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Anthurium Crystallinum Care Tricks

Anthurium Crystallinum Care Tricks

(image credit, IG: brownthumbelina)

Everything I know about growing wondrous tropical evergreens from the genus Anthurium, from the family of Araceae, I learned from my grandmother.

She bought her specimen of Anthurium crystallinum with just two yellowing leaves and nurtured it back to full health.

For Anthurium Crystallinum care keep temperatures between 65 to 75°F (18 to 24°C). Use an airy potting mix that can hold moisture but is fast draining using things such as orchid bark, perlite, and compost. In terms of light, these plants prefer bright indirect light and high humidity in the 70-80% range.

When the first healthy leaf popped up, we huddled around it to admire the striking silvery white venation against the deep green leaves. In fact, the whole leaf had a silvery velvety sheen to it.

The leaves are heart-shaped but with a twist. The anterior lobes look almost sealed together making the leaf look oval. The underside is coppery colored.

With proper Anthurium crystallinum care within in a year it started to flower. Grandma didn’t particularly care for the flower because it has thin spathe of a dull purplish-brown colour. She said it looked old from day one but admitted that they did have a pleasant fragrance. Water regularity about once a week but ensure the water drains fast.

Anyway, she grew Anthurium crystallinum for the foliage and that was that.

I am going to share with you Grandma’s Anthurium crystallinum care hacks so that you can grow this plant as successfully as her.

 

 

ANTHURIUM CRYSTALLINUM CARE GUIDE

 

Soil

Anthurium crystallinum is a perennial epiphyte originally found in Central America growing on tree tops or terrestrially on the sides of hills.

It means you can grow Anthurium crystallinum in a wide range of soils or no soil at all. A potting mix that’s porous but also has good water retention properties works great.

Grandma made her potting mix made of dried sterile garden compost and broken shells of walnuts, almonds, pistachios, and even coconuts – basically anything organic.

To this, she added plenty of charcoal and brick bits. She made a mixture that had plenty of air pockets to grow Anthurium crystallinum so that the roots could breathe.

Now her mix may be difficult for you to organize. So, one Anthurium crystallinum care hack is to simply purchase good quality Orchid soil and mix it gravel and perlite.

Place this coarse mixture in a terracotta pot layered with gravel or brick bits or coconut shells to assist root aeration and drainage even further.

 

Light

Grandma used to grow Anthurium crystallinum in bright shade by the kitchen window. She used to say direct exposure burned the leaves.

Anthurium crystallinum care requires 70-85% sunlight, in other words, consistent exposure to bright light. Outdoors you can either grow Crystal Anthurium under a 20-40% shade cloth or under the share of a tree.

This is a true tropical evergreen with a hunger for long days. Grow lights are a vital part of the Anthurium crystallinum care winter essentials.

Under low light conditions, the plant grows incredibly slowly.

 

Watering

Anthurium crystallinum care should resemble their natural environs in the tropical rainforests of Panama where it’s quite wet. But you must note how they grow. Their roots are literally exposed to air and dry out as quickly as they get wet.

If the potting mix and the planter you’ve used drain excellently well then yes, you can water regularly.

Grandma’s chunky soil mix worked very well for drainage. She used to water about twice or even thrice a week in summers. In winters, she used to water once in two weeks with lukewarm water.

A couple of Anthurium crystallinum care hacks I got from her were to save up rainwater in a barrel in the backyard and water with that OR to use the water of the garden fish tank. All that fish manure is like ambrosia for the plant.

 

Temperature

One thing I can say for sure about Anthurium crystallinum care is that it is warmth loving. You can grow Crystal Anthurium in ambient temperatures ranging from 65 to 75°F (18 to 24°C).

In the northern zones they should be brought indoors for outwintering. If you grow Anthurium crystallinum in a greenhouse, it should be heated and well-ventilated avoiding draughty windows, and extreme temperature fluctuations. The bare minimum temperature is 55°F (13°C).

