By: Liz Baessler
Anthuriums are interesting, lesser known plants. They’ve been undergoing a lot of breeding and cultivating recently, though, and they’re starting to make a comeback. The comeback is well deserved, as the flowers have a unique look and low maintenance requirements, particularly when it comes to water. Keep reading to learn more about anthurium water requirements.
Anthuriums are slow growing plants that produce flat, spade shaped leaves and strange, colorful flowers. The most noticeable part of the flower is the spathe, which is actually a single leaf that ranges in color from milk white to deep burgundy. Rising above the spathe is the spadix, a tall, narrow spike in varying colors that is the actual flower.
Watering anthuriums is easy, though a little counterintuitive. Although they’re tropical plants that thrive in high humidity, anthurium water requirements are very light. Anthuriums have big, fleshy roots that rot easily in waterlogged soil, so they really only need to be watered once a week or so.
You’ll know when to water an anthurium if you allow the soil to dry out noticeably first. Once the topsoil is dry to the touch, give it a good watering and leave it alone until it’s dried out again.
That being said, you can’t completely do away with watering anthuriums. If the plant dries out too much, the tips of the leaves will start to yellow. One good way to work with anthurium water requirements is to hold off on repotting the plant.
If your anthurium becomes a little bit root bound, its container won’t retain as much water and the plant will actually benefit from it. You don’t have to worry about hurting it, as anthurium is one of those plants that actually do better when left a bit root bound.
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Read more about Anthuriums
If you are looking at this plant and thinking, “No way this will thrive in normal indoor conditions,” you are kind of right. Sorry to say, this beauty is ideal for greenhouses and very popular in tropical garden conservatories.
But when have Plantophiles ever turned their back on a challenge? So, true tropical plant lovers, huddle up and let’s get into the ins and outs of the Anthurium insigne care.
Native to Ecuador, this plant has extremely high humidity requirements, upward of 80%. Due to its giant size (the leaves can get to 4 feet in size), it is a fairly heavy feeder and will require regular watering. Since it is used to dappled shade in its natural habitat, an eastern facing window with bright indirect light will be ideal, but it will enjoy dappled light if kept outdoors during the growing season.
It’s magnificent, lime green leaves are a show stopper and definitely worth the effort, so if you are up for a challenge and you have been wondering if you can handle n Anthurium insigne, keep on reading as we go through all of its wants and needs.
With a price tag like that, it is good to be armed with a wealth of knowledge and do everything you can to keep it thriving.
Anthuriums are primarily cultivated for their cut flowers. Having attractive blooms that come in colors of red, pink, white, orange, and purple, they make perfect bouquets, centerpieces, and other decorative floral arrangements.
It’s a tropical plant belonging to the arum family (Araceae). Although its origin can be traced back to Central America, the upper part of South America, and the Caribbean, anthurium has gained huge popularity around the world. It’s no doubt that most people are familiar with this plant.
The Anthurium Veitchii likes bright, indirect or filtered light. That’s because in its natural habitat it grows on trees and branches. This gives it a natural canopy provided by the big branches and leaves of tall trees. As such, giving it similar conditions to what it is used to allows it to “feel at home”.
More importantly, you want to prevent the King Anthurium from direct sunlight. Allowing it to get exposed to the sun’s harsh rays for hours at a time causes its leaves to burn. As a result, destroying the beauty of the plant.
Due to its other growing requirements below, inside the home or a greenhouse are the best places to grow your Anthurium Veitchii.
As such, an east-facing window is the best spot to grow this plant. But, if that’s not available to you, you still have a few other options.
If you do opt to go with either a west- or south-facing window, do provide your plant with ample protection. Nurseries use a shade cloth to keep the sun from this plant. Additionally, you can use shades or curtains that only allow some sun to get through.
Probably the easiest way to keep it away from direct sunlight is positioning it about 6-8 feet away from the west or south window. But, make sure that there’s still enough light.
If you want to grow it outside, make sure to place it somewhere with shade. Partial shade locations are perfect for this anthurium variety in the outdoors.
Like other tropical plants, the kind anthurium thrives when the temperature is between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. This makes most homes a good place for them to grow properly since humans enjoy this temperature as well.
if you’re lucky enough to live in an area where the weather hovers around that range all year long (USDA Zones 10 and 11), then you can grow them outside. But, for most people, the Anthurium Veitchii is better off grown in a pot. That’s because temperatures under 55 degrees become detrimental to it. And, you’ll see the leaves start to wilt if you allow it to stay outside then the mercury drops in the fall and winter.
