By: Bonnie L. Grant, Certified Urban Agriculturist
Anthuriums are from South American rainforests, and the tropical beauties are often available in Hawaiian gift stores and airport kiosks. These members of the Arum family produce bright red characteristic spathes that are often mistaken for flowers. The thick glossy leaves are a perfect foil for the spathes. These common houseplants are perfect for middle light areas and high humidity zones in the household.
Anthuriums are often grown on a piece of lava rock or bark because they are epiphytic and produce long aerial roots to attach to surfaces. They are relatively disease- and pest-free but are fussy about humidity and moisture. A droopy anthurium could have water issues, lighting problems, or a rare case of blight. Find out the answers to why an anthurium with drooping leaves is doing poorly and save your tropical prized plant.
Why is My Anthurium Droopy?
To fully answer the question, “Why is my anthurium droopy?”, you need to understand the plant’s needs. As tropical understory plants, they thrive in dappled to medium light. They often reside in trees but may also be found on the forest floor.
The plants grow best with daytime temperatures of 78 to 90 F. (25 to 32 C.) but average indoor temperatures are usually sufficient. They need to be warm at night too, with averages between 70 and 75 F. or 21 to 23 C. If they are outdoors and experience temperatures below 50 F. (10 C.), they will begin to suffer and the leaves will yellow and droop.
An anthurium with drooping leaves may also be experiencing a water, lighting, or disease issue.
Other Causes for Anthurium Plant Drooping
Anthurium plant drooping may be caused by other conditions. If the plant is near a heater where dry air is produced, it will experience too little humidity. These epiphytes need 80 to 100 percent humidity.
If the plant is in poorly draining soil, it will show signs of browning on the leaf tips and drooping foliage. Conversely, the drooping with yellow tips may be a sign of too little water. Use a soil moisture meter to be certain the plant is evenly moist but not soggy.
Disease problems, like root blight, are common and can make the leaves sag and stems bow. Replace the soil and wash the roots in a .05 percent solution of bleach. Wash out the container with the bleach solution before replanting.
Always water deeply to flush the soil of fertilizer salts and toxic minerals and then allow the surface of the soil to dry before watering again.
Droopy Anthurium and Pests
Mites and thrips are the most common pests of anthurium. They can be dealt with by rinsing the insects off the leaves of the plant. In severe infestations, you can apply a horticultural oil or soap on a regular basis to kill the insects. These sucking pests cause leaf damage through their feeding behavior. On occasion, aphids and other insects might attack the plant, but these cases are rare.
Start with a visual inspection of the plant and then proceed to evaluate your cultivation methods if your inspection turns up no insects. Droopy anthuriums are generally the result of some cultural error and can be fixed easily once you identify the cause.
Provided you have high humidity, medium indirect light, and frequent watering with good soil leaching, your plant should produce the lovely spathes on an annual basis.
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ANTHURIUM PLANT CARE BASICS
Flowering plants are known for being slightly touchier when it comes to their overall well-being, especially when kept indoors. Anthurium isn’t known for being difficult, but there are a few necessities to keep in mind before venturing on the road to a happy Tailflower.
Below is all you need to know about the basic needs of an Anthurium plant!
Fortunately, Anthuriums can survive on a wide range of different soil types as long as they are high in organic matter. The soil provided should also have adequate drainage to prevent the potential of root rot.
Those who know a bit about plants would do best placing their Anthurium plant in a mix designed for epiphytes. Don’t know what that is? Don’t fret. Just make sure that it is rich and porous.
Anthurium plants that don’t get adequate sunlight tend to have lackluster flowers. It’s important to place these individuals in a room that gets plenty of light. Although they prefer a good amount of light, it should never be direct. Bright, indirect sunlight will keep your Anthurium happy.
Once you’ve placed your Anthurium plant into a container, it will need a regular watering schedule. These houseplants require low to moderate amounts of water.
Depending on how warm their environment is, you may need to add water every few days. Providing ample drainage holes on the bottom of your pot or container is key to ensuring that the roots don’t become rotted.
We will go over the watering needs later on in this article for those who are new to keeping a flowering plant happily saturated.
Being a tropical inhabitant, it’s no surprise that the Anthurium prefers higher average temperatures. During the daytime, your house should range between 25 and 32 degrees Celsius, while the evenings can be around 21 to 24 degrees Celsius.
Anything lower than 4 degrees Celsius can result in poor growth and damage to the leaves.
Another typical need that is crucial for tropical plants is their need for a good amount of humidity. This usually is at about 70 to 80 percent. Those who choose to grow their Anthurium plants indoors find that they may need to water their plants more frequently as well as provide other ways in which to increase the humidity.
T his can be done through misting and strategic placement, such as placing your plant in the bathroom that naturally accumulates more moisture.
