The anthurium, or flamingo flower because of its striking inflorescence in reddish colors, originally comes from the neotropical areas of Central and South America and the Caribbean islands. So it is an absolute rainforest plant and can only be kept as an indoor plant here. Of the total of around 1000 species of the genus, only the large and small flamingo flowers (Anthurium andreanum and Anthurium scherzerianum) and hybrid breeds of both are common for the local window sill culture.
- The anthurium - its botanical name and origin
- Which location does the exotic anthurium prefer?
- The anthurium does not want to bloom - what can I do?
Anthuriums grow as evergreen shrubs and reach heights of 40 to 100 centimeters with a width of about 30 to 60 centimeters. They belong to the epiphytes, so they usually settle on trees in the wild. But there are also terrestrial species.
From a biological point of view, the anthurium is primarily a leaf ornament. Because the most striking thing about it are its leaves, above all of course the brightly colored bract under the flower, the spathe, which serves as an attention-grabber for the actual flower. But also the leaves are a splendid sight with their flat, elongated heart-shaped shape and their rich, medium-green color. They have a slightly leathery consistency and are shiny. The bract shines in white, pink, pink or bright red and also shines, at least in the case of the large flamingo flower.
With the many species in addition to the large and small flamingo flowers, there is a much more diverse range of leaf shapes.
Let's hold on:
- Leaves elongated heart-shaped and shiny
- leathery consistency
- Brightly colored bract under the flower
The actual flower, to which the colored bract is usually perceived as belonging, is only the small piston that sits in the armpit of the spathe. It usually has an elongated cylindrical to club-like shape and a pale yellow, orange or red color. An inflorescence can be formed on any inflorescence stem - in late spring to early summer, for example from May to June, the flamingo flower can therefore be covered with a veritable firework of colors that stand out attractively from the lush green foliage.
Which location is suitable?
Like so many other rainforest plants, anthuriums need a bright, warm, draft-free location without direct sunlight. You should therefore place the flamingo flower in a window seat where it is somewhat shaded by other indoor plants. The temperature should preferably be around 20 ° C and the anthurium thrives best at around 23 to 25 ° C. In winter, however, it should be a little cooler, around 16 to 18 ° C - this is how you give it the necessary temperature incentive that leads to good flower formation after the winter break.
As a tropical plant, the flamingo flower is naturally also good at high humidity. It is best to give her a fine misty spray shower from the water disperser on a regular basis.
- The location must be warm and bright
- Protect from direct sunlight and drafts
- high humidity
- Temperatures in summer between 20 and 25 ° C, in winter between 16 and 18 ° C
What soil does the plant need?
As an epiphyte, the anthurium does not necessarily need a soil substrate, but can also be planted in pure peat. In this case, however, a regular supply of nutrients is necessary. A loose mixture of slightly acidic (orchid) soil is best, which you loosen up with peat, sphagnum or leafy soil. A high humus content is also highly recommended, so mix in some compost. In any case, the substrate should be loose and well-drained.
You can also keep an anthurium in hydroponics in an expanded clay substrate over a water-nutrient solution.
The water requirement of the flamingo flower is relatively high. So you should water abundantly. However, a permanent footbath must not be allowed, as otherwise root rot cannot be excluded. Make sure that the substrate is always moist. During the winter break, the water supply is reduced a little. Important: Use lukewarm water that is as low in lime as possible. The anthurium is very sensitive to lime and generally does not like cold.
Casting practice at a glance:
- Flamingo flower quite thirsty
- Always keep the roots of the pot moist
- But avoid waterlogging
- water less in winter
- Use lukewarm water with little lime content
Fertilize anthurium properly
The flamingo flower should be fertilized in moderation, but in small steps. It is best to add a little liquid fertilizer in low concentration to your watering water once a week during the growing season from spring to autumn. During the winter break, the fertilizer application is greatly reduced or stopped entirely.
- fertilize moderately but evenly over the growing season
- very little or not at all in winter
Cut the anthurium correctly
You do not have to cut the anthurium.
The best way to multiply the flamingo flower is by dividing the roots. This method is particularly suitable given its clump-forming roots, which make repotting necessary every year. You can also use the pot change in spring for propagation.
When dividing the root ball, you must ensure that the new section to be planted has at least one leaf with well-developed, healthy roots. Put it in a pot with a loose, slightly acidic and peaty soil substrate and place it in a light and warm place. For an even, warm, moist growing climate, it is advisable to cover the plant with a foil bag at the beginning.
- Division the best method of propagation
- best done in spring when repotting
- The separated piece must have at least one leaf with developed roots
- Plant in species-appropriate substrate and keep warm and light
- keep moist, possibly let grow under foil
You can read how a flamingo flower is divided in the section “Propagate”.
Diseases are actually not an issue with the anthurium. If it shows unhealthy symptoms, the cause is mostly care errors. If necessary, the plant can be affected by leaf spot disease, a fungal disease. It manifests itself in brown spots on the leaves. Countermeasures are removing the diseased parts of the plant and using a fungicide.
The flamingo flower can be attacked by certain pests, especially if the room air is too dry. Potential candidates are mainly spider mites and scale insects.
These small parasites often occur in indoor plants that, contrary to their high humidity requirements, are exposed to dry heating air. The mites are very small, but can be seen with the naked eye, especially if they are of the reddish variety. But there are also greenish to white-yellowish species that can hardly be seen on the leaves. The infestation is clearly recognizable, however, by the fine webs with which the mites cover the leaf axils and stems.
