Anthurium plants are epiphytes native to tropical plants that grow on other plants or in substrates rich in hummus. They’re instantly recognizable after their waxy, heart-shaped flowers that can last months before they fade out.
You can grow Anthurium plants as ground cover in USDA zones 10 or higher or as a houseplant in colder regions.
Below, I’ve set up a quick primer on Anthurium plant care so you can create a hospitable environment regardless of where you’re growing them.
Size & Growth
The Anthurium isn’t a tall growing plant, making it a suitable choice both as a landscape plant and a houseplant.
The plant reaches 12-18 inches in height and 9-12 inches in spread at maturity. It makes for a great ground cover or a colorful houseplant.
It’s no secret that these plants tend to be fussy and need a lot of attention and care to thrive in an indoor environment.
They grow much better in greenhouses, so that’s also an option if you can’t manage its expectations indoors.
The first thing you’ll need to get right for the Anthurium plant is the light conditions. As a general rule, you should avoid extremes — direct light and low light.
The plant prefers and thrives in bright, indirect light. Light that’s too strong and shining down directly on the plant will scorch both the leaves and the flower spathes.
Too little light will cause developmental issues and the plant will have a hard time putting out flowers. And the ones it does put out will be smaller and fewer.
Therefore, regardless of its growing location, make sure that filtered, bright, indirect light reaches the plant.
Epiphytes like the Anthurium are susceptible to root rot, so its watering schedule must be on point to avoid causing root problems that can lead to the death of your plant.
Simply water when the top inch of the potting mix feels dry. Water until water comes out of the drain holes and allow all excess water to percolate out of the pot.
The other extreme, allowing the pot to dry out completely isn’t good either. When this happens, rehydrating the root ball can be difficult and you may need to soak it in water for an hour or so.
Anthuriums need a special substrate to prevent too much moisture sitting around the roots. The potting mix needs to hold on to just enough moisture and drain fast to prevent the roots from rotting.
Once rotting issues appear, the plant will start to suffer and you’ll have a hard time keeping this plant alive, let alone happy.
Therefore, look for peat moss based mixes or coconut coir mixes. Orchid mixes with peat and sand added to them will also benefit the Anthurium.
If the soil is too heavy or prone to compaction, the roots of the plant will have a hard time staying healthy, and ultimately the plant will suffer too.
With a fast-draining mix, these problems are minimized, especially if you water the plant correctly.
Temperature & Humidity
Anthurium thrives in temperatures between 65 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Because the plant will not survive temperatures below 40 F, you can only grow it outside all year round if you live in zones 11 to 12.
For plants overwintered indoors, you should pick a room where the temperature is around 60 F. Allowing the plant to rest at this temperature for about 6 weeks and on a reduced watering schedule, you will help trigger better blooming.
As for humidity, Anthurium plants thrive in high humidity, hence the preference of the plant of greenhouse conditions over indoor conditions.
Although these aren’t plants that need a high nutrient uptake, they can still benefit from regular feeding with a liquid fertilizer high in phosphorus.
Dilute the fertilizer to half the recommended strength and apply it throughout the growing seasons once or twice a month.
There’s no need to use full strength fertilizer or use the fertilizer more often. The plant’s nutritional needs aren’t high, so you’ll just end up burning the plant with excess fertilizing.
Anthurium plants planted in the garden will need much less fertilizing than potted ones, whose potting mix gets depleted sooner of nutrients.
Potting & Repotting
Repotting is only needed when the pot fills up with the roots of the plant and aerial roots begin to appear.
Switch to a pot that’s only 2 inches larger in diameter and use a well-draining potting mix to replace the old mix.
At the rate at which these plants grow, you’ll only need to repot every 2 years or so. Even if the roots aren’t poking out of the pot, it’s still a good idea to repot after 2 years just to refresh the potting mix.
Regardless of the type of pots you use — I prefer terracotta ones — make sure they’re fitted with drainage holes.
How to Propagate Anthurium?
There are two ways by which anthurium plants can be propagated — aerial roots and stem cuttings.
I use the stem cutting method most often because it’s simple and fast. I simply harvest 6 inch cuttings with 2-3 sets of leaves on. I dip the cut end in rooting hormone and plant in moist, well-draining potting mix.
I keep the substrate moist by misting the cutting. In 4-6 weeks roots should form and you should already notice some plant activity in the way of new growths.
Aerial roots can also be used, although I haven’t had as much success with them. Simply cut the aerial root, dip it in rooting hormone and bury it in potting mix. Keep the mix moist and the root should send out shoots in about 4-6 weeks.
Anthuriums can be a bit of a divas when it comes to their requirements, but once you tweak all the details of their environment, they’ll steadily grow and bloom.
Avoid cold temperatures, overwatering, lack of humidity and direct sun, and monitor your plant’s behavior.
And for those with pets and little kids, keep anthurium plants away because they’re poisonous if ingested.