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How to Grow Flamingo Flower — Anthurium

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Anthurium–commonly called the Flamingo flower–gets its name from the graceful, arching protrusions of brightly colored bracts. It adds tropical flair to any bright, sunny spot indoors. The bracts or blooms can be bright red, orange, pink, even salmon.

Anthurium is an upright many-stemmed plant that can grow 20 to 36 inches (50-91cm) tall. The lacquered-looking, puckered blooms of flamingo flowers make this plant look artificial. Each flower can last for 2 to 3 months.

Anthurium is an erect, leafy plant with pencil-shaped stalks and heart-shaped or tapering leaves up to 18 inches (45cm) long.

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Get to know Anthurium

  • Plant type: Tropical shrub, houseplant
  • Growing Zones and range: Zones 13-15
  • Optimatl growing temperature: 85°F (29°C) days and 65°F (18°C) nights; to encourage the plant to bloom reduce nighttime temperature to 60°F 16°C) for 6 weeks
  • Hardiness: Tender
  • Height and width: Many stemmed 20 to 30 inches (50-76cm) tall and wide
  • Foliage: Long, graceful, leathery, heart-shaped or tapering leaves up to 18 inches (45cm) long
  • Flowers: Each flower has a curved, tail-like spadix and a thick, shiny, heart-shaped spathe. The spathe can range in color from deep red to pink, salmon, white and speckled. Flowers can be 3-6 inches (7.5-15cm) long.
  • Bloom time: Frequent blooms throughout the year
  • Uses: Houseplant, tropical garden
  • Common name: Flamingo flower, tailflower
  • Botanical name: Anthurium spp.
  • Family name: Araceae
  • Origin: Tropical South America
Flamingo flower (Anthurium andraeanum)
Flamingo flower (Anthurium andraeanum)

Where to plant Anthurium

  • Limited light, not direct sunlight
  • Grow Anthurium in a mix of equal parts potting soil and sphagnum moss.
  • The root system is similar to that of orchids; this plant can be potted in a coarse, fast-draining medium such as bark chips, which should then be covered with sphagnum moss to retain humidity.

When to plant Anthurium

  • Set Anthurium outdoors in tropical regions.

Planting and spacing Anthurium

  • Space Anthurium 2 to 3 feet apart

How to water and feed Anthurium

  • Provide Anthurium with constant moisture and high humidity while plants are actively growing. Let the soil dry out a bit between waterings in winter, but never allow the soil to go dry.
  • Mist Anthurium regularly—they love the humidity.
  • Fertilize Anthurium with an all-purpose, organic fertilizer twice a month from early spring to early fall; do not fertilize in winter.

Anthurium care

  • Anthurium does not appreciate cold temperatures or hard water. Keep the temperature at least 60°F (16°C).
  • Remove yellowing and spent blooms.

Growing Anthurium as a houseplant

  • Anthurium must have limited light, average to warm temperatures, and high humidity.
  • If the humidity is too low, Anthurium will not flower.
  • The potting mix should be kept evenly moist.
  • Mature plants can be fed regularly in spring and summer.
  • If aerial roots develop, cover them with moist sphagnum peat moss.

Anthurium pests and diseases

  • Anthurium can be attacked by mealybugs, scale insects, and spider mites

Anthurium propagation

  • Divide Anthurium in spring or summer; remove offshoots at the base or grow new plants from seed.
  • Repot divisions and offsets in a peat-based soilless mix.

Anthurium varieties to grow

  • Anthurium andreanum, flamingo lily. Grows 2 to 3 feet tall; long, narrow, oval to heart-shaped leave; spathe is heart-shaped, 4 to 6 inches long; puckered, highly polished, and salmon-red; the spadix is golden yellow with a white band.
  • A. x cultorum. Hybrids similar in appearance to flamingo lily; ‘Atrosanguineum’ has dark red spathes; ‘Giganteum’ has large, salmon-red spathes; ‘Reidii’ has large, deep pink spathes; ‘Rhodochlorum’ has large rose-colored spathes to 12 inches long; ‘Lady Jane’ Anthurium has pink flowers; ‘Rothschildeanum’ anthurium has lightly folded red flowers.
  • A. cystallinum, crystal anthurium, is also called strap flower; it has leafless stalks to 15 inches long with heart-shaped leaves; leaves are prominently marked with a network of thick silver-white veins.
  • A. x roseum. Flat spathes of white to rose and white to pink spadices; ‘Album; has creamy white spathes; ‘Roseum’ has a spathe that is a soft rose on the upper surface and white tor rose on the underside; ‘Salmoneum’ has a yellow-salmon spathe.
  • A. scherzeranum, called the flamingo flower, has very narrow, lance-shaped leaves on 1 to 2-foot plants; spathes are shiny and scarlet.

Anthurium frequently asked questions

Q: How can I get my Anthurium to bloom?

A:  Anthuriums are tropical and demand high humidity and heat while in active growth and then cooler conditions while in flower. The flowering season stretches from spring to late summer. Anthurium needs a minimum air temperature of 60°F in winter. The pot must be well drained and sphagnum, peat moss, fibrous loam, and sand are the best potting medium. The crown must be above the soil, and the stem base and aerial roots should be wrapped with moss. Mist Anthurium frequently. If you succeed in flowering it, you are a true artist.

Q: If Anthuriums are difficult to grow, can you recommend where to start?

A: The most popular Anthurium variety is Anthurium scherzerianum. It is the most tolerant of ordinary room conditions. This is the one to choose. It grows about 1 foot high and is brilliant red, but there is a white variety (album).

Q: How can I grow Anthurium successfully?

A: Keep Anthurium warm, not cooler than 60°F but 10 degrees warmer is best. Make sure the soil is well drained. Give a little water every few days to keep the compost moist at all times. Mist the leaves frequently. Repot the plant in spring every two years and divide the plant at repotting time.

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Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. has more than 10 million visitors each year.

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