Ever wonder why your anthurium’s leaves are turning brown? Here are four possible reasons.
At some point all leaves get old and they die. When this happens they start to turn yellow and then they start to turn brown. This is perfectly natural and perfectly normal. You can leave old leaves on the plant and let them fall off naturally. But in general I like to trim them off, since this makes our plants look better. Just remember to sterilize your cutting shears before doing this with a little rubbing alcohol. Or you can break of the leaves with your hands, grasp the base of the petiole and apply a downward pressure and the leaf should snap off.
Too Much Sun
If you have placed your plant in a spot where it can receive direct sunlight, it might be getting sun burnt. If all the leaves start to turn yellow at the same time and then start to turn brown, this may be a sign of sunburn. Try moving your anthurium to a slightly less sunny location or try to filter out a portion of the sunlight with a thin, filmy curtain. Or you can have the window next to your anthurium plant tinted. If you use a curtain, remember that it shouldn’t block out all of the sunlight. It should only block a portion of it.
Lack of Nutrition
If your plant has started growing slower than normal or if its new leaves are smaller than its old leaves, it may be suffering from a nutrient deficiency. Deficiencies in the major macro nutrients like Nitrogen, Phosphorous or Potassium can all cause leaves to turn brown, so can deficiencies in Calcium or Magnesium.
If nutrition is the issue, you can resolve it by using a liquid fertilizer for a few weeks. And after your plant has recovered you can switch to a controlled release fertilizer. When using liquid fertilizer dilute it to about 25% of the strength recommended on the label and use it once per week. Once your plant recovers, you can use it every two weeks or switch to controlled release fertilizer.
Fungal problems (like root rot) can also cause leaves to turn brown. In addition you can be feeding your plant well and it won’t be able to absorb the nutrition if its root system is compromised. If the roots of your plant are turning brown or black and feel mushy or slimy this is a sign of root rot. Healthy roots should be whitish or pinkish. If your plants roots don’t look so good, your best bet is to repot your plant. Make sure you use a good potting soil that drains well. To make a potting soil drain well you should incorporate redwood bark or perlite. When repotting your plant trim off the diseased portions of its main stem and roots using sterilized shears. After repotting be very careful with watering, never let your plant’s soil dry out completely, but conversely you must make sure that it never becomes soaking wet. Excess water allows nasty fungi to grow and causes root rot.
A Description of the Macro Nutrients Required By Anthuriums
Besides carbon, hydrogen and oxygen, anthurium plants like virtually all other types of vegetation require thirteen elements to grow. Many of the elements are only necessary in trace quantities, but there are six elements that are required in larger quantities and thus are considered to be macro nutrients. They are: nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium (the NPK in NPK fertilizer) and calcium, magnesium and sulfur.
Nitrogen is an inert gas that makes up roughly 78% of the air we breathe. Can you believe that there is more nitrogen in the atmosphere than oxygen? Anyway nitrogen is very important to plants. It helps them to grow bigger, without it your plants will be stunted. But plants don’t use gaseous nitrogen they generally require it to be fixated or combined with other elements in order to be able to use it. Most of the time bacteria are responsible for fixing nitrogen.
Phosphorus in its pure form is highly reactive and very dangerous. Fortunately it is not found in this form naturally. It is very important to cell membranes. Without it cells in all plants and animals would die. Plants suck a lot of phosphorus out of the soil and so fertilizers contain large quantities of it. It governs the growth rate of plants and if it isn’t present, plants will cease growing. A slight deficiency will cause stunting of anthuriums, while a severe deficiency will cause necrosis of the foliage.
Potassium is quite similar to sodium and in elemental form it will liberate hydrogen gas when dropped in water. The heat generated by this reaction will then ignite the hydrogen. A lack of potassium will cause the leaves of your plant to turn yellow. If the deficiency is severe enough the yellow spots will eventually turn necrotic and the leaf will die.
Calcium is important for building strong bones and generating action potentials in nerve cells. Without it, we wouldn’t last very long. Calcium is also very important to plants. With calcium deficiencies we see many of the same problems as with magnesium deficiencies: chlorosis and necrosis. But calcium deficiencies may also cause irregular leaf borders to develop.
Magnesium is a light metal that is used in high end automobile and aircraft parts. It too is highly reactive with oxygen and can catch fire under the right conditions. It seems like we are seeing a pattern here with all of these metallic elements. A deficiency will result in chlorosis and eventually necrosis, so make sure your plant gets enough of this element too.
