Anthurium Andraeanum (Flamingo Flower Growing #1 Tips!)

Anthurium Andraeanum in a red pot, with red flowers, also called the flamingo flower

The Anthurium Andraeanum is a popular houseplant with showy red inflorescences that bloom prolifically! Also known as the Flamingo Flower, these plants also boast beautiful heart-shaped leaves.

This Anthurium hails from the tropical rainforests of Cental and South America. In its native habitat, they grow epiphytically (on other plants or trees) or terrestially… which should give you some insight into the warm and humid conditions they enjoy!

They aren’t too challenging to care for if you follow these care tips. 🙂

In general, your Anthurium Andraeanum needs:

  • a peat or pine-based potting mix that is airy and well-draining
  • bright indirect light for most of the day
  • phosphorous-heavy fertilizer to encourage blooming
  • humidity >60%
  • temperatures between 70-85 degrees F (21-29 degrees C)

Let’s dive into the details.

Caring for your Anthurium Andraeanum

Light

Place your Anthurium Andraeanum in a bright spot with plenty of indirect light. Your Anthurium will survive but struggle to flower if placed in low or moderate indirect light.

When kept indoors, up to 3 hours per day of direct light is okay, but don’t go more than that!

Most people tend to underestimate how much light “bright indirect light” is. As a rule of thumb, choose a place that casts a distinct shadow with slightly blurry edges when placing your hand directly above the plant, in the direction of the light source.

As always, pay attention to your plant and how it grows.

  • Leggy growth indicates your Anthurium could use more light; while
  • Bleached leaves indicate too intense sun.
close up of red red and waxy Anthurium Andraeanum flowers with a yellow-green spadix

Water

Your Flamingo Flower does well when it is not allowed to dry out completely through its pot. However, it also hates being waterlogged.

To balance these 2 competing concerns, use the “soak and dry” watering method.

  1. Water your plant only when the top 2 inches of soil is dry. Use your fingers to check!
  2. Water slowly and deeply, allowing the water to slowly saturate the pot and escape through the drainage holes at the bottom.
  3. Empty the saucer.
  4. Check the soil moisture every few days so that you know once the top soil starts drying out again.

The second half of the equation to avoid overwatering is to use an appropriate potting mix. That is, one that allows sufficient airflow to the roots.

We cover that off in the Soil section below.

Humidity

Your Anthurium Andraeanum has thick waxy leaves that allow it to tolerate average room humidities. However, for healthy and vigorous growth, keep humidity to >60%.

Dry and crisping leaf edges usually mean the air is too dry for your plant’s liking.

To increase the moisture levels in the air, we like using the Levoit 6L humidifier. Alternatively, you can check out our article on 4 ways to boost humidity.

Temperature

Your Anthurium Andraeanum lives in tropical conditions in native Ecuador and Colombia, so loves a warm and stable climate. Temperatures between 70-85 degrees F (21-29 degrees C) is ideal.

Your plant isn’t cold hardy – so it’s NOT a good idea to place it outdoors if temperatures drop below 60 degrees F (16 degrees C).

Also be careful not to place this Anthurium near drafty doors or vents… or risk leaf drop and heartbreak! 🙁

Flowering

Here’s where things get fun. There are so many houseplants that are sought-after for their foliage rather than flowers, so it’s nice to talk about showy blooms for a change!

Inflorescences consist of a bright red spathe (a modified leaf bract that protects the spadix), and the thin and long yellow spadix.

The spathe is waxy, almost plastic-looking. You can snip off a couple of blooms to produce a floral arrangement, or let your plant grow as is.

As one bloom starts to fade, another soon emerges. Flowering usually lasts 2-3 months and can occur year-round under optimal growth conditions.

Anthurium Andraeanum stems grown in leca
New growth!

Why isn’t my Anthurium Andraeanum flowering?

