For those who love collecting exotic flowers, probably will love anthurium. Many home owners love keeping anthurium as a part of home decoration because of its beauty and flexibility when it is combined with another accessories. Anthurium andraeanum is one of the prettiest tropical plant you can grow all year round with the right growing condition.
The anthurium is native to Central America and South America. The species is relative to peace lilies and calla lilies. It has a shiny, teardrop, shaped structure that surround the spadix (the real flower) which comes in various color from deep red and pink to white and red-speckled white.
While the stunning stems are often used in floral arrangements, the pigtail plant can last longer if it is grown properly. Even, this plant can bloom for two to three months at a time throughout the year. For each flower that grows, the plant will also grow a new leaf.
A healthy and happy anthurium eventually grow its baby plants. If you want to place anthurium in your house, just make sure your place is away from the children, dogs, and cats because this plant is toxic to humans and pets.
Anthurium Andraeanum Overview
- Botanical Name: Anthurium Andraeanum
- Popular Name: Flamingo flower, pink anthurium, tailflower, pigtail plant
- Mature size: 12-18 inches high
- Plant Type: Herbaceous perennial, evergreen
- Sun Exposure: Indirect light, bright
- Soil Type: Orchid mix/Aroid mix
- Soil pH: 5.5-6.5
- Toxicity: Pets and humans
Anthurium Care Guide
You can use a rich, well-draining potting mix to plant the anthurium. Anthurium, bromeliads, and air plants are epiphytes that can grow without soil. They grow on the tree limbs and absorb the moisture from their roots. It is also advised to provide a trellis or moss pole for extra support because many varieties are climbers.
Creating a potting mix for this pink anthurium is very easy. You can combine half sphagnum moss and half fir bark which can hold the moisture even though it still allows the water to drain freely. If you don’t have this combination, you can try the orchid bark or perlite mix. Make sure to water the anthurium so you will see the mix is consistently moist.
As you see the anthurium grows, you will see aerial roots, or crown growing from the base of the plants. It is important to wrap the crown in a handful of sphagnum moss to keep moist. A quick tip to make your anthurium grow faster is to feed it with fertilizer regularly. Just apply standard fertilizer by diluting it into water. Apply it every two weeks during the spring and summer seasons.
Water Requirements and Humidity
Anthurium andraeanum prefers a humid environment due to its tropical origin. However, don’t overwater the plant because it will damage the root and turn the leaves to yellow faster.
The houseplant only needs low to medium watering because the fresh roots will easily become waterlogged. If you are living in a hot area, water the plant every two to three days. If you are living in a rainy area, water it if it is necessary.
The important thing is that you need to have proper drainage because anthurium should always be moist but not soggy. To do that, make sure the pot has a hole and pebble stones at the bottom. Also, mist the plant weekly so it looks a lot better. Keep in mind to water it thoroughly and ensure to let it dry out before watering it again.
Anthurium Andraeanum Light Requirements
Remember that different species of anthurium will have different care requirements. Typically, pink anthurium grows well in indirect-bright sunlight with weekly waterings. Let’s say the plant is placed in a brighter light, then you need to water more often and vice versa. Avoid direct sunlight by putting it around 5-8 feet from the window. Too much sun will bleach the center of the leaves as well as produce brown leaf tips.
Additionally, you need to keep the anthurium away from the heaters that can dry out the plant during the winter season. One important point is you need to increase humidity if the house is too dry by adding a humidifier.
Most anthurium species will thrive in warmer climates but live as indoor plants. Keep the temperature between 65 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. When the temperature is above 90 F, it will burn the foliar, fade the flower color and also reduce the flower life. Meanwhile, a temperature below 65 F can slow down the growth and turn the leaves yellow. This plant cannot tolerate freezing conditions. They do best in 65 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
Fertilizer for this plant is not always necessary, but proper fertilizer can help the plant to thrive. A proper fertilizing schedule is once a month during spring and summer. It is suggested to find a fertilizer that is rich in phosphorus. Apply about 1 gram fertilizer with nutrients and then organic supplements for instance foliar #62, Osmocote 14-14-14, or plant food. In this case, use a light ratio like 3:1:2 to dilute with 1/4 strength. Next, feed the plant with a slow-release fertilizer.
How To Prune Anthurium Andraeanum
To keep your anthurium healthy and pretty, you need to practice pruning which is trimming or removing the dying foliage to stimulate growth. To do this, use the pruning shears to snip off the dead foliage at the base of the plant. Besides, it needs to be done regularly to keep the plant upright. To do it correctly, you can do this:
Take a look at your plant then start doing pruning. Remove any dead leaves by cutting the wilted or dead blossoms down. Removing the wayward leaves is also allowed to improve the appearance as long as you keep around three to five in their place.
Also, remove suckers from the base of the anthurium when they are small. Avoid trimming the large suckers as it will damage the base of the plant.
Additionally, only use the sharp cutting tools because the dull blades can make the anthurium more susceptible to pests or disease. Also, wipe the cutting tools between each cut to prevent bacterial infection. You can use a 10% bleach solution.
