(image credit, IG: justthetipplants)
If you like your home to look like a jungle and are bored with the regular plants available in garden centers and nurseries, the Anthurium wendlingeri might spike your interest. Since it is a rarer plant, you might not get your hands on it so quickly.
To care for your Anthurium wendlingeri keep temperatures between 65F and 70F (18-21C) and put in in a mix of soil, peat moss, orchid bark, charcoal, perlite, and sphagnum moss.
Hang your Anthurium in an orchid basket. Bright indirect light in a North- or East-Facing window is best. Water this plant frequently and keep it at humidity levels of >70%. Fertilize using a slow-release fertilizer or a liquid fertilizer at half strength.
Still, when you do, you will have the unique opportunity of getting to know this neotropical plant and enjoying the company of a very unique and quite demanding Anthurium.
With rippled dark green, almost grey leaf blades reaching over 25 inches in length, you might be surprised this is not the most aesthetically impressive part of this plant.
If maintained correctly, the Anthurium wendlingeri will put out a funny looking inflorescence.
The spadix of this plant can be as long as the leaves and will wrap itself in a corkscrew shape as it develops.
All in all, the sight of an Anthurium wendlingeri in a hanging basket can be breathtaking, so if you want to find out more about this plant’s maintenance, keep on reading.
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Anthurium wendlingeri Care Guide
Suppose you have already mastered watering your Philodendrons. In that case, you can probably get away with planting your Anthurium wendlingeri in regular potting soil.
Still, for the best chances of success and for your Anthurium wendlingeri to feel most at home, we recommend something more akin to their original habitat.
You will notice that most plant owners hang their Anthuriums from baskets, and the root ball seems to branch out in and around the container messily.
This is a pristine look as in the forest, these beauties grow from trees and grab bark, leaf litter, and moss on the tree with their roots.
Consequently, the best growing medium you can afford your Anthurium wendlingeri is a loose, breathable mix of soil, peat moss, orchid bark, charcoal, perlite, and sphagnum moss. You can pack this into a growing basket and hang it.
That way, this plant is much easier to manage, and you don’t have to worry about the roots rotting. Any other chunky organic material like shredded fern fiber or coconut coir, will also be appropriate.
Remembering that they grow on trees deep within the canopy, it will not surprise you this plant doesn’t have immense light requirements.
On the contrary, the Anthurium wendlingeri will feel it’s best in partial to complete shade or even in darker conditions during the winter.
They are very sensitive to direct light, so never expose it to sun rays or a bright light if you don’t want the leaves to suffer sunburns.
If you consider watering to be your weak spot, an Anthurium will be quite challenging for you. During the growing season, you should water your Anthurium wendlingeri quite often.
Ideally, it’s growing medium should be almost constantly moist. Just as the top layer of soil is starting to become dry to the touch, you should water again. Water is less often as winter approaches.
That being said, depending on your climate and how you planted the Anthurium, the watering regimen will vary.
Just keep in mind it likes moisture, and it’s a thirsty plant, so it might be a good idea to make it a habit to stick your finger in its soil regularly.
Water it with distilled, rain, or aquarium water to avoid mineral buildup in the soil and on the leaves, and always do it in the morning. That way, you give your plant enough time to drink it up during the day.
If your Anthurium is growing in sphagnum moss or some other chunky tree bark contraption, it is easiest to water it with a spray bottle.
In my experience, that is the least messy way; you don’t even have to take it down, just give the root ball and the organic material a good spray, and that’s it.
Remember that when you plant a plant this way, the growing medium dried up faster than soil in a pot, so keep a watchful eye on it and be ready to spray it regularly.
Since they are tropical plants, Anthurium wendlingeri like warm temperatures. Although they have been known to survive temperatures as low as 40F (4C), you should not expose your Anthurium to temperatures lower than 55F (13C) on purpose.
The sweet spot is between 65F and 70F (18-21C), and you should absolutely protect it from sudden temperature drops, drafts, heaters, fans, or any other heat source.
You can imagine all plants are used to gradual temperature changes from daytime to night time and the other way around.
Getting hit with cold or hot bursts of air can shock them and stress them out, and if you keep it up, the plant might struggle so much it dies.
Since these plants are native to the neotropics, it shouldn’t surprise you that they have quite high humidity requirements.
