From the rainforests of South America to your living room, the anthurium brings drama wherever it goes. Here’s everything you need to know about anthurium care indoors; a houseplant that’s both beautiful and surprisingly low maintenance.
Caring for Anthurium Plants
The anthurium, also known as the flamingo flower, flamingo lily, or laceleaf, is native to Central America, South America and the Caribbean, where it flourishes in the warm, humid climates of the tropical rainforests.
There are many varieties of anthurium, but all are recognizable for their glossy green foliage and elegant, heart-shaped flowers (which are confusingly not flowers at all, but spathes).
With its festive combination of green foliage and bold red, pink or white spathes, anthurium plants are gaining space among poinsettias as a more modern take on holiday plant traditions. Use a mixture of anthuriums, poinsettias, and some greenery to arrange centerpieces for a dining table or buffet. You can also line plants along the mantle of a fireplace to create a beautiful backdrop for your Christmas stockings. Anthurium care is relatively easy and they make a great gift plant that can be enjoyed year-round.
Growing Anthuriums Indoors
Anthurium plants are native to warm, wet climates (USDA Hardiness Zones 10-12), so they are better suited to being indoor houseplants in most regions. You can take your anthurium outdoors for the summer as long as temperatures remain above 50 degrees F (10 degrees C). Your plant will be happiest in a bright space with indirect sun, such as on a porch or shaded balcony.
When do Anthuriums Flower?
Anthuriums can flower on and off all year round with the right care. Typically, each flowering period lasts up to eight weeks, followed by a rest period of up to three months.
Anthurium Light Requirements
Anthuriums love light, but can be sensitive to direct sunlight and may get sunburn if overexposed. In the summer, avoid putting your anthurium directly in front of windows, put up sheer blinds to filter light, shade it with other plants, or place it just to the side of a window where the light is bright, but not hot.
In the winter, sunlight tends to be weaker, so place your anthurium in your brightest spot so it can soak up as many rays as possible.
Anthurium Humidity Requirements
Because they’re rainforest natives, proper indoor anthurium care requires a humid environment. You can replicate the anthurium’s tropical home by:
- Putting it in your bathroom.
- Misting the leaves regularly.
- Placing it in a tray of damp pebbles.
- Grouping it with other houseplants.
Anthurium Soil Requirements
Anthuriums like rich but loose, well-draining soil. Choose an all-purpose potting soil or orchid soil and mix in some perlite for drainage. Read more about choosing the right soil for your potted plants and other gardening projects.
Anthurium Watering Requirements
Although anthuriums come from the rainforest, they don’t like having soggy roots. Here are some tips on watering anthuriums:
- Check the soil by pushing your finger into the surface.
- If the top 1-2 inches (3-5 centimeters) of the soil is dry, water generously until water flows out of the drainage holes.
- Pour excess water away to avoid root rot.
Anthurium Fertilizer Requirements
In the summer, take care of your anthurium by feeding it once a month with a high-potassium (K) fertilizer, such as a tomato fertilizer, to help it produce flowers. You don’t need to fertilize in winter.
Anthuriums are slow-growing plants that like slightly crowded roots, so only repot every two or three years or if the plant is pot-bound. Learn more about how to tell if your plant has outgrown its pot, and general tips for repotting a plant, in our article Tips for Bringing Potted Plants Inside.
What’s Wrong with My Anthurium?
Black or brown spots on anthurium leaves
There are many reasons why black or brown spots start to appear on an anthurium plant, including:
- Lack of humidity.
- Sitting in wet soil.
- Too little watering.
Yellowing anthurium leaves
It’s normal for older leaves to turn yellow with age. However, if it’s happening all over the plant, this could be because of:
- Too much direct sunlight.
- Too much watering.
- Too little watering.
- Too much fertilizing.
No anthurium flowers
Anthurium houseplants are often sold in flower, so it can be confusing when those flowers fade and the plant shows no sign of growing new ones.
If this happens to you, don’t worry. When you first start caring for an anthurium, it needs time to adjust to its new home before it can start flowering regularly. But, if your anthurium isn’t flowering after three months, the growing conditions may need adjusting:
- Check whether it’s getting enough light.
- Check the humidity.
- Check whether the soil is draining well or whether it’s too wet.
- Feed it with a high-potassium fertilizer.
Green anthurium flowers
Anthuriums are long-flowering, but after eight weeks, they typically need a rest and the flowers will fade. Remove faded flowers by snipping at the base of the flower stems, and your anthurium plant should bloom again after three months.
Note that some varieties of anthuriums have bi-colored flowers (for example, red streaked with green). However, if the entire flower turns green it could be a sign of one of the following problems:
- Your anthurium may not be getting enough light.
- It may be too cold for your anthurium. Move it away from cold drafts or windowsills.
- Your anthurium may not be getting enough water.
Anthurium plants can be affected by several common houseplant pests, including:
- Spider mites
Learn more about how to identify and treat these, and other Common Houseplant Pests.
Are Anthuriums Toxic to Cats and Dogs?
Yes, the ASPCA reports that anthuriums are poisonous to dogs, cats and horses if eaten. Keep your anthurium out of reach of pets and contact your vet immediately if ingested. Signs that an animal may have ingested a poisonous plant include:
- Excessive drooling.
- Mouth pain and irritation.
- Swollen lips, mouth and tongue.
- Difficulty swallowing.
Anthuriums are also poisonous to humans, so it’s a good idea to wear gloves when handling and consider avoiding this plant if you have young children.
Anthurium Houseplant Companions
Because anthuriums bloom on and off year-round they’re a cheerful choice for brightening dreary winter days. Group pots of different winter flowering plants with your anthurium to keep it company. You’ll love the way an indoor “flower garden” gives a room a spring feeling that is sure to brighten your mood everyday!