Even though these are flowering plants, Anthurium does not need regular doses of fertilizer. The blooms do tend to be more vibrant when given food, but this only needs to happen every three or four months.
It also does not need to be used in full force. You should dilute fertilizer down to a quarter of the strength, and be careful to use one that is rich in phosphorus.
With such a beautiful ornament in your home, chances are that you will want to clone these individuals. You can either achieve this through division, seed germination, or cuttings.
All of these methods are fairly easy, even for a beginner. Many flower enthusiasts enjoy making Anthurium hybrids. We will go over the most common methods later on in greater detail.
Once these plants reach maturity, Anthurium plants generally grow to a height of 1.5 feet. They are also only a foot in width. The flowers themselves tend to last for a few weeks at a time unless cut.
If you choose to raise your plant in water, the flowers can survive up to six weeks. That being said, not every flower will open all at one time, meaning that you’ll get a pleasant bloom time.
Many Anthurium enthusiasts have said that there the trend seems to be about three months of flowering followed by another three months of just the large leaves.
The act of repotting can mean the difference between a beautiful bloom and a stunted Anthurium. You can expect to go through this process every two to three years, as it takes a while for them to become root-bound. This should be done carefully. The flowers are quite fragile.
Common Problems for Anthurium Villenaorum
Anthuriums are a notable choice for container gardening, but you might face some issues while caring for an Anthurium indoors. Below I have discussed all the common issues for Anthurium Villenaorum.
The most common issue for indoor Anthuriums is root rot. The roots of these plants are very susceptible to rotting.
The most common mistake everyone makes in Anthurium care is overwatering. But overwatering can have serious consequences as it impacts the long-term health of your plant.
Water stress is caused by under or over-watering. Never let your Anthurium sit in a pool of water, but at the same time, don’t let it dry out completely.
If your plant was drying for too long or more than half of the soil has dried out entirely, rehydrate your plant by soaking the root ball in the water.
If you water your plant at least once a week in hot months, under watering will never be an issue.
Chlorosis, otherwise known as leaf yellowing, is the most common indicator of bacterial wilt. The foliage starts turning bronze/brown as this bacteria spreads in the vascular system of the plant via the veins.
If you cut any stem of the infected Anthurium, you will notice a brown slimy discharge. Your plant will start wilting as the infection gets worse.
Wilting is caused by bacteria known as Ralstonia. Humid environments like greenhouses help these bacteria multiply. You can take the following control and treatment measures to eliminate this disease:
- Follow a strict hygiene and sanitation program for the infected and uninfected plants.
- Apply a fungicide that has phosphorus acid in it.
- This disease is spread by infected tools therefore, disinfect all your gardening tools regularly.
- This bacterium can survive in an infected potting mix. It is better to remove the infected parts and soil to avoid the spread of the disease.
- Thoroughly disinfect the pots and trays of the infected plant.
If your Anthurium has developed v-shaped watery lesions, it is infected with bacterial blight. These lesions mostly appear along the leaf margins.
Bacterial blight is caused by Xanthomonas bacteria. This bacteria enters the leaves via the pores on the surface, and soon, the infected leaves start yellowing. Bacteria can also enter the plant system via damaged leaf tissues.
This bacterium likes growing in warm, wet soils and high humidity. The amino acids serve as food for Xanthomonas.
These bacteria can not only easily spread within the plant but also from one plant to another. You should isolate the infected plant to avoid this.
If the bacterial blight is left untreated, your Anthurium will wilt and die as all the leaves will eventually turn brown. Water your plant using the bottom watering method.
It is important to keep the foliage dry because if you leave any water on the leaves, bacteria can live in these wet areas for several days.
The best remedy is to control humidity and moisture content. You should also increase air ventilation or circulation around your Anthurium by keeping some space between your plants.
Disinfect all shears or blades after trimming infected parts of the Anthurium. If almost every other leaf on your Anthurium is infected, I would recommend discarding the whole plant.
Avoid using damaged/ diseased stem cuttings for propagation because the new plant will soon die due to infection. Always use a healthy cutting for propagation.
The thick leaf varieties of Anthuriums are vulnerable to sucking pests instead of chewing ones. Keep a close eye on your Anthurium plant to detect pest infections in the early days. Mealybugs, mites, thrips will feed on the leaves and slowly remove plant juices.
The plant’s health will decline over time. To identify pest infections, you must know the symptoms. I have created a brief list of symptoms of pests based on my experience:
- Presence of a sticky substance (honeydew) on foliage and flowers. You will also notice ants around the honeydew.
- Distorted and mottled leaves.
- Yellow and unhealthy new leaves.
- Faded leaves combined with a limp plant.
- No new growth for several weeks.
