The Anthurium veitchii is commonly known as the King Anthurium. Like most anthurium varieties, it is an epiphyte. Thus, in its native Colombia, you’ll find it hanging around trees and their branches in the forest. This makes them tropical in nature.
While not the easiest plant to grow, it can take a lot of neglect. In fact, some gardeners I know say that they grow best when they just “leave them alone”. Of course, you do need to give the king anthurium the right environment to grow first.
Known for its large, rippled, green-colored leaves, this is a beautiful houseplant grown mostly for its foliage. While it does bloom, the uniqueness and size of its leaves overshadow the flower itself.
To give you an idea, a mature Anthurium veitchii’s leaves can grow to between 4 to 6 feet long and 6 to 8 feet wide. Thus, it’s the perfect plant if you want to add a tropical accent to your home or office.
Anthurium Veitchii Plant Care
Anthurium Veitchii Light
The Anthurium Veitchii likes bright, indirect or filtered light. That’s because in its natural habitat it grows on trees and branches. This gives it a natural canopy provided by the big branches and leaves of tall trees. As such, giving it similar conditions to what it is used to allows it to “feel at home”.
More importantly, you want to prevent the King Anthurium from direct sunlight. Allowing it to get exposed to the sun’s harsh rays for hours at a time causes its leaves to burn. As a result, destroying the beauty of the plant.
Due to its other growing requirements below, inside the home or a greenhouse are the best places to grow your Anthurium Veitchii.
As such, an east-facing window is the best spot to grow this plant. But, if that’s not available to you, you still have a few other options.
If you do opt to go with either a west- or south-facing window, do provide your plant with ample protection. Nurseries use a shade cloth to keep the sun from this plant. Additionally, you can use shades or curtains that only allow some sun to get through.
Probably the easiest way to keep it away from direct sunlight is positioning it about 6-8 feet away from the west or south window. But, make sure that there’s still enough light.
If you want to grow it outside, make sure to place it somewhere with shade. Partial shade locations are perfect for this anthurium variety in the outdoors.
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Anthurium Veitchii Temperature & Humidity
Like other tropical plants, the kind anthurium thrives when the temperature is between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. This makes most homes a good place for them to grow properly since humans enjoy this temperature as well.
if you’re lucky enough to live in an area where the weather hovers around that range all year long (USDA Zones 10 and 11), then you can grow them outside. But, for most people, the Anthurium Veitchii is better off grown in a pot. That’s because temperatures under 55 degrees become detrimental to it. And, you’ll see the leaves start to wilt if you allow it to stay outside then the mercury drops in the fall and winter.
In addition to temperature, you’ll also want to place it somewhere there’s at least moderate humidity. It likes relative humidity to stay around 50% to 60%. It won’t mind higher humidity but will start to fuss if the relative humidity goes under 50%. Thus, you may or may not need to increase the humidity in certain areas of your home to accommodate this plant.
If it doesn’t get enough humidity, you’ll quickly notice it in its leaves. Torn leaves is a sign of lack of humidity. This means you’ll need to add moisture to the air, which often happens during the winter as the air gets drier. Similarly, don’t place this plant in air conditioned rooms as the air gets dry there.
When increasing humidity, you’ll want to keep air flowing throughout the room as well. Poor air circulation means that moisture can settle on the leaves. This can result in fungal disease and other problems. So, moving air is a must.
That said, here are some simple ways to increase humidity in sections of a room.
- Pebble tray. Fill a water bath or basin with water and place some pebbles in it such that the pebbles get above the water. Then, put your plant on top of the pebbles. This keeps the pot (and soil) from sitting in the water. And, the water will evaporate adding moisture in the air right above the plant.
- Pool your plants together. Grouping plants near one another increases the humidity around them. That’s because they transpire, which is similar to how people perspire). So, the moisture that goes up in the air makes the air less dry. The risk here is that if one plant gets pests, they can easily move to all the other plants in the group.
- Misting. This requires the most work at all, even if it is the simplest. That’s because you need to keep misting it regularly
- Humidifier. Probably the best option because you can adjust the setting to the exact level of humidity. It does cost more because you need to buy the machine, spend for electricity and replace parts.
For smaller plants, you can likewise use a terrarium. But, as it grows, this setup becomes less feasible.
Of course, if you have one, a greenhouse lets gives you the overall best solution.
