Today we are discussing another easy-to-grow Aroid species, Anthurium Ovatifolium. This one is native to the tropical regions of South America, including Columbia and Ecuador. This plant produces large foliage and red-colored berries as it reaches maturity.
Anthurium Ovatifolium will thrive in a well-draining orchid mix that is highly rich in nutrients. You need to water it thoroughly in spring and summer, whereas sparingly in the winter season. Application of an Anthurium fertilizer every week during growth will also benefit this plant.
The name Anthurium is a combination of two Greek words, oura meaning tail and anthos, meaning flower. This plant species has over 1000 varieties, each representing hospitality, happiness, and abundance.
This plant is named Ovatifolium because of the oval shape of the lamina. This species belongs to the Digittinervium section. It can be easily distinguished from other plants because of its leathery blades. These blades have several basal veins that extend to the apex.
This plant has a spreading growth and develops large foliage with a unique leaf structure as it matures. Ovatifolium is a rare plant that becomes the highlight in any area.
Anthurium Ovatifolium Plant Care
This Anthurium grows well in a regular orchid mix. In its natural habitat, Ovatifolium grows in moist tropical forests in rich organic hummus. Therefore this plant requires a moist potting mixture for indoor growth that is high in organic matter.
I have been using a coco-coir and peat moss based potting mixture for my Anthurium Ovatifolium, and it is thriving. You can prepare your own potting mixture that holds moisture for water absorption but, at the same time, drains well to prevent stagnant water.
Undrained soil has a high risk of root rot. A simple recipe is to prepare a mixture of ½ part potting soil with ½ part perlite or orchid soil.
Anthurium plants are mostly grown as an indoor plant in average, mild climates. However, this species can be grown as an outdoor landscape plant in USDA hardiness zones 10 or higher. For outdoor planting, choose a location with well-draining soil.
This epiphyte plant likes to be watered regularly to maintain the necessary moisture in the potting soil, twice a week in spring, summer. However, to prevent root rot and overwatering, do allow the potting soil to dry out partially in between watering.
As a simple rule, remember to water the Ovatifolium plant when the top inch of potting soil feels crumbly and dry to touch. Continue adding water until you see some water flowing out from the drainage holes.
You have to reduce the watering for at least six weeks in winter since the plant is not growing. This will encourage repeated flowering on your Anthurium Ovatifolium. Watering the plant once a week is enough in winter.
This plant species indicates watering stress in several ways so pay attention. If the leaves are droopy and the pot feels very light, your plant is thirsty for water.
Watering frequency will vary depending on how much light and warmth your plant gets. The more light and temperature your plant is exposed to, the more water it needs. Check your plant every few days if it is dry enough to be watered.
This plant prefers light conditions similar to a Nepenthes plant. So if you have one, you can group them together. This plant can tolerate different levels of light. Generally, you have to find a semi-shaded location for this plant for both indoor and outdoor planting.
This plant thrives in low light conditions. However, it should be grown in bright, filtered light if you want your Anthurium to bloom. Lower light conditions result in slow growth and fewer, small blooms.
The main consideration of light is to protect your Anthurium from direct sun exposure. This will damage the foliage leading to sunburns or scorching. If you are keeping it in a bathroom windowsill, ensure that the window is tinted to diffuse the sunrays.
I keep my pots a few feet away from direct sunlight or windows. However, you can use blinds or sheer curtains to reduce the intensity of light if you like keeping your houseplants in windows.
This plant grows in tropical, warm climates in nature, and that’s what it seeks in an indoor environment. Anthurium Ovatifolium likes growing in very warm temperatures ranging from 70 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit (21 to 32 degrees Celsius).
Luckily this species, like other Anthuriums, is very adaptable and can grow in average household temperatures. Be vary of extreme temperatures because that’s what bothers this plant. Any temperature drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius) will stop the growth.
Extremely hot temperatures (higher than 90 degrees Fahrenheit) will lead to a wilted plant. Remember to not keep this plant near draughty windows, doors, or any location with extreme temperature fluctuations like in front of hot radiators or air conditioners.
This species requires high humidity, just like its companions, Orchids, and Nepenthes. But you have to ensure good ventilation else the plant will suffer from diseases and rots.
If the indoor air moisture level within your house is lower than 50%, consider raising the humidity levels. Several methods are available:
- Frequent misting of the plant.
