The Anthurium, also called flamingo flower, is genus of evergreen plants that range from vines to upright growing varieties, all being hardy to grow outdoors in USDA growing zones 11 and 12. The limited outdoor growing areas results in anthurium varieties being popular houseplants. Anthurium plants are native to areas of South America and Costa Rica where the climate is warm and humid. Anthuriums are poisonous if ingested by humans or animals.
Anthurium is a tropical ornamental that is known for the bright red or pink heart-shaped flower it produces. The plant has long, dark green leaves which are also heart-shaped with a long petiole. The flower is called inflorescence or spadix and appears at the end of a long spike protruding from the plant. Anthurium grow up to 3 feet high, depending on the variety.
Anthurium grows well when potted in a mix that is 1 part peat moss, 1 part crushed sphagnum moss and 1 part gravel or perlite. The plant requires a container with a hole for drainage and with the soil mix settled around the root system, to limit air pockets. Place anthurium plants in a location with a temperature of 60 to 85 degrees F, bright, indirect light and high humidity. Increase humidity levels by setting the container on a tray filled with stones and water. Do not set the container directly into water as this will increase the risk of root rot.
Water anthurium plants once the potting medium becomes dry to the touch. Do not allow the plant to dry out, as this will limit growth and flowering and cause root damage. A plant that is over-watered will have yellowed leaves. Fertilize the plant once a month during the growing season with a liquid fertilizer that does not contain lime. Do not fertilize during the winter months. Periodically wipe the top and bottom of the leaves with water to prevent insect problems.
Anthuriums are susceptible to an infestation of aphids, scale and mealybugs. Isolate plants that have insect infestations to prevent spreading to other plants. Treat infested plants by washing the insects off with water and applying an insecticidal soap spray. Prevent insect problems by keeping the plant healthy with adequate water and fertilizer and maintaining a high humidity level.
An anthurium plant has few problems with disease except Rhizoctinia. Plants that are poorly drained in an environment with high temperatures and humidity may be contract the fungal disease. Chemical fungicides will treat a Rhizoctinia problem as long the plant and container no longer have drainage problems.