Beautiful, glossy, and colorful, Anthurium plants are a favorite of indoor gardeners for a good reason. These lovely tropical plants, native to the warm, humid rainforests of Latin America, add a dash of drama to any space and are rich in meaning and symbolism. But Anthuriums aren’t just pretty: They offer a number of uses and benefits, as well, from cleaner air to stress reduction. Read on to learn more about the many uses and benefits of Anthurium plants.
- About Anthurium Plants
- The Benefits of Anthurium Plants
- Anthurium Plant Benefits – The Final Word
About Anthurium Plants
Anthurium plants belong to the Anthurium genus, also known as flamingo lilies or tailflowers. This genus is the largest in the family Araceae and contains more than 1,000 species.
Anthurium plants are native to the tropical regions of Mexico, the Caribbean, and other areas of Central and South America. There, they grow in the rich soil, high humidity, and dappled light of the rainforest. Often, Anthurium grows as epiphytes or plants that live on wood, trees, or other structures.
Though there are many species of Anthurium, the most commonly grown as a houseplant is A. andraeanum. This type of Anthurium grows to about 3 feet tall and 2 feet wide. Rarer species include the likes of Anthurium crystallinum. It has glossy, dark green foliage with rounded margins. Anthurium is beloved for its dramatic, colorful blooms, which aren’t actually flowers.
Rather, Anthurium plants produce heart-shaped spathes or bracts. They bloom in a range of colors, from pale pink to orange and red. The waxy spathes have a yellow spadix, which protrudes dramatically. The plant’s actual blossoms are small and inconspicuous.
Anthurium stays green year-round and can bloom multiple times per year. But their stunning appearance isn’t all these plants have to offer. They also provide many benefits to the indoor gardener.
The Benefits of Anthurium Plants
Here you’ll find nine incredible uses and benefits of Anthurium plants backed by leading research studies from around the world.
1) Air Purifying Properties
In 1989, NASA released research that detailed the ability of several common houseplants to remove toxins from the air. A. andraeanum was among the plants studied, and the results show that Anthurium can help improve indoor air quality.
How does this work? Indoor air often contains harmful contaminants, such as carbon dioxide, formaldehyde, benzene, toluene, and trichloroethylene. The study also found that indoor plants can help reduce pollutants like cigarette smoke and organic solvents. Anthurium was found to be especially good at reducing the amount of formaldehyde, xylene, and ammonia in the air.
2) Benefits of Anthurium Plants in Feng Shui
In the spiritual and aesthetic practice of Feng Shui, Anthurium can be used to attract positive energy. Consider placing the plants in a southwestern location within a room or your house. Here, they can both facilitate good fortune and good relationships and ward off sha, or negative energy.
Anthuriums are also associated with wealth, thanks to their red spathes and yellow spadices. The strategic placement of these colorful plants in the home is thought to promote prosperity.
3) Low-Maintenance and Easy Care
Anthurium plants are easy to care for and don’t require much maintenance, especially when they’re provided with the optimal growing environment. They grow slowly, so they don’t need much feeding and only require repotting every two or three years. Plus, they’re not bothered by many pests or diseases.
The key is replicating the conditions of their natural habitat, the dappled, warm, and humid tropical rainforest. Of course, you don’t want the inside of your home to be 85 degrees F with 90 percent humidity. But you can mimic some conditions, such as:
- Temperatures between 65 and 85 degrees F
- Humidity levels between 40 and 60 percent
- Rich soil mix that drains easily and contains organic material
- Watering anthurium plants once the soil is 50 to 75% dry (careful not to overwater which can lead to a droopy anthurium plant).
- Bright but indirect light exposure
- Avoid both cold drafts and heat sources, such as direct light from a south- or west-facing window
- Prune and cut back any laggy or decaying growth periodically.
Keep an eye out for yellowing or brown anthurium foliage which can be a sign of care problems.
