Are you looking for super-sized foliage to bring a tropical feel to your home?
The Anthurium Magnificum, known for its giant elephant ear-shaped leaves, is a good choice. Indoors, these leaves can grow up to 6 – 10 inches (15 – 25 cm).
Leaf blades of the Anthurium Magnificum are thick and leathery to touch. Silvery green veins course through each dark-green leaf, providing definition and contrast.
Here’s how to care for your Magnificum:
- They thrive in bright but indirect light; East-facing windowsills are best.
- Water when topsoil is dry. Use distilled or rainwater.
- An airy well-draining mix is important. Use charcoal to ward away pests and impurities.
- They are not pest or disease-resistant in general. Bacterial Blight, root rot, and spider mites are some common issues.
- If you prefer a more easy-going Anthurium with similar-looking leaves, the Crystallinum is your best bet.
In this article, we’ll let you in on our top growing tips. They aren’t the easiest to care for, but if you follow this care guide you’ll do fine. 🙂
How to care for your Anthurium Magnificum
Because Magnificums grow in the understory (layer of plants under the canopy) of the rainforest, it is used to having lots of light. But the light it receives is not direct light since it is always filtered or shielded by taller trees and plants.
As a result, your Anthurium Magnificum does best when given loads of bright but filtered light. A few hours of morning sun is alright as morning sunlight is gentle.
However, don’t expose your plant to direct sunlight during the mid-afternoon heat, when the sun is at its strongest.
For this reason, it’s best to place your plant on East-facing windowsills, where it gets a few hours of morning sun and ample indirect light for the rest of the day.
Rotate your plant every week so that all sides receive light, encouraging your plant to grow evenly.
Watering can be a tricky business for beginners.
In nature, your plant is no stranger to rainfall; however, even after heavy rain, it dries off very quickly. Such fast drying is possible because it has aerial roots that stay above-ground. Also, its large leaves cause water droplets to form and run off its foliage rather than pooling there.
As a result, its roots and foliage never sit in stagnant water.
Keeping in mind your plant’s native environment, here are watering tips that will ensure it grows its best:
- What kind of water: Use room temperature distilled water or rainwater to prevent damaging the plant’s sensitive roots. If you must use tap water, allow the water to sit overnight so that mineral salts can dissipate.
- When to water: water only when the topsoil (top 1 inch of soil) of your Magnificum is dry, preferably in the morning before the hottest time of the day. Always poke your finger into the soil and check for moisture. It takes some experience, but being able to discern soil moisture in this way is such an important skill. If you check and find that the topsoil is still damp, hold off on watering and check again in a day or two.
- How to water: water your plant deeply. This means watering until excess water flows out of the drainage hole. This method encourages your plant’s roots to grow deep into the soil, promoting healthier plants, according to the Missouri Botanical Garden.
- Always use a pot with a drainage hole!
- Watering only when the topsoil is dry, but watering deeply is a winning combination. It is much healthier for your plant than watering shallowly but frequently.
For more information on watering your plants correctly, read our guide.
Another critical part of preventing an overwatered plant has nothing to do with watering at all! It is choosing the right soil mix. This is because dense and heavy soil retains too much water and suffocates your plant’s roots, even if you are watering your plant correctly.
We’ll discuss the best potting mix to use in the Soil section up ahead.
Humidity and Air Circulation
Being a tropical species, Anthuriums Magnificums love humidity. After all, frequent rain and evaporation mean that rainforests enjoy some of the highest humidity climates in the world.
Our experience is that Anthuriums Magnificums thrive in 60-80% humidity.
Unfortunately, this is unlikely to be achieved without any effort, as average room humidity is below 50%.
To boost humidity levels, two reliable methods are to i) invest in a humidifier; or ii) place your plant on a pebble tray half-filled with water.
For a how-to guide on using these and other methods to increase humidity, check out our humidity guide here.
Tropical Magnificums much prefer warm climates. Ideally, keep your plant between 64-77 degrees F (18-25 degrees C).
Anthuriums are not cold-hardy plants, so please don’t leave them outside in cold weather. Low temperatures slow down growth, and drops below 60 degrees F (16 degrees C) over an extended period will kill your plant.
Besides low temperatures, also be wary of temperature fluctuations. Even things like a cold draft from a door or window can shock your plant and cause stress.
Having the word Magnificum in its name should have given you enough of a clue. At maturity, its dark green leaves can span an impressive 6 – 10 inches (15 – 25 cm) as a houseplant. Of course, in the wild, leaves grow much larger, up to 35 inches (90 cm)!
The average Anthurium grows to tower your indoor spaces at 2-5 feet (0.6 – 1.5 meters).
The Anthurium Magnificum has a moderate growth rate, so the good news is that you don’t have to repot your plant too often!
Having the right soil is an essential component of care, especially for this epiphyte.
