How to Care for an Anthurium Plant

Overview

Anthurium, also known as Flamingo Flower, is a flowering plant native to tropical parts of the Americas. It is most commonly grown as a houseplant in the United States so it can be moved when temperatures change. Like most tropical plants, anthurium requires special care to thrive indoors, but it will reward its caregiver with colorful red, pink or white blooms all year. The waxy flowers last for up to eight weeks if optimal growing conditions are provided.

Step 1

Plant anthurium in a large container or leave it in the container from the nursery. It is a tropical plant and needs to be brought indoors during winter or grown indoors all year. Use a well-drained potting medium containing one part sphagnum peat moss, one part composted bark and one part perlite for optimal growing conditions.

Step 2

Place anthurium plants in an area that receives bright, indirect sunlight for most of the day. Do not expose plants to direct sunlight as this can cause the delicate leaves to burn. A west-facing window is ideal for anthurium, but it may also be placed outdoors during the day in spring and summer.

Step 3

Keep anthurium plants at a constant temperature of between 65 and 85 degrees Farenheit during the day and 60 to 73 degrees Farenheit at night. Never expose anthurium to temperatures below 45 degrees Farenheit as this can cause cold injury, leaf drop and even death of the plant. Also, avoid high temperatures above 90 degrees Farenheit.

Step 4

Provide adequate humidity for anthurium by placing the planting container in a shallow tray filled with pebbles and water. The bottom of the planter should not be submerged in water but sitting above it on the pebbles. If this is not possible, place a humidifier in the room near the anthurium plant to keep humidity levels high.

Step 5

Wipe the plant's leaves with a damp cloth once every two weeks to keep them clean and free of pests. Mist the foliage using a spray bottle filled with tepid water once per week to dislodge dust and increase the relative humidity around the plant temporarily.

Step 6

Water anthurium once per week during spring and summer, or enough to keep the soil consistently moist. Water less often in fall and winter, about once every 10 to 14 days. Allow the soil to dry out only slightly between watering to avoid fungal problems and to give the roots a chance to breathe.

Step 7

Feed anthurium once every two months using fertilizer with an NPK ratio of 1-2-1. Refer to instructions on the packaging for the proper application rate. Avoid over-fertilization, as this can lead to leaf burn and reduced blooming. Flush the soil with clean water once every six months to remove fertilizer salt buildup.

Tips and Warnings

  • Never allow pets or small children to chew on anthurium foliage. It contains calcium oxalate crystals, which causes severe burning of the mouth and skin irritation. Always wear gloves while handling the plant. Avoid planting anthurium in heavy potting soils that contain more than one-third peat moss as it retains too much water and can contribute to root rot. Use an all-purpose potting soil mixed with wood chips to improve drainage if necessary. Keep anthurium plants away from drafts or excessive heat and cold. They are very sensitive to temperature and shouldn't be placed near electronics, air conditioners, heaters or other appliances that may change the temperature near the plant.

Things You'll Need

  • Planting container
  • Sphagnum peat moss
  • Composted bark
  • Perlite
  • Shallow tray
  • Pebbles
  • Humidifier (optional)
  • Clean cloth
  • Spray bottle
  • Fertilizer

References

  • University of Florida IFAS Extension
  • University of Maryland College of Agriculture and Natural Resources
  • "The Complete Houseplant Survival Manual: Essential Know-How For Keeping (Not Killing) More than 160 Indoor Plants;" Barbara Pleasant; 2005
Keywords: care for anthurium plant, tropical plant, flamingo flower

About this Author

Willow Sidhe is a freelance writer living in the beautiful Hot Springs, AR. She is a certified aromatherapist with a background in herbalism. She has extensive experience gardening, with a specialty in indoor plants and herbs. Sidhe's work has been published on numerous Web sites, including Gardenguides.com.