Anthurium Crystallinum, also known as the Crystal Anthurium or the Crystal Laceleaf, is a popular indoor plant originating from the tropical regions of Central and South America. The plant gets its name from the copper-colored undersides of its leaves, which glistens in direct sunlight.
Plants from the Anthurium genus are known to be challenging to look after. However, the Crystallinum is surprisingly hardy and relatively low maintenance. This makes the popular Crystallinum an ideal starting point for those new to Anthuriums.
In this guide, we’ll show you everything you need to know for your Anthurium Crystallinum to grow healthy and thrive.
How to care for your Anthurium Crystallinum
Anthurium Crystallinum is a tropical plant, and like all tropical plants, it craves plenty of sunlight. This species loves ample amounts of bright but indirect light.
It’s important to filter any direct light (for example, if placed in South-facing windows) with a translucent curtain or 20% shade cloth. This is because harsh direct light will cause yellow or sun-scorched leaves.
On the other hand, if your home does not receive a lot of natural sunlight, you might consider buying a grow light to give your plant some love. In low-light conditions, Crystallinums tend to grow extremely slowly and develop less vibrant foliage.
Water is where things get tricky with Anthurium Crystallinum. Being a tropical plant, it enjoys moisture. But at the same time, its roots hate sitting in stagnant water, which cuts off its air supply. So, how do you strike a balance between these two extremes?
The best way to solve this problem is to ensure your plant has a potting mix that is well-draining but still retains some moisture. Confused yet? Don’t worry – we show you how in the Soil section.
It’s also important that the plant has a pot with at least one drainage hole.
In terms of watering, always check if the plant’s topsoil is dry to touch before watering. Allow for a thorough soak with room temperature water, watering until excess water runs through the drainage hole. Then repeat the cycle, waiting until the soil almost completely dries out before watering again.
As a rule of thumb, this should work out to be every 3 to 5 days in the spring and summer months and reduce in frequency in colder weather.
Humidity and Air Circulation
With Anthurium Crystallinum, the higher the humidity, the better. This plant will flourish when the humidity levels approach 70 – 80%. Of course, this does not occur naturally inside most homes. In this situation, you can use a humidifier beside your plant to create its ideal environment.
Another thing you can do is place your Anthurium Crystallinum in the kitchen or bathroom, provided it can still get plenty of indirect bright sunlight. Humidity levels are naturally higher in these areas of a house, so you might as well take advantage of this.
For more tips on increasing humidity in your home, read our humidity guide.
One thing to note with high humidity, though, is it’s also ideal for the growth of bacteria and fungi. So it’s all the more important that you follow these care routines so that your plant grows healthy! After all, healthy plants are the best defence against pathogens.
Lastly, some air circulation is beneficial for this epiphyte. Like the Anthurium Clarinervium, the Crystallinum enjoys locations that have some natural air circulation. A standing fan placed around 10 feet (3 metres) away is a good option to create some flow of air without creating a draft.
Anthurium Crystallinum thrives in a hot and humid environment, so do keep the temperature between 55 – 75 degrees F (13 – 24 degrees C) when growing this plant.
If you live in a colder region, you might want to place this beauty in a greenhouse where it can enjoy warm and stable temperatures.
Anthurium Crystallinum is in no hurry to grow, taking its time to attain its maximum height of 30 – 60 inches (0.8 – 1.5 metres). On average, you can expect a new leaf on your Anthurium Crystallinum every 4 to 6 weeks.
When fully grown indoors, their leaves can be pretty large, with a span of up to 18 inches (0.45 metres).
Like most plants, growth is most rapid during the spring and summer seasons. It also slows once the plant has matured.
When choosing the soil for your Anthurium Crystallinum, you must go for an airy and well-draining mixture. You can either make your own potting mix or pick up one of several ready-made options available.
If creating a potting mix from scratch, we recommend using equal parts perlite, sand, peat moss, and orchid mix. This mix makes up a potting medium that does not hold excess water and allows your Anthurium Crystallinum’s roots to breathe.
If you use a nutritious blend of soil, you might not need any fertilizer at all. However, if your plant can do with extra nutrition, a phosphorus-based fertilizer is your best bet.
Because your Anthurium Crystallinum is a light feeder, opt for a slow-release liquid orchid fertilizer diluted to half strength. Fertilizing every 6 to 8 weeks during the growing season is sufficient. Avoid fertilizing your plant in the winter and fall months for best results.
For Anthuriums, over-fertilizing is a bigger risk than under-fertilizing, so use sparingly.
As an alternative to a store-bought fertilizer, you can also enrich the soil with homemade organic compost.
If your Anthurium Crystallinum seems to be outgrowing its container, you will need to repot it in a larger one. Typically, this needs to be done every two to three years.
- To know if your plant is ready to be repotted, look for roots showing through the drainage hole.
- If they are, continue loosening up the soil with your fingers until you can gently pull the plant out with intact roots.
- Add fresh potting mix to a container about 2 inches larger than the original pot. Fill up the pot halfway with this mix.
