Anthurium is a flowering family of almost 1000 varieties, the biggest genus of the Araceae in the arum family. These epiphytes were originally discovered in the South American rainforests, often found growing on other plants while some varieties are terrestrial.
Anthuriums usually grow almost 18 inches high and around 12 inches in width when they are mature. The leaves are frequently clustered and vary in shape. The plants bear perfect tiny flowers, comprising both male and female formations.
The flowers are gathered in close spirals of the spadix. The spadix is frequently stretched into the shape of a spike, but can also be a club- or globe-shaped. The spathe is located below the spadix, also varying in shape, though it is mostly shaped like a lance in most species. It extends either flat or curved in shape from the stalk, sometimes covering the spadix resembling a hood.
The flowers generally last for some weeks unless they are cut. If the plant is raised in water, the flowers will last for almost six weeks. Nevertheless, flowers usually open at varying times, resulting in an extended flowering period. Several Anthurium cultivators have noted that there is a pattern of the plants flowering for around three months followed by three months of no blooms. The fruits grow from the flowers of the spadix and are juicy berries of several different colors, generally containing two seeds.
Anthurium breeders are mainly focused on the spadix/spathe, cultivating different cultivars for their unique shapes and bright colors. A. andraeanum and A. scherzerianum are the most common varieties that are cultivated since they are the sole species with bright red spathes. Anthuriums are also cultivated to yield spathes in several different patterns and colors.
Several varieties of Anthurium are grown indoors or outdoors in temperate climates in shaded areas, including Anthurium varieties like A. crystallinum and A. clarinervium with their big velvety leaves of dark green veined in silver/white. Several hybrids are obtained from A. andraeanum or A. scherzerianum due to their vibrant spathes.
Indirect, bright sunlight will keep the plant happy. Plants that don’t get sufficient sunlight usually have dull flowers, so it’s important to grow these plants in rooms that get lots of indirect light.
These plants need low to moderate quantities of water, twice weekly is sufficient. This also depends on the warmth of the environment the plant lives in. The watering routine to follow for this plant is to provide enough water to douse the roots without making them rot.
The pot/container should have enough drainage holes to prevent the roots from getting water-logged, along with the frequency of watering.
Another issue to keep your Anthurium happy is watching the water temperature. They prefer lukewarm water, cold water can send the plant into shock.
Another issue to watch out for when watering is to avoid watering it from the top and getting leaves wet as this heightens the risk of blight affecting the plant.
Another issue with cultivating tropical plants is their general need for high levels of humidity, in this case, it’s usually about 70-80%. This also has an impact on the watering schedule as low humidity requires more frequent watering along with regular misting to raise the humidity or placing the plant in a naturally humid bathroom.
These plants grow best in temperature ranges between 61–72°F with a maximum high of 90°F. Temperatures lower than 40°F will affect growth and damage the leaves.
They like damp soil with a high level of organic matter, they can grow in a wide assortment of soil types just as long as there is high organic matter. The soil also has a suitable drainage capacity to prevent waterlogging and root rot.
Repotting can make a difference between a beautiful flower and an underdeveloped plant. This is usually done once in two or three years, as the plant takes time to get root-bound and must be done carefully.
Painstakingly remove it from its current home, pruning dead leaves or flower stalks. Then insert it into a pot one size bigger and fill it with an appropriate soil mix. Water it well until new growth appears.
Propagation is done from cuttings, division, or seed germination (this takes more time). The easiest favored methods among Anthurium enthusiasts are division and stem cuttings (described below).
Choose a healthy stem almost 6 inches long having at least two leaves attached, cutting it cleanly from the plant, and place the new cutting in an appropriate pot, buried at least 2 – 3 inches in the soil. Water it well, ensuring that the topsoil doesn’t dry out as this plant needs plenty of moisture for roots to set in about 4-6 weeks. Slow down on the watering routine as with adult plants.
Select a plant that has become or is close to getting root-bound. Carefully take it out from its home so that the roots are exposed and visible to be easily divided. Separate the roots resulting in two sections of the original plant. Carefully shake off excess soil and plant each plant into new pots with fresh soil and water them well.
The plants with well-developed root systems will profit with a diluted feeding every second week when blooms appear. The plants don’t require standard doses of fertilizer even though they are flowering plants. The flowers do become more vibrant when fed, but this should be done every 3 or 4 months, usually during the flowering phase. A fertilizer rich in phosphorus is best.
Climbing or vining plants will benefit from having a moss or coir-covered pole to climb and cling on to.
It’s a slow-growing plant, and while it might be assumed that it doesn’t require regular pruning, it does require some care since it has plenty of growth and hence pruning to help it grow well.
It’s best to prune this plant after the flowering phase for around three to five months. Be wary of removing too many healthy leaves as future growth will be stunted. Start by removing dead or yellow leaves as well as dead flower stalks.
Sponge the leaves with water to rid the plant of dust and insects.
Leaf curl is related to under-watering. To resolve this problem and prevent long-term damage, change your watering schedule. Begin by comprehensively saturating the plant with water and then find the correct balance.
Brown spots on leaves can mean either the plant is not getting proper nutrients, or it is exposed to excessive direct sunlight. Reduce the light exposure the plant gets and if that doesn’t help, feed it with a dilute fertilizer solution.