- Gravel tray method.
- Grouping of houseplants.
- Utilizing a humidifier.
Make sure you maintain at least 60% humidity to help your plant thrive. Another protip is to keep this plant in a bathroom or shower area. This place has the highest humidity in your house.
Anthurium care does not require heavy fertilization; however, most growers encourage fertilization in active growth. Those fertilized have better plant health and strength compared to the unfertilized plants.
Fertilize it every week during active growth using any regular houseplant fertilizer. I would recommend using a fertilizer designed specifically for Anthuriums.
I fertilize my Anthurium using a regular liquid fertilizer that is diluted to ¼ strength. Apply it once during the spring and summer months when the plant is actively growing. I would suggest applying a fertilizer that’s high in phosphorus. As this will help your plant have more blooms.
However, avoid overfertilizing; this will do more harm than good to your plant. Overfertilized plants often suffer from fertilizer or chemical burns. Always apply fertilizer according to the manufacturer’s instruction or in less quantity and use high-quality fertilizer from a reputable supplier.
Do not provide any plant food or fertilizer to your plant in winter since its dormant.
All Anthurium species are very durable and require little attention. But your plant needs to be repotted after a year or two or earlier in case of any disease.
Your plant needs a bigger pot once it has outgrown the current one because the crowded root system can stunt the plant’s growth. The major indication of this are roots growing from the drainage hole or circling around the soil surface. Go only one size up; else, the plant will be vulnerable to overwatering.
To repot, gently take the plant out from the pot. Brush away the extra soil from the roots. You might need a pair of scissors or shears to untangle the roots. Inspect your plant’s roots for any damage or diseases before you transfer it to the new home. You can use a potting mixture according to the instruction given in the soil section.
I would suggest repotting in the spring season because the lighter days encourage bud formation on flowering Anthuriums.
You might have to prune the Ovatifolium once in a while if it has yellow leaves or excessive growth. Pruning will encourage new growth and improve the overall appearance of your plant.
Sometimes you will notice small aerial roots growing from stems. You can either keep them or trim them if you do not like them. You can also trim the faded flowers, cut the inflorescence close to the base of the flower stem.
The sap of Anthurium plants can cause irritation. So I would recommend wearing protective gloves while pruning or handling your plant.
Knowing how to propagate Anthuriums is a must because you definitely want to expand your collection, and after all, this is a perfect houseplant for gifting. Anthuriums might seem tricky in terms of propagation but do not worry. We have created a step by step guide for you.
- Initially, sterilize your shears and scissors using isopropyl or rubbing alcohol. This is important for the health of the mother plant and the cutting.
- Locate a healthy stem, 3-6 inches long on the Anthurium Ovatifolium. Using a sharp pair of scissors or knife, make a cut at the node. Your cutting should have at least two nodes or leaves.
- Dip the end of cutting in rooting hormone for better and fast root growth. You can prepare an organic rooting hormone using apple cider vinegar. Mix 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in 1 To 1.5 liters of water.
- Now fill a glass jar or container with filtered water and let it reach room temperature. Allow the water to sit for a few hours or overnight so the chlorine can dissipate.
- Submerge the leafless node in water and ensure that the remaining leaves are above the water surface. If the leaves are constantly in contact with water, they will start rotting.
- Place your cutting jar on the window or on a table nearby. Replace the water every few days.
- The Anthurium Ovatifolium cutting needs bright, indirect light, so protect it from direct sunlight exposure.
- Under proper light and temperature, root development might take 2 to 3 weeks, followed by new leaves growth.
- After a few weeks of root development, you can transfer the cutting to a soil medium.
- Follow the care instructions discussed above to take care of the young plant.
With proper care and fertilizer, this Anthurium can bloom all year long. Most varieties bloom in cycles with three months of flowering and the next three months without flowering.
This plant has inflorescence that is light green with a tinge of purple at the back and margin. The spathe is 5.5 – 6.2 inches long, whereas the peduncle is about 23 inches long.
If the flower is entirely green in color, it is probably a sprout that was forced to bloom. Whereas if the flower is very pale and fading, it’s an old bloom that is ready to dry up and fall.
The leaves of this Anthurium plant are large and round in shape. The foliage has a lush green color with neat veins moving from the edges to the midrib. This Anthurium is a slow grower, and it takes quite some time to reach maturity. However, once mature, this small shrub Anthurium can get 2-5 ft (62 – 152cm) in size.
