The anthurium is a bright flowering plant belonging to the Araceae family.
It can flower sporadically for the entire year, but it can also be really fussy about where you keep it.
- It thrives for bright light, yet it detests direct sunlight.
- It longs for moist soil, yet it is susceptible to root rot and soil-borne diseases.
- It will try to cling onto spent flowers, preventing new blooms from growing.
It may be a far cry from the hardest houseplants to grow, but it certainly does not make it easy!
How to make an anthurium bloom
To make anthuriums bloom, you need to get the lighting spot on, water only when needed, maintain high temperatures, and humidity levels. Spent flowers must be pinched off. The blooms fall off naturally after 2 to 3 months. Each stalk only blooms once though so the stalk needs to be pruned, too.
Pruning and deadheading
Each flower that appears on your anthurium has a shelf life. Three months is the longest it will stay on the plant.
After two months though, it starts to lose its vigor. When it does, it wilts, and it loses some of its vibrant colors.
Between 8 and 12 weeks is when you can expect flowers to drop from an anthurium. So long as you meet the basic needs for anthurium plant care, blooms should be lasting at least two months.
As soon as you see any part of a bloom lose color, or the stem beginning to wilt, deadhead it.
When you do deadhead anthurium plants, remove the stalk, not just the flowerhead.
If you’ve pruned the flowerhead and left the stalk, then found yourself scratching your head asking yourself how, if, or will anthurium rebloom?
You could be waiting a while if you do not remove the stalk.
Blooms only appear on new stalks, and only once. When you deadhead it, prune the stalk, too.
Remove the spent blooms or it will not rebloom. Instead, it will throw as much energy as it can at the flower to help keep it alive.
Give it more of the light it loves
Anthuriums are epiphytic plants so the natural habitat for these is under the canopy of trees where they benefit from indirect sunlight.
In terms of the type of plant this is, it is a mesic air plant.
This brings us on to the question of how much light do air plants need?
Indoors, if you are using grow lights, these need 12 hours of bright indirect light daily, and that is at a minimum.
This can be extended right up to 16 hours under grow lights leaving it in darkness to sleep for up to eight hours.
If you rely on sunlight for your plants, mimic the conditions of its natural habitat by placing it under a larger broadleaf plant so that it receives filtered sunlight.
Without growing this under a canopy of leaves from other plants, the direct sunlight can burn it.
To avoid that happening, if you do find the sunlight is too strong, filter it with a shade cloth to dilute the UV rays hitting the plant.
Too much sun discolors foliage and flowers. Too little light halts blooming completely.
If you are seeing leaf growth but no flowers, chances are, there is a lack of light.
That is not a definitive cause though. Over-fertilizing causes the same signs. Keep reading to discover the subtle differences…
Use a potting mix that lets the roots breathe
Anthuriums are picky about a few things. Moisture is the most crucial.
They long for moist soil that never stays soggy for too long.
Getting the potting soil right is easier done when you consider how anthuriums grow, bloom, and produce aerial roots.
Orchids grow the same way.
Follow the instructions on how to make an orchid potting mix, or if you prefer to buy ready mixed soil, then the best potting soil for houseplants will be specifically formulated for orchids and similar plants that produce aerial roots.
What you need is for the soil to drain spectacularly fast, have large chunks of organic matter to allow for increased aeration, which is ultimately what prevents choking the roots to death.
With the right soil mix, you should not need to water an anthurium any more than once per week; twice in hot weather.
The soil can dry between waterings because the leaves hydrate themselves. Especially if aerial roots have grown above the soil.
As a guide on when to water the soil, poke a finger to knuckle level to check the moisture. It should be dry to a depth of between 1 and 2.5 inches before watering the soil.
Avoid overhead irrigation to prevent blight and when you do water the soil, use lukewarm water to prevent shock, which will stop an anthurium from flowering.
Feeding too much fertilizer prevents the plant from flowering
To encourage blooms on any plants, the first thing most people do is reach for the fertilizer.
Feed it more nutrients and it should grow, right?
Too much nitrogen will only stimulate leaf growth. Even that will not be healthy because excess nitrogen quickly leads to browning on the edges of leaves, eventually spreading, then the brown leaves drop.
Like any flowering plant, the anthurium thrives when it has an abundance of healthy leaves to absorb the bright light it gets exposed to.
When leaves turn brown, the plant loses the energy it would get from bright light. The result is a lack of blooms.
Over-fertilizing is one of the more common problems with anthuriums.
If you suspect this is what is hindering flowering, the soil will need to be flushed to remove excess minerals.
How to flush over-fertilized soil
Flushing (or leaching) the soil is just the process of running lots of water through it, letting it dry, then repeating at least four times.
To ensure you get as much of the minerals leached out of the soil each time you rinse it, use a watering jug filled with at least 3x the amount of water your container holds.
If you can, use rainwater to flush the soil. It is the best water for houseplants, particularly for leaching soil of excess minerals.
Hold the plant over a larger container, slowly pour the water onto the topsoil, stopping when the water pools at the top.
Wait until it drains through the drainage holes, then run some more water through it.
This is also a good time to check that your soil drains fast.
Leaching the soil for anthuriums should only take a few minutes. If it drains slowly, it is compacted, and that will do even more damage than root burn caused by excess fertilizing.
It will suffocate the roots, resulting in root rot.
Raise the humidity levels
Anthuriums flourish when humidity is high. Preferable is to have no less than 65% humidity. Closer to 80% would be perfect. Most likely, those conditions will be far too humid for your comfort.
The alternative is to use a variety of methods to raise local humidity levels under, around, and above the plant.
- Place pebble trays UNDER the plant
- Place broadleaf plants AROUND anthuriums – because plants themselves increase humidity
- Mist with lukewarm water ABOVE the plant to let the leaves and aerial roots hydrate from above. Do not pour water over the leaves. That is overhead irrigation and can cause blight to take hold. Only mist the leaves from above.
Each of those methods causes temporary increases in localized humidity. The lower the room humidity is, the faster the water droplets evaporate.
Because of the fast evaporation in low humidity climates, you could need to mist tropical air plants every half hour. Impossible!
An efficient way to know how frequently to mist houseplants is to time how long it takes for the minuscule water droplets to evaporate. It could surprise you how fast it happens.
Anthuriums will struggle to bloom indoors with under 65% humidity.
To rectify that problem, automate the misting process by investing in one of the best humidifiers for houseplants.
Some are room humidifiers, others are directional. As an example, a small desktop humidifier with a directional nozzle would limit humidity increases to a localized zone indoors, rather than the entire room.
Frequently asked questions related to how to make anthuriums bloom?
Do anthuriums need to be repotted to rebloom?
Anthuriums do okay being slightly pot-bound. The bigger it gets, the bigger the roots will be. They can outgrow their pots. Generally, anthuriums only require repotting once every two to three years. Only increase the pot size when the plant becomes rootbound.
Do anthuriums bloom year-round or go dormant in the winter?
Anthuriums can bloom all year, provided they get what they need. High temperatures, humidity, fertilizer, and spent flowers (and stalks) removed. When temperatures drop to under 60-Fahrenheit, most anthurium plants will go into dormancy until the temperatures pick up.
Marcel runs the place around here. He has a deep passion for houseplants & gardening and is constantly on the lookout for yet another special plant to add to his arsenal of houseplants, succulents & cacti.
Marcel is also the founder of Iseli International Commerce, a sole proprietorship company that publishes a variety of websites and online magazines.