Brown spots, holes on Anthurium leaves!

irena0318June 14, 2010

I purchased two Anthuriums 3 days ago, one white and one with pink flowers. Brought them home, repotted into slightly larger pot (only by 1", I read that Anthuriums like tight space), put pebbles on the bottom to create good drainage (read that it's important for Anthuriums), put it 5 feet away from a window (no direct sunlight)... seems like I did everything according to the instructions. I have never had these plants before. So, the next day after I bought them one pf them (white) started getting brown spots on leaves. The temp is about 78 in the house, AC is on but doesn't run much, I sprayed it with water since they like humidity. And now, 3 days after I bought it I am hoping I can save the plant. It is not getting better, brown spots on leaves are getting bigger, and now it started getting tine dot looking brown spots as well with yellow circle around it. It is not over watered, soil is moist thou. If anyone can give me an advice on it I'd appreciate very much. I really want to safe this plant. The other one is doing fine by the way. Please help. I have pictures too, just no place to upload them here.

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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

It sounds like one of the leaf spot fungal diseases, so please stop misting it. Many fungal diseases need a moist incubation period they otherwise would not get unless you're misting and artificially extending it.

They don't like to be tight in the pot, they just don't tolerate wet feet well & a small pot reduces the amount of time it takes for air to return to heavy soils. They do very well if their roots have room to run when you use a fast (draining) well-aerated soil. BTW - the pebbles on the bottom don't promote drainage - just thought you should know that.

If you want to save the plant, you can contact me off forum and I'll tell you what I would do to try to turn it around. Fungal infections are difficult to deal with - you might want to consider returning it for a healthier specimen.


    Bookmark   June 14, 2010 at 3:12PM
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There are a variety of methods used to grow Anthurium species. Home growers often prefer the most simplistic method, but that does not always ensure the full health or beauty of the plant.

If you're Anthurium is the common type sold in many stores and nurseries, it is likely a hybrid between several species. The most commonly used species are Anthurium andreanum and Anthurium scandens. The first produces primarily reddish inflorescences, while the second produces primarily whitish inflorescences.

While these look like flowers, they are not. The colorful spathe is simply a specially modified leaf shaped like a hood. The true flowers are very tiny and grow on the spadix at the center of the inflorescence. The spadix is the fleshy axis at the center of the inflorescence.

The brown spots you are seeing are likely caused by excess water in the soil. These plants are in fact, tropical, but they do not naturally grow in soil. Instead they grow on the branches of trees up in the rain forest canopy with their roots dangling in the air. They are rained on frequently but they dont enjoy having their roots drowned in soggy soil. Growers have learned Anthurium can grow well in soil that is the way they are commonly sold. This could be a fungal infection but what you described does not sound like a fungus. Misting is very important to keeping Anthurium species healthy. If it is a fungus you can easily cure it by simply sprinkling cinnamon from your kithed on the leaves. cinnamon is a commonly used treatment for fungal infections used by serious aroid growers all around the world.

Most growers, and many nurseries that do not know how to grow these species water these plants either excessively or rarely. Neither method does the plant any good. I grow close to 100 species of Anthurium in my personal collection and on the advice of the great housekeepers at the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis we use a very porous soil mix. The mixture is not difficult to make and the formula does not need to be precise. Many aroid growers, and your plant is an aroid, use this type of mixture with incredible success. Most readers are going to think I'm nuts, but all of our plants are misted five days a week, seven minutes at a time, using an overhead missing system. The Anthurium love it. Many are on directly from the ceiling at a level of about 12 feet off the ground in a relatively bright light, and some have developed spans of 5 feet or more.

This is my recommendation, which you can choose to use or ignore. I received e-mail every week. I'm someone that has read my article. Listed below banking me for helping to make their plant flourish. Start with approximately 40% good soil, I prefer to use a moisture control soil. Add to that approximately 30% peat moss, and the balance should be a mixture of good orchid bark containing charcoal and a bit of gravel (Schultz brand), Perlite, and any good compost you can find. Keep the soil evenly damp, but not soggy. Anthurium grow in trees for a reason, they like bright light. Despite the common advice found on the Internet, they love to be near a window. Just don't keep them near a cold window during winter. Also, please understand. I did not make up this mixture. I use it on the advice of the Missouri Botanical Garden, where they house the largest collection of Anthurium an aroid species in the United States.

I am certain there will be some, probably many that will disagree with the information I have just given. That is fine. Every grower selects the method they prefer. My information is simply based on advice from a number of expert aroid growers, botanists and advanced hobbyists and is based on the way these plants are grown by Mother Nature. I also understand that many people believe. You cannot use Mother Nature's methods and a home. We have been using it in our home since the early 1990s. And so do many other accessible growers.

