Common Causes and Best Fixes for Drooping Anthurium Plants

Anthuriums (aka flamingo flower, laceleaf, or tailflower) are known for their large upright leaves and stunning flowers. That’s why it can be distressing when their structural leaves suddenly begin to droop over. In this article, we’ll explain all the reasons why your Anthurium may be drooping and what you can do about it.


Common Reasons Your Anthurium Plant is Drooping 

Drooping Anthuriums are usually the result of either under or overwatering. Incorrect temperatures, humidity, and lighting conditions are also common causes, as well as overgrown roots and pests, and diseases. Identifying the cause and changing the conditions should fix the problem, helping the leaves return to normal.


About Anthurium Plants

About Anthurium Plants

With large heart-shaped leaves that angle downwards and attractive spiked flowers, Anthuriums are easy plants to identify and are rich in meaning and symbolism. Modified leaves surround these flowers in many colors, just one of the reasons why these plants are so popular.

The Anthurium genus is part of the Arum family, Araceae. This makes them related to other popular houseplants like Peace Lilies and Philodendrons. It also means that Anthuriums are toxic to both pets and humans, containing calcium oxalate crystals.

These plants are native to the tropical forests of Central and South America. They are accustomed to high temperatures and humidity and grow best is dappled or indirect bright sunlight.


Common Reasons Your Anthurium Plant is Drooping

Common Reasons Your Anthurium Plant is Drooping

1) Lack of Moisture

The most likely cause of a dropping Anthurium is lack of moisture. These moisture lovers need a consistent supply of water and will struggle if the soil is left to dry out completely. Once the soil dries out, there is no more moisture left to fill out the cells of the plant, causing the leaves to droop over.

Test the soil to determine if this is the cause. If the top layer of soil is very dry, or if the pot is very light when you lift it up, your Anthurium needs water.

2) Overwatering

Although it seems contradictory, overwatering can also cause the plant’s leaves to wilt. When there is too much moisture in the soil, the roots of the plant begin to rot. This causes the stems to become weak, especially at the base of the soil.

The roots also lose their ability to draw up any more moisture or nutrients, causing the leaves to dry out and fall over.

3) Poor Drainage

Poor Drainage

Excess water in the soil isn’t always the result of overwatering. It could also be caused by poor drainage, either in the soil or in the pot itself.

If the soil is compacted or the pot has no holes in the bottom, the water sticks around the soil and the roots. No oxygen is able to reach the roots, and the excess moisture causes them to go soft and mushy.

Despite not adding too much water to the soil, the same symptoms as overwatering will occur, including drooping leaves.

4) Lack of Nutrients

Lack of Nutrients

Anthuriums need a wide range of plant nutrients to sustain growth and life. Deficiency in any of these nutrients will cause problems with growth. Nitrogen deficiency, in particular, can cause the leaves to droop as this is a nutrient most responsible for stem and leaf growth.

Even deficiencies in any of the micronutrients can cause drooping leaves as they all play an important role in plant health, no matter the amounts they are required in.

5) Overfertilizing

When too much fertilizer is added to the soil, salts begin to build up. These salts can cause the roots and leaves of the plant to burn, negatively impacting growth. An overfertilized plant experiences a range of problems, including yellowing and wilting.

These problems occur when you fertilize too often without giving the plant a break, or when you add more fertilizer to the soil than is recommended. Adding the wrong fertilizer can also lead to a nutrient imbalance in the soil, resulting in the same problems.

6) Root Bound

Anthuriums are considered slow to moderate growers. But, they do have expansive root systems that can quickly grow to fill out an entire pot when placed in the right conditions.

Once the plant has taken up all the available space in the pot, it has nowhere else to expand. The roots become wrapped around each other, struggling to absorb water and carry nutrients where they are needed. The roots also take up much of the soil space, meaning there is less soil to hold onto moisture in the first place.

These factors all combine to lead to a wilted Anthurium with stunted growth, only resolved when the plant is repotted or divided.