As much as the low light needs make the Anthurium wendlingeri a perfect plant for the indoors, its humidity requirements will be challenging to please in most homes.
Considering you are researching Anthuriums, you probably already know most of them to need near terrarium conditions to be happy.
The consequences of low humidity will first start showing on the leaves that will get crispy brown edges.
To avoid that, try to keep your Anthurium wendlingeri in an environment with more than 70% humidity. The more, the better.
For big plants like fully grown Anthurium wendlingeri, this means you either live in a climate that it likes or that you have a greenhouse to house them in.
A bathroom might also be a good solution with regular misting, as daily showers will also raise the room’s humidity, and it might just be enough to please this humid loving beauty.
Anthurium wendlingeri are said to be heavy feeders when well cultivated. This is why it is recommended you include a slow-release fertilizer in your soil mix right from the start.
Don’t go overboard; start lighter rather than heavier because, after that, you are still going to feed it with a regular liquid fertilizer every month.
Dilute it in half and apply it to the soil after watering to protect the roots from fertilizer burn.
Underfed plants will put out new leaves that are too small. Every new leaf the plant puts out should be at least the previous leaf’s size or bigger.
If your plant is not doing that and you see slow and stunted growth, consider increasing the fertilizer frequency or quantity.
The best way to propagate your Anthurium wendlingeri is by division. Unfortunately, this is not one of those plants that you can just take cuttings from and hope for the best.
You should wait for repotting season in spring and plan on propagation by division then.
Propagating by division might seem scarier or more challenging, but it is pretty straight forward. Follow the step by step process below and your Anthuriums propagation show be a breeze:
- Take the plant out of it’s growing medium and take a close look at the root ball. Decide what parts you are going to divide. The piece you choose should have at least two leaves and its own little root system.
- Now feel the roots with your fingers gently, look for places where the roots separate easily. You will notice separate growths that seem more independent from others, these are offshoots, and they are the easiest do divide. You might have to cut some roots, but that’s ok.
- Once you got your piece, divide it from the mother plant and put it in its own pot.
That is pretty much the gist of it. Always plant new and old plants into premoistened soil not to shock the roots.
Also, try to damage as few main roots as you can as Anthuriums can be pretty bummed out if you lose a bigger root.
Newly divided plants are significantly more robust than a cutting, but you should still try to pamper it slightly more than usual.
Keep it in a reasonably light place with high humidity and keep the growing medium moist.
These seem to be two different sizes of Anthurium wendlingeri going around, one is bigger, and one is smaller.
At the moment, it appears that the smaller version is available in most of the US, it’s leaves measuring 24 inches in length.
Closer to their native habitat around Panama and Costa Rica is where you can spot 4 feet long leaf blades hanging from baskets and reaching for the floor.
Larger plants will also put out new growth from old points along the stem, making for a bushier and more attractive plant.
We have already touched upon this in the propagation section, but this is important, so we will reiterate.
All Anthuriums deeply detest losing or breaking their main roots. We mention this now since this will most often happen during repotting with rough handling.
Considering this is usually a pretty sizeable plant and its growing fashion makes it a bit of a clumsy plant to repot, exercise extreme caution when repotting your Anthurium wendlingeri.
If possible, try to get a friend’s help and handle it as delicately as you can.
Annual repotting is not recommended for this reason. You might also not need it as badly; repot your Anthurium wendlingeri when you notice its growing medium lacks nutrients and gets harder to maintain or when the plant is absolutely overgrowing its pot or basket.
The process is pretty straightforward, just prepare the new vessel in advance, premoisten the new soil, include a little slow-release fertilizer, and you should be good to go.
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Common Problems with Anthurium wendlingeri
Pests are a part of houseplant care that most people would happily avoid. But truth be told, you should be ready to systematically deal with pests if you are looking into getting an Anthurium.
When planted outdoors, these plants are pretty much magnets for pests, and they will attract the usual suspect like mealybugs, aphids, and thrips.
Considering you might already have your hands full while providing your Anthurium wendlingeri with enough water, humidity, and fertilizer, a pest infestation might be the thing that just makes you want to chuck it in the trash. Before you get frustrated, set yourself up for success.
Delicate plants like this should be regularly treated with a feeding deterrent such as Neem oil and periodically and closely monitored for any new pests’ appearance.