Anthurium Veitchii Watering
The Anthurium Veitchii will need to be watered about once a week. Although, time isn’t the best way to go about it. The key here is to maintain balance.
Rainforests, its native environment, tend to drench plants with water every so often. Thus, its likes to get watered. But, being an epiphyte its roots are more exposed to air that most houseplants. This means they dry faster.
As such, you want to frequently water the plant to give it the moisture it needs. But, the water shouldn’t sit around for too long. In other words, be careful not to overwater.
To make things more complicated, different factors affect how often you’ll need to water. High humidity means less watering, while dry air requires more frequent watering.
The weather, how much sunlight, soil, size of the pot and the plant, among other things also affect when you should water.
So, the best way is to do the finger test. Stick your finger into the soil. If the top layers are dry, it is time to water again. If the top 2 inches are still moist or wet, wait one to two more days before testing again.
Besides testing the soil, also watch its leaves. Drooping leaves tells you it lacks water. Thus, you need to adjust the frequency.
When it comes to soil, the Anthurium Veitchii needs 3 things to grow properly. The soil must to be:
- Loose (airy), Well-draining
- Rich (high organic matter content)
- When it gets these 3 components, the soil has done its job.
In contrast, sandy and wet soil are no-nos. Because of how it grows in its natural environment, you do not want it to sit on water.
That said, king anthurium can grow in a loose soil mix or as a epiphyte.
Epiphytes are plants that grow on other plants. However, they aren’t parasites. So, they don’t take nutrients from the plant they stay on. Instead, they just use them as a structure to stay on. Besides most anthuriums, other epiphytes include bromeliads and orchids which grown on tree trunks and branches of trees in rainforests.
- As an epiphyte, your king anthurium won’t need soil. Instead, it can grow it on other plant branches. This eliminates any soil issues since it will get its nutrients from the air, water and debris from the leaves of the branches.
- As a houseplant, most people option prefer using pots. In this scenario, you want to use larger media that allow more air and water to get through. Thus, using peat moss, perlite and orchid bark work very well.
Because you’re growing your Anthurium Veitchii indoors, you’ll need to supply it with fertilizer. While being an epiphyte, in your home it doesn’t have the benefit of all the outdoor elements that are present in rainforests. Thus, you’ll need to provide it with all the nutrients via fertilizer.
One sure sign that your king anthurium isn’t being fed enough is small leaves. Once its foliage becomes smaller than it normally is, it is telling you that you need to up your fertilizer.
During its growing phase (March to Septemper), you want to give it enough fertilizer to grow properly. This means feeding it once every two weeks. Although from experience frequency can vary depending on the type of fertilizer your use. In some cases, once every 6-8 weeks works as well.
Come fall and winter, it’s time to give it a break from all the growth. During this time, you can stop, at least until spring arrives again.
As with soil, you want a rich fertilizer. Something with good amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (N-P-K) works. One with a ratio of 12-12-12 works.
That said, this setup is geared to let your king anthurium grow beautiful foliage. But, interestingly, it doesn’t allow it to produce much in terms of flowers. So, if you want to make it bloom, switch to a high quality orchid fertilizer.
Pruning Anthurium Veitchii
King anthuriums are not very fast growers. They take about 3 months to develop a new leaf.
But, you do want to routinely prune it to get rid of older foliage and those that are diseased. Similarly, you want to trim away stems that are drooping.
While it does take extra time and work, doing so ensures that your plat doesn’t expend its energy (and nutrients) on sections that aren’t doing well. Just as importantly, you prevent any disease from spreading further.
Instead, by trimming them off you’re encouraging new, fresh growth where the extra energy will be spend growing.
That said, here are a few notes when pruning Anthurium Veitchii.
- Wear gloves. The plant can irritate skin. So taking the extra precaution helps eliminates the discomfort later on.
- Use shears, large scissors or a knife. Always sanitize with rubbing alcohol before using. Since you’re wounding the plant, you don’t want any bacteria from the blade to transfer into the plant’s open wound.
Another reason to use a cutting device is that you don’t want to just pull out the stems. While you can do so, the stems are actually quite sturdy. Thus, jerking it off the plant can damage your king anthurium.
There are two ways to propagate Anthurium Veitchii: stem cuttings and division. Both work really well. And, different people have varying preferences. I prefer division. But, I also have a few gardener friends who swear by stem cutting their king anthurium. So, this really is a toss up. And, you’ll want to go with whichever you’re more comfortable with.