The 2 most common reasons why your Flamingo Flower isn’t flowering are:

  • It is too young. Inflorescences only appear when the plant is established and mature, roughly 2 years old. Be patient. 🙂
  • It is not getting sufficient light. Check if you are giving your plant bright, indirect light for most of the day, not just a couple of hours. Though it can still develop healthy foliage under lower lighting, it won’t bloom.

Other less common reasons include: too cold temperatures, or waterlogged soils.

You can also use a phosphorous-heavy fertilizer to support blooming (we cover this off in the Fertilizer section).

Growth

Your plant has a moderate growth rate. They stay pretty compact, making them a perfect choice for small indoor spaces.

When kept indoors, they grow up to 14-18 inches (36-46 cm) tall, and around 12 inches (30cm) wide.

Soil or Growing Medium

There are 2 main options we like to go with for growing media for the Anthurium Andraeanum. Personally, we use LECA. 🙂

  • LECA – it’s super easy to use and allows for maximum airflow to the roots. Our Anthuriums love it! If you’re interested, check out our article on the Pros and Cons of LECA to see if it’s a good fit for you.
  • Alternatively, if you prefer traditional potting mixes, opt for a chunky peat or pine bark-based potting mix. We like using equal parts orchid potting mix, charcoal, and perlite. The pH should be slightly acidic; 6.5 – 6.9.

Both are great options and support healthy growth for your Flamingo Flower.

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12/06/2022 12:15 am GMT

Fertilizer

When it comes to fertilizing your Anthurium Andraeanum, we like using a gentle liquid fertilizer formulated for blooming houseplants.

This is because flowering plants require a higher percentage of Phosphorous than what is typically used for houseplant food.

Apply during the growing season (spring and summer months) at 10% strength. Take the liquid fertilizer and mix it into its water every time you water it.

For the Flamingo Flower, we find that fertilizing it a little every time we water is better than giving it a strong dose once a month. This way, it gets a steady stream of nutrients, and nothing so harsh that would damage its sensitive roots.

Hold off fertilizing in fall and winter.

(If you’re using LECA, use a hydroponics fertilizer.)

Repotting

Flamingo Flowers tend to take a while to acclimatize to a new home. So if you’ve recently relocated your plant, don’t stress it out further by repotting straight away.

Give it a couple of months to establish in its new home first.

Repot once every 2-4 years when you see signs that your plant is getting a little root-bound. Do this during springtime, when growth conditions are optimal so that your Anthurium Andraeanum can recover quickly.

close up of Anthurium Andraeanum, flamingo flower, bright red flowers and green leaves topview

Toxicity

Unfortunately, your Flamingo Flower is toxic when ingested by pets and humans. Like many Aroids, they contain insoluble calcium oxalate crystals in their stems and leaves.

If you’re after a pet and kid-friendly houseplant, Hoyas or Peperomias are an excellent option.

Propagation

Flamingo flowers are commercially produced through tissue culture. However, you can easily propagate your plant at home through root division.

Root Division

An easy way to propagate your Anthurium Andraeanum is to simply divide it at its roots. Anthuriums grow in clumps, making it easy to divide!

As usual, spring is the best time to propagate.

  • Water your plant 24 hours prior to propagating. This helps reduce transplant shock and helps your plant more easily dislodge from its pot.
  • Take your plant out from its pot and examine its roots. You should be able to identify a few different sections or clumps.
  • Separate your plant into 2-3 different sections, and pot up each individual section in a new pot.
  • That’s it. You may see some signs of stress on a newly divided plant. Give your plant some time to recover, while maintaining a warm and humid climate for healthy growth.

Pruning

Pruning is easy with the Flamingo Flower.

Dip sharp gardening shears in 70% isopropyl solution to sterilize before and after use. Cut off any wilted or damaged stems or leaves, just ABOVE the node.

Common Pests and Diseases

Typical issues arise that from Anthurium Andraeanum are blight or houseplant pests.

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 Andraeanum. Bacteria can spread through wet foliage. If you need to increase humidity, use a humidifier.