As long as you spot them early enough, bugs don’t have to be the bane of your Anthuriums’ existence.
Aphids are especially common when you keep your plants outdoors. They will gather around new shoots, flowers, fresh and soft new leaves, and stems, and slowly suck your plant’s sap.
To make matters even worse, aphids exude a sweet sap themselves, which in turn attracts ants with its sweet smell. Ants then protect them from their predators in return.
This then becomes a self-feeding symbiotic pest infestation that can be hard to get rid of. So, if you do see any aphids, hose your plant down as soon as possible to remove the bugs.
The water will also remove some of their sap and make it less inviting for ants. Spray the plant persistently until the insects are gone.
If you are still having trouble and have to troubleshoot the situation, then use an organic insecticide, and within a couple of treatments, the aphids should be gone.
Mealybugs are less scary than Aphids. They are slower and less organized. You will spot them as tiny white cotton ball looking insects.
They also suck the sap of your plant. While a very significant infestation is necessary to overwhelm the plant and they don’t present an immediate danger, it is easier to tackle them when their numbers are still small.
This is because you remove them mechanically one by one with a q-tip dipped in alcohol.
You repeat this every couple of days until they are gone, but if they are still giving you trouble after a week or two, just go for an insecticidal soap treatment.
A homemade solution of one part of alcohol and three parts dish soap will be appropriate too; lather the plant well, and rinse. You can do this a couple of times until the bugs are completely gone.
Thrips are not a trip, quite the contrary. They are very annoying and tough to get rid of. They are flying thin insects, and they are very good at hiding.
I go straight for an insecticide when I see thrips, especially indoors. Signs of thrips are black specks on the leaves (thrips’ feces), underdeveloped and wonky new leaves, and blossoms that die as soon as they come out.
When I see them, I go straight for an insecticide, no q-tips, no water sprays. Be aware that you might have to be persistent and try different brands or DIY insecticide recipes before finding something that gets them.
They are known to develop resistance to commercially available insecticides. Try to control them organically with neem oil and regular soap treatments at first.
Also, because they have wings, they can very quickly infest your other plants, so while we recommend quarantine for all pest infected plants, we recommend a total and strict quarantine for thrips.
Tips to keep your Anthurium wendlingeri problem-free
- Plant it in a very well-draining, light, and chunky growing medium
- Feed it regularly as it is a heavy feeder
- Water it regularly because it likes it’s soil constantly moist
- Treat it with neem oil regularly since Anthuriums are susceptible to pests
- Give them high humidity
Frequently asked questions about Anthurium wendlingeri
Is the Anthurium wendlingeri safe for children and pets?
Unfortunately, no, the Anthurium wendlingeri is quite toxic upon ingestion for both humans and pets. Their sap contains irritants that can cause an inflammatory response. The same is true for contact with the skin, which in this case, can cause a severe allergic reaction.
Why are my Anthurium wendlingeris’ new leaves are smaller and underdeveloped?
Smaller and underdeveloped leaves can be caused by either a pest issue or a lack of nutrients. Check for bugs and if that is not the problem, consider feeding your Anthurium wendlingeri more often.
Why do my Anthurium wendlingery’s leaves have brown and crispy edges?
Brown and crispy edges along the whole leaf are a sign of a lack of humidity. In this case, try to increase the humidity around your plant. If only the leaves’ tips are brown and crispy, you are watering it with heavy mineral water, and you should start watering ti with distilled or rainwater.
In conclusion, this still pretty unpopular plant is worth the effort. Plant your Anthurium wendlingeri in a basket and basque in the jungle spirit it brings with it.
Beware of pests, low humidity, and intense sunlight, protect it from root rot with a light and airy growing medium, and your Anthurium wendlingeri with thank you with its peculiar inflorescence and enchanting leaves.
If this article didn’t scratch your Anthurium itch, check out our article on the Anthurium crystallinum, this one might be more up your alley.
Daniel has been a plant enthusiast for over 20 years. He owns hundreds of houseplants and prepares for the chili growing seasons yearly with great anticipation. His favorite plants are plant species in the Araceae family, such as Monstera, Philodendron, and Anthurium. He also loves gardening and is growing hot peppers, tomatoes, and many more vegetables.