Anthuriums: Bringing Back a Classic
Anthuriums are exotic plants with unique, almost bizarre flowers that make them undeniably irresistible. The name stems from Greek, meaning ‘tail flower’, which perfectly describes their shiny, tropical flowers. This traditional garden staple is making a big comeback, and with so many colours there is certainly an option to suit every garden. Anthuriums are also hardy and long lasting – a good investment for your garden.
The classics: When thinking of anthuriums, red is often the first colour that comes to mind. If this appeals to you, ‘Matiz’ and ‘Michigan’ are slightly different red varieties, the former with an orange-red hue and the latter closer to a pink-red. The leaves also have slightly different shapes so your choice will depend on your garden aesthetic. Another classic choice is ‘White’, suitable for any elegant garden. The bright white flowers and spikes contrast brilliantly against dark green leaves for a simple but distinctive look.
Pinks and purples: For something softer, the many pink anthurium varieties provide numerous options. ‘Joli Peach’ flowers have a light peach colour with white spikes that deliver the same elegance as white but with a touch of colour. A more archetypal pink-purple is ‘Cirano’ – the flowers are framed by a dark purple that is echoed in the stems, but the centre has the quintessential pink colour. An edgier garden definitely needs the deep-purple ‘Aramon’ with bright yellow spikes that would suit fans of 90s grunge.
The unique: Anthuriums are not short of unique colours, with the flowers’ many varieties made up of an amalgamation of colours. ‘Rainbow Champion’ combines light and dark with a peachy-pink centre and black edges. The two colours somehow merge perfectly, finished by a light green centre spike. ‘Mystique’ is a crowd favourite and almost resembles a watermelon with its slightly green base, pinkish-white centre and dark pink tip. It is made more unique with the coloured veins that bring the flower to life.
Caring for Anthuriums
Anthuriums are popular indoor plants as they are easy to care for and produce long-lasting flowers, but they can also be grown outdoors. Follow these simple steps to ensure your anthuriums last:
Light: These plants need bright, indirect sunlight. With too little light the flowers will not grow and in direct sunlight the leaves may burn.
Water: Anthuriums don’t like being overwatered. Make sure the soil is well draining and wait for the soil to dry out before watering.
Humidity: As anthuriums are tropical plants, higher humidity is better for your plants to flourish.
Repotting: If you are planting indoors and want your anthurium to grow tall, you can repot annually in spring if needed.
Height: Anthuriums can grow up to 800mm, so can make quite a statement indoors.
Cleaning: If you are keeping your anthurium indoors, the shiny leaves and flowers tend to attract dust and will need cleaning every few weeks. Remove any dead leaves or flowers to keep them neat.
Common mistakes with Anthuriums
Too little light: If you notice the leaves are thin and stretching towards the light, or if your anthurium is not producing flowers, you will need to move it to a brighter spot.
Incorrect watering: Yellow or brown leaves are the result of over- or under-watering. Incorrect watering is one of the biggest causes of unhealthy plants. Make sure you adjust your watering according to the response of your anthurium.
Diseases and pests: High-humidity environments can breed fungal diseases, but this can be avoided by keeping the pot out of water and providing good air circulation. Pests are more common to outdoor anthuriums so be sure to catch infestations early and treat them accordingly.
Keep away from animals and children: Anthurium sap is poisonous to both animals and humans if ingested. When displaying indoors, be sure to keep it out of reach of anyone or anything who may consider it a snack.
Anthuriums are versatile and will look great almost anywhere. As they enjoy high humidity, bathrooms are an option for indoor placements, as long as there is enough light. A kitchen window box can create a stunning display of many colours, but keep the plants out of the wind. When planting outdoors, patio containers work well as anthuriums often thrive in pots. For the more adventurous types, if you have a space with bright, indirect sunlight in your garden use several varieties together to create your own tiny tropical forest. Planting many anthuriums outdoors also means you can use them as cut flowers when you want to brighten up any indoor spaces. All the varieties shown here are newer varieties that are available now in your local garden centre.