The Anthurium Superbum (scientific name: Anthurium Superbum Madison) is a rare, upright growing plant known for its interesting growth pattern. Its long, stiff leaves fan out to form a bowl shape, which invites nesting birds. This gives the plant its nickname, Bird’s Nest. 🙂
Leaf litter and other decomposing organic material also gather at the base of the “bowl”, allowing your plant to feed on nutrients.
Your Anthurium Superbum needs moderate levels of care and attention. It enjoys a porous potting mix, consistent watering, and indirect light. Provide it as much humidity as you can, minimally 60%. Use a high-quality, urea-free fertilizer as they have sensitive roots.
Though thicker leaves ward off chewing insects, sucking pests like thrips and aphids, as well as Anthurium blight are the most likely problems.
Let’s dive into the details of how to care for your Superbum!
A Quick note on its Origins
The Anthurium Superbum hails from the lowland wet forests of Ecuador. There it is found at elevations between 650-1,150 feet (200-350 meters). Being an epiphyte (climbing plant), they grow on top of host trees using their aerial roots.
Caring for your Anthurium Superbum
A shade-loving Anthurium, your Superbum cannot tolerate direct light for long. If growing outdoors, ensure your plant is in ~80% shade or dappled light.
Patios or balconies are common spots for your plant, especially when their fanning leaves take up a bit of space. They are hardy to USDA zones 4a-11 for patios, and outdoors in hardiness zones 10-11.
When kept indoors, keep it next to North or East-facing windows, where it gets plenty of indirect light… and minimal direct light!
West or South facing windows may be a bit intense for your Superbum. In this case, keep your plant about 6.5 feet (2 meters) away from the windowpane to reduce the light intensity. Alternatively, use a shade cloth to diffuse the light.
Make sure the top 2 inches of soil is fully dry before giving your Superbum a good soak. Anthuriums are intolerant of overwatering, so err on the side of caution.
In the cooler months, you’d notice that the soil dries out much less frequently, as growth and evaporation rates reduce. It’s also okay to keep the soil slightly drier during this time.
During the winter, the Superbum likes to have a dry season of about 6 weeks, with little to no water. This helps it flourish in the next growing season.
Signs of over and under watering
Signs of underwatering are dry and crispy leaves. On the other hand, yellow bottom leaves typically signal overwatering. Check the soil moisture to confirm.
Hailing from Ecuador, your plant thrives in high humidity. However, their thick leaves allow them to endure drier air as well.
For best growth, aim for >60% humidity for your Anthurium Superbum. The higher the better!
However, average room humidities are closer to ~30%. To bridge this humidity gap, try using a pebble tray (See step-by-step guide on using a pebble tray).
A way to more permanently boost humidity levels is by using a humidifier. It’s also an item that can benefit all your tropical plants!
Your Anthurium Superbum does best in mild temperatures of 65-75 degrees F (18-24 degrees C). Temperatures above >90 degrees F (32 degrees F) will cause drying leaves and eventual decline.
Keep your plant away from vents, drafty doors, heaters and fireplaces.
The Anthurium Superbum blooms from short, upward growing infloresences. This consists of a green spathe and a creamy white-purple spadix.
They even form purple berries! However, both the infloresences and the berries are rare when kept away from their native habitat.
In our experience, the Anthurium Superbumn is a slow-growing plant. Growing upright in a rosette pattern, leaves are held up by short petioles (leaf stalks) centered around the base.
Leaves are long and narrow, with lots of symmetrical bumps and grooves. Foliage may also twist and have slightly wavy edges.
At maturity, leaves reach a length of 24 inches (60cm) and 7 inches (18cm) wide.
Expect your plant to grow to a maximum height of 3-5 feet (0.9 – 1.5 meters) and a width of 3 feet (0.9 meters).
Soil or Growing Medium
Being an epiphyte, well-draining soilless mixes are a good option for your Anthurium Superbum. Choose chunky soil amendments like bark and charcoal to provide airflow to the roots. At the same time, use peat for moisture retention.
We like using this mix:
- 1 part peat
- 1 part perlite
- 1 part orchid bark
- a handful of charcoal
Some growers use a handful of sphagnum moss as a top dressing. This is optional, but helps you visually know when your plant is starting to dry out. When you see the moss getting crispy, it’s time to water!
Anthuriums have sensitive roots, so it’s important to select a fertilizer that does not contain urea or other harsh formulas.
So far our experience has been very positive using Miracle-Gro Grow for heavily-foliaged Anthuriums. Apply at 1/3 strength every 4 weeks during the growing season.
Wait until you need to water your Superbum, then incorporate the liquid fertilizer into its water rather than fertilizing dry. This reduces the risk of root burn.
We don’t fertilize in fall or winter when growth rates naturally slow.
Anthuriums take time to acclimatize to a new location. So if you’ve recently purchased a new Anthurium Superbum, don’t repot it right away.
In fact, you shouldn’t be repotting this slow-grower much at all. They like being a bit snug in their pots.
- Repot every 3 years or so, or when you see signs of your plant becoming root bound.
- Be sure to water your plant 24 hours prior to repotting. This helps reduce transplant shock.
Unfortunately, Anthurium Superbum are 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 Superbum. 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 Hoyas, Peperomias or Calatheas.
