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Anthurium with Browning Leaves

Question:

I bought an Anthurium with red flowers from the local supermarket last March and it’s been sitting in a well lit office ever since. It’s not near a window or near natural light.  It hasn’t had flowers since about June/July.  Over the past month or two, it’s been getting brown dried tips on the leaves. It’s potted in two pots, one with holes on the bottom and another that holds the cheaper one with the holes. I water the plant about once a week with a cup of ice cubes, per the instructions that came with it.  Before the browning on the leaves started, the plant grew an abnormal flower and hasn’t had any flowering since.  I looked at the roots and checked to see if the soil was wet at the bottom and it didn’t seem wet or soggy.  I haven’t repotted the plant or fertilized and it’s in a 6-8 inch pot. Thanks in advance.

Answer:

Most flowering plants sold today are hybrids that have been bred to bloom profusely at point-of-sale. Unfortunately, the downside of that hybridizing is that those flowering plants bloom sporadically and somewhat weakly thereafter. That leads to a lot of frustration. You cannot alter the genetic makeup of your Anthurium, but there are some things you can do to get the best out of what you have.

Office fluorescent lighting is very good for green foliage, but not so good for flower production. Anthuriums are more likely to flower if they get lots of bright indirect natural light, such as you get on a north windowsill. If you are happy to keep it as a foliage plant, then leave it where it is.

Using ice cubes to water plants is an out-of-date, discredited horticultural practice. Most houseplants are tropical in origin and do not like anything very cold. It is also very difficult to control the volume of water when using this method.

A better way to water your Anthurium is to take the inner pot to the sink and allow lots of water  to run through and out of the drain holes. After it has finished draining, put it back into its outer pot. Once a week is about right, but the top half inch of potting mix should feel dry before you water. You can add some fertilizer diluted to half strength every month or two.

Your Anthurium will be very happy in that pot for as long as yo have it, so don’t even think about repotting it.

I only see one leaf that has some edge yellowing and a couple of leaves with brown tipping. A certain amount of yellowing and tipping is normal. You will also lose a few older leaves as the plant ages. If these symptoms become excessive, it is usually because it is not getting enough light or the watering is not quite on target. Leaf discoloration of edges and tips can be trimmed off with sharp scissors just to make it look a little more attractive.