Flamingo Flower (Anthurium)

Anthurium, Flamingo Flower, Flamingo Lily, Tailflower

Add color and a tropical touch to a room by growing anthurium. This easy-to-grow houseplant produces brightly colored flower-like leaves in shades of pink, red, purple, and white. Long-lasting dark green foliage is the perfect backdrop for the showy anthurium flowers. Its reliable color will add pizzazz to any plant collection.

I. Appearance and Characteristics 

Anthurium is a genus of about 1,000 species of flowering plants, the largest genus of the arum family, Araceae. General common names include anthurium, tailflower, flamingo flower, and laceleaf.

The genus is native to the Americas, where it is distributed from northern Mexico to northern Argentina and parts of the Caribbean.

Anthurium is a genus of herbs often growing as epiphytes on other plants. Some are terrestrial. The leaves are often clustered and are variable in shape. The inflorescence bears small flowers which are perfect, containing male and female structures. The flowers are contained in close together spirals on the spadix. The spadix is often elongated into a spike shape, but it can be globe-shaped or club-shaped. Beneath the spadix is the spathe, a type of bract. This is variable in shape, as well, but it is lance-shaped in many species. It may extend out flat or in a curve. Sometimes it covers the spadix like a hood. The fruits develop from the flowers on the spadix. They are juicy berries varying in color, usually containing two seeds.

These houseplants are toxic to both humans and pets. If eaten you may feel burning in the mouth, pain in the stomach and other possible symptoms. If eaten, seek medical advice as soon as possible.

The spadix and spathe are a main focus of Anthurium breeders, who develop cultivars in bright colors and unique shapes. Anthurium scherzerianum and A. andraeanum, two of the most common taxa in cultivation, are the only species that grow bright red spathes. They have also been bred to produce spathes in many other colors and patterns.

Anthurium plants are poisonous due to calcium oxalate crystals. The sap is irritating to the skin and eyes.

Like other aroids, many species of Anthurium plant can be grown as houseplants, or outdoors in mild climates in shady spots, including Anthurium crystallinum and Anthurium clarinervium with its large, velvety, dark green leaves and silvery white venation. 

Many hybrids are derived from Anthurium andraeanum or Anthurium scherzerianum because of their colorful spathes. They thrive in moist soils with high organic matter. In milder climates the plants can be grown in pots of soil. Indoors plants thrive at temperatures of 16–22 °C (61–72 °F) and at lower light than other house plants. Wiping the leaves off with water will remove any dust and insects. 

Plants in pots with good root systems will benefit from a weak fertilizer solution every other week. In the case of vining or climbing Anthuriums, the plants benefit from being provided with a totem to climb.

II. How to Grow and Care


Anthurium grows best in a space with bright indirect light, where the sun rays are diffused, and can also adapt to spaces with bright direct light, where the sunlight streams inside directly. Avoid placing it in spaces with low light or spaces without natural sunlight.

Temperature & Humidity

The ideal anthurium temperature range is between 60F and 90F. Warmer temperatures will cause stress, while cooler ones will discourage growth. Likewise, the ideal anthurium humidity is around or above 50% – which describes most households. If you live in a particularly arid climate, you can take some simple steps to alleviate your plants.


The soil should be kept slightly moist and never allowed to dry out completely. Set the pot in a tray with rocks or gravel that has water. The plant’s water can drain there and help keep humidity levels higher around the plant. Allow the top of the soil to dry out to the touch before watering again. Indoors, this is about once a week. If outside, during hot days, it can be every two or three days between waterings.


Anthuriums prefer a coarse, well-draining potting mix. An orchid mix with additional sand and peat moss mixed in makes perfect soil for anthuriums.


Anthuriums are not particular about fertilizer, and often grow and flower well without extra feeding. If your plant is not blooming well and its light needs are met, fertilize it with a general-purpose houseplant fertilizer. Follow package directions for use.

Planting Instructions

  • Choose a pot at least 200mm wide and position in a well-lit spot, out of direct sunlight.  
  • Fill the pot with good quality potting mix, such as Yates Thrive Indoor Plants Potting Mix. 
  • Remove the plant from the container, gently tease the roots and cut away any circled or tangled roots.
  • Position in pot and backfill with potting mix, gently firming down. Water in well.
  • Water when the potting mix is dry – insert your index finger to the first knuckle, if it’s dry, water and if it’s moist, don’t water. 
  • Feed fortnightly during the growing season with Yates Thrive Indoor Liquid Plant Food to promote strong root development, an abundance of flowers and healthy foliage growth.


When a plant has dying or wilting leaves, it puts its energy into trying to revive those dying leaves. You can help your plant focus its energy on creating new leaves and flowers by removing the browning leaves. If they’re not easy to pluck, use sterile hand pruners to trim them. Remove faded flowers by snipping them off at the base. Only leave faded flowers on longer if you want the plant to produce seeds.

Take some time to shape your plant; snip off errant leaves or shoots that make the plant look off-balance. Do not remove too many leaves; leave at least three or four.


