- TEMPERATURE: 61 – 75 degrees F (16 – 24 degrees C)
- LIGHT: Bright, indirect
- HUMIDITY: Moderate
- SAFETY: Toxic to dogs and cats
- DIFFICULTY: Moderate
Anthurium, also known as flamingo flower or laceleaf, is a flowering houseplant with dramatic, arrow-shaped leaves and waxy flowers that come in a variety of colors. Red is the most common, but purple, burgundy, pink, and white are also popular.
Flowers bloom throughout the year when the plant is grown indoors, and the blooms last for many weeks. They’re made up of a tear-shaped spathe and a long spike of tiny flowers known as the spadix.
Anthurium is not the easiest houseplant to grow indoors. It can be fussy, but if you maintain ideal conditions – including high humidity – you can see it thrive in your home.
Keep the soil moist through the year, and avoid overwatering. Anthurium doesn’t like soil that’s too wet or too dry. Too much water may rot the roots, but you do need to keep the soil moist – especially during summer.
I’ve found that giving it a little water every few days seems to keep the plant happy during spring and summer – just allowing the surface of the soil to become dry. In fall and winter, reduce watering until the top half inch of soil dries out before watering again.
To keep the humidity high enough and promote adequate draining, place the plant on a humidity tray. See my post on how to make a humidity tray if you’re not familiar with this process. It’s a must for this plant.
Mist the leaves regularly (avoiding flowers) with lukewarm water or place the plant near a good quality humidifier. Or better yet – do both. Anthurium requires high humidity to survive indoors.
Click here to see our favorite houseplant humidifier on Amazon.
Feed with a water-soluble fertilizer formulated for flowering houseplants (we like Jack’s Houseplant Special) diluted to 1/4-strength every two weeks in spring and summer. For example, if the label on your fertilizer says to use 1 teaspoon, you should use 1/4 teaspoon.
Anthurium cannot handle large doses of fertilizer and will easily burn if you don’t dilute it. Also, never fertilize if the plant is stressed, has brown leaves, or if the potting soil is completely dry.
Allow the plant to rest in fall and winter, giving it a break from feeding.
Bright, indirect light is best for anthuriums. The medium light of an east- or west-facing window is ideal. A north-facing window may not provide adequate light and a south-facing window may be too harsh.
Always avoid direct sunlight. If you place your plant in a south-facing window, make sure it’s protected from the glare of direct sun by keeping it about three feet away from the glass.
If you don’t have an area in your home bright enough, you may need to supplement with artificial light to get blooms. The plant won’t flower – at least not much – if you don’t have adequate light. Click here to read about our favorite lights for indoor plants.
Flamingo flower is highly sensitive to low temperatures. Never allow the temperature to fall below 61 degrees F (16 degrees C).
For the best results, keep the plant in a warm area year round – preferably around 70 degrees F (21 degrees C), but never above 80 degrees F (26 degrees C).
Plant the top of the root ball 1 inch (2.5 cm) below the soil surface in a 5-8 inch (12.5-20 cm) pot. Use a light, porous, and well-draining potting soil. Repot only when the plant becomes root-bound in a pot one size bigger than its current pot.
There are a lot of opinions about which soil or mixture works best. In my experience, anthuriums do best in a combination of moisture control potting mix, peat moss, orchid potting mix, and perlite.
Here’s the recipe I’ve been using with success for the past 10 years:
Some of these items might be hard to find locally, so the links above will take you to Amazon where you can purchase them online.
My anthuriums thrive in this mixture. It’s coarse, well-draining, and allows the soil to stay damp but not soggy. It’s very similar to the soil in a rain forest, which is why it works so well for tropical plants like this one.
Anthuriums can be propagated by taking cuttings or dividing roots and stems. I prefer to propagate my anthuriums by dividing the roots when repotting – once every two years or so.
I have never personally propagated this plant by taking cuttings. If you do, make sure to take them from 3 to 4-year old plants. Each cutting should have a few roots attached or at least a single bud to produce new roots.
Regularly wipe the mature leaves of your anthurium with a soft sponge or damp, soft cloth. Avoid handling any new, soft leaves until they’ve become dark and glossy.
The flowers of the spadix can cause a mess with their pollen. If it bothers you, snip off the spadix and this will extend the life of the glossy spathe a bit longer. Gently pull off spent flowers.
The following issues are common when growing flamingo flower:
- Flowers Wilting – Usually the result of cold temperatures or not enough light. Make sure your plant is warm and has plenty of filtered sunlight. If you’re struggling, invest in supplemental lighting and/or heating to keep your plant happy.
- Brown Patches – On leaves or flowers, brown patches typically indicate the presence of fungus. Cut off any infected growth with sterile shears and spray with a fungicide. It may not be possible to save plants infected with fungus, but if you catch it early there is a chance.
- Leaves Turning Yellow – If your leaves are turning yellow or wilting, the plant is either too wet or too cold. You may be over-watering or allowing temperatures to drop too low. Let it dry out and move it to a warmer location.
- Brown Leaf Tips – If the tips of your plant’s leaves are turning brown, it’s most likely because it’s getting too much sun or the air isn’t humid enough. Make sure it’s never exposed to direct sunlight and move it further from the window (at least three feet). Increase humidity by misting or placing near a humidifier. See my post about brown spots on anthurium leaves for more solutions.
- No Blooms – If your anthurium isn’t flowering, it’s most likely underfed or not getting enough light. Move to a brighter location and feed once every two weeks with a diluted bloom-promoting fertilizer.