(image credit, IG: curiousplantguy)
If you are looking at this plant and thinking, “No way this will thrive in normal indoor conditions,” you are kind of right. Sorry to say, this beauty is ideal for greenhouses and very popular in tropical garden conservatories.
But when have Plantophiles ever turned their back on a challenge? So, true tropical plant lovers, huddle up and let’s get into the ins and outs of the Anthurium insigne care.
Native to Ecuador, this plant has extremely high humidity requirements, upward of 80%. Due to its giant size (the leaves can get to 4 feet in size), it is a fairly heavy feeder and will require regular watering. Since it is used to dappled shade in its natural habitat, an eastern facing window with bright indirect light will be ideal, but it will enjoy dappled light if kept outdoors during the growing season.
It’s magnificent, lime green leaves are a show stopper and definitely worth the effort, so if you are up for a challenge and you have been wondering if you can handle n Anthurium insigne, keep on reading as we go through all of its wants and needs.
With a price tag like that, it is good to be armed with a wealth of knowledge and do everything you can to keep it thriving.
- 1 Anthurium Insigne Plant Care Guide
- 2 Common Problems with Anthurium insigne
- 3 Tips to keep your Anthurium insigne problem-free
- 4 Frequently asked questions about Anthurium insigne
- 5 Conclusion
Anthurium Insigne Plant Care Guide
The Anthurium insigne will enjoy a well-drained porous soil like most Aroids, but it will require some organic material to retain moisture.
Avoid wet and soggy mixes as well as dry, overly sandy soil mixes.
If you don’t want to make your own soil from start to finish, you can mix half orchid soil (which will contain bark, charcoal, and volcanic rocks) and half organic, humus-rich soil.
To this mix, you can add 20 to 30% perlite for aeration and some sphagnum moss chunks for moisture retention.
If you already have all of these ingredients, feel free to make your own mix. A recipe would look something like this:
- One part orchid bark
- One part humus-rich organic soil
- One part perlite
- half part charcoal and gravel or vermiculite
- Half part Sphagnum moss cut into small pieces
This is, of course, not an exact recipe. It is important to feel the soil as you are mixing it.
Rather than stick to the recipe blindly, try to achieve moist soil that will not become soggy and will be able to try in a couple of days.
If you are not sure, I suggest you go for a more airy soil and add in organic, moisture-retentive material after, if you feel it is needed.
This is easier than trying to break up and aerate the soil later, and you will avoid root rot, which will just be an additional problem that nobody wants to have.
The Anthurium insigne is not a full light plant, and you should avoid putting it in direct sunlight if you don’t want the leaves to burn.
Around 70 to 85% of light is ideal. Therefore, if you keep it indoors, I suggest an east or west-facing window or someplace further away from a south-facing window.
Due to its size, many people keep their Anthurium insigne outdoors, at least during the summer. I would like to warn you that this transition from indoors to outdoors should be done gradually to avoid stress and sunburns.
Move your Anthurium insigne closer to the light over a week or two, gradually increasing the light it is exposed to. Your end goal should be a place where it will get bright indirect to dappled light during the day.
Even with slow adaptation, full sun all day will be too much for this Anthurium.
Fortunately, this plant will not require any special or overly complicated watering methods. Remember to use distilled or rainwater and wanter the Anthusium insigne only when the top two to three inches of the soil is dry.
Then, you can water until the water comes out of the drainage holes underneath. Remember to empty the water out of the dishes underneath the pots so the plant is not sitting in water.
If you water this way and your Anthurium is planted in the soil mix described above, you will probably have to water every 3 to 4 days, but check with your finger and adapt to your plant if needed.
A good habit to adopt with this plant is watering from underneath. Due to its size, this plant requires a lot of support, and watering from underneath will cause the roots to dig deeper down into the pot and stabilize the plant a little bit.
This is because if the water comes from below, the roots start developing downwards to the water source.
I have a huge, 10 ft tall golden Pothos, so I know watering plants in huge containers can be a challenge, and you might require some help.
