Botanical Name — Anthurium andraeanum
Common Name — painter’s palette, laceleaf, tailflower, flamingo flower
Plant Family — Araceae
Anthurium andreanum is a tropical perennial native to the rainforests of Colombia and Ecuador. It is known for its lush foliage and its colorful inflorescence that is reminiscent of a painter’s palette. These low-maintenance plants make excellent houseplants. They will readily bloom indoors and outdoors under the right conditions. According to the NASA Clean Air Study, they are proven effective at removing environmental toxins such as formaldehyde, toluene, and ammonia from the air.
- Anthurium andraeanum enjoy bright dappled light or bright indirect light. Brighter light means more abundant blooms.
- Avoid direct sun as this can burn the foliage.
- These plants like warm temperatures between 65 - 80ºF, and high humidity. If you are growing your Anthurium outdoors, bring it in when nighttime temperatures drop below 60 ºF.
- Mist your plant daily, or to keep it happy and thriving. You can also place a humidifier nearby or sit your plant atop a tray of pebbles to increase ambient moisture.
- Providing your plant adequate humidity is especially important in the winter when the air tends to be much drier.
- Keep your Anthuriums soil lightly moist. During the warm growing season allow the top quarter of soil to dry out before watering again.
- In the wintertime allow the soil to dry out almost completely before watering again. Never expose your anthuriums to several days of drought. Try to water as soon as the soil becomes dry.
- Anthurium andraeanum thrive in a well-aerated, moisture-retentive soil mixture. A good quality potting mix would work great.
- Coco coir added up to 25%, is an excellent amendment for improving moisture-retention. Compost is another great amendment for providing a gentle boost of nutrients, up to 25%.
- These plants bloom year-round, though they will produce fewer flowers indoors. Unlike many tropicals that struggle to bloom indoors due to inadequate light, Anthurium andraeanum plants will readily bloom indoors if given optimal conditions.
- Microscopic flowers cluster on a white spadix that is enclosed in a brightly-colored spathe. Spathes can be white, pink, red, green, or some combination of colors, depending on the variety.
- Anthurium andraeaenum do not require much fertilizer. During the growing season, you can give them a boost by feeding them once monthly using a balanced fertilizer diluted at quarter strength.
- Compost is a great gentle, all-natural fertilizer. Add a layer of compost about one inch thick to the top of the soil. With each watering, nutrients will slowly release into the soil.
- Cease fertilization in the winter.
- These plants propagate easily by division. Using a clean knife separate a portion of the stem, ensuring that each piece has a few leaves and roots attached. Propagate by placing in water to hydrate roots or plant directly in soil.
- Anthuriums can fall victim to a number of diseases. Among the most common are bacterial blight and bacterial wilt. These diseases manifest as chlorosis of the leaves. In bacterial blight, this yellowing of foliage is accompanied by the spread of necrotic lesions along the leaf margin.
- Fungal infections such as root rot and mold are also of concern. These are a little harder to diagnose than other issues because they start in the roots, which are largely unseen. In the foliage, these types of fungal infections show up as wilted leaves and stems and yellowing of the leaves.
- Waterlogged soils and excessive humidity are the largest factors contributing to bacterial and fungal infections. Ensure that soil is well-aerated and avoid overwatering. Improve air circulation by using a fan or opening a nearby window to avoid excessive humidity.
- The best way to treat both types of infections is by removing damaged parts of the plant and repotting using fresh soil.
Maintenance (pruning, legginess, repotting)
- Little maintenance is required to keep Anthurium andraeanum happy. Prune away any damaged or unhealthy leaves. Anthuriums do not like to be root bound, so if your plant is showing signs of being severely rootbound, repot as soon as possible.
- Signs of being rootbound include roots circling the top of the pot, roots growing through drainage holes in the pot, and if the pot is plastic, you’ll notice bulges in the pot from where the roots are pushing the sides of the pot.
- Repotting will likely be necessary once every one to two years. Select a pot that is at least one to two inches wider in diameter.
- All parts of the plant are toxic to pets and humans. Calcium oxalate crystals cause irritation of the mouth and throat, drooling, and vomiting. Keep this plant out of reach of children and pets.