How to Grow and Care for Anthurium
Anthurium is a genus of around 1,000 perennial plants native to Central America, northern South America, and the Caribbean. While they can be grown outdoors in the garden in warm climates, anthurium is more often grown as houseplants or in greenhouses since they have particular care needs. They grow at a slow or moderate growth rate, depending on getting ample light without getting sunburned.
Also called flamingo flower for their unique tropical shape, you can plant them year-round and they bloom throughout the year. The blooming varieties are distinctive for their colorful, heart-shaped waxy spathes and red or yellow tail-like flower spikes. Other varieties feature large-leaved, deeply veined foliage. This plant's long-lasting bright red, green, and white colors make them a popular centerpiece during the Christmas holidays. Many anthuriums are climbers, and all need high humidity and warmth to thrive. Anthurium is toxic to humans and pets.
Anthurium plants thrive in bright, indirect light, and they do not like exposure to direct sunlight, except in the winter months or in plants that have been carefully acclimated. Wild anthuriums generally live in temperatures at or above 60 degrees Fahrenheit, and the foliage types prefer temperatures even warmer. If temperatures dip below this level, the plant will suffer.
Potted anthuriums prefer a rich but well-draining potting mix that should be kept moist but not wet. Potting mix tailored for orchids, with a few handfuls of sand and a few handfuls of peat moss mixed in, is ideal.
Many anthurium plants are "epiphytic" in natural settings—they grow on other plants instead of in soil. If your plant fails to support itself, give it a stake or small trellis to climb on.
Indoors or out, anthuriums grow best in bright, indirect light. Avoid direct sun, which can burn the leaves.
Anthuriums prefer coarse, well-draining potting. An orchid mix with additional sand and peat moss mixed in makes a perfect potting mix for anthuriums.
The soil should be kept slightly moist and never allowed to dry out completely. Set the pot in a tray with rocks or gravel that has water. The plant's water can drain there and help keep humidity levels higher around the plant. Allow the top of the soil to dry out to the touch before watering again. Indoors, this is about once a week. If outside, during hot days, it can be every two or three days between waterings.
Temperature and Humidity
All species of anthurium are native tropical plants, and mimicking those conditions will give you the best chances for success. This plant prefers high humidity and temperatures between 65 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. These plants can be grown outside in zones 11 to 12 and will likely perish at temperatures 40 degrees or less.
In dry climates—or during dry winter months—mist the plant daily to keep humidity levels high. You may find it necessary to run a humidifier constantly during dry months.
It is safe and recommended to use liquid fertilizer throughout the growing period. Use a fertilizer high in phosphorus, dilute it to 1/4 strength and feed the plants every week. The phosphorus-rich fertilizer will help encourage blooms. The common gardening expression, "Weekly, weakly" applies to how often to fertilize and the strength or concentration of fertilizer to water.