Today we're talking all about anthuriums! They have quickly become my favorite plant genus. The spectacular leaves. The velvety texture. The glittery veins. What's not to like??
I'm going to go through the general care for anthuriums in general. This article will also be accompanied with a video from my YouTube - Brandon Botanical. So go ahead and click the link to watch as well!
Anthuriums are native to South America and grow in the lush undergrowth of the equatorial forests. You are more likely aware of the very commonly available anthuriums (Anthurium andraeanum) who's inflorescence are surrounded by a brightly colored "flower". Although not a flower in the sense that we are used to, these plants are very commonly used as decor pieces. Unfortunately they do come with the "grandma plant" stigma. The anthuriums that this article are about are the less common non "flower" varieties.
A common misconception is that anthuriums want a lot of light. This is unequivocally false. These plants tend to crawl on the forest floor. The large trees in their rainforest environment block out most light in what is called the "canopy". Because of this, these plants are not suited for bright light. They can easily burn and become unhappy from too bright of light. Keeping them out of direct light or overexposure of bright-indirect is the best way to keep them happy. They love a happy medium between medium light and bright in-direct.
Anthuriums are just as prone to root rot as the rest of your tropical plants. In nature they can handle a lot of water due to the expansive drainage of the rainforest floor. In our homes however, they do not have such luxury. I find that my anthuriums like to be watered about once a week in the summer and every other week in the winter. It of course depends on the soil substrate. In highly chunky soil blends, I tend to have to water twice a week in the summer.
Chunky yet funky. By using a chunky soil, you're giving your anthuriums a lot of oxygen which their thick roots love. I have most of mine in a mixture of 1/3 potting mix, 1/3 perlite, 1/3 charcoal & bark. Some of mine are in even chunkier soils where the soil percentage is closer to 15/20% of the mixture.
Anthuriums are known to be humidity loving, but some types are fine in household conditions. Like most plants, anthuriums would love to hang out in 85% humidity all day to mimic their rainforest homes, but that isn't plausible for all plant parents. Certain breeds like crystallinum and magnificum do well sitting in 40/50% humidity. You may find they develop some crinkling around the edges, but having a humidifier running in the room will help.
I fertilize my anthuriums April-October. I use the "weaker weekly" method of fertilizing. I switch out between organic and chemical fertilizers. Week one I'll start out with the Espoma Organic 2-2-2 fertilizer. This is a weaker formula that helps develop micronutrients overtime. The next week I will use the Bonide 20-20-20 houseplant fertilizer diluted to 1/3 the strength. The following week I use fish tank water. I will then repeat the process for each watering.
You have two great methods for growing new anthuriums. You can propogate via division. This method you will use a clean cutting utensil to cut the "chonk" into separate pieces. Because the chonk will have various root growth points, make sure that each piece you cut has viable roots or growth points.
Breeding anthuriums is also very easy. They will develop inflorescence that can be used to create seeds. The inflorescence will start out female with a sticky residue. Over time (2-3 weeks) it will turn into a male flower and develop pollen. You can use a paintbrush or soft utensil to collect pollen to use on the sticky female flowers.
I absolutely love anthuriums and I hope you find the same joy in them that I do. If you can handle an alocasia, you can handle an anthurium. Comment below with your favorite anthuriums!