Your Magnificum needs soil that retains some moisture but still allows excess water to escape. This combination keeps its roots both aerated and hydrated.
Our advice? Create your own Anthurium Magnificum potting mix, using:
- one part orchid potting mix
- one part perlite;
- one part sand;
- one part peat moss;
- a handful of horticultural charcoal.
This provides your Anthurium Magnificum with a very loose and airy mix that they prefer, as it mimics their natural growing conditions. Chunky orchid potting mix, perlite and peat add aeration while retaining some moisture.
Being a plant that is susceptible to pests, we also love adding horticultural charcoal to the Magnificum’s potting mix.
Charcoal is known to repel pests and rid soil of impurities, giving your Anthurium some protection against pathogens.
Okay, let’s be real. We love this plant for its impressive giant-sized leaves and silvery green veins.
Fertilizer gives your plant a boost to help it develop larger and more vibrant leaves, so why wouldn’t you use it? (The other part of that equation is making sure your plant gets PLENTY of indirect sunlight.)
To fertilize, use a liquid houseplant fertilizer every six weeks during the spring and summer months when growth is most vigorous. In other months, hold off on the fertilizer.
When using, do dilute the fertilizer to half-strength to avoid fertilizer burn. Remember, Anthurium roots can be sensitive!
If you accidentally use too much, flush your plant’s soil with distilled room-temperature water. This washes away excess fertilizer salts.
There are two reasons why repotting is not as frequent as other plants.
Firstly, your Anthurium Magnificum is a moderate grower. Secondly, it doesn’t mind being a little root-bound.
Some plants like the Magnificum like to be slightly root-bound (slightly being the key word!). Interestingly, the little bit of stress of being in a tight pot is healthy and promotes lusher leaves! I suppose you can compare that to humans being under a healthy amount of stress, which drives some people to achieve more.
Anyways, here are some repotting tips:
- When should you repot? Do this in early spring, at the start of the growing season. This allows your plant to establish in its new home. Avoid disturbing your plant in the dead of winter – it’s better to postpone repotting to the next growing season. It won’t grow much in winter anyway.
- How do you know it’s time to repot? Repot when you see that your plant’s roots are sticking out from its drainage holes. As a rule of thumb, this should be every 2-3 years.
- How to repot? Gently remove the plant from its container. Prepare a new pot that is 2 inches bigger and fill 1/3 of the way with fresh potting mix, as this replenishes the soil nutrients. Place the rootball into the new container and pat down lightly, adding more soil as needed.
Unfortunately, like many houseplants, your plant contains piercing insoluble calcium oxalate crystals in their stems and leaves. These are toxic when ingested by pets and children.
If you have pets or children at home, it’s best to keep the Anthurium Magnificum propped up on a high windowsill or somewhere bright but out of reach.
Propagation through Stem Cuttings
Propagating the Anthurium Magnificum is easily achieved through stem cuttings.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to propagating your plant:
- Identify a 4 inch part of the stem with a few leaves and nodes.
- Using sterilised garden shears, cut off this stem just below the node. The node is the knobby part of the stem.
- Remove any leaves from the bottom half of the stem cutting (as this will later be submerged in water).
- Prepare a jar of room temperature distilled water. Place the stem cutting in the water jar, making sure that no leaves are submerged but that at least two nodes are under the surface of the water. The submerged nodes are where the roots will grow.
- Keep the water jar in a sunny location with plenty of indirect light.
- Replace the water every two days or more every day if the water looks murky.
- In a few weeks, you should see roots growing from the submerged nodes.
- When the roots are about 3 inches long, repot this into a moist potting mix.
- Viola. You have a newly rooted plant. Treat as you would any other Anthurium Magnificum.
Propagation through Root Division
Another way to propagate your plant is through root division. Root division is another straightforward way to multiply your Anthurium Magnificum, but it requires an established plant at least two years old.
We recommend propagating through root division in spring. If you intend on repotting your plant as it’s grown too large for its current pot, why not take advantage of this and separate your plant into two?
Here’s a step-by-step guide to propagating through root division:
- Gently remove the plant from its container, using your fingers to tease the roots out carefully.
- Rinse off the roots with room temperature distilled water.
- Place roots aside to dry out for 24 hours.
- Meanwhile, prepare fresh potting mix and appropriately sized containers for the original and new plant (or plants!).
- Repot into the new containers. Be careful not to pat down the soil too aggressively as this causes the soil to compact and air pockets in the soil to disappear.
Common Pests and Diseases
Unfortunately, Anthuriums are not pest resistant in general. They may be susceptible to diseases and infestations, especially under stress.
Some of the most common issues for Magnificums are:
- Bacterial Blight
- Fungal root rot due to overwatering
- Anthracnose. According to the University of West Indies, Anthracnose starts as black spots on the spadix, which then enlarge and appear water-soaked.
