Lovers of large tropical evergreens have discovered the wonders of growing Anthurium Plowmanii, of the genus Anthurium, from the family of Araceae, a tree climber indigenous to Brazil, Peru, Bolivia, and Paraguay. In terms of popularity, Plowmanii is fast replacing the more pervasive swiss cheese plant or Monstera.
You can grow Anthurium Plowmanii on a tree, between rocks, or even in soil – it is classified as a large epiphytic or epilithic species in Plantae. In its native forests the plant gets so huge for the host tree that it often drops to the ground and continues to grow there.
With proper Anthurium Plowmanii care, it grows to a giant size in just a couple of seasons. In the forests the large ovate leaf blades can grow as long as 2 meters (6.5 feet). In home gardens, they remain a more manageable size of about 12- 24 inches (30 – 60cm) long.
They are deep green, glossy and leathery and have ruffled edges that look like waves. The plant spreads out laterally with the leaves forming rosettes.
If you can place pot at a height, like on top of a wall, the leaves fan out like a tropical banana tree and leaf venations look spectacular against light.
Its popular names are Plowmanii Fruffles or Bird’s Nest Anthurium.
- 1 Anthurium Plowmanii Plant Care Guide
- 2 ANTHURIUM PLOWMANII PROPAGATION STEP BY STEP
- 3 COMMON PROBLEMS WITH ANTHURIUM PLOWMANII
- 4 TIPS FOR GROWING ANTHURIUM PLOWMANII
- 5 FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT ANTHURIUM PLOWMANII
- 6 CONCLUSION
Anthurium Plowmanii Plant Care Guide
You can grow Anthurium Plowmanii 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.
I know gardeners who have successfully experimented with a 100% soilless substrate such as sphagnum moss or peat mixed with sand or perlite.
My Anthurium Plowmanii care hack is a custom-made mix of Orchid soil, charcoal chips, brick bits, organic manure and coco-peat, all in equal parts by volume.
I’ve poured this coarse mixture into a terracotta pot layered with a couple of full coconut husks. This assembly has in fact worked great for all my Anthuriums.
In case you live in warmer zones and want to grow Anthurium Plowmanii straight in the ground, you can simply choose a raised mound and mix the soil with the above ingredients. The mound should automatically help with drainage. Just make sure the soil isn’t clayey.
Anthurium Plowmanii care requires 70-85% sunlight, in other words, consistent exposure to bright light. Direct exposure burns the leaves. Ideally you can either grow Plowmanii Ruffles under a 20-40% shade cloth or under the share of a tree.
Acclimate this plant to its environment by keeping it outside and slowly moving it into a sunny area over a week or two to avoid stress before planting.
My plant sits in the north-east corner against the garden wall. This is a bright-shaded spot with a bit of the evening sun and the plant has been doing splendidly well.
This is a true tropical evergreen with a hunger for long days. Growlights are a vital part of the Anthurium Plowmanii care winter essentials.
Under low light conditions, the plant won’t flower and grows slowly. I haven’t noticed any other significant damage.
Unlike most rainforest plants, you can grow Anthurium plowmanii in pretty dry conditions. It is commonly found in dry forest life zones and is often the only evergreen plant in some jungle areas during the dry season.
However, if you want a healthy specimen in your garden I’d advise regular watering. In the natural environment Anthurium plowmanii receives erratic rain water. Therefore, pro tip #1: store rainwater and use it for watering.
During rainy months the soil around the roots stay between moist to wet but never water logged, due to excellent drainage. Pro tip #2: If the potting mix and the planter you’ve used drain excellently well then yes, you can water regularly.
Finally, during the dry months, they survive from the stored moisture in the bark and debris but the growth slows down a little. Pro tip #3: they can take a bit of dryness but will require some arrangement for stored moisture around the roots.
Finally, it boils down to the soil mix. If it is aerated and full of chunky organic debris like charcoal, bark, moss, etc. you’re good to go. My recommended Anthurium plowmanii care guideline would be to water deeply and let the soil dry out completely between waterings. If you heft your pot it should feel light.
Now here’s an Anthurium plowmanii care hack that no one will tell you. If you have an aquarium, use the water of the aquarium on the water-change day. All that fish manure is like ambrosia for your plant.
For me, the watering cycle works out to be once-in-ten-days in the summer months because of the moisture-retentive coconut husk I use to line my pots. I give the plant much longer watering intervals in colder months.
One thing I can say for sure about Anthurium plowmanii care is that it is warmth loving. You can grow Plowmanii Fruffles in ambient temperature 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 plowmanii 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).
Surprisingly, this plant makes for a great indoor plant where air humidity is low. They survive in extreme dry conditions in their native regions, and they are very forgiving of extreme dryness.
That being said, humidity level between 70% to 80% works ideally for Anthurium plowmanii care.
Like any houseplant, our Bird’s Nest Anthurium has its nutrition needs for optimum growth. But in my experience, Anthurium plowmanii care needs little once the potting mix is well enriched with organic content.
You may however use well-balanced fertilizer to improve the growth.