Once you are sure about the presence of pests, you should treat your plant with a strong stream of water to drown the stubborn pests. You should also clean the leaves of your plant with any of the following material:
- Pyrethrin-based insecticide
- Neem oil
- Horticulture soap or oil
You can avoid future infestations by keeping a close eye on the plant and spraying neem oil every week.
Fertilizing Anthurium Flowers
Anthuriums need to be fertilized periodically, but you have to be careful not to over-fertilize them. This can be a deadly mistake. When fertilizing your plants, always err on the side of under-fertilizing them. If you give them too little fertilizer, the worse that will happen is that they will grow slower and produce fewer flowers, and if you see this happening you can easily fix this by giving them a little more fertilizer. But if you give them too much fertilizer they can die.
Aim to fertilize them once or twice per year depending on how long the growing season in your region lasts. Use a fertilizer with a ratio of 5-10-5 and apply roughly a quarter of what the label recommends. This ratio is ideal for ensuring a good balance between foliage and flowers. If you were to use a fertilizer with high nitrogen like, 15-10-5, you will get a bunch of leaves but fewer flowers. And when choosing a fertilizer, go for a slow release variety. This way you only have to fertilizer your plants once or twice per year, rather than once a week if you were to use a liquid fertilizer.
Q. Why Are My Anthurium Leaves Turning Yellow?
I don't know if it makes a difference, but the leaves turning yellow are the original ones. Should I use Epsom Salts are phosphorus enhancer when I water?
Yellowing is caused by many factors. Before adding anything, you will need to test the soil to make sure that what you are adding is deficient, as adding too much of a nutrients can cause more issues.
These plants are VERY particular in their care and environment, and any deviation from their natural care will cause multiple symptoms.
This article will explain the care of these picky plants. Once that care is provided, perfectly, then you can begin to diagnose issues outside of that:
It is worth noting that they are not near hardy in your zone, so wintering them indoors will be necessary.
Anthurium Insigne Plant Care Guide
The Anthurium insigne will enjoy a well-drained porous soil like most Aroids, but it will require some organic material to retain moisture.
Avoid wet and soggy mixes as well as dry, overly sandy soil mixes.
If you don’t want to make your own soil from start to finish, you can mix half orchid soil (which will contain bark, charcoal, and volcanic rocks) and half organic, humus-rich soil.
To this mix, you can add 20 to 30% perlite for aeration and some sphagnum moss chunks for moisture retention.
If you already have all of these ingredients, feel free to make your own mix. A recipe would look something like this:
- One part orchid bark
- One part humus-rich organic soil
- One part perlite
- half part charcoal and gravel or vermiculite
- Half part Sphagnum moss cut into small pieces
This is, of course, not an exact recipe. It is important to feel the soil as you are mixing it.
Rather than stick to the recipe blindly, try to achieve moist soil that will not become soggy and will be able to try in a couple of days.
If you are not sure, I suggest you go for a more airy soil and add in organic, moisture-retentive material after, if you feel it is needed.
This is easier than trying to break up and aerate the soil later, and you will avoid root rot, which will just be an additional problem that nobody wants to have.
The Anthurium insigne is not a full light plant, and you should avoid putting it in direct sunlight if you don’t want the leaves to burn.
Around 70 to 85% of light is ideal. Therefore, if you keep it indoors, I suggest an east or west-facing window or someplace further away from a south-facing window.
Due to its size, many people keep their Anthurium insigne outdoors, at least during the summer. I would like to warn you that this transition from indoors to outdoors should be done gradually to avoid stress and sunburns.
Move your Anthurium insigne closer to the light over a week or two, gradually increasing the light it is exposed to. Your end goal should be a place where it will get bright indirect to dappled light during the day.
Even with slow adaptation, full sun all day will be too much for this Anthurium.
Fortunately, this plant will not require any special or overly complicated watering methods. Remember to use distilled or rainwater and wanter the Anthusium insigne only when the top two to three inches of the soil is dry.
Then, you can water until the water comes out of the drainage holes underneath. Remember to empty the water out of the dishes underneath the pots so the plant is not sitting in water.
If you water this way and your Anthurium is planted in the soil mix described above, you will probably have to water every 3 to 4 days, but check with your finger and adapt to your plant if needed.
A good habit to adopt with this plant is watering from underneath. Due to its size, this plant requires a lot of support, and watering from underneath will cause the roots to dig deeper down into the pot and stabilize the plant a little bit.
This is because if the water comes from below, the roots start developing downwards to the water source.
I have a huge, 10 ft tall golden Pothos, so I know watering plants in huge containers can be a challenge, and you might require some help.
What I do is find a container that the pot will fit in with some extra space around, fill it halfway with water, ask my husband to lift the plant as I put the container underneath, and then we lower the whole pot down into the water.
Then I let the plant drink it up, add some water if necessary (you will see the water level in the container get lower as the plant’s soil absorbs it), and take it out after half an hour to an hour.