Sulfur, or brimstone, is the element associated with the devil in ancient times. But this “evil” element is quite important to us and to our plants. It is the seventh most abundant element in the body and it a very important part of all proteins. Sulfur is very important for repairing oxidative damage in the body and it is important to plants too. Without it, your plants will not grow well and will be stunted.
So there you have it. These are the essential macro nutrients that all anthurium plants require. Without them your plant will stop growing and producing flowers and may even die. So make sure that your anthurium gets all of these nutrients. And it probably is a good idea for you to get these nutrients too, but of course we have to get these nutrients from food, not from a bag of fertilizer.
Choosing or making the ideal anthurium potting soil is important if you wish to grow a healthy anthurium plant. If you use a bad potting soil, your anthurium may grow slowly, stop flowering and even die. Before I tell you how to create the ideal anthurium potting soil, I am going to give you a little background on the growing media that wild anthuriums grow in, so that you can understand what makes for a great potting soil.
Wild anthuriums don’t grow in pots. I hope that this isn’t a big surprise. They come from South America and they grow in tropical jungles, primarily upon the trunks of trees.
Growing on trees allows them to receive a lot of water from rain and fog, and it allows this water to drain away rapidly. They’re unusual plants because they love moisture, yet continuous exposure to moisture can kill them. Growing on trees allows them to keep their roots out of standing water and allows their roots to receive plenty of oxygen.
When choosing or making a potting mix you must remember the reason why they grow on trees. Most out of the box planting mixes retain too much water. So if you use these types of mixes your plant may die from being exposed to too much moisture. The surplus water may prevent oxygen from reaching the roots and allow anaerobic bacteria and fungi to grow.
You can prevent this by making your own potting mix. Your mix needs to drain well and it ought to be light and loose to keep your anthurium healthy. Here are two excellent potting mix recipes.
High End Anthurium Potting Mix
This mix will cost you an arm and a leg. Well, maybe not that much. But it is probably one of the better all around mixes for anthuriums. I must warn you, it will take a little work to procure all of the ingredients and mix them well. The links in the recipe below will take you to Amazon.com where you can buy the ingredients if you can’t find them in your local garden store.
To make this, just find something to use as a measuring device, like a pot. Then put five scoops of the miracle grow potting mix, two scoops of the peat moss, and so on, into a large container and mix thoroughly.
To save time, I would recommend mixing up more than you need at the moment and storing the excess in a water proof bag or container for when you need to repot your anthuriums in the future.
Simple Anthurium Potting Soil
If you don’t want to go all out with the high end potting mix, you can use this potting mix recipe, instead. It will still work well and it costs less and is easier to make.
The same instructions, as above, apply. Mix thoroughly and make more than you need to save time in the future.
Hawaiian Anthurium Potting Mix
When you are growing a lot of anthuriums and I am talking in the tens of thousands (I’ve never counted) it is simply not economical to use commercial potting mixes. But here in Hawaii, the solution is simple and economical. We grow our anthuriums in volcanic cinder. It drains really well, but it also has a lot of pores so it holds on to just the right amount of water too.
We buy cinder by the truck load for our farm. But if you don’t happen to have a cinder cone a few miles away, either of the potting mix recipes that I described above should work well for you.
In many parts of the world, weather and climate conditions dictate that anthuriums must be grown indoors. Anthurium plants simply can not handle cold winters or hot summers. When exposed to temperatures outside of 55 to 95 degrees they can be harmed or even die. Furthermore, anthuriums are very sensitive to direct sunlight and low humidity levels. If you live in an arid, desert region, both of these conditions are in great abundance. Obviously the ideal solution is to grow your anthuriums inside your home, so here are my tips for growing anthuriums indoors.
If at all possible place your plant in the bathroom. The reason that the bathroom is the ideal place for these types of plants is the humidity that is generated when you take a bath. These plants love high humidity and the bathroom is the room with the highest humidity in your house.
Next, put your plant near a window, but away from direct sunlight. These plants require a lot of light, but they can be burned by direct sunlight. They will be stunted if you don’t give them enough light, but direct sunlight can harm them. If you must place them in a locate that the sun strikes directly, use a thin curtain between your plant and the window to filter out a portion of the light.
Set your thermostat to 65 to 80 degrees. This is probably a comfortable range for you and a great range for your plants. These plants can handle a temperature range of 55 to 95 degrees, but it is better to keep them at the temperature that I have recommended.
Finally, don’t forget to water them. Anthuriums come from rain forests where they receive rain everyday. So ideally you should water them everyday. But the main caveat is that you should never allow their roots to sit in water. Make sure that their potting soil is porous and drains well, and make sure that you empty the drip tray that you have set their pot in.anthurium plants isn’t too difficult if you follow these tips.
