Soil and water

Plant care with Anthurium: water, soil, temperature


The bright, blushing anthurium plant is well known to plant lovers as a flowering houseplant. This tropical plant, native to the Americas, is a staple with its waxy, heart-shaped leaves called spathes, which, despite popular belief, are not flowers at all.

Despite its high-maintenance appearance, the anthurium plant can be fairly easy to care for with the right amount of attention.

Erin Marino, Editorial Manager and Plant Expert at The Sill, shares her top tips for making the charming anthurium plant look like a fresh, colorful bouquet all year round.

Common anthurium varieties

Anthuriums are part of the Araceae family, along with monsteras, philodendrons, pothos and callas. The genus Anthurium is the largest of the Araceae family, containing around 1000 species of plants.

“Many species of Anthurium are cultivated as ornamental plants,” says Marino. “Among the most popular species are Anthurium crystallinum and Anthurium clarinervium, but the hybrid species Anthurium andraeanum and Anthurium scherzerianum are the most common with colorful spathes called flamingo flowers. “

The water

A hand spraying an anthurium plant with a bottle of garden spritzer

Anthuriums prefer high humidity environments.

Federico Morando / Getty Images


While anthuriums prefer a humid environment due to their topical origins, they only need to be watered about once a week, as their fleshy roots can easily become waterlogged. To maintain a good humidity level and avoid overwatering, Marino recommends a humidifier while keeping a consistent weekly watering schedule.

“Anthuriums can benefit from increased humidity. If you have a humidifier at home, keep it nearby or add a pebble tray with water under the planter,” says Marino. “You can grow anthuriums with regular indoor humidity, but being a tropical plant, increased humidity will help it thrive indoors.”

Repotting and fertilizer

Anthuriums prefer coarse potting soil, similar to orchid mix that usually contains lumps as thick as pine bark. This mixture allows the plant to avoid sitting in soggy soil.

“A well-drained and aerated indoor potting soil will do the trick,” says Marino. “Avoid moisture-retaining mixtures which can lead to overwatering and root rot. “

Anthurium fertilizer is not always necessary – as these plants are almost always in bloom – especially during the non-growing seasons when the fertilizer can damage the roots.

However, a suitable fertilization schedule for an anthurium is once a month in late spring and summer. It is also best to choose a fertilizer rich in phosphorus (the middle number of three on the label) diluted to a quarter.

Light and temperature

An anthurium plant on a table among other houseplants and decorative items

Expose anthuriums to bright, but indirect light.

Margarita Khamidulina / Getty Images


Anthuriums will thrive outdoors in warmer climates, but as a houseplant, Marino suggests keeping temperatures between 65 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

“Different anthurium species may have slightly different care needs, but in general, they thrive in bright indirect light with weekly waterings,” says Marino. “Expect to water more often in brighter light and less often in dim and medium light.”

Keep anthuriums away from heaters that dry out indoor air during the winter season. If your home is very dry, Marino recommends increasing the humidity by adding a humidifier, placing a tray of wet pebbles under your planters, grouping plants with similar needs, placing moisture-loving plants in a terrarium and spraying lightly each week.

Common problems

Like most houseplants, anthuriums are susceptible to overwatering, root rot, and common pests such as aphids, spider mites, and mealybugs.

“If you spot signs of a potential plant pest, isolate your plant and spray it thoroughly with neem oil or insecticide,” says Marino. “You will likely need to repeat this process a few times over the course of a week or two to make sure your plant is free of any pests before you can place it back next to other houseplants.”

For issues unrelated to pests, Marino suggests looking for yellow leaves and green flowers, which usually means too much direct light or watering; elongation of the leaves, which usually means a lack of light; and browning of the leaf tips, which usually means low humidity.

Cut

A person using scissors to prune a houseplant

Cut dead leaves at the base, close to the ground

Ekaterina Panteley / Getty Images


Pruning is the practice of removing or pruning dead or dying foliage to promote new growth. To prune your anthurium, Marino suggests cutting away dead foliage using pruning shears at the base of the plant or where the stem meets the potting soil.

Spread

Propagating anthuriums can be a way to expand your collection of flowering plants, or as a gift to plant loving friends. To propagate it, Marino recommends using a cutting from a healthy, mature plant.

“First, with clean secateurs, cut off a healthy section of the stem that has several leaf nodes towards the bottom of the cutting. These nodes are where the new roots will start,” says Marino. “Dip the bottom of the cutting in root hormone and stick it in cool, pre-moistened potting soil. Pat around the base to secure the plant.

Keep your new anthurium in a warm place, with bright to medium indirect light, and water when the soil is dry.

Insider’s takeaway

Anthuriums are the perfect houseplant to bring a tropical touch of color and vibrancy to the home. With a proper maintenance routine that includes well-draining soil, weekly watering, high humidity, and bright indirect light, your anthurium can stay healthy and in bloom.