In all cases, move the infected plant away from other plants to prevent the infection from spreading. Then, prune off any dead or damaged part of the plant (roots in the case of root rot!).
In severe cases, repot the plant in fresh soil. Use a fungicide to ward off further infection in the case of Bacterial Blight and Anthracnose.
On the pest side of the equation, the usual suspects are:
Use an Insecticidal Soap spray or neem oil to combat. Here’s how to use neem oil as an insecticide.
Varieties and Similar plants
- Anthurium Magnificum Dark Form. The Dark form features especially dark green leaves, but otherwise looks like a typical Magnificum.
- Anthurium Magnificum Verde. This is the cultivar with bigger leaves than the Magnificum!
- Anthurium Magnificum x Crystallinum. This is the hybrid Anthurium with a ‘D’ shaped petiole instead of a square shaped petiole of the Magnificum.
- Anthurium Crystallinum
- Anthurium Clarinervium
- Anthurium Forgetii
- Anthurium Veitchii. Also known as King Veitchii, this species has giant narrow leaves with “quilting” or ripples!
- Anthurium Warocqueanum, the Queen Anthurium! Its shape is somewhat like the Veitchii, in that it is long and narrow, but its leaf pattern looks more like a Magnificum or Crystallinum. It’s almost like someone took a photo of the Crystallinum and stretched it!
- 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 Regale – a rare terrestrial Anthurium with large, deeply veined leaves.
Why are the leaves developing brown spots?
This is usually one of two issues. Brown spots may be a sign of sun scorch due to too-intense light. Is your Anthurium placed in direct sunlight? If so, it needs to be relocated to a shadier spot.
Second, it may be due to bacterial blight. In this case, isolate your plant to prevent spread, prune off damaged leaves and apply a copper fungicide.
Why are the leaves turning yellow?
Overwatering is the most common issue leading to yellow leaves.
If you have severe root rot, here is what you need to do to try to save your plant. Note that if root rot is severe, your plant may not be able to be saved. In this case, jump to the propagation section to propagate your plant and start afresh!
- Gently take your plant out of its pot.
- Examine your plant’s roots. If the roots are black or brown, the roots are decaying. Prune away all damaged roots with sterilised garden shears.
- Wash your pot thoroughly and change out the potting mix for a fresh soil.
- Repot your plant in the fresh soil mix.
- Read our tips on watering your plant correctly.
How can I encourage my Anthurium Magnificum to bloom?
Two tips for you!
- Ensure your plant has ample filtered light. Use grow lights if needed.
- Be patient. Your plant takes a long time!
Frequently Asked Questions
Where does the Anthurium Magnificum come from?
The Anthurium genus originates from tropical rainforests in northern Mexico, Argentina, and parts of the Caribbean. In the wild, Anthuriums are epiphytic (climbing) or terrestrial plants found in the understory of the rainforest.
However, the Anthurium Magnificum is found only in Colombia. Dr Thomas B. Croat identified this species in 1865.
How do I know if I have an Anthurium Magnificum?
Good question. Many Anthuriums are look-alikes. As an example, the leaves of the Anthurium Clavinerium and the Anthurium Magnificum look very similar.
The best way to tell between the two are:
- The Anthurium Magnificum has a squarish petiole. The petiole is the “stem” portion attached to both the leaf and the main stem. When taking a cross-section of the petiole, the Anthurium Magnificum’s petiole is angular with four sides, not round! The Magnificum also has a “winged” petiole, which kind of reminds us of excess skin on the sides.
- The Anthurium Clarinervium has veins that are lighter in colour (almost looking cream or very light green) and so are more contrasting against its dark green leaves. On the other hand, the Magnificum’s veins tend to be a little darker green than the Clarinervium’s. Therefore, the contrast is not as stark.
- The Anthurium Clarinervium is a smaller species than the Magnificum. The Magnificum’s leaves are generally larger, and the plant grows taller than the Clarinervium.
- The Anthurium Magnificum is more of an elephant ear shape, while the Clarinervium’s leaves are a bit more rounded.
How much does an Anthurium Magnificum cost?
As a rule of thumb, a small potted plant should cost you around US$20-50. Bigger established plants can be sold for hundreds of dollars. There are several good online sellers at Etsy you can buy an Anthurium Magnificum from.
Do Magnificums like to be misted?
Misting is a way to temporarily increase the humidity levels for the humid-loving Anthurium. However, we recommend using a humidifier instead (or using these other methods) as they are more effective ways to raise humidity.
Also, note that wet foliage is a breeding ground for bacteria.
Do they flower?
Yes. All Anthuriums develop inflorescence comprising a spathe (a boat-like modified leaf) and a spadix (an elongated central spike). Though the inflorescence is usually referred to as a “flower”, this is not technically true.
There are many small flowers on the spadix, but the inflorescence itself is not a flower.
Deborah is a plant enthusiast and founder of Gardening Collective.