A quick tip: always wear gloves when you are doing trimming because it contains chemicals than can intoxicate humans and pets. Besides, it also reduces minor irritations.
Read also : Anthurium Magnificum : Things You Should Know
Repotting the plant can be a messy process but it is very essential. Generally, most houseplants need to be repotted once a year or two. However, it depends on the type of the plant and the condition where it is living.
When it comes to anthurium andraeanum, repotting can be started in the early year when new roots grow. Fill the 6-7 inches pot with half rocks. Why should we do this? This is because this plant should be well-aerated. For the media, you can use three-part of mixes such as 3 orchid peat, 1 part sphagnum moss, and 1 part leaf mold. Combined these three ingredients with coarse sands, broken brick, and crushed charcoal.
After repotting the plant, it is necessary to water it more during the week rather than giving it three times water all at once. Besides, make sure to drain the excess water so the roots and the leaves stay healthy.
Anthurium Andraeanum Propagation
Sometimes, you probably want to add more anthurium collection or maybe you want to give a gift to your plant-loving friends. Then, it is time for propagation. Propagation can be done easily by cutting a healthy, mature plant.
First thing first, clean pruners. After that, cut off the healthy section of the stem which has multiple leave nodes. The nodes are where the new roots will grow. After that, you can dip the bottom of the cutting stem in root hormone and then stick it into a fresh mix. Keep your new anthurium in a warm spot, and avoid direct sunlight. You also need to water the plant regularly so the roots can gradually develop.
You can also use seed as soon as the plant has ripened. This can be sown in shallow earthenware pans which are filled with charcoal, chopped sphagnum moss and sand then cover the pan with a piece of plastic or glass. After that, place it in the propagating area.
Anthuriums can be very intriguing to humans and pets. It is often kept as an indoor plant in North America. However, if you have pets in your house, it is better to not have anthurium in your house. Any kind of anthurium because this plant is toxic which can make you and pets feel very sick. Often, it causes severe irritation.
Anthurium Andraeanum Toxicity To Cats
It is known that anthurium contains calcium oxalate crystals which are very irritating if ingested. This applies to stems, leaves, roots, and even seeds. This compound can cause swelling in the mucous membranes and it can be very irritating if it is applied directly to the skin. Besides, the insoluble calcium oxalate crystals cause extreme irritation for cats because of their texture. This is why cats only take one bite due to immediate discomfort.
If your cats accidentally bite or ingest anthurium, they can exhibit one or more of the following symptoms:
- Excessive drooling
- Pain and swelling around lips, tongue, and mouth
- Oral irritation
- Swallowing difficulties
- Shaking head
- Eye pain if the crystal gets in the eyes
- Skin pain if it contacts the skin
Fortunately, direct contact with anthurium doesn’t require you to visit vets. If you find your cat or other pets ingesting or biting this plant, monitor the condition. Visit your vet if you find the symptoms persist.
Anthurium Andraeanum Toxicity To Humans
The toxicity to humans is similar to pets. If this plant is eaten, you will feel a burning sensation around the mouth and develop blisters and swelling inside of it. Besides, you might have difficulties in swallowing but most symptoms will fade over time. Typically, pain pills and cold liquid are suggested to reduce the symptoms.
Pests and Diseases
Just like other plants, anthuriums are also prone to pests and diseases for instance mealybugs, thrips, aphids, and scales. For thrips and mealybugs, they are commonly found on new growth. Meanwhile, the aphids are typically found on the flower buds.
When you spot any potential pests and diseases, it is important to isolate the plant soon before it gets out of hand. There are many insecticidal brands you can use for soft insects, but scales that need stronger ones. Spider mites commonly show up under low humidity conditions.
The best way to stay clear of the chemical is periodic foliage wiping and spraying. Ensure to not forget the undersides too. For spraying solution, you can use neem oil besides insecticide. Repeat the process a few times every one to two weeks to make sure the plants are free from any pests before moving them back to the previous place next to another houseplant.
Another common problem that often attacks the blooming plants is gnats. Even though gnats are not a big threat to your plants, this small black pesky fly seems very annoying to your eyes and nose. Gnats love dark and moist environments. Therefore, the best way to keep them away is to dry out the water container under the plant and don’t let it sit in the bottom.
For nonpests problems, the biggest challenge for an indoor houseplant is the Rhizoctinia which is caused by high temperature and high humidity combined with the soil that is poorly drained. Ensure to not overwater the plant and only use well-drained soil. Rhizoctinia can be treated with some fungicides but the best one is through cultural practices.
Don’t forget to look out for yellow leaves and also green flowers. These are signs of too much direct sunlight and underwatering. If the leaf tips are yellow, it means low humidity. For leaf elongation, this means a lack of light.
Anthurium Andraeanum Varieties
Every anthurium sold is typically from one species: the Ubiquitous Andraeanum. The common name for this species is laceleaf or flamingo flower. However, this flower is massively known as just “anthuriums” among gardeners and retailers worldwide. The best thing about this plant is its easiness to care for and its ability to bloom continuously.
