House Plants/Anthurium

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Question
Was given a plant that had bloomed (2 remained at the time.  It appeared to be in a pot much too small and possibly being root bound.  I re- potted it into a larger one and was sure that it had drain hole. I may have violated the no dirt rule because I purchased a commercial mix of African Violet medium to fill in the pot.  It has been producing many new and healthy looking leaves but no signs of new bloom growth...Help please. Thank You.

Answer
Joe,

Anthuriums are easy houseplants that require little care.  What could be wrong here?  Why did yours stop blooming?

Let's begin with the Sun factor.  Anthuriums don't need FULL Sun.  But they need a good dose of it.  You didn't  mention what kind of direct light yours is getting -- East?  North?  South?  West?  How 'partial' are we getting?  Indirect Sun that reflects off the sky and buildings?  or Full, head on sun part of the day, and bright light at the window the rest?  How many hours?

Believe it or not, there is a BIG difference in the amount of LUMENS that reach a green leaf when you put a plant in the Sun for 6 hours.

I like to go straight to the Research Depts at the horticultural colleges of major universities for fool proof last words on how to make things flower.  Reason being, these schools are doing their research to benefit commercial growers.  Commercial growers COUNT on the right answers.  Their livelihoods depend on it.  NOBODY buys Anthuriums OUT OF FLOWER.

Anthuriums being very popular products, you just know the University of Florida is going to have legitimate research in their report: 'Anthurium Production Guide' which you can access at:

http://mrec.ifas.ufl.edu/Foliage/folnotes/anthuriu.htm

Note their statement: 'Best growth and flowering of anthuriums depend on many factors of which potting medium, fertilizer and light levels may be considered the most important.'

So this is what we will work with.

Tip #1: Anthuriuims DO NOT grow in potting soil.  What are you growing yours in?  You have not repotted it -- what did they sell it to you in?  You should be seeing fir bark, perlite/peat, even Macadamia Nut shells or volcanic cinder. NO DIRT.  Confirm there's NO DIRT in that pot. Same as Orchids, by the way.

Tip #2: U of Fla points out that different species and varieties of Anthuriums respond to varying light intensities.  Too much light, and you can halt blooming -- this goes for ANY plant, due to the stress it's under.  WAY too much of a good thing is a bad thing.  In your case, however, I am almost certain that yours is not getting adequate light.  Put it somewhere brighter!

Direct Sunlight at noon is equal to about 10,000 'footcandles'.  That would be how much light is emitted by 10,000 candles, 1 foot away.  By mid-afternoon, the Sunlight is down to 7000 footcandles.  In the morning, as the sun reaches over the horizon, 4000.  In the shade -- the kind you find under a tree, or on a windowsill -- you have only a few hundred footcandles.  Your Anthurium needs anywhere between 1200 and 3600 footcandles.  Brighten up your Anthurium's day!  Give it more sun!

Tip #3:  The scientists at U of Fla tell us: 'The proper fertilizer level necessary to produce anthurium depends upon production light levels.'  That's usually the case by the way, no matter what you're growing.  But you, , didn't mention ANY fertilizer at all.  Something tells me this is going to pay off for you.

Here's why:

The Growing Medium that your Anthurium came in -- the 'not soil' kind -- copies the way Anthuriums grow out in the jungles of South America #or wherever they're from#.  They emerge as seedlings from the crook of a tree, where a lot of bark has collected over the years, or on the forest floor, where tree bark is everywhere, breaking down.  The air is moist and keeps it from drying out, ever.  There are daily showers, and they pass through the leaves of the trees, where birds have left droppings, washing those off, pouring the solution through the bark where the Anthurium is growing, fertilizing it in small doses almost every day.

When you grow ANYTHING in non-dirt, you MUST fertilize it.  Often.  Preferably EVERY TIME YOU WATER!  Just like in Nature.

So get yourself a nice fertilizer -- an Orchid fertilizer would be best! -- and dilute it very well, and water with a very low dose, every time you water.  Don't over-water by the way.  You don't want the roots to begin rotting.

Wet pebbles do nothing for humidity.  I know, I know, every garden writer, every houseplants book, everything you read everywhere tells you this is a great way to put moisture in the air.  You get nowhere with this.  But it doesn't hurt.  Keep your Anthurium away from dry out.  The tray with stones is a good way to catch water and fertilizer that run through the pot.

There you are, 3 easy #or not# steps to the perfect Anthurium blooms.

Oh, one last thing:  When you bought this plant, it had endured all kinds of torture and stress to force it to make those pretty red inflorescences #'blooms'# that you loved so much.  They squeezed those blooms out of that plant like it was an empty tube of toothpaste.  It needed to rest.  You did it a service by letting it finish the bloom cycle and then relax.  Try not to expect too much of it.  It's not natural for a plant to generate so many flowers -- and it takes a lot of weird plant auxins and growth treatments to get them to that point.  I can elaborate, but you have to much to work with already -- sorry 'bout that!  I get carried away sometimes.

For a guide to potential problems you might encounter with this pretty little plant, see the U Fla website above.  It's comprehensive and accurate.  No book could do it better. If you have more questions feel free to write again. Good luck!

Darlene  

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Darlene K. Kittle

Expertise

I have been an Advanced Master Gardener for 24 years and I raise around 300 houseplants and bonsai trees a year including tropicals, succulents, and cacti. I have also been a professional plant care person for businesses in the Fort Wayne, IN area and currently professionally care for bonsai trees for my customers.

Experience

I am also studying the Japanese art of bonsai with tropical plants and is President of the Fort Wayne, IN Bonsai Club.

Organizations
Fort Wayne, iN Master Gardeners. President of the Fort Wayne Bonsai Club. Allen County Master Gardeners

Education/Credentials
I am not a hortculturist. I am a Purdue University Advanced Master Gardener for 24 years. I have studied plants on a personal level by growing hundreds of plants annually for the last 35 years. I have also studied under several nationally known American Bonsai experts.

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