Water them regularly. You never want to let their soil get bone dry, but you also do not want to drown them either. If you let their soil get too dry, when you water them again they will have a difficult time absorbing water again. But if you do not allow the water to drain fully, they can suffer from root rot. Another component of proper drainage comes from the soil that your plants are potted in. If the soil doesn’t drain well, you should repot your plants into a potting soil that drains better.
Give them the correct amount of light. Direct sun light is bad for these plants, it can burn their leaves and flowers. Bright, indirect sun shine is best. If they do not get enough light, they will stop flowering and their growth will slow. Often you will see their leaves getting elongated and turning dark green if they aren’t getting enough light. So make sure that you give them the right amount of light.
To ensure that they grow evenly, turn the pot that they are planted in a little bit, once a week. These plants grow towards the sun and this will ensure even growth. If you watch them closely, you will see that they will orient their leaves and flowers to face the sun.
Clean your plants periodically. Spray a little water on the top and bottom of their leaves and use a soft cloth to wipe off the water. This will remove any pests and dust from your plants. This will help to keep them healthy and make their leaves look nice and shiny too.
Like all plants, anthurium plants require certain nutrients in order to grow. The absence of these nutrients can cause your plants to grow slower or even die. Proper anthurium care dictates giving your plants the correct amount of each of these nutrients. This is a brief guide to these essential nutrients and the symptoms that you might see if your plant is deficient in them.
The three main nutrients required by anthurium flowers and all plants are nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Just about every fertilizer on the market contains these elements because they are vital to just about all plants. The lack of any one of these nutrients will usually cause the following symptoms to occur. First, you will notice stunted growth. Your plant will either grow more slowly or stop growing completely. Second, you will notice that the leaves of your plant will begin to turn yellow, and eventually the leaves will start to die. Finally, if nutrients are still not provided, your plant will die.
Magnesium is another vital nutrient. Without it, your plant will be stunted and its leaves will begin to turn yellow and start dying. In addition, a lack of magnesium will cause new leaves to be deformed. Calcium is also very important. Lack of calcium can cause the flowers of your plant to die. Calcium deficiency will cause new leaves to be deformed and will also distort the edges of mature leaves. If the deficiency continues, the leaves will start turning yellow and begin dying.
Sulfur is another important nutrient. Lack of sulfur will result in slight stunting of your plant and slight yellowing of its leaves. Your plant may be able to survive a sulfur deficiency, but why take any chances?
Probably the easiest way to resolve these deficiencies is to use a complete fertilizer. If you look around your garden store, you will be able to find something that has all of these nutrients in slow release form. In most cases, this should be all you need. But some severe cases of calcium and magnesium deficiencies may warrant the use of dolomite. This contains both calcium and magnesium.
Anthurium plants are tough, but just as Superman has his weaknesses, so do anthuriums. As long as you follow the basic principles of anthurium care, your plants should be able to shrug off the majority of problems. However, even with the best of care, anthuriums can succumb to the following pests.
Anthracnose is a fungal disease caused by Colletotrichum gloeosporioides. Usually it is not deadly, but it is a great nuisance. When it infects your plants, it causes brown splotches to form on the spadix of your flowers. Sometimes this can cause the spadix to die off completely and start to rot. So if you want nice flowers you need to avoid this disease. You can do this by only raising anthracnose resistant varieties or by using any of a number of fungicides to keep it under control.
Nematodes are small worms that attack the roots of your plants. They burrow into the roots and as they are burrowing they are also feeding on the roots. This causes the roots to grow slower and keeps your plants from growing. They can kill your plants, but more likely will only cause them to be stunted. Fortunately, they can be eliminated with various agricultural chemicals.
Another grave threat is a group of fungi, which include: Pseudomonas, Colletotrichum, Rhizoctonia and Phytophthora. They are essentially parasites that live by consuming your plants. Left unchecked, they are deadly, but there is a lot that you can do to keep them at bay. They like water and low oxygen levels, so do your best to not give them what they want. Your plant likes water too, but just be sure that you don’t water it excessively. And if they are still a problem, any one of a number of fungicides can be used.
By far, the greatest enemy that your plants face is Xanthomonas blight. It is the most diabolical of threats to these plants. It kills nearly all plants that are misfortunate enough to get infected with it. It is a bacteria that is transported from plant to plant by water. If it finds the tiniest scratch on a flower or leaf, it will enter and begin attacking your plant. If you are lucky, you can remove the infected leaf and your plant may live. But if it reaches the core of your plant, the odds of your plant surviving are low. There are no known treatments for blight. It is generally a death sentence for any infected plant.