How to propagate Anthurium Veitchii via stem cuttings
- Pick a stem that has at least 2 to 3 healthy leaves. This gives you an idea of how prolific it can be. You want something with a “proven track record”.
- Cut off the stem making sure you get at least 4-6 inches. The length will depend on how deep the pot you’re going to use. You want enough stem for the plant to stand upright with the soil.
- Fill a pot with fresh potting mix and position the stem so is stable. Keep the leaves away from the soil so they don’t get and stay wet when watering.
- Water the soil thoroughly.
- In 6-8 weeks, you’ll know if the stem cutting was successful. By that time, foliage should have developed and the plant should be growing.
How to propagate Anthurium Veitchii via Division
The best time to divide your king anthurium is when you repot it. Unlike stem cutting, you’ll need to take the root ball out of the container. So, for the effort, you might as well do them at the same time.
Similarly, any time you move or take out the plant from its current state, you’ll shock it. So, the goal is to do is as seldom as needed. And, do it gently such that is minimizes any shock.
- Once you remove the plant form its container, it is time to inspect the plant.
- Go through the same steps as you would in repotting. That is, dust away any extra dirt or soil. Then, untangle the roots.
- Then, choose a healthy looking stem and trace it down to its roots. This will be the segment you’ll separate from the mother plant.
- You can use your hands. But, often, you’ll need a stronger, sharper object like a knife to divide the part of the root ball you want to divide. This is especially true if the plant is root bound.
- Once you’ve separated the segment, put both plants in their respective pots and fill with soil.
Division is much faster than stem cutting because you already have a semi-grown/fully formed plant. Thus, they’re no risk of it not growing. And, you save time waiting for it to grow.
Anthurium Veitchii Transplanting & Repotting
While king anthuriums aren’t fast growers, a well-taken care of one will likely outgrow its pot in 3 years. Thus, you’ll need to move it to a larger container to keep its growth rate. You can likewise leave it in its current pot. But, doing so will drastically slow down growth.
As with the anthurium superbum, the Anthurium Veitchii will grow into a big plant. To give you an idea, if you let it grow on its own pace, its leaves can reach about 6.5 feet in size. Thus, be ready to swap out pots every so often to accommodate its growth.
Thus, once you see its roots start to peek their way outside of the pot, it’s a sign that your plant has outgrown your current home.
Anthurium Veitchii like moisture but don’t like sitting in water. The irony of the two means you want something that holds enough water but also lets that moisture get out. This makes pots made from porous material like terra cotta and clay good candidates. Also, you want to choose a container with at least one hole in the bottom.
A deep pot will likewise allow the plant to set its foundation. This is key because the top part of the plant will grow big. So, you want something that’s just as sturdy underground to keep it stable.
After you’ve selected a new container, have fresh soil on hand as well. As mentioned above, you want rich, loose, well-draining soil.
- Now, it’s time to remove the plant from the container just as you did in division above.
- Wipe away any extra dirt. And, inspect and get rid of any dying, diseased or older parts. Also untangle the roots and check for black and mushy ends. You want to cut these off as well.
- Next place it in the new container and fill with fresh potting soil. Here you’ll have two goals. One is stabilize the plant so it stand upright with the leaves not touching the soil. Next, you want to set it in place so that it stands out from the soil roughly the same height as it did in the old pot.
- Finally, water the soil thoroughly.
The best time to repot is during early spring right before it starts its growing season.
As mentioned above, the Anthurium Veitchii can irritate your skin. So, using gloves is a good idea. More importantly, ingesting any part of the plant can likewise irritate the mouth, through and stomach. So, keeping children and pets away from its leaves and stems is a must.
Pests and Diseases
While they’re quite picky and harder to grow (because of all their requirements), anthuriums are more resilient and resistant to pests. So, while pets like mealybugs, thrips, scale and spider mites can happen, they don’t happen often. Plus, they’re fairly easy to fix.
However, it’s important to be on the watch. So, regular monitoring is key. That’s because infestations can easily spread from one plant to another. Thus, if left alone, you’ll soon find all your plants with pests.
When it comes to dealing with these pests, you can use these solutions to get rid of them.
- Spraying water to get rid of them
- Soap and water
- Rubbing alcohol
- Neem oil