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 plowmanii care schedule, which you can pick up from your local store. This is just to boost the blooms and to be used only in the growing months.
You must stop feeding the plant in winters.
Potential salt build-up from fertilizers can damage your plant, so you should regularly flush the entire root ball with thorough and deep watering.
The propagation methods for Bird’s Nest 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. Leaf cuttings can be uses to propagate and grow Anthurium plowmanii. The success rate is a bit dicey though.
Root separation is the most reliable method to propagate Anthurium plowmanii, but unfortunately you end up sacrificing the beautiful rosette shape to create more plants.
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.
Plowmanii grows 2 feet long leaf blades as they mature. Their growth pattern is self-heading and take up a lot of lateral space giving a lush green tropical look with their rosette formation. The resemble a banana tree but smaller and without the trunk.
Because of the size, they are often not suitable for indoor growing. High traffic zones are a complete no-no.
A large 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 Plowmanii Fruffles straight in the ground in the yard.
Strong and profuse root systems appear above the soil level and this helps them air out adequately preventing root rots and other diseases.
Anthurium plowmanii care doesn’t involve much pruning – just periodical deadheading of dry leaves and inflorescences is good enough.
Potting is fun when you grow Anthurium plowmanii. I love how these tropical giants “casually sit” in a rather tiny and shallow pot. The arrangement always looks precarious but that’s how they like to roll!
This plant allows experiments with different planters. I once tried to grow Anthurium plowmanii in a sleeve made of intact coconut husk around a tree truck and the results were great. I only moved the plant a year later after the sleeve fell apart.
I have seen this grown in a shallow wide basin shaped terracotta planter. This option gives you an opportunity to keep an eye on the root ball.
You can you grow Anthurium plowmanii totally root-bound. I don’t 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.
ANTHURIUM PLOWMANII PROPAGATION STEP BY STEP
The below propagation methods are recommended only if your plant is big and mature, at least 4 to 5 years old.
Propagate Anthurium plowmanii through leaf-cutting
- Examine the lower leaves near the base and choose a strong green leaf that has a root growing at it’s node.
- With a super-sharp and garden knife make diagonal cuts in to the stem, above and below the selected leaf.
- If the cuts are sufficiently deep the leaf should come separate along with the root at the node.
- Place the leaf in a tall glass jar with RO water and put a single drop of rooting solution. But this is optional as the leaf will take root even without.
- Place the jar under growlights maintaining good humidity.
- Within 2 weeks to a month you’ll see young roots at the base of the leaf.
- If you shift your cutting to soil, allow the roots to grow few inches long.
Propagate Anthurium plowmanii through root division
This is a reliable method but will destroy the look of your plant. I would recommend it only if your Anthurium Plowmanii has outgrown its container and the roots emerge from the drainage holes or over the sides of the pot.
- Wait until the start of summers to remove the entire plant from its planter.
- Gently separate the root system until you see the thick stem at the centre.
- Make a note of how many divisions you’d like. For an average size plant you should end up with 3 to 4 divisions.
- Make sure each division has at least a couple of leaves.
- With a super-sharp garden knife cut through the thick stem and separate each section out along with a good portion of the root ball.
- Rest them for a day or two for the cut to callous before you plant in individual pots.
- Feed them with very dilute good quality fertilizer until the plant picks up and stabilizes.
Propagate Anthurium plowmanii 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. The difference is that you don’t have to damage the entire Plowmanii Fruffles rosette.
COMMON PROBLEMS WITH ANTHURIUM PLOWMANII
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 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 plowmanii in relatively dry environments compared to other tropicals.
Anthurium plowmanii is fairly pest resistant but can sometimes get sucking pests like aphids, spider 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 PLOWMANII
- The most important point to remember about Anthurium plowmanii care is that it is a drought tolerant plant.
- Water only after the soil completely dries out and only in the daytime.
- Don’t splash the leaves often. Wipe them dry after watering.
- Maintain low humidity.
- Grow Anthurium plowmanii in a shallow pot where the roots get exposed over time. This helps in disease prevention.
- Grow Anthurium plowmanii in a well ventilated spot with space on all sides.
- 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 PLOWMANII
How long before I have to repot Anthurium plowmanii?
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 plowmanii 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 plowmanii blooms?
Encourage your Anthurium plowmanii 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 plowmanii be misted?
Maintaining a low humidity level is desired. Foliar feeding with rain water is a best practice for epiphytes but I would limit this to mornings.
If you’re a sucker for large leafy tropicals like me you should go ahead and grow Anthurium plowmanii. This plant in my opinion is a must have for spacious gardens particularly if you live in the warmer zones!
The joy of growing Anthurium plowmanii is not just the foliage but also the trippy inflorescences. Unlike other Anthuriums the spadix grows bright red berries which can be harvested for seeds but the spathe is quite inconsequential.
Anthurium plowmanii has grown so popular recently that it’s fast replacing the OG of tropical climbers and Instagram megahit, the Monstera. I must admit it wins over Monstera in versatility.