Anthuriums are glossy flowers with a prominent central spadix that make people think of the tropics. A large genus of tender perennials, anthuriums are represented by more than 800 known species. The large, colorful, petal-like structure that surrounds the spadix is called a spathe. Depending on the species and culitvar, the spadix and spathe will either match or contrast in hue. Anthuriums can be used as cut flowers in a variety of floral arrangements.
Japanese ikebana style arrangements that use structure, asymmetry and contrasting height can use anthuriums to dramatic effect. A block of absorbant floral foam is needed for this type of arrangement and an opaque container and/or greenery such as ti or galyx leaves will be needed to disguise the foam. Anchor the foam in the container, add water and place what you want to be your tallest flower stems in place first. Look at your work and add additional anthuriums at varying heights to compose a restrained arrangement that is more sleek than overflowing. When all anthurium flowers are placed to your liking, cover the exposed foam to create a finished look.
Relaxed and Naturalistic Arrangement
The graceful arching and almost architectural form of anthuriums, like calla lilies, can look very sophisticated when massed together on their own without any filler and draped over one side of a vase or tall bowl. Instead of splaying the flowers out in the vase gather them in your hand and arrange the flowers as you would a wedding bouquet. Straighten and neaten the stems so they all lie smooth and the flowers are facing up and out to best effect. Cut a crisp line across the bottom of the stems and gently place the untied bouquet into the vase resting it on the lip of the vase with the stems anchored in the water on the opposite side. This style is best executed in clear glass vases so that the bright green stems are part of the arrangement and add a secondary sculptural element. Fill the vase no more than a third to a half full with water to heighten the dramatic look.
Having a relatively flat base, anthuriums are one of a few flowers ideally suited to floating arrangements. Floating a dozen large, brightly colored flowers in a long trough vase down the center of a table makes a spectacular impact at surprisingly little cost and preparation time. Anthruiums can also be floated in small glass cube vases and set at each place setting or scattered around a room for parties. A low coffee table is an ideal location to set a shallow crystal or silver bowl filled halfway with water and a handful of anthuriums in a hue that suits the decor. Use the flowers in odd numbers and do not crowd them as you want the arrangement to appear free floating. Cut the stem off of the bloom leave just a scant 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch of stem and gently place the flowers on the surface of the water without wetting the topside of the flowers.