Anthurium Andreanum Care

Written by erin vaughan
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Anthurium Andreanum Care
Anthuriums are sometimes called flamingo flowers because of their large pink blossoms. (flamingo blume image by Lucky Dragon from Fotolia.com)

The anthurium species, sometimes called the flamingo flower because of its large pink blossoms, grows naturally in rainforest environments---often climbing up the side of tree limbs. This means that growing in soil is not its habit by nature but it can be taught to grow in containers. However, because of its tropical habitat, successful growers must mimic its natural environment, often making some adjustments that seem strange compared to nontropical plants.

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Soil

Anthurium andreanum should not be placed into regular potting soil or the consistent moisture from watering will kill them. Instead, they do better when planted in pure sphagnum moss or a mixture that is three parts peat, one part gravel and one part chopped sphagnum moss. The coarseness of the gravel and the sphagnum moss can be altered depending on the age of the plant---younger plants do not need as gritty a soil as older plants.

Lighting

Because of their sheltered position in their native rainforest, too much light or direct sunlight can harm anthurium andreanum. In fact, it can survive in areas of the home that receive very little sun, but it will flourish when placed near windows where it receives filtered sun. When it comes time to blossom, anthuriums need the proper amount of sunlight in order to bud.

Watering

Anthuriums require somewhat frequent watering, but need to dry out a little between sessions. To match their natural habitat, they should be watered more frequently in the summer and less frequently in the winter. They will perish when watered to excess or when the soil or container does not drain well, but the foliage and roots still need to be kept slightly damp, mirroring the natural humidity of their growing habitat. In order to maintain the humidity around them, plants can be sprayed slightly with a spray bottle or the grower can place a tray of water beneath the plant (but not touching the plant or container).

Temperature

Because of the warmth they receive in the rainforest, anthuriums need to be kept in an area that stays between 15.6 to 29.4 degrees Celsius.

Fertilisation and Other Nutrients

Anthuriums do not need much fertilisation, but to get them to produce beautiful flowers, it's best to give them some nutrients. They should always be fed slow-release fertiliser that is specially formulated for blossoming plants. Newer plants don't need to be fertilised for several months, since they will have been well-fed at the nursery where they were raised. On older plants, however, fertilise about once a month, using only about 20 to 25 per cent of the amount recommended on the packaging. Additionally, anthuriums flourish when treated with occasional doses of magnesium, which can be done by adding a 1/2 tsp of Epsom salts to water when watering. Treat anthuriums with magnesium about once a month.

Propagation

Although anthuriums can be started from seeds, it may take newer plants up to three years to reach maturity and begin blossoming. However, new containers can be created by dividing up the bulbs from older containers into separate plants. This should only be done in the springtime.

Toxicity

Anthuriums contain a high toxicity level, and all parts of the plant are hazardous when eaten. Thus, pets should be kept well away from the plant. Additionally, the sap of the plant causes an occasional allergic reaction, so take care when handling the plant.

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