 

Humidity

This plant is a sucker for high air humidity. In the native environs these plants are exposed to constant evaporation of water.

High humidity level between 70% to 80% works ideally to grow Anthurium crystallinum. That’s why Grandma chose the kitchen window spot where boiling pots always kept the air humid.

Another Anthurium crystallinum care hack is to grow in your bathroom provided you have a well-lit window or growlights in there.

 

Fertilizer

Like any houseplant, our Crystal Anthurium has its nutrition needs for optimum growth. But Anthurium crystallinum care needs little once the potting mix is well enriched with organic content. You may however use well-balanced fertilizer to improve the growth.

Grandma’s answer to feeding was fish emulsion well diluted and administered once a month. Otherwise she simply used the water from the fishtank.

The reason I prefer organic feeds over chemical fertilizers, particularly for epiphytes like Anthurium is because they are slow-release. I am not opposed to a balanced orchid fertilizer in the bi-monthly Anthurium crystallinum care schedule, which you can pick up from your local store.

Potential salt build-up from chemical fertilizers can destroy your plant, so you should regularly flush the entire root ball with thorough and deep watering.

 

Propagation

The propagation methods for Crystal Anthurium are pretty straight forward but the results may not always be consistent.

The simplest way is to separate plantlets from the roots as and when they appear, but you need to depend on nature’s family planning.

Root separation is the most reliable method to propagate Anthurium crystallinum.

Many professional nurserymen will save the seeds from the berries on the spadix to germinate them, but the environment has to be very precise otherwise the seeds simply rot away.

 

Growth

Crystal Anthurium is a real slow grower. It gives one new leaf in about 3 to 4 weeks. Their growth pattern is self-heading and takes up a lateral space.

The leaf blades are medium-sided occasionally growing to a maximum of 30 cm (12 inches) in the home environment. They’re fairly compact and are suitable for indoor growing.

Patio in summers and greenhouse in winters is the ideal way for those who live in the colder zones.

If you’re lucky enough to have more moderate temperatures then by all means plant Crystal Anthurium straight in the ground in the yard. They make great background covers.

Anthurium crystallinum care doesn’t involve much pruning – just periodical deadheading of dry leaves and inflorescences is good enough.

 

Potting

Potting is quite a simple process when you grow Anthurium crystallinum. Layer a small pot with organic rubble, place the plant in the pot, and pour in the chunky mixture around the roots.

This plant allows experiments with different planters. Grandma tried to grow Anthurium crystallinum (and several other Anthuriums) in sleeves made of intact coconut husk which she tied around a tree trunk. This I am told is a great way to grow epiphytes because of the natural drainage in this setup.

You can you grow Anthurium crystallinum totally root-bound. You don’t need to repot until the roots look suffocated and stop drying out well enough. That’s about once in two years or so.

You have to simply pick up the plant from one shallow planter and place it in the next, arranging the roots widely. Supplementing the soil with organic material and application of a balanced well-diluted fertilizer helps at the time of repotting.

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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ANTHURIUM CRYSTALLINUM PROPAGATION STEP BY STEP

 

Propagate Anthurium crystallinum root division

This is a reliable method but I would recommend it only if your Anthurium crystallinum is strong and mature, i.e. at least a year old.

  • Wait until the start of summers to remove the entire plant from its planter.
  • Gently remove the soil around the root system until you see the thick stem at the centre.
  • This subsoil stem needs to cut into two half – top half with the leaves and a few roots and the bottom half which just be stump with the remaining roots.
  • Make sure both divisions have a few roots.
  • Rest them for a day for the cut to callous before you plant the two halves in individual pots.
  • For bottom half, make sure the stump is visible above the soil mix.
  • Keep the soil slightly moist but maintain high humidity with a plastic bag with holes.
  • Feed them with very dilute good quality fertilizer until the plant picks up and stabilizes.

 

Propagate Anthurium crystallinum through plantlets

You’re at the mercy of nature as far as this method is concerned. In mature plants you may sometimes see young plantlets at the roots.