- Place the rooted plant in its new container, adding more soil to secure the plant in the pot. Pat down gently to hold the plant in place, but don’t be too aggressive as this compacts the soil. (You don’t want compacted soil as this doesn’t allow roots to breathe!)
Unfortunately, Anthurium Crystallinum is known to be toxic if swallowed. The plant contains calcium oxalate crystals that can irritate the mouth and the gastrointestinal tract. Ingestion of this poisonous plant can be identified by symptoms like painful sensation in the mouth, vomiting, diarrhoea, drooling, and refusing to eat.
If you have pets or small children around the house, place your aroid in on a higher windowsill or other hard-to-reach spots.
There are multiple ways that you can propagate your Anthurium Crystallinum. The first and most straightforward of these is through plantlets. The downside with this method is that it is only possible if new plantlets are naturally emerging at the roots of your Anthurium Crystallinum.
Propagating through Plantlets
- Gently take the plant along with its roots out of its pot.
- Tease away the soil around the roots with your fingers. Uncover the thick stem in the middle and plantlets growing from it.
- Identify plantlets with developed roots. Plantlets need these roots to grow on its own.
- Separate the identified plantlets from the main stem by a longitudinal cut.
- Place the plantlets in individual pots filled with potting soil.
- Ensure that the soil is hydrated at all times and maintain high humidity levels by covering the plant with a plastic bag. The plastic bag should be removed for 15 minutes every day to allow for fresh air.
- Ensure that the newly planted plantlet is getting lots of indirect sunlight.
- The plantlets will adapt to their new pots and start growing as individual plants in a few weeks.
Propagating through Root Division
As an alternative, you can propagate your Anthurium Crystallinum through root division. However, it’s essential to consider root division only if you have a mature plant at least a year old.
- Gently remove the plant from its pot to uncover its buried stem.
- Identify parts of the stem that has formed its own root systems.
- Make a longitudinal cut in this stem to divide it into two pieces, each having its own roots.
- Using an appropriate potting mix, repot your new plants in two separate containers that are just a little bit bigger than their rootball. (See the Soil section for suggested potting mix.)
- Gently tap down the soil to secure the plant in place. But be sure not to be too aggressive to avoid compacting the soil.
- Water both plants.
It’s normal for newly propagated plants to exhibit slower growth, as they may be in shock. You will need to give it time to establish in its new home.
Propagating through Seeds
Lastly, Anthurium Crystallinum propagation is also possible through seeds, but this is challenging to execute. Seeds are extracted from the berries and germinated on the plant’s spadix. Any fluctuation in the environment may cause seeds to rot. In addition, seeds naturally take a long time to grow into mature plants, especially for a relative slow-grower like the Crystallinum.
For these reasons, we prefer propagation through plantlets or division.
Anthurium Crystallinum is low maintenance in this regard. Pruning is not required beyond the occasional removal of damaged or dead leaves. You can also choose to deadhead its inflorescence if you prefer your plant to focus its energy on developing leaves rather than flowers!
In addition to the basic care outlined, here are some tips that will help your Anthurium Crystallinum reach its full potential.
- Anthurium Crystallinum is a climbing epiphyte that seeks support from nearby plants in the rainforest to reach its maximum height. To promote the growth of your Crystallinum and to ensure that it doesn’t buckle under its own weight, use a moss pole that the plant can use to spread higher and broader.
- Another way you can enhance the appearance of your Anthurium Crystallinum is not to let dirt accumulate on the plant. If dirt collects on the leaves, it diminishes the copper sheen on your plant. Wipe clean with once a week with a damp cloth, then wipe dry with a tissue. (Wet leaves and high humidity are known to encourage fungi and bacteria growth.)
Common Pests and Diseases
Fortunately, Anthurium Crystallinum is not very vulnerable to pests. Nevertheless, the occasional infestation may be inevitable, even with proper care. The usual suspects are aphids, mealybugs, thrips, and spider mites.
Eradicating these pests is simple but requires some effort. You can get rid of these pests by spraying store-bought insecticide on the leaves and affected areas.
Alternatively, you may opt for using a neem oil spray. This guide shows you how to use neem oil as an insecticide.
Root rot (Pythium Fungal Infection)
Most diseases affecting Anthuriums are closely linked to overwatering or excess humidity rather than an insect infestation.
As we already mentioned, proper drainage is essential for the health of your Anthurium Crystallinum. In their natural habitat, the roots of these plants are exposed to air, allowing them to dry off quickly after rainfall.
If the water is stagnant and left sitting at the roots, this may cause moisture-loving fungi to attack. In other cases, root rot may arise simply from excess water cutting off the air supply to the roots. In both cases, roots grow brown and start to decay.
- To avoid root rot, use a well-draining potting mix. You can also add orchid bark or perlite to increase the drainage properties of any commercial potting mix.
- Also, ensure you are emptying the water dish under the pot and not overwatering your plant.
Despite all this, if you find yourself with an overwatered plant, we’ll show you how to rescue your plant here.
Bacterial blight may be an issue as this bacteria loves high humidity as much as your Crystallinum does!
According to the University of Wisconsin, blight is often spread through the wind and rain. Blight is recognizable from characteristic dark-colored lesions on the leaves. Over time, a yellow halo emerges, outlining the dark lesions.