In addition to temperature, you’ll also want to place it somewhere there’s at least moderate humidity. It likes relative humidity to stay around 50% to 60%. It won’t mind higher humidity but will start to fuss if the relative humidity goes under 50%. Thus, you may or may not need to increase the humidity in certain areas of your home to accommodate this plant.
If it doesn’t get enough humidity, you’ll quickly notice it in its leaves. Torn leaves is a sign of lack of humidity. This means you’ll need to add moisture to the air, which often happens during the winter as the air gets drier. Similarly, don’t place this plant in air conditioned rooms as the air gets dry there.
When increasing humidity, you’ll want to keep air flowing throughout the room as well. Poor air circulation means that moisture can settle on the leaves. This can result in fungal disease and other problems. So, moving air is a must.
That said, here are some simple ways to increase humidity in sections of a room.
For smaller plants, you can likewise use a terrarium. But, as it grows, this setup becomes less feasible.
Of course, if you have one, a greenhouse lets gives you the overall best solution.
The Anthurium Veitchii will need to be watered about once a week. Although, time isn’t the best way to go about it. The key here is to maintain balance.
Rainforests, its native environment, tend to drench plants with water every so often. Thus, its likes to get watered. But, being an epiphyte its roots are more exposed to air that most houseplants. This means they dry faster.
As such, you want to frequently water the plant to give it the moisture it needs. But, the water shouldn’t sit around for too long. In other words, be careful not to overwater.
To make things more complicated, different factors affect how often you’ll need to water. High humidity means less watering, while dry air requires more frequent watering.
The weather, how much sunlight, soil, size of the pot and the plant, among other things also affect when you should water.
So, the best way is to do the finger test. Stick your finger into the soil. If the top layers are dry, it is time to water again. If the top 2 inches are still moist or wet, wait one to two more days before testing again.
Besides testing the soil, also watch its leaves. Drooping leaves tells you it lacks water. Thus, you need to adjust the frequency.
When it comes to soil, the Anthurium Veitchii needs 3 things to grow properly. The soil must to be:
In contrast, sandy and wet soil are no-nos. Because of how it grows in its natural environment, you do not want it to sit on water.
That said, king anthurium can grow in a loose soil mix or as a epiphyte.
Epiphytes are plants that grow on other plants. However, they aren’t parasites. So, they don’t take nutrients from the plant they stay on. Instead, they just use them as a structure to stay on. Besides most anthuriums, other epiphytes include bromeliads and orchids which grown on tree trunks and branches of trees in rainforests.
Because you’re growing your Anthurium Veitchii indoors, you’ll need to supply it with fertilizer. While being an epiphyte, in your home it doesn’t have the benefit of all the outdoor elements that are present in rainforests. Thus, you’ll need to provide it with all the nutrients via fertilizer.
One sure sign that your king anthurium isn’t being fed enough is small leaves. Once its foliage becomes smaller than it normally is, it is telling you that you need to up your fertilizer.
During its growing phase (March to Septemper), you want to give it enough fertilizer to grow properly. This means feeding it once every two weeks. Although from experience frequency can vary depending on the type of fertilizer your use. In some cases, once every 6-8 weeks works as well.
Come fall and winter, it’s time to give it a break from all the growth. During this time, you can stop, at least until spring arrives again.
As with soil, you want a rich fertilizer. Something with good amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (N-P-K) works. One with a ratio of 12-12-12 works.
That said, this setup is geared to let your king anthurium grow beautiful foliage. But, interestingly, it doesn’t allow it to produce much in terms of flowers. So, if you want to make it bloom, switch to a high quality orchid fertilizer.
King anthuriums are not very fast growers. They take about 3 months to develop a new leaf.
But, you do want to routinely prune it to get rid of older foliage and those that are diseased. Similarly, you want to trim away stems that are drooping.
While it does take extra time and work, doing so ensures that your plat doesn’t expend its energy (and nutrients) on sections that aren’t doing well. Just as importantly, you prevent any disease from spreading further.
Instead, by trimming them off you’re encouraging new, fresh growth where the extra energy will be spend growing.
That said, here are a few notes when pruning Anthurium Veitchii.
Another reason to use a cutting device is that you don’t want to just pull out the stems. While you can do so, the stems are actually quite sturdy. Thus, jerking it off the plant can damage your king anthurium.