An easy way to proapage the Anthurium Superbum is through root division. This is a method that doesn’t require any tools – just unpot your plant and separate its roots! Easy. 🙂
However, propagation requires a healthy and well-established plant. If your Anthurium has been recently relocated, give it time to acclimatize before attempting to propagate.
Propagate in spring to boost chances of success. Warmth and humidity helps your plant recover!
Propagation through Root Division
- Water your Anthurium Superbum the day before propagating. This reduces transplant shock.
- Wriggle your plant free of its pot, trying hard not to damage its roots. Use your fingers to work through compacted soil.
- Examine the rootball. In a mature plant, you should be able to find different sections with their own roots.
- Separate the plant into 2-3 sections with their own roots.
- Repot into individual pots.
- Keep your plant in a spot with indirect sunlight, but no direct light. If you have a humidifier, place that next to the new plants and set at 80%.
- In about 4-6 weeks, your new plants should have recovered and started to establish in their new home.
Propagation through Cuttings
Some articles suggest that Anthurium Superbums can be propagated through stem cuttings. But, in interest of full disclose, we haven’t personally tried this.
We prefer using the root division method. New plants already have roots formed, increasing the chance of successful propagation.
Propagation through Seeds
Growing your Anthurium Superbum through seeds is possible, but will take a long time. It is also a complicated process best left to professionals.
Prune off dead or damaged leaves by snipping off the foliage with clean garden shears. Sharp scissors are important to reduce trauma.
Common Pests and Diseases
While those thick, waxy leaves discourage chewing pests, your Anthurium Superbum is susceptible to sucking insects like aphids and thrips. These pests feed on plant sap, depriving your plant of nutrients.
Anthurium Blight is another disease to be wary of. It is caused by a bacteria and can be spread through the use of infected gardening tools, or through water.
Sucking Insects: Aphids & Thrips
- Aphids. These are light green and pear-shaped, about 1/8 of an inch (0.3cm) long. However, there are over 5,000 species of aphids that also come in black, pink, and white.
- Thrips. If leaves start to brown, look on the undersides. If you see what looks like little grains of rice, this is thrips larvae.
Because thrips especially enjoy feeding on new growth, spray freely at the base of your Anthurium Superbum.
To get rid of aphids and thrips,
- Thoroughly inspect all your plants, including under the leaves and at leaf joints and awkward corners.
- Quarantine any infected plants.
- Using sterilized garden shears, trim off any visibly damaged or heavily-infested parts of the stems and leaves. We use 70% isopropyl solution to sterilize our gardening tools; this is important as cross-contamination is a common cause of spread.
- Apply an Insecticidal Soap spray to the remaining stems and leaves. Reapply as necessary and as the instructions dictate until you see that the infestation has been eradicated.
- Apply a neem oil solution to all other plants as a preventative measure against infestation. Neem oil disrupts the growth of larvae and prevents pests from feeding, growing and reproducing.
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.
- First, prune off all infected leaves and parts and dispose of these securely. Use sterilized tools.
- Isolate infected plants well away from healthy plants.
- 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 Superbum. Bacteria can spread through wet foliage. If you need to increase humidity, use a humidifier.
Root rot can also be an issue due to on overwatered Anthurium Superbum. Check out our step-by-step guide on saving your overwatered plant here.
- Yellow leaves. Too much sunlight can cause pale, yellowed leaves. Another common cause is improper watering – either too much or too little.
- Brown leaves. This can be due to too much sunlight, or underwatering.
- Drooping leaves. Usually due to improper watering or too-dry air.
- Splitting leaves. Low humidity commonly causes splitting leaves.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much is an Anthurium Superbum?
A survey of 5 Anthurium Superbum Sellers in US averaged a price of US$52 for a small pot. Its unlikely you’d find one at a local nursery, so try online.
Etsy is one place you could try.
Similar Plants and Varieties – Anthuriums
- Anthurium Clarinervium
- Anthurium Crystallinum, a good “beginner level Anthurium” for those new to the genus.
- Anthurium Forgetii
- Anthurium Radicans – an easy-to-grow evergreen with “bubbled” leaves and showy purple blooms!
- Anthurium Warocqueanum, the Queen Anthurium!
- Anthurium Veitchii, the King Anthurium.
- Anthurium Pedatoradiatum, the deeply-lobed, “Anthurium Fingers” plant
- Anthurium Rugulosum – a very rare, small plant with pebbled leaves, however they are a challenge to grow.
- Anthurium Regale – a rare terrestial Anthurium with large, deeply veined leaves.
- Anthurium Andraeanum – a flowering Anthurium with bright red spathes!
Other Aroids with long, sword-like leaves
The Anthurium Superbum is an upright-growing plant with long, heavily textured leaves. Keep your plant looking its best by:
- Keeping it away from direct light.
- Using a porous potting mix. We like mixing peat, perlite, orchird bark and a handful of charcoal.
- Watering only when the topsoil is completely dry. Keep soil drier during the winter.
- Applying a high-quality liquid fertilizer to sensitive roots, incorporating the fertilizer into its water.
- Keeping humidity above >60%.
- Repotting sparingly.
- Regularly inspecting the leaves for sucking pests like aphids and thrips.
- Keeping your gardening tools sterilized to prevent the spread of Anthurium Blight.
If you love the heavily textured look of the Superbum, check out the King Veitchii next!
Deborah is a plant enthusiast and founder of Gardening Collective.