Red Anthurium

adelae(Georgia 6b)May 5, 2013

I have a red anthurium that I purchased almost three years ago after Christmas at Lowe's. I got it off the "please buy me before I die" table (can't pass those up!) I've never repotted because I read they sort of like to be ignored, just gave it a sunny window and it quickly bounced back to a lovely foliage plant but never blooming. Recently it has become so large and potbound that I'm having to water all the time, so I decided to pot up. Well lo and behold, three years later after purchase, I see a tiny little bloom peeking up out of the center of the plant! I'm very happy to see a bloom, but should I now postpone repotting? I've waiting three years for a flower and I don't want to mess it up now! Thanks!!

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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Whomever came up with the idea some plants like to be ignored should be sentenced to walk a mile on cracked hazelnut shells. All plants need appropriate care. To make sure they get it - we need to be attentive. We also need to resist the idea that every time we feel the urge to check our plants, we need to 'do something', which usually ends up being over-watering.

We all need to decide what's best for our plants based on how we order our priorities. For me, it's all about health first, then appearance. I'd gladly sacrifice a years worth of blooms for a healthy plant. In your case, if the plant hasn't been repotted in 3 years, it undoubtedly needs it. I would make it a priority to get that done in Jun - no matter what the bloom situation was looking like ..... but that's just me.

When you repot, you can use a chopstick to remove as much of the old soil from the interior of the root mass as possible, and prune any problem roots. Then repot in a fast draining medium that you KNOW will provide good aeration and drainage for the intended interval between repots. Fertilize about 2 weeks after repotting with a 3:1:2 ratio fertilizer (like 24-8-16, 12-4-8, or 9-3-6). Foliage-Pro 9-3-6 is worth looking for or ordering via the net. It has ALL the essential nutrients in almost exactly the same ratio at which plants use them. MOST soluble fertilizers are missing 1-several of the essential elements.


    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 9:14PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

Totally agree, I've only had this plant for about a year but it hardly ever does NOT have a bloom on it. When I repotted it last month*, it was blooming, and hasn't slowed down at all, new leaves and blooms continue to emerge. I think I'm more rough with the roots than what Al described, rubbing/wiggling the roots until all of the old soil falls out.

* Not necessarily a good idea to repot plants that early in the year if you're not in the deep south.

"Recently it has become so large and potbound that I'm having to water all the time..." Watering often is great, and should be your goal, but not because the pot is crammed full of roots. When it is good it is because the soil does not hold onto excess moisture. It sounds like your plant may have been (is) in a soil that retains a lot of water and now the plant is big enough to use it fast enough that it does not damage the roots, hence the ability to bloom.

Roots need air as well as water, and will be damaged if they are constantly soggy. This is where the fallacy of clichés like "likes to be rootbound" or "blooms better when potbound" originates. No plant likes to have zero room for roots to grow, and what seems like improvement won't last long. It's good to need to water often, even for a newly repotted plant, assuming your schedule allows for it, not someone who's often gone on vacations or business trips for a week at a time.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2013 at 9:50AM
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adelae(Georgia 6b)

Thanks for all the great advice! I went ahead and repotted, the roots looked healthy (thankfully), and there are lots of them! I don't know if I'm considered deep south, I'm the the extreme NE Georgia mountains (I can't almost spit into NC) so probably not. We recently moved to a new place, and I have a nice room full of windows with lots of SE/E exposure, maybe that is why I'm finally seeing blooms. My oxalis and african violets think it's a constant bloom party in there.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2013 at 12:12PM
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