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Indoor Plant of the Month – Anthurium
Anthuriums are one of the most popular tropical plants and make a wonderful addition to your home or office. Not only are their ornamental leaves beautiful their unusual brightly coloured waxy ‘blooms’ are sure to inspire interest and conversation. Though it looks like a waxy bloom, the colourful heart shape is not actually a flower, it is a spathe, or shield-like leaf. Its function is to protect the spadix, which contains several tiny flowers. When in bloom, the Anthurium flowers appear as a roughness on the spadix as compared to a smooth spadix. The spathe can come in many colours, such as red, pink, orange, white or purple.
Anthurium are the largest genus in the arum family, Araceae. Characterised by their bright tropical appearance, Anthurium can be as diverse as they are beautiful – the anthurium plant has more than 1000 species!
Although tropical in nature, Anthuriums are surprising easy to care for and with very little maintenance their boldly coloured blooms can last for months and have the potential to offer year-round re-blooming, making Anthurium’s a great choice for novice plant owners.
The Anthurium is also commonly known as the Flamingo Flower, Hawaiian Heart, Painted Tongue and Painters Palette because of the unique shape and spadix. The name Anthurium is Greek, meaning “Tail Flower”, the plant’s stem lengths may grow to a height of 15-20 inches depending on the size of the spathe – the bigger the spathe, the longer the stem.
Due to their open, heart-shape and long-lasting characteristics Anthuriums symbolise hospitality and make unique and popular gifts.
Secrets of success…
- Best positioned in bright light but out of direct midday sun
- Water when soil is dry to touch but not kept continually moist
- Mist regularly to increase humidity
- Feed with Streptocarpus food tablets
Be aware that as beautiful as Anthurium are, they are toxic if consumed. The plant has toxic properties that can irritate the mouth, throat and intestinal tract if eaten, so it should be kept out of reach of pets and children. It can also cause an allergic reaction if the sap comes in contact with the skin.