Like most aroids, your Anthurium insigne will thrive in temperatures between 55° and 80°F (12 to 26 C). These are normal indoor temperatures, so a good rule of thumb is that as long as you are not hot or cold, your Anthurium insigne is comfortable as well.
If you live in a temperate climate, you can keep this plant outdoors during the summer (but remember to do it gradually, as we already mentioned).
Still, you have to bring it back indoors as temperatures lower. Definitely avoid exposing it to frost, any temperature below 50 F can cause critical damage, and you will experience leaf drop or worse, your Anthurium insigne will die.
Be mindful of the upper temperature limit as well. In temperatures over 85, you are asking for wilting and slow, inconsistent growth.
If there is one thing that makes the Anthurium insigne a higher maintenance plant, it is its humidity requirements. It needs upwards of 80% humidity, and this, coupled with its size, makes it a perfect plant for a greenhouse.
If you don’t have a greenhouse, the bare necessary minimum will definitely be a good humidifier and regular, daily misting, especially in the winter.
I could explain to you how to make a pebble tray, but in all honesty, I don’t think it is appropriate for this plant at all.
It will not cause a humidity spike big enough for this plant, so I wouldn’t bother. There is no way around it. A humidifier is your only option.
My best recommendation here is to use a humidifier to meet the high humidity needs.
To grow so huge, this plant goes through a lot of nutrients. If you fail to feed it enough, you will notice slow growth and smaller leaves, so it would be useful to get into a good fertilizing routine with your Anthurium insigne.
Let’s go over what kind of fertilizer it will require first and touch upon some specifics afterward.
First and foremost, I have given you a choice between organic and synthetic fertilizers for other plants before, but with the Anthurium insigne, I recommend organic fertilizers only.
Due to its delicate roots, it can suffer from fertilizer burn and salt buildup. In this Anthuriums case, these two can be fatal, so I urge you to choose a high quality exclusively organic fertilizer.
There are a couple of ways you can go from here. You can find a pelleted, slow-release organic fertilizer that you will add to the soil, six inches away from the plant’s base every 4 months.
You can also find a liquid organic fertilizer that you will dilute to two-thirds of its strength (so add a third of water) and pour it into the soil just after watering every two weeks.
Whichever way is more convenient for you, always remember to fertilizer after watering and avoid cheap, salt heavy fertilizers.
Anthurium insigne is propagated by stem cuttings. Ideally, your cutting should have at least one leaf and one node. The process is fairly easy, so follow the steps below:
- Choose a healthy stem with a developed leaf and at least one node. If you can get some aerial roots, that will be even better and almost a guarantee of successful propagation.
- Cut below the node with disinfected shears or a knife.
- Put the cutting in distilled water in a bright a relatively warm place. You could also wrap the node in moist sphagnum moss and keep it in a propagation box.
- For higher humidity, if you don’t have a greenhouse or propagation box, envelop the whole plant with the glass in a plastic bag for moisture retention.
- After two to three weeks, you should notice new roots. Where there are a couple of inches of well-developed roots, you can prepare the new medium (the soil mix we described in the soil section) and moisten it.
- Put the cutting into the moist growing medium and cover the node. Provide this young plant with extra humidity and keep the medium evenly moist for a week or two.
- When you gently pull on the stem, you should feel some resistance. When you do, your plant has established itself and can be considered a new plant. Your propagation was successful.
You came here for a big plant, and we have delivered. The lime leaves of the Anthurium insigne will grow upwards of 4 ft. in size.
Due to this and the leaves’ weight, you should provide some kind of support as soon as possible. This can either be a moss pole or any sort of wooden stick that you can fasten the leaves onto if or better yet when they start drooping because of the weight.
The Anthurium insigne will need to be repotted as it gets root-bound. Repotting is otherwise not needed. That said, you will probably need repotting every year or two because of the growth of this plant.
When choosing the pot’s size for this plant, take into account the moss stick it needs and make space for it as well.
If you have just gotten your Anthusium insigne in the mail, there is no rush to pot it just yet. Although your fingers are probably itching to make it feel at home in a beautiful pot, I recommend you keep it in a bucket with an inch or two of water and some mulch to keep if standing upright and put it in a shady spot, so it recovers from the shipping.
After a couple of days, you can pot your Anthurium in any pot with the soil mix I recommended. Try not to go too big with the pot to avoid root rot, but big enough, so the entire plant doesn’t tip over.
The size of the pot depends on the size of your plant. Remember that the roots should not be bunched up in the middle but spread out nicely through the pot.
The looser the roots, the better your plant will grow, so if you put your plant into the container, the roots should spread out nicely with an inch to a maximum of two inches of space around them.
Too much, and you are risking root rot so don’t go overboard.