4) Ornamental Value
Anthurium plants have fantastic ornamental value and add a tropical aesthetic to any space. That’s one of the main reasons they’re so popular, even making the Forbes list of top indoor plants. Their foliage is deep green and glossy year-round, with attractive, softly rounded margins.
Anthurium blooms throughout the year with attractive, colorful spathes. These heart-shaped, waxy blooms bring color and shine to the room. Their upright yellow spadices add a touch of drama and texture that draws the eye.
5) Easy to Propagate
When your Anthurium grows large enough to need reporting — usually every two to three years, or when you see roots starting to protrude from drainage holes or come through the top of the soil — remove the plant from its pot. Gently separate and tease the roots apart. You’ll end up with at least two, and maybe more, plants. Each can be separately planted.
Professional growers commonly propagate Anthurium through tissue samples. If you choose this type of propagation, use a very well-draining potting mix containing an equal ratio of peat, perlite, and bark. Aim for an acidic pH of 6.0 to 6.5, a temperature between 70 and 90 degrees F, and high humidity.
It’s worth noting that Anthurium plants are considered somewhat toxic to humans and pets so it’s prudent to wear a pair of gloves when handling these plants.
6) Help Ease Allergies
If you experience allergies, adding an Anthurium to your home may help ease your symptoms. Studies show that indoor plants can help remove microbes and pollutants, such as mold spores, from the air. Some of these contaminants play a role in allergies.
Indoor plants like Anthurium can also help boost the humidity level in the air. This can cause contaminants, such as pollen to fall out of circulation. Try placing an Anthurium near your bed or desk and see if your allergies subside.
7) Reduces Stress and Improves Mental Health
Simply having plants around can help lower stress levels, which may help improve mental health. Studies indicate that looking at green foliage help people feel calmer.
For instance, a study of stress levels in high school students looked at two groups: One attended class in a room with plants, and one in a room without plants. Students in the plant-filled classroom reported lower levels of stress and anxiety.
Simply having flowers in the home or workplace boosts happiness levels. Even looking at pictures of flowers can help people feel better and relieve stress! Studies show that looking at flowers has physiological effects, including lowered cortisol (stress hormone) levels and a drop in blood pressure.
8) Boosts Productivity and Memory
Plants can even boost productivity. Research indicates that employees in plant-filled workplaces are more emotionally, cognitively, and physically involved with their work. This resulted in 15 percent higher productivity levels.
Similarly, studies show that people are better able to complete tasks and have enhanced concentration when they’re around plants. In spaces with ornamental plants, employees are more accurate and produce higher quality work. Simply being outside in nature has been shown to improve memory and concentration by 20 percent!
9) Filter Odors
As research shows, indoor plants like the Anthurium help purify the air through a process known as phytoremediation. Along with removing harmful pollutants, plants may filter out contaminants that carry unpleasant odors.
Cigarette smoke, solvents, and other substances that simply don’t smell great — like the volatile organic compounds released by carpet, paint, adhesives, and other building products — tend to linger in indoor air. But thanks to plants’ purifying abilities, these unpleasant scents can be filtered out.
Anthurium Plant Benefits – The Final Word
Anthurium plants add a tropical flair to any room with their glossy, dark laves and dramatic spathes. But that’s not all these attractive plants provide. From freshened air to lowered stress, more productivity to easy-care, and propagation, Anthuriums offer numerous uses and benefits to every indoor gardener.
If you’re looking for your next anthurium plant, see our in-depth guide to the best plants shops delivering anthuriums nationwide.
Linsay is an American copywriter based in the Pacific Northwest with a background in academic writing and research. Linsay holds Master's degree in both Anthropology and Library and Information Sciences and has written for numerous national and international publications including USA Today, SFGATE, Hunker, and The Bump across an array of topics in the gardening, green living, and travel sectors. When she's not writing, you'll usually find Linsay reading, kayaking, sailing, snowboarding, or working in her garden.