Anthurium Radicans (Complete Care Guide!)

the anthurium radicans close up of its bumpy textured leaf that comes together in a heart-shape

Anthurium Radicans (sometimes called Anthurium Malyi) are members of the Araceae family with heavily textured, heart-shaped leaves. Bumps and grooves add intricacy to the leaves, as do their thin symmetrical veins.

Their “bubbled” leaves also serve practical purposes:

  • increasing the ability to capture light from all angles covering a larger surface area; and
  • allowing excess water to run off the leaf quickly.

Being an evergreen perennial, your Anthurium Radicans keeps its foliage year-round. It also has showy purple blooms that can last 2-3 months!

If you treat it well, the Anthurium Radicans will last for several years.

More good news. The Anthurium Radicans is relatively easy to care for. They have low to moderate watering requirements, and are sensitive to overwatering. Soil amendments like orchird bark and charcoal need to be added to commercial potting mixes to improve aeration and drainage.

Fertilize often but lightly. Keep humidity >60%, and temperatures between 70-90 degrees F (21-32 degrees C). They are not cold-hardy.

In this article, we’ll show you everything you need to know to help your Anthurium Radicans thrive.

Origins

This rainforest plant is native to parts of Southern Brazil and Ecuador. They have a creeping habit (like the Philodendron Gloriosum), so grow horizontally along the length of the forest floor. It was first described to science in 1984.

topview of an anthurium radicans plant with large heart-shaped foliage with bullate leaves (blisters or grooved leaves) that are leathery to the touch
Copyright © 2022 sipsipsellplants. All Rights Reserved. Used with Permission.

Caring for your Anthurium Radicans

Light

When kept indoors, choose a location with bright but indirect light for best growth. The Anthurium Radicans benefits from a small amount of direct sunlight, up to 3 hours per day. An excess of direct sunlight, especially in the afternoon when the sun is at its hottest, will risk foliage burn.

If kept outdoors, place your Anthurium Radicans in partial shade where it receives plenty of dappled light. Avoid direct sunlight.

When observing your plant, you may occasionally wonder if your plant’s leaves have moved. 🙂 You’re not imagining things!

Between the leaf blade and the upright part of the leaf stalk (petiole), Anthuriums have a little “joint” called a geniculum. This joint is unique to Anthuriums.

According to Aroid expert Julius Boos, geniculums “act like a wrist”, rotating so that the leaf blade can maximize the light available.

Water

While you don’t want to let your Anthurium Radicans dry out completely (through its pot), you also don’t want to overwater your plant. An overwatered Anthurium invites root rot.

When and How to Water

  1. Water only when you feel, using your fingers, that the top 2 inches of soil is dry.
  2. Water slowly and deeply, allowing water to escape from the drainage holes.
  3. Empty the saucer.

Importantly, check the soil moisture every few days, so you can catch when your plant is starting to get dry again.

If the topsoil is still a little moist – resist the temptation to water and check back in a day or two. Wait until the topsoil is completely dry.

a small potted anthurium radicans plant placed on a table. the plant has 2 large heart-shaped, bullate green leaves.
Copyright © 2022 sipsipsellplants. All Rights Reserved. Used with Permission.

Humidity

In its native habitat (rainforests!), your Anthurium Radicans enjoys humidity levels approaching 100%. So, don’t be afraid to crank up the humidity!

Shoot for the moon. 80-100% humidity is the ideal, but anything >60% keeps your plant growing happy.

These humidity levels are not easy to achieve if you live in an arid climate. The most convenient way is to use a humidifier. Alternatively, you can also use a pebble tray to boost ambient humidity – (see our guide here on setting it up).

Temperature

Keep your Anthurium Radicans in 70-90 degrees F (21-32 degrees C). Being tropical plants from the rainforest, they bask in warmer temperatures.

Drops below 50 degrees F (10 degrees C) can damage your Radicans over time. Relocate your plant indoors during this time.