7) Cold Temperatures

Hailing from warm tropical forests, Anthuriums are accustomed to warm temperatures around 75F. They cannot handle cold weather and stop growing when temperatures dip below 60F. If you experience a sudden cold spell and temperatures drop below 50F, the plant can face serious damage, causing the leaves to droop.

This can also occur if your plant is placed too close to windows in winter, where cold tends to collect. The leaves closest to the window – or worse, touching the window – will likely wilt first. Recently propagated or repotted anthurium plants can be particularly susceptible to the cold.

8) Lack of Humidity

Lack of Humidity

In their tropical habitats, Anthuriums are also used to very high humidity levels. They average around 75% at minimum, and that’s during the dry season.

These plants are major humidity lovers and suffer significantly in humidity below 40%. Along with dried leaves and browning that begins at the tips, you may also see leaves begin to wilt due to the lack of moisture in the air.

9) Drafts

While airflow around houseplants is essential in preventing pest and disease problems, too much can be a bad thing. Drafts from open windows or air conditioners, especially very cold drafts, stress the plant and cause the soil to dry out quickly.

The drafts also dry out the air around the plant and can damage the leaves. This additional stress causes the leaves to droop, taking a while to recover once the plant is moved away from the draft.

10) Incorrect Lighting

Another factor that can cause the soil to dry out too quickly is direct sunlight. Anthuriums can adjust to areas with an hour or two of direct morning sun at most, but can’t handle any direct sunlight beyond that. This will scorch the leaves and dry them out, causing the entire plant to wilt.

Excessively low light can also lead to wilting but is more likely to cause yellowing in the leaves first. For more, see our in-depth guide on where to position Anthurium plants in the home. 

11) Pests & Diseases

Pests & Diseases

Anthuriums are not immune to pest and disease problems when grown indoors. Whether it’s the sap-sucking nature of a mealybug or the damage of blight, pests, and diseases can quickly cause the leaves of your Anthurium to become discolored and deformed.

The damage they do to the plants both above and below the soil causes significant stress, leaving the roots droopy and wilted.


How to Fix a Drooping Anthurium Plant

By identifying the root cause of the issue and giving your Anthurium excellent care and conditions, you should be able to fix problems with wilting and prevent them from occurring again in the future.

As underwatering is the most common cause, keeping a consistent watering routine is essential. Check the soil every few days and water when the top two inches have dried out completely. Don’t water when the soil is still moist, and provide excellent drainage to prevent rot.

Fertilize every 4-6 weeks with a balanced fertilizer during the growing season. If you notice wilting soon after fertilizing, flush the soil with water and hold off on fertilizing for a while. If your plant has been in the same pot for several years with a soil top-up, or if roots are growing through the drainage holes, it’s time to repot. It’s also prudent to prune and cut back any laggy or decaying anthurium growth.

Choose a spot in your home with plenty of bright indirect light. Keep temperatures around 75F year-round and maintain as high a humidity as you can manage. Look out for drafts and sudden changes in conditions to avoid stress and, by extension, wilting.


Drooping Anthurium Plant FAQs:

What causes anthurium leaves to droop?

The most common cause of drooping is underwatering. However, there are also many other possible causes, from overfertilizing to excessive sunlight.

What does an overwatered anthurium look like?

The first sign of overwatering is yellowing and droopy leaves. The stems will also likely be soft and mushy, especially close to the base of the soil.

Will droopy anthurium leaves recover?

Once the problem is identified and resolved, your Anthurium leaves should return to normal. If they do not, you may have identified the wrong cause, or the plant could be too far gone to save.


Drooping Anthurium Plants – The Final Word

Drooping Anthuriums are a common issue with several easy fixes. Once you have identified the problem, adjust the conditions, and your precious houseplant should return to normal.

If you’re looking for your next Anthurium plant to add to your collection, see our in-depth guide to the best plant shops delivering Anthuriums nationwide.


Author

Madison is a writer and editor with a Bachelor’s degree in History and Political Science. She writes and photographs for various online and print publications in the gardening sphere and is the author of the book The Next-Generation Gardener.

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