All about Anthruriums

All about Anthruriums

Anthuriums are sometimes confused with Calla Lilies due to their similar appearance, but while Calla Lilies are native to the hot, dry plains of Africa.  Anthuriums come from the lush 

tropical forests of Central America, South America and the Caribbean. They are an epiphytic species, meaning they grew nonparasitically on another plant and drew their nutrients from the air rather than from the soil. When cultivation began in the 20th century, they were grown under tree crops like cocoa and citrus. They are prized for both their long life as a cut flower and as a houseplant. Today they are grown commercially in Florida.

Care

Due to their tropical history, Anthuriums prefer warm conditions. Daytime temps between 78-90F and nighttime temps between 70-75F are ideal. Temps above 90F will result in scorching, fading, and a shortened lifespan of blooms. They do not like cool temperatures and will show their displeasure with yellow leaves.  Frosts or freezes will quickly kill the plant.

When potting up Anthuriums, use a coarse soil that drains well. They do not like having wet feet. The ideal medium would be an even blend of pine bark, perlite and peat moss.  Let the plant get a bit rootbound before repotting into a larger container.

Anthuriums prefer evenly moist soil but will tolerate some dryness of the rootball without any problems. Let the soil dry to about an inch down between watering, but never let the plant dry out completely. Doing so will slow down growth and lead to yellow leaf tips and damaged roots.  Leaves that quickly and suddenly go yellow are a sign of overwatering.

Give them as much bright, filtered light as possible. Direct sunlight should be avoided as it will cause the leaves to burn. While they will tolerate low light conditions, flower production may cease and new growth may be distorted.

Fertilize lightly every few months. Newly purchased plants won’t need to be fertilized for quite some time due to the slow release food most growers add before sending them to market.

Pests and Problems

Anthuriums are susceptible to common plant pests such as aphids, mealybugs and scale. Inspect plants before purchase and quarantine for a few weeks after. Inspect regularly and if any infestation is spotted or suspected, treat promptly with an insecticidal soap. Aphids can often be eradicated by simply rinsing the plant well with cool to lukewarm water under a hose or faucet. Repeat a week later to catch any eggs that may have been left behind.

They are generally disease free but may occasionally fall prey to a fungal disease called Rhizoctinia. This is usually only a problem if the plant is kept in hot, moist conditions and potted in poorly drained soil. The disease can be treated with  a fungicide formulated for houseplants.