Also, avoid drafty doors and air vents. Prioritize stable temperatures.

Flowering

Like many Aroids, the Anthurium Radicans produces inflorescences. Each infloresence comprises of a maroon spathe, which is a modified leaf that is boat-shaped, and a reddish-green central spike called a spadix.

Many people mistake the inflorescence for flowers. This is technically incorrect. Its flowers are reproductive parts, tiny and numerous, that grow along the spadix itself.

Radicans usually bloom year-round, lasting for 2-3 months. In optimal tropical conditions, they can bloom profusely! Unlike many aroids, these blooms are considered ornamental and showy. 🙂

a potted anthurium radicans with new growth emerging from reddish pink cataphyll (health protecting new leaves)
Reddish-pink cataphylls covering new growth!
Copyright © 2022 sipsipsellplants. All Rights Reserved. Used with Permission.

Growth

When mature, your plant can reach a height of 15-20 inches (38-51cm). They have a moderate growth rate. Leaves are bullate and coriaceous (leathery) to the touch.

Since your Anthurium Radicans has a creeping habit, make sure to provide it a wide enough pot to grow sideways. As always, choose a pot that has drainage holes to allow excess water to escape easily.

Soil or Growing Medium

When choosing a potting soil, stay away from typical commercial mixes, as these are usually too dense for your plant’s liking.

Instead, use an orchid potting mix or a potting mix formulated for moisture control. Add in bark and charcoal to improve drainage.

A slightly acidic pH, between 6-6.5, is ideal for the maximum uptake of nutrients for your Anthurium Radicans. Most peat-based potting soils would have a pH in this range. If you want to be sure, use a soil pH kit to check.

This is our preferred mix:

Miracle-Gro Moisture Control Potting Mix, 1 cu. ft. Miracle-Gro Moisture Control Potting Mix, 1 cu. ft.
$13.49
Pros:
  • Protects against over- and under-watering
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
12/06/2022 12:15 am GMT
Espoma Organic Charcoal for Horticultural Use, 4 qt. Bag Espoma Organic Charcoal for Horticultural Use, 4 qt. Bag
$12.99 ($0.10 / Ounce)
Pros:
  • Organic Charcoal helps improve soil drainage
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
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Fertilizer

In the wild, this epiphytic plant absorbs dissolved nutrients from rainwater. Dust storms from the African plains to South American settle in the rain, providing nutrients. It also gets nourishment from the forest floor, through decomposing leaf litter and organic matter.

So of course it benefits from a little bit of fertilizer when kept in your care. As Anthurium Radicans have sensitive roots, choose a gentle fertilizer and incorporate it into its watering routine to reduce the concentration.

We like applying a liquid orchid fertilizer (these are gentler and typical fertilizers) at 1/2 strength, every 4 weeks, mixed into its water. Choose a fertilizer high in phosphorous and nitrogen, which encourages blooming and foliage health.

Fertilize only during the spring and summer months when your plant is actively growing. Hold off fertilizing in fall and winter.

Yellowing lower leaves with brown tips is a sign of an overfertilized Anthurium.

Repotting

Repot your Anthurium Radicans every 2-3 years. It’s best not to keep this plant root-bound for too long!

As always, try to repot in the spring or summer months. This helps your plant rebound from the stress of repotting under ideal growing conditions – warmth, humidity and sunshine for a speedy recovery.

  • Water the day before repotting, so that your plant more easily wriggles out of its pot. Watering also reduces transplant shock.
  • Choose a pot just 2 inches (5cm) larger than the original.
  • Choose a planter that has drainage holes. ALWAYS!
  • Terracotta pots are a good option, as porous material allow for quick evaporation and airflow.
  • Use fresh soil when repotting, as nutrients deplete over time.

Toxicity

Unfortunately, Anthurium Radicans is toxic when ingested. All Anthuriums have insoluble calcium oxalate crystals in their stems and leaves.

These sharp crystals pierce skin tissues, so use gardening gloves when pruning your Radicans. When ingested, this can cause nausea, vomiting, gastrointestinal issues.

