times. Too much water combined with poor drainage will lead to soggy soil. Add in cooler temperatures and you're just asking for fungal issues, ugly leaf markings or root rot.

In the main Anthurium's don't like extreme dryness at the roots. If this happens you'll notice the plant flopping over and wilting in a similar way to the Peace Lily. Occasional experiences of this won't be a deal breaker and after it's been well watered the plant should pop back to its normal appearance within a few hours.

Humidity

The plant will need at least an average level of humidity in order to really thrive. They're pretty tough so the majority of homes should be suitable without anything extra needed. But if you've very dry air, regular misting will help raise the humidity level, in addition to helping prevent dust from building up on the leaves.

Keep it away from air con vents or working radiators and fires all of which can excessively dry the surrounding air.

Feeding

Anthurium's require warmth and if you're providing this it will grow all year round. This means regular gentle, weak feeding all year (if it's growing) would be helpful to provide a continuous supply of nutrients.Anything from once a month or once every couple of months is a good choice.

The flowering species would prefer a feed richer in Potassium to encourage repeat blooms (orchid based feeds are great for achieving this), whereas the foliage species are happier with a more balanced "all purpose" fertiliser.

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

Temperature

This houseplant must have warm temperatures, so choose your plant's location carefully.

No lower than 16°C (61°F) and for good growth 20°C (68°F) plus is needed. 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 and Soil

Don't have time or the will to create your own potting mixes?
Just buy a potting mix designed for Cacti or Succulents which are ready blended for you. Amazon have a decent range*

* We'll sometimes earn a small commission when you buy something through the affiliate links on our site.

Look to repot your Anthurium every couple of years in Spring if it's needed.

When it comes to the potting medium no special requirements are needed, normal potting soil or houseplant compost is fine. Although remember that these plants are epiphytes so they're not used to having their roots completely surrounded by compacted soil.

Do try and add bark or perlite to the mix which will be beneficial and help prevent drainage problems. The foliage species can be fussy even with semi open mixes, so be prepared to open it up more. Try and incorporate some orchid bark to solve this.

Some plants will produce small aerial roots. You can normally leave them alone (I find that they don't grow very long anyway), or they get to long then they can be gently directed and pushed towards the growing medium.

Propagation

You can remove any offsets that have grown when you repot your Anthurium. You can also roughly divide the plant if you can see at least two distinct plants growing.

However the primary reason Anthurium's are so expensive is because they take a long time to grow into an attractive looking sized plant. So bear this in mind if you are attempting to expand your collection through propagation, as it could be some years before the divided plants "full looking" again.

Speed of Growth

Anthuriums don't grow particularly fast, but if all the care requirements are met you'll still notice the plant growing producing a new leaf or two every month.

Height / Spread

After many years the Painter's Palette can get quite large at 60cm / 2ft in in both height and spread, whereas the Flamingo Flower is often smaller at around 40cm / 16in.

Well cared for Clarinervium, Luxurians and Crystallinum will all grow a set number of leaves which tend to get larger and larger with each new leaf. Much like the Alocasia it tends not to become a plant with masses of leaves and instead each plant will only support a limited number with the oldest dying off first. This can make it hard to be exact with heights and spread sizes as you have some control over where the leaves drape or fall.

Flowers

The flowers on Anthuriums are unique looking and often give a long-lasting splash of colour. They can grow fairly tall flowers that stand above the leaves below and will last for several months. If a constant warm temperature is achieved then flowering can occur at anytime of the year. If not, then expect the vibrant waxy flowers to appear between February to September.

Flowering Anthurium houseplant

Perfectly captured photo of the Anthurium in flower by Mike Bird

There isn't any special trick to get the flowers, if you follow the Anthurium care tips they will come in time. Focus on temperature, good light and regularly feeding. If you're doing all of this and not having any luck, think about repotting (if you've not done it in a couple of years).

Are Anthurium's Poisonous?

This is another houseplant that contains calcium oxalate crystals in the leaves and stems. While rarely fatal it can be very unpleasant when chewed on. Keep your pets away if they're the nibbling types.

Anything else?

These plants can make great additions 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.


How to Care for Anthurium Summary

  1. Good Indirect Light

    Growth is the goal with these plants. Whether it's repeat blooms or new foliage, they'll only come if good light is provided. The plant will take some lower light conditions but expect limited growth.
  2. Low to Moderate Watering

    They're adapted to periods of drought, but if your plant is in a light and warm location give it regular watering to keep it super happy.