The petioles are 18 – 28 (45 – 71cm) inches long. The stems have small internodes that are 4 inches long. The huge leaves are 13 inches (33cm) long and 10 inches wide.
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Common Problems for Anthurium Ovatifolium
Yellow leaves on Anthurium plants mostly mean one thing, too much sunlight. You have to move your pot farther away from the window. But avoid moving it to a dark corner. Read more about yellow leaves in our article to take better care of your houseplants.
This indicates an unhappy Anthurium. This is mainly because of overly wet soil and too much sunlight. Move your plant to a less bright location and always check the soil with your fingers to feel the moisture.
If the potting mixture is still wet, especially the top few layers, you can skip watering your plant for now. The last step is to trim the dead or excessively brown flowers.
If the white bugs on your house plant fly when the Anthurium Ovatifolium is disturbed, they are probably whiteflies, not mealybugs. These heart-shaped, tiny flies rest on the lower sides of the leaves and are present in a large population.
These pests are common in warm climates like greenhouses or any other indoor setting. They are cold-sensitive and cannot handle freezing temperatures.
The whiteflies attach themselves to the soft tissues of the plant and feed on the sap. Like spider mites and mealybugs, these also secrete the sticky honeydew. The honeydew increases the risk of other diseases and even attracts other pests.
Whiteflies have a short lifecycle of about 30 days, so they need to be treated at the earliest. In warm climates, they multiply quickly, whereas, in cold weather, they spread slowly. Weak and stressed plants are more susceptible to damage compared to a healthy plant.
Use your vacuum cleaner to get rid of adult flies. Do this carefully without damaging the plant. Make sure you clean your vacuum bag afterward. You can also hang a sticky tape trap on the infected plant.
Mix insecticidal soap with water, 1 teaspoon in 1 gallon. Spray this solution on all areas of your plant. But remember, this will only help control the population of whiteflies. Neem oil is another good alternative.
Tips for Growing Anthurium Ovatifolium
- Anthurium Ovatifolium is poisonous in the case of ingestion. So be careful if there are any pets or children around. The best option is to keep it at a high location away from their reach.
- Never use cheap fertilizer; they contain harmful chemicals that can severely damage the Anthurium Ovatifolium.
- Never overwater; this will kill the roots. However, if you underwater, the plant will become very difficult to rewet and have slow development.
- The minimum winter temperature for this plant is 60 degrees Fahrenheit (15 degrees Celsius). If the temperature is dropping below this in your area, either use heat mats or any other method to provide warmth to your Anthurium Ovatifolium.
- Spray your plant every now and then to imitate the tropical environment.
- While repotting before you transfer the root ball to the new container, immerse it in lukewarm water.
- Avoid fertilizing for about two months right after repotting your Anthurium Ovatifolium. However, it is a good idea to add some Anthurium feed to the potting soil while repotting.
- Avoid placing the plant in the full sun both indoors and outdoors.
Frequently Asked Questions about Anthurium Ovatifolium
What is another companion plant for Anthurium Ovatifolium?
Anthurium Ovatifolium is a great companion for Nepenthes, Ferns, and Orchids.
Is Anthurium Ovatifolium toxic to cats and dogs?
All parts of the Anthurium Ovatifolium plant have calcium oxalate crystals. This makes it irritant to the mouth and esophagus.
I have accidentally over dried my Anthurium Ovatifolium, what now?
Underwatering or excessive dryness in the soil can lead to slow growth. You can rehydrate your Anthurium by simply soaking the pot in water for about an hour. Do this in a bucket, and make sure you do not leave the pot in water for more than 2 hours maximum.
Why does my Anthurium Ovatifolium have brown leaves and tips?
The Browning of leaves is a major sign of water stress for Anthuriums. It could be under or overwatering. The best practice is to feel the moisture in the soil before watering. If it feels dry, add water, but in case it’s still wet, check back after 3 or 4 days.
Why is the inflorescence on my Anthurium Ovatifolium green?
This is because your plant is getting too little sun. Move it closer to a window or any other bright location.
This plant is an excellent centerpiece in any setting. The deep ribbing on huge oval-shaped leaves makes this plant a must-have in your plant collection.
This plant is sometimes confused with Anthurium Lingua Sodiro, but the latter one has blades that are narrowly ovate instead of elliptic.