It’s a good idea to place this plant out of reach from pets and small children.

If you’re looking for a pet and child-friendly plant, try HoyasPeperomias or Calatheas.

potted anthurium radicans with 2 green, heart-shaped leaves
Copyright © 2022 sipsipsellplants. All Rights Reserved. Used with Permission.

Propagation

Radicans can be easily propagated through stem cuttings. Propagating in spring boosts your chances of success, as the warm weather and humidity provide optimal growing conditions.

Here’s how:

  1. Cut off a healthy part of the stem, about 6 inches (15 cm) long, with at least 2 leaves.
  2. Remove any leaves from the bottom half of the stem cutting.
  3. Dip the stem cutting in a rooting hormone to stimulate rapid root growth.
  4. Plant the stem cutting in moist potting mix. Ensure no leaves are buried.
  5. Place the pot in a warm spot with bright, indirect light.
  6. Keep the potting soil moist but not soggy.
  7. In about 6 weeks, roots should have established in the pot. You can confirm this by feeling a little resistance when giving the stem a very gentle tug.

Pruning

Snip off dead or wilted leaves with sterilized shears. We like to use 70% isopropyl solution for sterilizing our gardening tools.

Cut off faded blooms near the base of the flower, where it meets the stem.

Common Pests and Diseases

Your plant is relatively pest-resistant, but spider mites can cause the occasional issue.

Disease-wise, look out for root rot and Anthurium blight.

Spider mites

Macro photo of group of Red Spider Mite infestation on vegetable.
Magnified photo of a red spider mite infestation on a vegetable plant.

Spider mites are about 1/50 inch (0.5mm) in size, so it’s not easy to observe them directly without a microscope. Instead, look out for pale, grey stipplings on leaves or fine webbing on leaf undersides and near the stems as signs of an infestation.

To identify & get rid of spider mites, consult our step-by-step guide.

Preventative measures:

  • Regularly inspect your plants. Houseplant pests rarely originate in the home, rather are often introduced into the house by an infected plant. Make sure to inspect your plants prior to bringing them home, and at regular intervals thereafter.
  • Apply a dilute solution of neem oil as a preventative measure to ward off pests. Neem oil works against several common pests like whiteflies, mealybugs and spider mites.
  • Maintain a humid environment. Spider mites prefer dry conditions.
  • Lastly but most importantly – reduce the risk of infections is to keeping your plants healthy!

Root Rot

Root rot can also be an issue due to on overwatered Anthurium Radicans. Check out our step-by-step guide on saving your overwatered plant here.

Anthurium Blight

According to the American Phytopathological Society, Anthurium Blight starts off as water-soaked legions at leaf edges. Later, infected leaves develop characteristic yellow halos on browning leaf edges.

Act as quickly as you can when confronted with Anthurium blight. There’s no cure, although copper-based fungicides can control its spread.

  1. First, prune off all infected leaves and parts and dispose of these securely. Use sterilized tools.
  2. Isolate infected plants well away from healthy plants.
  3. Apply a copper-based fungicide to infected plants to contain its spread. Copper is effective against the Xanthomonas bacteria (source: The University of Florida), the specific bacteria that causes blight in Anthuriums.

Since there is no cure, its far better to prevent the disease. Here are some tips:

  • Sterilize gardening tools using 70% isopropyl solution before and after use.
  • Ensure your plants are spaced slightly apart and have some air circulation.
  • Keep your plants healthy, paying attention to watering practices and care.
  • Don’t mist your Anthurium Radicans. Bacteria can spread through wet foliage. If you need to increase humidity, use a humidifier.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the lifespan of the Anthurium Radicans?

They will live for several years if cared for well. So, follow this care guide. 🙂

How can I encourage my Anthurium Radicans to bloom?

