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Anthurium—How to Grow Anthurium Plants

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Anthurium—How to Grow Anthurium Plants

Anthurium andreanum. These have a straight spadix, or tail, whereas A. scherzerianum has a curled spadix.

Photo © Jon VanZile
The are two groups of anthurium grown in greenhouses: flowering varieties and those with magnificent foliage. The only ones you're likely to see in the garden center are the flowering varieties with their multicolored spathes and red or yellow tail-like flower spikes. But if you are intrepid, you might come across a few of the large-leaved, deeply veined foliage types. Be warned: neither type of anthurium is particularly well-suited for most houses. Native to tropical rainforests throughout Central and South America, many anthuriums are climbers and all need very high humdity and warmth to thrive.

Growing Conditions:

Light: Bright, indirect light. Do not expose to direct sunlight, except in the winter or plants that have been carefully acclimated.
Water: Keep compost moist at all times, but not drenched. Foliage anthurium throw off aerial roots that appreciate misting and can be pushed into the soil.
Temperature: They suffer below 60ºF. The foliage types prefer it even warmer.
Soil: Rich, loose potting media. Push exposed roots into the soil.
Fertilizer: Use liquid fertilizer throughout the growing period or pellets in the spring.

Propagation:

Divide during repotting, or take cuttings from the tip or stem. Older foliage plants might overgrow the top of their pots with exposed aerial roots. These can be cut off at the soil level and potted into new pots. Leaves will emerge from the old stem.

Repotting:

Repot annually as needed. They don't suffer from being slightly underpotted, however, so only repot if necessary. When repotting, use high-quality potting soil.

Varieties:

The anthuriums are collector's plants, and many of the most magnificent varieties are rare outside of greenhouses and botanical gardens. Varieties include:
  • A. andreanum. Heart-shaped leaves up to 1 ft., with flowers available in red, white, pink and variegated. Distinguished by a straight flower spike.
  • A. scherzerianum. The most forgiving of anthuriums, it features a curling orange flower spike. Leaves are arrow shaped.
  • A. crystallinum. Deep green, velvety leaves with pronounced white ribs. Leaves up to 2 ft. across.
  • A. faustinomirandae. A monster with cardboard-stiff leaves up to 5 ft. long. A greenhouse plant.

Grower's Tips:

All anthuriums prefer plenty of warmth, regular moisture and ample fertilizer. The easiest to grow are the A. scherzerianum and A. andreanum. These plants have been extensively hybridized and are relatively common in garden centers. Flowering anthuriums will flower any time of the year, providing they are healthy. Foliage anthuriums are mostly found at speciality greenhouses or through online nurseries. To grow them best, approximate conditions found in tropical zones, and if necessary, provide a climbing support for foliage varieties.
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