There are two ways to propagate Anthurium Veitchii: stem cuttings and division. Both work really well. And, different people have varying preferences. I prefer division. But, I also have a few gardener friends who swear by stem cutting their king anthurium. So, this really is a toss up. And, you’ll want to go with whichever you’re more comfortable with.
The best time to divide your king anthurium is when you repot it. Unlike stem cutting, you’ll need to take the root ball out of the container. So, for the effort, you might as well do them at the same time.
Similarly, any time you move or take out the plant from its current state, you’ll shock it. So, the goal is to do is as seldom as needed. And, do it gently such that is minimizes any shock.
Division is much faster than stem cutting because you already have a semi-grown/fully formed plant. Thus, they’re no risk of it not growing. And, you save time waiting for it to grow.
While king anthuriums aren’t fast growers, a well-taken care of one will likely outgrow its pot in 3 years. Thus, you’ll need to move it to a larger container to keep its growth rate. You can likewise leave it in its current pot. But, doing so will drastically slow down growth.
As with the anthurium superbum, the Anthurium Veitchii will grow into a big plant. To give you an idea, if you let it grow on its own pace, its leaves can reach about 6.5 feet in size. Thus, be ready to swap out pots every so often to accommodate its growth.
Thus, once you see its roots start to peek their way outside of the pot, it’s a sign that your plant has outgrown your current home.
Anthurium Veitchii like moisture but don’t like sitting in water. The irony of the two means you want something that holds enough water but also lets that moisture get out. This makes pots made from porous material like terra cotta and clay good candidates. Also, you want to choose a container with at least one hole in the bottom.
A deep pot will likewise allow the plant to set its foundation. This is key because the top part of the plant will grow big. So, you want something that’s just as sturdy underground to keep it stable.
After you’ve selected a new container, have fresh soil on hand as well. As mentioned above, you want rich, loose, well-draining soil.
The best time to repot is during early spring right before it starts its growing season.
As mentioned above, the Anthurium Veitchii can irritate your skin. So, using gloves is a good idea. More importantly, ingesting any part of the plant can likewise irritate the mouth, through and stomach. So, keeping children and pets away from its leaves and stems is a must.
While they’re quite picky and harder to grow (because of all their requirements), anthuriums are more resilient and resistant to pests. So, while pets like mealybugs, thrips, scale and spider mites can happen, they don’t happen often. Plus, they’re fairly easy to fix.
However, it’s important to be on the watch. So, regular monitoring is key. That’s because infestations can easily spread from one plant to another. Thus, if left alone, you’ll soon find all your plants with pests.
When it comes to dealing with these pests, you can use these solutions to get rid of them.
Although Anthuriums are native to tropical rainforests, they actually do not have significant water requirements. To properly water Anthuriums, apply water until the soil is moist and allow the top one inch of soil to dry out between watering sessions. Wrinkling leaves are a sign that your Anthurium is not receiving enough water.
The most common houseplant killer is overwatering! This means that it is very important to check the soil moisture using the finger test or with a soil moisture meter before watering your plant. Yellow leaves are a sign of overwatering.
Waterlogged roots cannot absorb the oxygen they need to produce blooms. In their native habitat, Anthuriums grow epiphytically (on trees) rather than in their soil. They will not tolerate soggy roots! For these reasons, it is important to avoid overwatering your plant and to plant your Anthurium in a well-draining soil mix.
If possible, water your Anthurium using rainwater or filtered water. The chemicals and additives commonly found in municipal tap water can adversely impact your houseplants. Using filtered water or rainwater is especially important if you have hard water. Hard water can cause a layer of minerals (salts and calcium carbonate) to form on the soil surface or on the roots. Eventually, this mineral layer will repel water and diminish the plant’s ability to take up water.
Anthurium clarinervium should never be allowed to dry out completely, but they can’t stand wet soil either. It’s better to err on the side of too little soil moisture than too much. The plant’s native rocky substrate doesn’t retain water: never leave them standing in a puddle.
Wait until the top inch or two of soil has dried out before rewatering. If the soil quality is right, this will mean approximately once-a-week watering, but don’t go by a scheduled routine: monitor the soil.
Thoroughly drenching the soil each time you water ensures the entire rootball is saturated and flushes out residual toxins. Giving them smaller and more frequent amounts will keep the top of the soil too damp – and encourage gnats – while potentially underwatering the root ball.
