Anthurium flowers come in many different shapes and sizes. I’m sure that you could find hundreds of different kinds of flower variations. But there are just three main types of anthurium flowers: obake, tulip and standard. These classifications are based on the shape and the color pattern of each flower.
Obake Anthurium Flowers
Obake means “ghost” in the Japanese language. Since many of the earliest anthurium growers in Hawaii were Japanese, I guess it makes sense that this type of anthurium flower would receive a Japanese name. But what is less clear is why they chose to name these types of flowers “ghost.” Perhaps, it is because these beautiful, large flowers have an ethereal quality. Obake also has a second meaning in Japanese. It can also mean “a thing that changes” or something that is in transition. Perhaps the change from one color to another that is present in all obake flowers meets this definition.
Obake anthuriums are, in my opinion, the most stunning type of anthurium flowers. They produce the largest flowers and they rarely found in a single boring color, but instead are multi-colored. Each flower will often have one color in the center and a different color at their edges. They are shaped like elongated hearts and their spathe is often a little wavy. They are the most expensive variety to purchase, so I guess others feel the same way that I do about them.
Tulip Anthurium Flowers
Tulip anthuriums are shaped like tulips. Hopefully this isn’t a big surprise. They tend to be the smallest variety, often producing flowers that are only two to six inches in size.
They come in a range of colors including red, pink, purple, lavender and white. Unlike other types of anthuriums, some varieties of tulip anthuriums produce a pleasant, sweet scent. Unfortunately, their fragrance doesn’t always seem to last when they shipped as a cut flower. So you may need to find a tulip anthurium plant that is in bloom to experience their pleasing fragrance for yourself.
Standard Anthurium Flowers
Standard anthuriums are the oldest and most common variety of anthurium. They are what most people think of when the word anthurium is mentioned. They are shaped like perfect Valentine’s Day hearts and the majority come in solid colors, thought a minority come in multi-colored patterns. They typically range in size from three to eight inches and the most famous color is red. Though they can also come in orange, green, pink, various pastels and purple. Multi-colored varieties can have an obake-like color pattern or they can also be speckled.
Pictures From Our Farm
Here are a few pictures of the anthurium flowers that live on our farm. Would you believe that some of these anthurium plants are almost as old as I am? Well it’s true, if they aren’t harmed by injury or disease, anthurium plants can outlive us. We take top cuttings, plant them, let them grow for a few years and take top cuttings again, and this cycle repeats almost endlessly.
A Common Mistake When Ordering Anthurium Flowers
When ordering anthuriums for the first time, a common mistake is to not know exactly what is being ordered. Often, people will see a picture perfect anthurium bouquet or arrangement on a website and expect that this arrangement is exactly what they are going to be getting. But when it finally arrives and they open the box they are disappointed to find a bunch of loose flowers that they have to arrange on their own. To guard against making this mistake, check with the retailer to find out if they are selling loose flowers or actual arrangements.
- Anthurium means “tail flower” in the Greek language
- Samuel Damon brought the anthurium to Hawaii in 1889
- The rain forests of Central and South America were the ancestral home of anthurium plants
- Anthurium plants can be mildly poisonous, they can cause stomach issues if ingested
- There are more than 800 species of anthuriums
- Virtually all anthurium flowers are of the species Anthurium Andreanum, this includes: obake, tulip and standard anthuriums in nearly every color of the rainbow
- Anthurium flowers are perfect, meaning that they have both male and female parts
Little Known Facts About Anthurium Flowers
What you think of as anthurium flowers really aren’t flowers at all, they are actually spathes. A spathe is really just a specialized leaf, or in other words, a bract, which is essentially a cross between a petal and a leaf. The spathe can come in almost all of the colors of the rainbow, from red to violet and it can also come in a variety of shapes, from the standard heart shape to the tulip shape.
In the center of the spathe, is where the real anthurium flower resides. This is where the spadix, a.k.a.: nose, tail or inflorescence is located. The spadix is the actual anthurium flower; it is where the stamen (male part of the flower) and stigma (female part of the flower) are to be found. The stamen and stigma can only be seen with magnifying glasses and appear as tiny bumps on the spadix.
In summary, the anthurium flower consists of the following parts. The spathe, which everyone calls a flower, but which is actually just a glorified leaf; the spadix, which is the actual flower; and the stigma and stamen, which are the female and male parts of the flower that appear as tiny bumps.
There are just two major categories of anthuriums that you may find in your local plant store: foliage varieties and flowering varieties. And the vast majority of what you see will there will be flowering varieties.
As far as foliage varieties go, the main types are Anthurium Crystallinum and Anthurium Faustinomirandae. A. Crystallinum will typically produce dark green, smooth leaves with highlighted white veins that are up to two feet in size. While, A. Faustinomirandae will often produce monstrous five foot leaves that are stiff as paperboard. But good luck finding these in your garden store, these will take a little effort to procure.
In terms of flowering varieties the two main varieties are Anthurium Scherzerianum and Anthurium Andreanum. A. Scherzerianum is a tough plant and it is an excellent choice for your first anthurium plant as it is easy to care for and tough to kill. But it leaves much to be desired in terms of the types of flowers that it produces, which are rather limited. It usually produces small white flowers with a curly orange spadix and it has smaller spade shaped leaves.
If you want the widest possible choice in flower shapes, sizes and colors, look to A. Andreanum. It is the species that is responsible for virtually all of the various types of anthurium flowers that are found in flower shops. In Hawaii, in the 1940′s, anthurium hobbyists learned how to selectively breed anthuriums. The fruit of their efforts was an explosion of different types of A. Andreanum flowers. They produced the three main flower shapes: standard, obake and tulips. And they also created many of the colors that we see today: red, orange, green, purple, pink, pastels, speckled and much, much more.
How To Care For Anthuriums
Anthuriums are strong plants and they are relatively easy to care for. There is really just two things that you need to do.
First, you need to water your plant regularly. It is critical that you give your anthurium enough water to keep it hydrated and do not give it so much water that it drowns. Ideally, you should water your plant every day, but you need to make sure that its soil drains well. You never want it to be left sitting it water. The water must drain away to allow oxygen to reach its roots. If oxygen does not reach its roots, anaerobic bacteria start to grow and will attack the root system of your plant.
Second, you need to fertilize your anthurium. The ideal way to do this is to use a very dilute liquid fertilizer once a week. But this is really too way too much work and the easier solution is to apply a slow release fertilizer every three to six months. This is much easier and produces close to the same results as the liquid fertilizer method.
Proper Growing Conditions For Anthuriums
You have to keep in mind that anthuriums come from tropical rain forests, so you’ll want to replicate this environment as closely as possible when you are growing an anthurium plant. To do this you’ll need high humidity, warm temperatures and filtered sunlight.
The ideal place to meet these conditions is a window in your bathroom. When you take a hot shower, this will produce a lot of humidity. So the first necessary condition is fulfilled. By keeping your plant in your home you will generally meet the second condition which is a warm, but not excessively hot temperature. Anthuriums love temperatures of 70 to 80 degrees and they will be happy if you keep your home at this temperature. Finally, putting your plant near a window will give it filtered sunlight. Anthuriums like a lot of light, but too much light can cause their leaves to burn. Just put your plant as close to the window as you can, without it burning.