Pests

A number of houseplant pests such as aphids, mealybugs, scale and spider mites may occasionally attack your plant.

It’s a good idea to keep a look out for these bugs, and have a bottle of Bonide insecticidal soap spray on hand for use.

Anthurium Andraeanum in a red pot, with red flowers, also called the flamingo flower

Troubleshooting your Anthurium Andraeanum

Yellow leaves at the bottom of the plant.

This is a sign of overwatering. Check the soil moisture to confirm – is it wet and soggy? If it stays soggy for more than a couple of days there’s a good chance your plant is overwatered.

To remedy,

  • Check your watering routine, ensuring you only water when the topsoil is dry.
  • Check it your soil mix is well-draining. Does water drain through the pot in a matter of 2-3 seconds when the soil is saturated? It should. Adding charcoal or pine bark to lighten commercial mixes is a good idea.
  • Make sure you are emptying the saucer after watering. Your plant hates “wet feet”!
  • Check if your plant is getting sufficient light. Overwatering could be an issue because of low evaporation rates (and slow growth) in a shady spot. Which begs the question – is your plant getting enough bright, indirect light?

Dry and crispy leaf edges.

This is usually due to low humidity. Tropical anthuriums ideally need >60% levels.

We don’t typically like to mist our Anthuriums as this increases the chances of a fungi or bacterial infection. Instead, you can try grouping your plants together or placing them in the bathroom to increase ambient humidity.

Or you can opt to buy a humidifier – the easiest and most effective option!

Where can I buy an Anthurium Andraeanum?

We bought ours from Etsy for about US$15. It was a hassle-free experience.

You may be able to find them at local nurseries if you’re not keen on online purchases.

Similar Plants and Varieties

Anthurium Scherzerianum (Pigtail Anthurium), a close cousin, has similar flower shape and texture. But the obvious difference is in color!

Anthurium Scherzerianum (Pigtail Anthurium) versus the Anthurium Andraeanum flowers
The Anthurium Scherzerianum (left) has much pinker spathes than the Anthurium Andraeanum (right).

Other Anthuriums we Love

To give you a sense of the diversity of this genus, let’s take a look at a couple of our favorite Anthuriums.

Anthurium Forgetti

The Forgetii has stunning upsidedown tear-drop shaped leaves with no sinus. These unique foliage plants aren’t the easiest to care for but make wonderful houseplants if you are up for the challenge.

Anthurium Rugulosum

The Anthurium Rugulosum boasts large heart-shaped leaves with tiny bumps that resemble fine leather grains.

Beautiful love-shaped leaf of Anthurium Rugulosum Lluruqui, a rare and popular houseplant

Anthurium Radicans

The compact Radicans has attractive “bubbled” leaves with deep grooves.

Anthurium Warocqueanum

The Warocqueanum is known as the Queen Anthurium for its dramatic elongated “drop” leaves and stunning pale veins.

beautiful long drop leaves of the anthurium warocqueanum
Beautiful long leaves of Anthurium Warocqueanum, a popular exotic houseplant

Anthurium Superbum

A shade-lover with long leaves that fan out from its center, the Superbum attracts nesting birds, giving it its nickname Bird’s Nest.

upright growing anthurium superbum with long sword-shaped leaves with deep grooves and prominent veining. this rare plant can be grown outdoors or indoors.

Wrapping Up

The Anthurium Andraeanum is a gorgeous houseplant with bright red inflorescences. It is popular for its showy blooms. For healthy growth,

  • Keep temperatures mild and stable, between 70-85 degrees F (21-29 degrees C).
  • Use a phosphorous-heavy fertilizer to encourage blooms, diluted into its water.
  • Keep humidity >60%.
  • Ensure it enjoys bright indirect light for most of the day.
  • Use the soak and dry method of watering.
  • Check the leaves regularly for signs of blight and pests.

Deborah is a plant enthusiast and founder of Gardening Collective.