These are attached to the stem from the bottom. At the start of the growing season you can separate the plantlet just like the root division method.

This is a reliable method but will diminish the bushy look of your plant. I would recommend it only if your Anthurium crystallinum has outgrown its container and the roots emerge from the drainage holes or over the sides of the pot.

 

COMMON PROBLEMS WITH ANTHURIUM CRYSTALLINUM

 

Leaf spots like burn marks: These are often a bacterial infection that spreads by overwatering or wet leaves. They remain asymptomatic for many months and once visible they spread fast. The affected leaves have to be quickly cut with sterile sheers and discarded far away.

 

Yellowed (chlorotic), lesions along the leaf margins: If the lesions are water-soaked and develop into a dark brown colour then this is bacterial blight. The treatment is as above.

 

Yellowing and sudden wilting even if the plant is well watered: Check the roots. If they have died back then the cause is Pythium fungal infection that spreads due to water logged soil.

 

According to the University of Florida, almost every disease affecting anthuriums is closely linked to overwatering and excess humidity. You must grow Anthurium crystallinum in relatively dry environments compared to other tropicals.

Anthurium crystallinum is fairly pest resistant but can sometimes get sucking pests like aphidsspider mites, and mealybugs. These sap-sucking pest feed on plant nutrients and discrete sticky honeydew, which attracts other insects.

Pests can be treated by spraying your plant with a regular insecticidal soap once a week. You can also dab these insects with a cotton ball dipped in isopropyl alcohol. Remove the dead insects from the plant using a damp cloth.

Regular wiping of the leaves with a damp cloth is a very reliable preventive for pest problems.

 

TIPS FOR GROWING ANTHURIUM CRYSTALLINUM

  • The most important point to remember about Anthurium crystallinum care is that they love their roots getting washed but they also love to get dry after that.
  • The best way to achieve this is by managing the soil mix. As organic, chunky and clunky as it get.
  • Don’t splash the leaves often. Wipe them dry after watering.
  • Maintain high humidity by huddling up the plant with other plants to create a micro humidity zone
  • Grow Anthurium crystallinum in a terracotta pot where the roots get to breathe. This helps in disease prevention.
  • Check that the roots are cream coloured with a pink tinge. That’s a sign of health.
  • These are warmth lovers and can’t tolerate the slightest frost. You need to outwinter them inside a green house.
  • They are not heavy feeders. Stick to organic soil supplements like fish emulsion.

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT ANTHURIUM CRYSTALLINUM

 

How long before I have to repot Anthurium crystallinum?

The best to refresh the potting soil every year or two years. As the soil ages, the infection causing bacteria and fungus starts building up around the roots. Repotting is a good time to check the health of the roots. Make sure there are no brown, slushy roots.

 

Is Anthurium crystallinum toxic for pets?

The plant contains oxalic crystals that can irritate the mouth, intestinal tract, and throat if swallowed. Even the sap can cause allergic reactions.

 

How do I increase Anthurium crystallinum blooms?

Encourage your Anthurium crystallinum to bloom with diluted phosphorus-rich fertilizer or a good orchid fertilizer. Also supply plenty of indirect sunshine and the right watering levels.

 

Should Anthurium crystallinum be misted?

Maintaining a high humidity level is desired. You can mist your plants daily but ensure that the leaves do not stay too wet for too long otherwise fungus will start to build on the leaves in form of leaf spots.

 

CONCLUSION

Grandma loved anthuriums in general and grew a variety of them mainly for the flaming red or pink inflorescences.

After she started to grow Anthurium crystallinum, foliage anthuriums became a thing in her garden. She obviously didn’t stop at one.

Shortly after Crystallinum she expanded her collection to include more spectacular foliage exotics like Anthurium Metallicum, Anthurium Magnificum and Anthurium Regale.

The thing about Anthuriums is that each species has subtly different needs. I wouldn’t describe them as neglect proof or easy maintenance. But with our detailed care guides you can definitely learn to grow them successfully.

Happy gardening!

 

 

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