Anthuriums have a way of telling you that they’re ready to propagate; they send out “air roots.” Anthurium roots are fleshy, appearing almost knobby or tuberous. They’ll start jutting out from a stem above the soil line in the pot. This can happen during any season. Propagating is a good idea for plants that have stopped blooming or decreased bloom frequency. You can propagate from air root cuttings or stem cuttings, here’s how:

  • You’ll need a clean pot, fresh well-draining soil, and a sharp, sterilized knife or pruners. Optionally, you may want to use rooting hormone, to increase your rooting success.
  • Using your sterile, sharp implement, cut off the air roots or select a stem at least 6 inches long with two to three sets of leaves. Dip the cut end of the stem in rooting hormone, if you want.
  • Plant the cut end of the stem or the air root in a fresh potting mix. Water the soil thoroughly, keeping the soil moist. Place the pot in a warm spot but with indirect light. It should take about 4 to 6 weeks before you notice new growth.

How to Grow from Seed

You can also grow anthurium from seed; however, it can take up to four years before you see flowers, which might discourage those looking for a colorful plant. The best planting medium for this seed is moist vermiculite. Lightly press the seed into the vermiculite an inch apart. To speed up germination, cover the plant with a clear plastic bag. Place the plant near a window, but not in direct light. If the water beads up within the plastic, open one side and allow some air; the plant needs to breathe. Remove the plastic cover entirely after you notice new growth.

Potting and Repotting 

When an anthurium fills its pot with roots and begins to send plentiful air roots, it is time to repot. Usually, repotting an anthurium is necessary every two years or so. Transfer the plant to a pot that is only slightly larger than the old one—no more than 2 inches larger.

Get a container based on your watering habits. Overwaterers should get a terra cotta pot that can allow the water to seep out of the container. If you tend to forget about your plants, use plastic or ceramic to hold in moisture. No matter your habits, you need a container with multiple drainage holes.

To repot an anthurium, fill the new pot with about 1/3 potting mix, then set the plant onto the soil and lightly pack additional soil around the base, up to the level the plant was buried in its old pot. As new air roots form above the soil over the following weeks, lightly pack additional potting mix around the exposed roots.


Anthurium will not survive outside in non-tropical zones during the winter. If your plant lives outside for the winter, bring it in as soon as the temperature drops below 60 F. The plant will need a sunny window, temperatures that hover around 75 F, and high humidity. A bathroom environment is perfect for this plant.

Pests and Diseases

Common Pests

These plants are subject to the same pests that commonly affect most houseplants: mealybugs, spider mites, whiteflies, and scale.3 Aphids leave distorted mottled leaves over time. If you also get a trail of ants on your plants, it’s a good sign you have an aphid infestation. Ants feed on an aphid’s sticky residue.4

Leaves that have yellow stippling can be spider mites. Thrips also cause mottled leaves and feed on new growth, as do mealybugs. If the insects remain on the plant, they will become faded, limp, fail to produce new growth, and die. You can often control insects naturally with short, sharp blasts of water, which dislodge and often drown the pests. Stubborn insects may respond to horticultural soap or oil sprays, which are natural and don’t harm the plant. You can use horticultural oils and soaps to treat these pests.

Common Problems 

This plant has some special needs, but once you figure out its sweet spot and you nail down a routine, anthurium is an easy plant to keep.

Yellowing Leaves

Too much direct sunlight may cause Anthurium leaves to turn yellow. Bleached and brown tips also indicate that it is receiving too much light. Move the plant a little further away from the window. Also, yellowing leaves can be bacterial wilt. It can change the color of stems and leaves from yellow to bronze.

Floppy Leaves

Rhizoctonia is a fungus that can take hold of roots and lower stems. It makes young, delicate stems weak and floppy because they’re waterlogged.

III. Uses and Benefits 

  • Ornamental uses

Anthurium plants have fantastic ornamental value and add a tropical aesthetic to any space. That’s one of the main reasons they’re so popular, even making the Forbes list of top indoor plants. Their foliage is deep green and glossy year-round, with attractive, softly rounded margins.

Anthurium blooms throughout the year with attractive, colorful spathes. These heart-shaped, waxy blooms bring color and shine to the room. Their upright yellow spadices add a touch of drama and texture that draws the eye.

  • Air Purifying Properties

In 1989, NASA released research that detailed the ability of several common houseplants to remove toxins from the air. A. andraeanum was among the plants studied, and the results show that Anthurium can help improve indoor air quality.

How does this work? Indoor air often contains harmful contaminants, such as carbon dioxide, formaldehyde, benzene, toluene, and trichloroethylene. The study also found that indoor plants can help reduce pollutants like cigarette smoke and organic solvents. Anthurium was found to be especially good at reducing the amount of formaldehyde, xylene, and ammonia in the air.

Flamingo Flower (Anthurium) Details

Common name Anthurium, Flamingo Flower, Flamingo Lily, Tailflower
Botanical name Anthurium
Plant type Herbaceous Perennial
Height 2 ft. 0 in. - 3 ft. 0 in.
Width 2 ft. 0 in. - 3 ft. 0 in.
Sunlight Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
Soil condition Loam (Silt)
Flower color Gold/Yellow
Leaf color Green