What I do is find a container that the pot will fit in with some extra space around, fill it halfway with water, ask my husband to lift the plant as I put the container underneath, and then we lower the whole pot down into the water.
Then I let the plant drink it up, add some water if necessary (you will see the water level in the container get lower as the plant’s soil absorbs it), and take it out after half an hour to an hour.
Like most aroids, your Anthurium insigne will thrive in temperatures between 55° and 80°F (12 to 26 C). These are normal indoor temperatures, so a good rule of thumb is that as long as you are not hot or cold, your Anthurium insigne is comfortable as well.
If you live in a temperate climate, you can keep this plant outdoors during the summer (but remember to do it gradually, as we already mentioned).
Still, you have to bring it back indoors as temperatures lower. Definitely avoid exposing it to frost, any temperature below 50 F can cause critical damage, and you will experience leaf drop or worse, your Anthurium insigne will die.
Be mindful of the upper temperature limit as well. In temperatures over 85, you are asking for wilting and slow, inconsistent growth.
If there is one thing that makes the Anthurium insigne a higher maintenance plant, it is its humidity requirements. It needs upwards of 80% humidity, and this, coupled with its size, makes it a perfect plant for a greenhouse.
If you don’t have a greenhouse, the bare necessary minimum will definitely be a good humidifier and regular, daily misting, especially in the winter.
I could explain to you how to make a pebble tray, but in all honesty, I don’t think it is appropriate for this plant at all.
It will not cause a humidity spike big enough for this plant, so I wouldn’t bother. There is no way around it. A humidifier is your only option.
My best recommendation here is to use a humidifier to meet the high humidity needs.
To grow so huge, this plant goes through a lot of nutrients. If you fail to feed it enough, you will notice slow growth and smaller leaves, so it would be useful to get into a good fertilizing routine with your Anthurium insigne.
Let’s go over what kind of fertilizer it will require first and touch upon some specifics afterward.
First and foremost, I have given you a choice between organic and synthetic fertilizers for other plants before, but with the Anthurium insigne, I recommend organic fertilizers only.
Due to its delicate roots, it can suffer from fertilizer burn and salt buildup. In this Anthuriums case, these two can be fatal, so I urge you to choose a high quality exclusively organic fertilizer.
There are a couple of ways you can go from here. You can find a pelleted, slow-release organic fertilizer that you will add to the soil, six inches away from the plant’s base every 4 months.
You can also find a liquid organic fertilizer that you will dilute to two-thirds of its strength (so add a third of water) and pour it into the soil just after watering every two weeks.
Whichever way is more convenient for you, always remember to fertilizer after watering and avoid cheap, salt heavy fertilizers.
Anthurium insigne is propagated by stem cuttings. Ideally, your cutting should have at least one leaf and one node. The process is fairly easy, so follow the steps below:
- Choose a healthy stem with a developed leaf and at least one node. If you can get some aerial roots, that will be even better and almost a guarantee of successful propagation.
- Cut below the node with disinfected shears or a knife.
- Put the cutting in distilled water in a bright a relatively warm place. You could also wrap the node in moist sphagnum moss and keep it in a propagation box.
- For higher humidity, if you don’t have a greenhouse or propagation box, envelop the whole plant with the glass in a plastic bag for moisture retention.
- After two to three weeks, you should notice new roots. Where there are a couple of inches of well-developed roots, you can prepare the new medium (the soil mix we described in the soil section) and moisten it.
- Put the cutting into the moist growing medium and cover the node. Provide this young plant with extra humidity and keep the medium evenly moist for a week or two.
- When you gently pull on the stem, you should feel some resistance. When you do, your plant has established itself and can be considered a new plant. Your propagation was successful.
You came here for a big plant, and we have delivered. The lime leaves of the Anthurium insigne will grow upwards of 4 ft. in size.
Due to this and the leaves’ weight, you should provide some kind of support as soon as possible. This can either be a moss pole or any sort of wooden stick that you can fasten the leaves onto if or better yet when they start drooping because of the weight.