Some but not all anthurium flowers are susceptible to a disease called Xanthomonas blight. The blight is deadly. It doesn’t take any prisoners. When an anthurium plant is infected it will eventually die, unless you manage to remove infected leaves or flowers before the disease has spread. Generally, andreanum are susceptible to this disease, while andrecola, which are andreanum amnicola hybrids are resistant to it. So if you are growing andrecola you probably don’t need to worry about blight, but if you are growing andreanum, you might wish to read on.
Proper anthurium care is vital to keep this threatening menace at bay. Blight is spread by water and proximity. Water can carry Xanthomonas from an infected plant to an uninfected plant.
Obviously if you keep the plants close together, there is a greater chance of infection than if you keep them far apart. So if you are growing these plants in your garden you want them spaced as far apart as possible. But if you are a large quantity of them, you may not have a choice but to keep them closer together.
When growing these plants in close proximity there are several things you can do to reduce the transmission of blight. The first is changing how they are watered. Watering with drip irrigation will reduce the amount of water that gets on the leaves. This will reduce the transmission of blight from an infected leaf to an uninfected one. Second, immediately remove any plants that show signs of infection. Be careful not to let it touch other plants as it is carried away. Third be careful when walking in between your plants, especially if they are wet. You can easily spread blight when they are wet.
Finally, proper sanitation is essential. Make sure that there is no standing water where you grow your anthurium. Sterilize all pots and tools before use. Rubbing alcohol can be used as a sanitizing agent. Clear away any dead leaves. And make sure you quarantine any new plants for a while to make sure that they are uninfected.
If you have had your anthurium plant for a long time, you may want to consider pruning it for several reasons. First, if your anthurium has a lot of dead or yellow leaves they should be removed. Second if a leaf or flower has been injured by a pest and become infected it should also be removed. Third, if your plant has an excess of leaves, it can be pruned for aesthetic reasons.
To start make sure you have the following supplies on hand. You will need pruning shears, a cloth and rubbing alcohol. Put a little alcohol on the cloth and rub it over the blades of your shears to sterilize them. Sterilization is a very important step that is required to keep your plant disease free.
Next, look for any dead or yellow leaves on your plant. If you find any, gently pull them off. If they do not come off easily clip them off with your shears near the stalk of your plant. After each cut be sure to sterilize your shears to prevent the spread of bacteria to your plant.
After that, look for diseased leaves and flowers, and clip them off. Make certain you are especially careful to sterilize your shears when working with diseased portions of you plant. But, hopefully you will be lucky and not have any diseased leaves or flowers to trim off.
At the end of your plant’s growing season, you can remove leaves for aesthetic reasons if your plant has more than four leaves. If you wish, you can trim off any excessive leaves that stick out at bad angles to make your plant look better. But when you are doing this make sure you leave at least four leaves or you may harm your plant. When doing this try to remove older leaves and leave the younger leaves to develop further.
Usually anthurium plants are very easy to grow, but sometimes you may encounter a few of these common problems when raising them. Most of the problems you will face when growing anthuriums will be the result of errors in watering, fertilizing or light levels. When growing anthuriums outdoors, pests can also be an issue, but I assume that most of you will be growing your plants indoors, so I am not going to cover pest issues.
The number one cause of problems has to do with watering. Improper watering can permit fungus to attack your plant and so it can be indirectly responsible for harming your plant. Fungus and other anaerobic bacteria grow well when air is not allowed to reach the roots of your plant.
Over watering and the use of a soil that doesn’t drain well are common issues. If your plant has stopped growing and has started producing wilted leaves, you may have a problem with fungus. You may be able to fix this by repotting your plant into a soil that drains better and by being careful not to over water your anthurium. When repotting, you may need to trim off the diseased or damaged parts of your plant.
Another big issue is over fertilizing your plant. If your plant is turning yellow or brown, it could be receiving too much fertilizer. Stop adding additional fertilizer and try to rinse out the excess fertilizer with water.
Finally, too much or too little light can also cause problems. If your plant seems to be growing slowly and producing few flowers, this could mean that it is receiving too little light, especially if its leaves are dark green. Try moving your plant to a brighter area, but never put it in direct sunlight. If your plant is getting bleached and the tips of its leaves are turning brown, it may be receiving too much light. Try moving it to an area with a little less light.