Be sure to empty the cachepot after the soil is finished draining. No puddles! Proper watering is the most important aspect of Anthurium clarinervium care to get right. Read this article for more tips about assessing your houseplant’s watering needs.
Weekly watering is a general standard, but there are several conditions that affect frequency:
Another important issue for your Anthurium clarinervium is the quality of its water they can struggle with hard, highly-mineralized water. They love rainwater, but distilled or other purified water are good, too. If you’re getting lackluster growth with plain tapwater, upgrading the source could make a big difference. Read my article about using different types of water for your houseplants.
Anthuriums enjoy bright, indirect light. And, they don’t like direct sunlight exposure. Putting them in a location where they receive this kind of intensity for hours a day can cause their leaves to get scorched.
Although, it would be a good idea to give them that during the winter months since the sun’s intensity significantly diminishes during that time of the year.
That said, you also do need to keep them from getting too little light. That’s because, low light conditions will slow down their flower production. It will also prevent them from growing as they normally should.
Since they hail from the tropical rainforests of Central and South America, they enjoy warm and humid climates.
As such, providing them with an environment that’s similar to what they’re used to allows them to feel at home. Thus, grow optimally.
This makes them thrive in zones 10 and higher regions. But, you can likewise keep them as houseplants if you live in cooler climate areas. Or, take them out during the warmer months and bring them back indoors once the temperatures start dropping.
In general, they prefer the thermostat is set to between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. They also do better when the night time temperature doesn’t decrease too much compared to that in the daytime.
However, once the mercury starts to go below 60 degrees, you’ll start to notice your plant feel uncomfortable. The longer and lower the temperature, the more it will suffer.
Similarly, it likes humid conditions.
Thus, if your home’s air is fairly dry, a quick fix would be to put the plant’s container over some pebbles in a water tray. The evaporation from the water below will increase the humidity above it.
You can likewise set up a humidifier if you have a few plants that need this similar environment.
Like most houseplants, anthuriums need more water during their growing season (spring and summer). Thus, make sure that the soil is kept moist during this time.
As always, be careful not to give it too much to drink. It’s very susceptible to root rot if it stays in wet conditions for long periods of time.
Once the cooler months of fall and winter come around, you can scale back watering. But, never allow the soil to completely dry out.
Once the soil feels dry to the touch, it’s time to give it some watering. Allowing your anthurium to dry out will result in slow growth.
But, the real problem is that it’s not easy to get the root ball moist again. To do so, you’ll need to soak the pot in water for about an hour to try and rehydrate it.
Anthuriums like loose potting soil that’s rich in organic matter. This allows it to drain excess moisture fairly well while retaining nutrients for the plant to use.
Thus, you can use potting soil mixed with perlite or orchid soil. Both of which work well to promote aeration by keeping it loose.
If you prefer to plant your anthuriums straight into the ground, do choose a spot where the soil drains well and doesn’t get compacted.
Anthuriums don’t need to be fed a lot.
All they need is an application of high phosphorus fertilizer once every 3 to 4 months diluted to a quarter of the indicated strength.
You can use both liquid and pellet formulations.
Anthuriums have a lifespan of 5 years and longer. As such, with proper care and the right conditions, you should be able to enjoy their beauty for a long time.
However, you can likewise propagate them by division if you want to add more plants or keep them around you indefinitely.
The best time to divide these plants is when you’re repotting them. After all, you’ll be taking them out of their containers anyway. So, why not take advantage of the situation.
While this is often done when the plant has outgrown its pot, you can likewise do so when it starts getting too big.
Dividing it allows you to keep its size manageable. And, in the process let all the plants produced after be healthier with better flowering potential.
How many you end up dividing them into depends on how many you want and how many are available. Thus, you can end up with two or five of them.
Anthuriums aren’t the fastest growers. As such, you won’t need to repot them too often. In all likelihood, you’ll only do so when they’ve outgrown their pot or you want to refresh the potting mix.
Since they do well when slightly underpotted, it becomes even less of an issue.
That said, when you do repot them, do use good quality potting soil.
Also, position them high such that their crown is just above the soil line.
While they’re amazing houseplants, it’s important to keep your anthuriums away from curious kids and pets. Their leaves contain calcium oxalate crystals which is toxic to humans and animals.
Thus, ingesting or even chewing them can result in skin irritation as well as other unpleasant effects.