Thankfully bacterial blight is usually not fatal to your plant if you catch it early. To fight off this disease,
- Use sterilized scissors to prune away any damaged leaves to prevent their spread.
- Ensure you dispose of damaged leaves securely, and re-sterilize your scissors after pruning to prevent contamination. To properly sterilize your scissors, dip them into a 70% alcohol solution for 45 seconds.
- Then, apply a copper-based fungicide to contain the disease. The fungicide will not blight but will prevent further spread.
Why are the leaves tips brown and crispy?
Most of the time, brown and crispy leaf tips in Anthuriums indicate i) too much sunlight or that ii) humidity levels are too low.
Check the location of your plant and use a shade cloth if you need to reduce the light intensity. A humidifier is an excellent option to increase ambient humidity.
If these do not work, brown tips may also signify over-fertilizing or insufficient water. First, check moisture levels in the soil and consult the Water section for proper watering techniques.
If all else fails, hold off on the fertilizer and monitor your plant to see if it recovers.
Why are the leaves turning yellow?
Yellow leaves can mean several different things, as it is a generalised sign that your plant is in distress.
However, the most common reasons for Crystallinums to have yellow leaves are underwatering or overwatering. Check our guide on watering your plant correctly to ensure you have the proper watering practices.
Alternatively, yellow leaves could also be a sign of too much sunlight. Your plant needs bright but filtered light. Relocate your plant accordingly!
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does it take for my plant to grow?
Anthurium Crystallinum is a slow grower, but its leaves can reach an impressive size when fully mature. Most of the growth happens over spring and summer when you can expect to see a new leaf on your plant every 4 – 6 weeks.
The maximum height Anthurium Crystallinum can attain is between 30 – 60 inches (0.8 – 1.5 metres), depending on several factors. The average leaf size reaches an impressive 18 inches (0.45 metres) even when kept indoors.
Do they have flowers?
Anthurium Crystallinum does have blooms, but they are usually grown for the foliage. If you want to grow flowers, treat your plant with some phosphorus-rich fertilizer and ensure it gets the right amount of water and sufficient sunlight.
Should you mist your plant?
Anthurium Crystallinum craves high humidity. In areas where the humidity levels are not naturally high, carers may use a humidifier or mist the plant in the mornings. While the latter practice is useful, make sure that your plant does not stay wet for too long, or fungi may start to build up on damp surfaces.
Do note that a humidifier is much more effective option if your aim is to increase humidity levels. For this reason, we much prefer investing in a humidifier than misting our plants. If budget is a concern, try using a pebble tray, which is also more effective than misting!
Varieties and Similar plants
The closely related Anthurium Clarinervium is often confused with the Crystallinum.
Here are the key differences to help you tell them apart:
- The Clarinervium has broader and darker colored leaves than the Crystallinum.
- Anthurium Clarinervium grows more slowly than the Crystallinum.
- The Clarinervium has large orange berries, while the Crystallinum has white or purple berries.
Anthurium Veitchii or the King Anthurium is easily distinguished from Anthurium Crystallinum because of its giant (king-sized!), elongated leaf.
The King Anthurium leaves can grow up to 6.6 feet (2 meters!) compared to 12 inches (30cm) of the Crystallinum variety. They are bright green with pale veins and a deeply quilted texture. Truly stunning.
The beautiful Anthurium Forgetii is another rare velvet Anthurium with large foliage. Unlike many other Anthuriums, it has upside-down teardrop shaped leaves instead of heart-shaped leaves. This is due to the lack of a sinus.
It comes in two forms: One type that has prominent, white-silver veins. There is another type that has light green veins which are less thick and defined.
The Magnificum and Crystallinum species are more alike than any other varieties of Anthurium. Unless you compare them side by side, it is almost impossible to tell them apart. The only subtle differences between the two are that the Magnificum species are darker green with a more prominent sheen and a leather-like feel. Compared to this, Anthurium Crystallinum is a brighter green, less shiny than the Magnificum, and has a velvety texture to its leaves.
Anthurium Red Crystallinum
The Red Crystallinum is another stunning variety of the Anthurium genus. Instead of the characteristic yellow-pale veins of Anthurium Crystallinum, this species has a unique reddish-pink venous structure. Due to these striking features, they are easily recognisable!
- Anthurium Warocqueanum, the Queen Anthurium!
- Anthurium Superbum, a “birds nest” Anthurium with long leaves that fan out in a bowl shape, inviting nesting birds.
- Anthurium Radicans – an easy-to-grow evergreen with “bubbled” leaves and showy purple blooms!
- 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.
Other hybrids in the Anthurium genus include Anthurium Clarinervium x Crystallinum and Anthurium Crystallinum x Forgetii.
Anthurium Clarinervium x Crystallinum may be an option if you can’t decide between the two!
When Anthurium Crystallinum is crossed with Anthurium Forgetii, the result is a beautiful aroid with large, bright green leaves and a distinct pale yellow venous structure. Unfortunately, this variety is much rarer than other Anthuriums and can be pretty pricey.
Deborah is a plant enthusiast and founder of Gardening Collective.