The Anthurium insigne will need to be repotted as it gets root-bound. Repotting is otherwise not needed. That said, you will probably need repotting every year or two because of the growth of this plant.
When choosing the pot’s size for this plant, take into account the moss stick it needs and make space for it as well.
If you have just gotten your Anthusium insigne in the mail, there is no rush to pot it just yet. Although your fingers are probably itching to make it feel at home in a beautiful pot, I recommend you keep it in a bucket with an inch or two of water and some mulch to keep if standing upright and put it in a shady spot, so it recovers from the shipping.
After a couple of days, you can pot your Anthurium in any pot with the soil mix I recommended. Try not to go too big with the pot to avoid root rot, but big enough, so the entire plant doesn’t tip over.
The size of the pot depends on the size of your plant. Remember that the roots should not be bunched up in the middle but spread out nicely through the pot.
The looser the roots, the better your plant will grow, so if you put your plant into the container, the roots should spread out nicely with an inch to a maximum of two inches of space around them.
Too much, and you are risking root rot so don’t go overboard.
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Common Problems with Anthurium insigne
You might encounter scale and mealybugs on your Anthurium insigne, as well as some bacterial leaf spot. They are pretty pest resistant otherwise, but let’s go over what you can do if you see any of these three issues on your plant.
To get rid of scale, you need a toothbrush, a q-tip, and some alcohol. Scrape the bugs off of the plant with the toothbrush and then touch the soft part of the bug with the q-tip dipped in alcohol. The alcohol will kill the bug on contact.
Do this every week (new ones might appear) until they give up and leave the plant. Insecticides will not work on scale because the shell keeps them safe, and they have developed a resistance to store-bought insecticides already.
You get rid of mealybugs same as scale, except mealybugs are white, soft bugs without a shell, so you don’t need to scrape them off. Just touch the bug with a q-tip dipped in alcohol and do the same for all the ones you can see.
You can also shower them off and then treat the plant with neem oil to kill the bugs and deter them from feeding in the future.
Bacterial leaf spot
Bacterial leaf spot is a nasty problem that shows as wet, dark blister-like spots on the plant’s leaves. If you notice a leaf yellowing, but it has darker green or brown spots, you have a bacterial issue.
A bactericide from a garden center might do the trick in the very early stages, but you should remove any affected leaves to prevent the spread of the disease.
To prevent it, keep the plant safe from pests, as they are bacterial and fungal vectors.
Tips to keep your Anthurium insigne problem-free
- Keep it in bright, dappled light.
- Give it ample humidity, upwards of 80%
- Feed regularly with organic, high-quality fertilizers
- Give it a moss pole for support due to its huge size.
- Water regularly, from below.
- Mist regularly
Frequently asked questions about Anthurium insigne
Is the Anthurium insigne safe for children and pets?
The Anthurium is toxic when ingested, so it is not safe for children and pets.
There is a layer of white “stuff” on the top of the soil of my Anthurium insigne. What should I do?
This is usually harmless mold that you can remove with a spoon. It doesn’t harm the plant, but it is aesthetically unpleasing. To prevent it from happening again, try and water your Anthurium from below or provide it with more airflow.
My Anthurium has dry, brown tips. What can I do?
Brown tips can have many causes. They can appear because of underwatering or because of salt buildup in the plant. Either way, if you have been watering regularly, the reason might be water that is too hard of a fertilizer that is too harsh.
All in all, this is a reasonably high maintenance plant because of the humidity requirements alone. But, if you don’t have any problems in that department and you are armed with either a good humidifier or a greenhouse, this plant could be the right one for you.
Figuring out what it needs might take some trial and error, but the high price tag might be a source of further motivation to figure out just what it needs and keep it happy at all costs.
Were you looking for something more “regal”? Check out our article on the Anthurium regale, another beautiful Anthurium with similar care requirements but stunning veining and velvet leaves.
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.