Fortunately, the fight against spider mites is relatively easy and at the same time corrects the causal care mistake: namely, water is the element with which the annoying comrades can best be driven away and which the plant has previously usually lacked and only made susceptible to the infestation .
First of all, the spider mites can simply be washed off mechanically with a strong water jet. Then the whole plant is closed under a foil while it is wet. In the resulting humid and airless climate, the mites usually die within a week.
Scale insects are also one of the most common pests in indoor plants. They suck off the sap from their host and secrete honeydew, which for the hobby gardener apart from worrying about his plant, also sticks windows and windowsill.
Like spider mites, scale insects can also first be tackled mechanically. Thoroughly wipe the anthurium leaves with a damp rag. Since the leaves are quite robust, you don't need to be too timid. If the infestation is more persistent, you can also use a spray cure with garlic, raspberry or nettle brew. In very tough cases, resort to oil preparations that suffocate the lice.
If your flamingo flower gets yellow leaves, it is usually due to a lack of light or a substrate that is too wet.
Lack of light
Providing the anthurium with the right lighting conditions is really not entirely trivial. A lot of brightness without direct sunlight is a bit difficult to achieve. Natural, light shading by a neighboring plant on the window sill or by a thin awning can be good solutions.
Meticulous weighing is the be-all and end-all when it comes to watering. Strictly regular watering, in which the substrate is always moist but never in the water, requires a lot of attention. If you don't want to go through that hassle, you can also turn to hydroponics. Anthuriums generally do very well in them.
On the other hand, the leaves of the flamingo flower turn brown if there is insufficient sun protection, if the substrate is too impermeable, if there is root rot or if there is over-fertilization.
Insufficient sun protection
It is essential to protect your anthurium from strong sunlight. Otherwise there is a risk of sunburn, which in the long term weakens the plant.
As an epiphyte, the flamingo flower needs a lot of air at the roots. She doesn't feel comfortable in a substrate that is too dense. Brown leaves can indicate that she cannot breathe adequately through the roots. So put them in a loose, peaty substrate as possible.
Brown leaves can also indicate an advanced condition due to overhydration - in the form of root rot. This condition is quite critical and requires repotting as soon as possible. Before placing in the new pot, remove all rotten root components as thoroughly as possible and from now on only water enough so that the substrate does not dry out.
Brown spots usually indicate leaf spot disease. The best way to fight this fungal disease, like most other indoor plant fungal diseases, is to carefully remove the infected parts of the plant and then use a fungicidal spray.
Is anthurium poisonous?
Unfortunately, anthuriums are slightly poisonous, and indeed in all parts of the plant. Like other arum plants, the leaves in particular also contain the saponin aroin and calcium oxalate, which the plant releases to potential attackers via tiny needles. Therefore, even touching it can cause skin irritation in the form of redness, swelling and even blistering. However, the cultivated forms are usually not as poisonous as the wild forms.
Eating parts of the flamingo flower is even more critical. It should be kept away from small children and pets in particular. Symptoms when consuming anthurium parts are initially reddening and blistering of the mouth and throat mucosa as well as painful swelling of the tongue. If swallowed, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea soon occur.
A suitable first aid measure is to drink plenty of fluids to help expel the poison. Most of the time, the symptoms subside by themselves after 2-3 hours. In the worst case, if larger amounts are consumed, gastrointestinal bleeding can occur - in this case at the latest, a doctor should be consulted.
Is anthurium poisonous to cats?
Due to their low body mass, cats show symptoms of intoxication that are similar to those in humans, even with small doses ingested. There is also increased salivation. Try to get the animal to drink. If symptoms are severe, see a veterinarian quickly.
When asked which cultivar should come into the room, it is best to orientate yourself on the color of the spathe. It is the most characteristic thing about the different varieties. The other properties are largely the same.
Varieties of the small flamingo flower
The varieties are often hybrids, but are often classified as belonging to the small or large flamingo flower. The former develop somewhat smaller, but more numerous inflorescences. In height they reach heights of about 30 to 50 centimeters. The leaves are rather lanceolate and the spathe is only slightly drawn in heart-shaped in the axilla. It usually shines little or not at all. The flowering period is between May and June.
Anthurium scherzerianum Artus : This variety shows an intense scarlet-red, matt-gloss spathe and a piston-like flower that is usually also reddish.
Anthurium scherzerianum Rothschildianum : The bract of this variety has white spots on the red base color and thus offers a particularly attractive, noticeable sight.
* Anthurium scherzerianum Amaretti *:
With its pink spathe, this variety is a bit more delicate in appearance.
* Anthurium scherzerianum album *:
This variety forms snow-white bracts with a yellow piston flower.
Varieties of the great flamingo flower
The varieties of Anthurium andreanum produce larger, but less numerous inflorescences. The leaves are also larger with a blade of up to 40 centimeters, have a leatherier consistency, a glossier surface and a pronounced heart shape. The great flamingo flower reaches up to one meter in height. The flowers are formed between May and June.
Anthurium andreanum Princess Amalia Elegance :
This variety looks particularly noble and almost diva-like due to the scarlet, fine veins on the white spathe. The flower bulb is also in the same, scarlet color.
Anthurium andreanum Rosee Choco :
This variety has a deep, reddish brown spathe and therefore looks very sublime.
* Anthurium andreanum Acropolis *:
The inflorescences of this variety show themselves with a beautiful, large bract in creamy white and a white piston flower that merges into yellow at the top.
* Anthurium andreanum Calisto *:
This variety looks very interesting with its light green spathe and accents and flower heads in pink.