Anthurium is a tropical plant known for its bright-red flowerlike spathe. The plant is also known as the Flamingo Flower or Painted Tongue. While the plants are native to tropical conditions, it is possible to grow them indoors. The plants are durable and will grow beautifully under the proper conditions.
Anthurium is the genus of more than 800 species of a tropical plant native to New World tropical regions from Mexico to South America and the West Indies. While anthuriums are found growing in Hawaii, they are not native to the islands. Anthuriums will grow outdoors in USDA hardiness zones 11 and 12. The spathe appears as the plants flower, however, it is really one of the leaves. Anthuriums reach a height up to 20 inches, depending on the stem length of the spathe.
How to Plant Outdoors
Anthuriums require shallow planting of no more than 2 or 3 inches, because the root growth occurs near ground level. The plants grow well in raised beds that are 5 inches deep and filled with an organic soil that drains well. Water the plants immediately after planting and apply a thick layer of mulch to allow the roots to spread and grow. Stake each anthurium after planting to provide support until the roots take hold.
Care and Maintenance Outdoors
Anthuriums require high levels of light, but direct sunlight is not recommended. To avoid root rot, water the plants regularly, but only after the top layer of soil has dried. A tropical plant fertilizer should be applied every other month. Wash or rinse the plant foliage regularly to eliminate and control mites. Promptly remove dead leaves and stems to promote new plant growth. The plants will not tolerate temperatures below 50 degrees, with 68 degrees or higher being optimal.
Care and Maintenance Indoors
Anthuriums planted in pots need a soil that drains well and consists of an even mix of peat moss, perlite and pine bark. The plants need to be watered thoroughly, but the soil should be slightly dry prior to watering. Do not let the soil dry completely or overwater. Anthuriums prefer long hours of sunlight without being in direct sunlight. Keep the plants in an area where the temperature stays at approximately 68 degrees.
Anthurium plants are propagated through seed collection or through cuttings. Seed propagation requires drying the seeds and storing under optimal conditions for germination to occur. Due to the time and work involved with seed propagation, most growers prefer to propagate with plant cuttings. Take the cuttings in early spring when the daylight hours are increasing in length. The cuttings must be placed under a mist system to enhance root growth. It is possible to divide an anthurium plant if aerial roots and shoots have formed off the main stem of the plant.