If you have a mature Anthurium Radicans that is not flowering, it likely isn’t getting the care it needs. The 4 main areas to check are: sunlight, watering, humidity and fertilizing. Ensure your plant:

  • Has plenty of bright but indirect light, ideally, between 1,500 to 2,000 foot candles.
  • Is consistently watered when the top 2 inches of soil is dry.
  • Enjoys humid conditions of >60%, ideally 80-100%.
  • Benefits from a gentle fertilizer with a high phosphorous content, which encourages blooming.

When do Anthurium Radicans bloom?

They bloom throughout the year! Though, they tend to flower more profusely in the spring and summer months.

Similar Plants and Varieties

Because the Anthurium Radicans is easy to grow, it is a popular choice for growers in creating hybrids.

Anthurium Radicans x Luxurian

The Luxurian is considered one of the rarest Anthuriums! When crossed with the Radicans, it produced the beauty shown below. Young leaves emerge pink before maturing to a glossy green.

A large potted Anthurium Radicans x Luxurian, a hybrid between the Anthurium Radicans and the Anthurium Luxurian. it has large bullate heart-shaped leaves.
Copyright © 2022 rinoaviiff8. All Rights Reserved. Used with Permission.

We’ve seen articles suggesting this species was hybridized by Marie Selby of the Botanical Gardens in Tampa, although we cannot confirm this.

Anthurium Radicans x Dressleri

Hybridized in the 1970s by botanist Mike Madison, the Anthurium Radicans x Dressleri is a beautiful plant which inherited the bullate leaves of the Radican. It also inherited the Radican’s easygoing nature – this hybrid is much easier to grow than the finicky Dressleri!

This plant was once very rare, however, thanks to the wonders of tissue culture, is now more readily available. 

Similar Plants with bullate (bumpy) leaves

Monstera Peru

The Monstera Peru (botanical name: Monstera Karstenianum), a rare vining plant. They are not Anthuriums, but are from the same Aroid family.

topview of the monstera peru, also known as the monstera karstenianum, with its oval bullate green leaves.
The Monstera Peru

Anthurium Superbum

The Anthurium Superbum (yes, that’s its name!) is a close cousin of the Radicans. This Superbum is an upright growing tropical plant with longer leaves that fan out in a rosette. Nicknamed Bird’s Nest plant, the bowl shape that the leaves form invite nesting birds. 😉

the anthurium superbum, a birds nest anthurium, top view with long bullate leaves forming a bowl shape
The Anthurium Superbum

King Veitchii

The quilt-like ribbing of the King Veitchii, the Anthurium Veitchii is a sight to behold. Its elongated, heart-shaped leaves have prominent veins too.

the quilt-like ribbing of a large anthurium veitchii leaf, the king anthurium, being held up by a hand
The quilt like ribbing of the Anthurium Veitchii, the King Anthurium.

Similar Plants and Varieties – Anthuriums

a small potted anthurium forgetii with upside-down tear shaped leaves.
The stunning Anthurium Forgetii with upside-down tear shaped leaves.
Copyright © 2022 Forrestnik. All rights reserved. Used with Permission.

Wrapping Up

An easygoing Anthurium, the Radicans is a great choice if you are new to the genus. Help your plant thrive by providing:

  • As much humidity as you can, ideally 80-100%.
  • Bright, indirect light when kept indoors, and partial shade with dappled light outdoors.
  • Fertilize gently, using an orchid fertilizer at half strength. Incorporate into the water to protect sensitive roots. High phosphorous content encourages blooming.
  • Choose a wide pot with drainage holes – your plant is a creeper!
  • Water only when the topsoil is dry.
  • Mild indoor temperatures, between 70-90 degrees F (21-32 degrees C).
  • Choose a porous, slightly acidic potting mix, adding bark and charcoal to lighten the soil.
  • Refrain from misting. Use a humidifier or pebble tray instead.
  • Sterilize your gardening tools to prevent spread of fungi or bacteria.

If you love the Anthurium Radicans, check out the Monstera Peru next!

Deborah is a plant enthusiast and founder of Gardening Collective.