Anthurium andraeanum comes in various colors, bloom shapes, sizes, ribbon-tulip, and cup-shaped flowers. Even though you only grow this species, the varieties can vary. Here are some of them:
- Anthurium Andraeanum Variegated
- Anthurium Andraeanum “Simba”
- Anthurium Andraeanum “Zizou”
- Anthurium Andraeanum “Black Beauty”
- Anthurium Andraeanum “Oaxaca”
- Anthurium Andraeanum “Livium”
- Anthurium Andraeanum “Purple Miss June”
Read also : Anthurium Crystallinum : Care Guide And Common Issues
Anthurium andraeanum growth rate is considered very slow. It can be seen from the repotting which is done only around one to two years. Approximately, the growth of the plant is between 1.2 to 2 centimeters per month under the ideal growing condition. Besides, the plant grows faster during the spring and summer, with good drainage, sunlight, and also nutrients. The plants can grow from 20 to 40 centimeters and the flowers bloom for about 6 weeks when summer comes.
Leaf, Flower and Fruits Characteristic
- Foliage – The foliage comes in a heart shape with a glossy surface. You can expect the leaves grow up to 20 cm, especially the dark green one.
- Flowers – The flower can bloom multiple times a year when the conditions are met. Anthurium andraeanum have a typical araceae types of flowers. The spathe is surrounding the spadix.
- Fruits – The fruits are small, round, and yellow and are produced along the spadix.
- Stems – Anthuriums have strong and thick stems that can reach 2 cm in width. The strong stems promote plant growth. If you find there is more than one stem, then you can use it for propagation.
The plant will thrive well if it is growing in the right soil mix. This is because its roots that is easily get damaged by water although the plants can thrive in humid and moisture. This is why the soil should allow the water to quickly drain from its roots.
Note that anthurium likes coarse, well-draining potting. You can use orchid mix with peat moss, some sand. Using the three combination like 3 orchid peat, 1 part sphagnum moss, and 1 part leaf mold is also good too.
Is Anthurium Poisonous?
The sword or the heart-shaped leaves as well as its striking flower stalk have calcium oxalate crystal which is poisonous. This can be very irritating when this compound is ingested. This is important to place this plant far from pets and children to avoid the unexpected event.
Calcium oxalate is a salt that contains oxalic acid (oxygen, carbon, and hydrogen) and also calcium. This compound is found in kidney stones and can make scale-like deposits in vats and containers which are used to brew beer. When this compound is ingested, it can cause swelling in the mucous membranes and can be irritated when it is applied to the skin.
When the compound is contacted with humans, it can cause severe burning and itching sensation. If you ingest the plant, you will develop blistering, swallowing difficulty, and hoarseness. Even, for some people, the reaction with sap can cause a fatal infection.
Why Is My Anthurium Andraeanum Not Flowering?
There are some factors why your flower is not blooming as expected. If you have this issue, you need to check your care basics such as making sure the plant is living in the correct environment. For example make sure the plant gets bright, indirect sunlight throughout the day. Also, a well-draining potting mixture can help your plant to bloom well. Additionally, managing the temperature, humidity, watering schedule, and fertilization also matters.
How To Look After Anthurium Andraenum?
With its glossy appearance, anthurium is one of the best houseplants to have at home. Thankfully, taking care of this plant isn’t that hard. As long as you provide the plant in the right condition, the plant will grow healthily. Make sure you place the plant on the soil with a pH of 5.5-6.5. You need to keep the plant stay hydrated without damaging the root. In this case, ensure the root is not soggy so too much watering is not necessary. To keep it in a high humid condition, mist the plant weekly, or use a humidifier. Besides, pay attention to fertilizing schedule and avoid direct sunlight.
How To Propagate Anthurium Andraeanum?
Propagation can simply be done by cutting its stem. Ensure to clean the pruners before cutting them and only cut the stems that have multiple leave nodes where the new roots will grow. Once you have done cutting, you can dip it in the rooting hormone and then plant it with the fresh mix.
Using seed is also possible which you can sow on an earthenware pan that is filled with charcoal, chopped sphagnum moss, and sand. Cover the pan with plastic and place it in the propagation area.
How To Water Anthurium Andraeanum?
Watering is not supposedly something difficult for anthurium, but you have to pay attention to several things. First, these plants like the high humid place, but it doesn’t mean you can overwater it as it will damage the root.
Water the plant when 50-70% of the soil is dry. Let the water dry out through the hole at the bottom of the pot. After that, you need to discard any water that is accumulated in the tray or saucer.
Is Anthurium Andraeanum Poisonous To Cats?
Anthurium andraeanum is toxic to cats. It contains calcium oxalate crystals from flowers, leaves, seeds, roots, and even stems which can be irritated when it is ingested. Besides, the insoluble calcium oxalate crystal has a sharp texture which can cause discomfort and extreme irritation. This is why cats get immediate mouth pain even though they just take one bite.
If you find your cats bite this plant, they might show symptoms such as oral irritation, excessive drooling, swelling and pain around the lips, vomiting, shaking the head, swallowing difficulty, and skin and eye pain (if it contacts with skin and eyes).