If you would like to read more detail as to why this works, and how Anthurium actually grow in nature please read the link at the bottom of this page. You will find zero advertising and zero plants for sale. I sell nothing, I am retired and simply research aroids.

Most people also don't understand. There are approximately 1000 species of Anthurium found in Central America, South America and the Caribbean. None are found naturally in the Pacific or Asia.

Best wishes and good growing,

Steve Lucas

    Bookmark   June 14, 2010 at 4:11PM
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Just one additional note, the "tight space" information is not valid, at least in science. Seedlings are normally begun in small pots but the plants are stepped up as needed to allow the roots to spread.

Many growers prefer to use an undersized pot in order to force the foliage to grow faster. Healthy plants prefer to have a well developed root system which remains strong. The big trick to getting growing a healthy root system is giving them very loose soil and room to spread.

The minimum size pot I ever use even for small plants is 8 inches and I have quite a few very large Anthurium in 12 inch to 18 inch pots. Even an 18 inch pot can restrict the growth. Take a look at the few photos on the link below. I think you'll see what I mean since many of these plants are not in pots at all.

Again, you won't find any advertising or plants for sale. Check the first few lines on the page.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2010 at 4:28PM
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nancyanne_2010(Z 8 / WA)

Not to hijack the thread - but what about Anthurium grown on volcano rocks? I rescued one for $5.00 at Lowe's a few months ago. It was done blooming and for $5.00 I could not pass it up. It's now re blooming (I guess not really blooming - but sending up colorful - red - spathes) and it appears very healthy. It goes out (full sun) on nice days (seattle is so far north that "full sun" is much less intense than other parts of the country) - should I plan on planting the rock it is mounted on or just let it continue as is? How should I plan its future?



    Bookmark   June 14, 2010 at 9:13PM
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Nancy, the term "blooming" is just fine as long as the grower understands the flowers are on the spadix and the spathe is not a flower. The true flowers only last two days, possibly three.

This type of growth is known as being lithophytic or riparin growth and some Anthurium species do it naturally. It can work but it requires a lot of diligence. Make sure the volcanic rock stays wet but try to keep the majority of the rots out of the water. There are a few Anthurium species that do grow with their roots attached to rocks but those are not among the normal collectible species.

Plants that grow semi-aquatically in the region separating land and a stream are known as riparians and there are a few Anthurium in that group.

Plants including some Anthurium are also known as rheophytes. Rheophytes include semi-aquatic as well as aquatic plant species which live attached to stones in fast moving currents. The force of the fast moving current creates oxygen-rich water. Rheophytes are able to live in this environment due to their streamlined leaves that produce little resistance to the flow. I know of a few rheophytic Anthurium, but not many.

Add some liquid fertilizer to you water and watch the plant. As long as it remains healthy leave it alone but if it begins to fail just pot it rock and all into a good aroid mix.


    Bookmark   June 14, 2010 at 10:59PM
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nancyanne_2010(Z 8 / WA)

Thank you! Your posts are very informative and I saved the info for future use.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2010 at 11:25PM
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I also have anthurium. I bought it about 6 month ago, it had several leaves with brown spots and/or holes. It was blooming. Recently, several new leaves grew. They looked fine, but today I noticed that they began having spots on them. Also they are not turning as bright green color as older ones. It is not blooming anymore. I think it might be a fungal disease. How can I help my plant? Please help.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2010 at 4:49PM
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If it is fungal just sprinkle it with cinnamon and rub it in. The kitchen cure is one of the best anti-fungal meds you can use and is commonly used by aroid growers.


    Bookmark   July 6, 2010 at 6:49PM
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I love and grow the andreanum (sp?) type anthuriums. I have put them in s/h culture and they went wild with it. I also use Miracle-gro for orchids potting mix.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2010 at 11:16PM
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rexedwardfairy(Zone 11)

Great, great, GREAT posts everyone - thanks for all the terrific information.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2012 at 4:26AM
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What is s/h culture? I'm trying to get my anthuriums to bloom again.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2015 at 9:57PM
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I'm an orchid grower and live in Florida, received a Anthurium as a gift two years ago. I loved the color of the 'flower' which was a rose pink.

It was growing out of its pot and I quickly repotted in Miracle Gro and 1/2 orchid bark (small bark.) Unfortunately, I never researched the plant. Life was busy, we were moving into a new house. I placed the plant on a bench in strong East sun with my orchids under some shade cloth.

I have been amazed at the growth and flowering. I do not have brown leaves and had no idea it was in the orchid family. It has outgrown its new pot and I plan to repot this spring. Your post is so informative, I am saving it.

Thank you so much for the information.


    Bookmark   January 14, 2015 at 11:31PM
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