Most commonly used varieties: Anthurium Scherzerianum and Anthurium Andreanum
With over 600 species, these tropical plants have a long-lasting, showy bloom. The shiny, thick, dark green leaves gleam even in low light and endure the typical low humidity in most interiorscapes. They can also withstand the brushing of people as they walk too close without tearing the leaves. The flowers last a long time with each blossom lasting up to three weeks. In glorious colors of red, pink, white and multi-shades, they stand out for admiration. Most Anthurium species, of which there are over 600, do not have showy flowers.
Anthuriums are native to the tropics such as Hawaii and grow and bloom best at high light levels. At lower light levels, blooming species and hybrids cease flower production, the new leaves will be smaller in size the petiole will stretch and there will be fewer of them. As a rule, Anthuriums grow best at light levels of 1,500 – 2,500 fc. At lower light, blooming species and hybrids cease flower production, the new leaves will be smaller in size and there will be less of them. Anthuriums grown solely for their foliage are more tolerant of light levels below 1,000 fc. In fact, some of these species can be found growing in very shady places in the wild. Even the foliage species that generally prefer higher light will maintain a good appearance for up to a year under low light, but they will not produce much new active growth. Like in the blooming varieties the leaves that emerge in low light may be smaller, stretched and possibly even deformed.
Anthuriums like to be kept evenly moist especially when growing actively. Many are grown in Hawaiian type soils and the water will run through quickly. Species with very leathery leaves, such as the bird’s nest varieties, are more drought-tolerant, especially if the humidity is high. Overall, it is easiest to error on the side of slightly underwatering rather than overwatering them. Those that are overwatered react quickly with sudden yellowing of the older leaves, which then linger on plants.
Many of the Anthuriums come from Hawaiian growers and are potted in the “lava” rock typical of the region. They perform well in this media for it drains suitably and with a little bit of water left standing in the saucer, the plant holds up well with just once a week irrigation.
The roots need to breathe. The soil mix for Anthuriums needs to be light and porous, possibly with lots of lava rock mixed in for drainage. Because of this porous soil mix and high light requirements, they will need fertilizer more frequently than other plants to stay healthy and growing strong. Once per year, add a bit of fresh soil to the container to help promote healthy new growth.
If you are going to keep it long-term in an account, good light and regular feedings are necessary. Fertilizer that promotes blooming, like one used for orchids, works well. It’s important to add a bit of rich, organic mix about once a year to keep the roots happy. Keep them pot-bound, for it seems to promote blooming.
Mealybug, spider mites, scale, aphid and thrips can attack Anthuriums. The latter two are more common on the new growth. Aphids also sometimes feed on the flower buds. Scale insects are particularly fond of the tough-leafed bird’s nest species. Spider mites may appear when humidity is low. Periodic spraying of the leaves, especially the underside, with gentle soap and water sprays may help prevent an infestation. Soap mixtures and hand “harvesting” of the bugs work well for control. It is always best to monitor the plants at regular intervals and treat low-level infestations before they become widespread problems. Anthuriums occasionally are subject to a number of leaf spots caused by fungi and bacteria, especially when air movement around foliage is restricted. Good sanitation practices aid in preventing the spread of these diseases.