    Something like once a week in Spring and Summer and once every two in Winter should be a good place to start.
  3. Warm Temperatures

    This plant really needs warm temperatures. Anything above 20°C (68°F)
  4. Average Feeding

    Try to feed once every few months between Spring and late Summer.
  5. Avoid low humidity
    Average home humidity levels are normally fine. But certain things in your home can create dry air such as air con vents and working radiators. Avoid keeping your plants in close proximity to them.
  6. Avoid giving too much water and heavy soil

    Compacted soil combined with excessive water will cause rotting and encourage fungal issues. Keep things bright and airy for the best results.

Anthurium Problems and Common Issues

Brown Anthurium leaves

Often 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 high resulting in scorch.

Yellow Anthurium leaves

Yellow leaves are normal to an extent, but it's not a frequent occurrence. So if you're getting lots of leaves going yellow then it's usually a result of pests or overwatering your plant. The soil should be moist rather than saturated or soggy.

If you know you struggle to get watering right, then mix in some extra perlite or small bits of chipped bark to aid in drainage. You can also use a Orchid Mix which naturally offers very high drainage potential.

Aphids and Scale Insects

You can squish the Aphids with your fingers by gently running them up and down the stem where the colony has set up home.

If you don't fancy that, you can spray a mister containing 9 parts water to 1 part washing up liquid / liquid soap. Add in a bit of neem oil if you have that handy. You can also treat Scale insects in the same way.

Anthurium leaf with several problems including yellow and brown leaves as well as visible scale insects

This poor plant has ALL the issues mentioned above. Scale Insects (red), Overwatering (green), and sun scorch (blue).

No Flowers

Your Anthurium plant will only produce flowers if it's happy.

Warm temperatures, moist soil and reasonable levels of light are needed. The plant will also need feeding from time to time. It can also be unhappy if the temperature fluctuates wildly, i.e. hot during the day swinging to cold temperatures at night. Try and fix all these problems and you'll get the flowers.

No new leaves on my Anthurium

When growing one of the species for its foliage, like its flowering cousin, it needs to be happy.

Again warm temperatures, moist soil and good light are needed for growth. Some feeding is helpful and I've found they can be more particular about the growing medium. Check if it's "open" and airy. If it's not or it's being grown in general houseplant soil think about moving it into something more suitable.

New blooms and leaves are smaller

If you're getting new flowers and leaves, then you're plant's probably happy, so that's a good start. You need first to rule out the obvious culprits of underfeeding and too small a pot. Once that's done, you're left with - Too MUCH light.

Yes that sounds weird doesn't it? But it's true; several studies (here's one of them) have shown excessive light over extended periods can result in much smaller blooms and leaves. Plants grown in fair light away from direct sunshine produce more extensive growth than those grown in full sun.

Our story with this houseplant

My first run in with this plant was in a previous job. It had been in the office for years and eventually forgotten about by its original owner. When I realised it wasn't being looked after, I adopted it and it must have been in bloom constantly for years. Nothing like you get from a new plant in a store, but at least one or two flowers on display.

My care consisted of watering it once or twice a week and the very occasional feeding. That was it. It just got on with living with minimal effort. This experience changed my perception about these plants as at first glance they can easily look like they might be tricky to care for.

I have found though they can be short lived compared to other indoor plants. Over time I find they can grow into a bit of a mess, produce less flowers and just don't have such an attractive compact form anymore.

This mirrors my growing experience with Moth Orchids though, so I feel plants that are in bloom almost constantly tend to have a shorter lifespan than those that seldom flower. You might experience this too, but even if they're "short lived" in your home as well you can still have it for several years before it gets to that point.

An Anthurium houseplant growing in a water vase

Never boring... Anthuriums are usually grown in soil, but they can do well in just water too!

Over the years I feel like they should be recommended as "good houseplants" for sure. They look charming and compact and the ones that flower add a splash of color for long periods.

The species grown for the leaves again can be wonderful additions to collections and yes the price of these is going to put people off, but I do feel in the future they're be more available and less expensive. Look for deals and share any bargains you find in the comments below.

Whatever you go for, they're going to impress and act as show stoppers without too much effort from you. Make sure you pick a prime location in your home and then just let them do their thing.


About the Author

Tom Knight

Tom Knight

Over the last 20 years, Tom has successfully owned hundreds of houseplants and is always happy to share knowledge and lend his horticulture skills to those in need. He is the main content writer for the .

Also on Ourhouseplants.com


(Article / Gallery) Photo credit of the Flamingo Flower in a window to Romwriter
(Article / Gallery) Photo credit of Anthurium Clarinervium to Román__PG
(Article / Gallery) Photo credit of Anthurium Crystallinum - Photo by Ahmad Fuad Morad
(Gallery) Photo credit of the Anthurium Scherzianum flower close up by JJ Harrison
(Article / Gallery) Photo credit of the Red Anthurium Flowers by Mike Bird
(Gallery) Photo credit of the Red Anthurium Flowers by Ramesh NG


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