Anthuriums are generally considered to be hardy plants.
But that does not mean they are immune to plant problems. The last thing you want to see is your beloved anthurium plant’s leaves showing some discoloration.
Most of the time, these signs occur due to some minor mistakes in care routines. But, there are times when these signs are caused by some diseases that may be fatal if not fixed.
Don’t worry yet! In this article, I will be going through all the anthurium diseases and common problems with scientifically proven solutions.
After all, everyone wants to increase the overall life span of anthurium, isn’it?
Here are the topics,
Let’s get started.
Common Anthurium Problems
Even though anthuriums can adapt to any conditions pretty easily, there are some conditions that these plants cannot tolerate. These include waterlogged soil, nutrient deficiency, light issues, temperature and humidity shocks, and pest attacks. It is very essential to find the symptoms of these issues and fix the problem before it gets worse.
To make it easy for you to understand, I’m going to explain each of these anthurium problems in detail with symptoms and possible solutions.
1. Watering Issues
Watering issues are by far the most common anthurium problem when we talk about indoor houseplant owners.
In the beginning, it may seem setting up a watering schedule is very easy, but even experienced gardeners get it wrong sometimes. It is because watering a plant depends on a lot of variables like climatic conditions, potting soil, age of the plant, water quality, etc.
Watering issues include both overwatering and underwatering.
Overwatering is prevalent among beginner or inexperienced houseplant owners whereas underwatering is common among intermediate and some experienced gardeners.
Signs of watering issues: The commonly seen symptoms of watering issues are,
- Discoloration of leaves
- Always dry soil (underwatering)
- Always wet soil (overwatering)
- Curling downwards, wilting, and dropping leaves
- Dry and dead leaf tips (underwatering)
- Brown leaf tips (overwatering)
- Slow and stunted growth
All of these symptoms are common for both overwatering and underwatering unless specifically mentioned in parenthesis.
Fixing watering issues: The only way to fix watering issues is to set up a flexible watering schedule considering all the variables.
I have bolded the word “flexible” in the above statement because it is very important. You can water two or three times a week during hotter months but that’s not advised during colder times.
For more details on setting up a watering schedule for your anthurium plant, check out our dedicated guide on how often to water the anthurium plant.
2. Poor Soil Structure
There are a lot of people who grow anthurium plants hydroponically, but if you want your anthurium to be bushier and bloom all year round, it needs a lot more than just water.
The soil medium you provide for your anthurium plant is like a proper basement.
If the basement is poor quality, whatever you build on top of it will fall someday. Similarly, if your anthurium is sitting in a poor soil medium, then even if you give the world’s best care, your plant will show signs of disease.
Anthuriums grow above multiple layers of leaf mold and other organic matter in their natural environment. So, you need to create a mix that is as close to what they get in nature.
Signs of poor soil medium: The common signs of poor soil medium are,
- No flowers
- Always dry wet soil
- Damp soil
- Slow growth
- Foul smell from soil
- Discoloration and wilting of leaves
Fixing poor soil mixture: The fast and easiest way to fix a poor soil medium is to repot your anthurium with a fresh soil medium specifically mixed for anthurium plants.
If you do not have time to mix your soil medium, the premade options like Miracle Grow or orchid mixture are good choices.
On the other hand, if you like to go the DIY route, then mix a soil medium containing peat moss (50%), perlite (25%), and leaf mold (25%).
For more details, check out our dedicated guide on the best soil mixtures for anthurium plant. In that article, we go through a lot of scientific research studies to find the perfect soil for anthurium.
3. Light Issues
Along with water and soil, the next important parameter for anthurium’s growth is light.
After watering issues, improper light is the second most common cause of anthurium problems.
And it is not surprising because even many experienced gardeners in a gardening forum said that sometimes they fail to provide perfect lighting for houseplants.
Just like any other care parameters, too much and too little light can create problems in an anthurium plant’s health.
Anthuriums come from the tropical forests of North and South America where they get bright filtered sunlight throughout the year.
Based on a greenhouse study, they grow best when the light intensity is in the range of 1500 to 2000-foot candles. The same study also mentions that they grow well in both visible and non-visible light spectrum (350 – 750nm) when it comes to light wavelength.
Signs of lighting issues: The commonly seen signs of improper lighting include,
- Yellow leaves due to sunburn (too much light)
- Dry soil (too much light)
- Leaves curling away from light (too much light)
- Wilting and drooping
- Lean and leggy (low light)
- Not blooming (low light)
- Wet soil (low light)
- Slow and stunted growth
Fixing improper light: The first step in fixing improper light is to first identify whether your anthurium is getting too much or too little light based on the above-mentioned symptoms.
The easiest way to fix these issues is by placing your plant in a location with LED grow light with recommended intensity for 10 hours a day.
Other solutions include moving your plant away from the light source, using a radiation filter, etc.
For a detailed guide, please take a look at our recent article on anthurium light requirements.
4. Temperature & Humidity Shock
Just like light issues, improper temperature and humidity can also cause problems in anthurium plants.
For anthuriums to grow healthy and bloom all year long, it needs to be in a location where the average temperature should fall in the range of 78 to 85 ºF.
Similarly, they prefer pretty high humidity as well due to its tropical nature. For optimal growth and bloom, humidity upwards of 60% is recommended.
Signs of temperature & humidity issues: Here are the most commonly found symptoms of temperature and humidity shock in anthurium plants.
- Sunburn (high temperature)
- Dry soil (high temperature)
- Flowers drying quickly (high temperature)
- Slow flower growth (humidity)
- Fading of leaves (humidity)
Fixing temperature & humidity issues: Fixing temperature and humidity outdoors is not an easy task. In most cases, it is not even possible to fix.
On the other hand, if indoors, you can try to use a room heater, air conditioner, humidifier, or dehumidifier dispensing on the cause.
5. Pest Attack
The next commonly seen cause of anthurium problems is caused by tiny pests.
Be it indoors or outdoors, pests will find a way to your beloved houseplants. The commonly seen pests in anthurium plants are mealybugs, aphids, scale, thrips, and spider mites.
Signs of pest attack: Different pests have different appearances. So, here are the signs to look for pests in anthurium plants.
- Brown dots on leaves and stems
- Dark yellow burn spots in leaf tips
- Transparent shell-like bumps
- Small white spider-like creatures
Some of these pests are also very small and they may not be even visible in a room with medium lighting. It is advised to have a closer look at your anthurium’s leaves using a magnifying glass frequently.
Fixing pest attack: Fixing the pests depends on the kind of pest you are dealing with. For example, mealybugs, aphids, and spider mites are quite easy to remove whereas thrips and scale are a little harder to get rid of.
Based on the severity of the pests, either uses homemade pesticides or chemical pesticides to remove them. Also, it is advised to quarantine the plant away from other houseplants to reduce the risk of pests spreading.
Now lest’s talk about more serious problems.
The commonly seen anthurium diseases can be classified into two, diseases caused by fungus and diseases caused by bacteria. The bacterial diseases include bacterial blight and bacterial wilt whereas fungal diseases include Rhizoctonia root rot, phytophthora, and black nose disease.
Just like in the previous section, to make things easier for you, I will be describing each of these diseases with signs and scientifically proven treatment methods.
1. Bacterial Blight & Wilt
Bacterial Blight and wilt are the commonly seen two bacterial diseases affecting anthurium plants.
These are caused by two different bacterias named Xanthomonas axonopodis and Ralstonia solanacearum.
These two bacterias are very common and are known to infect hundreds of different plant species. If not treated, it can stay in the soil for years even without an active plant.
Signs: The commonly seen signs of bacterial wilt and blight are yellow leaves, water-soaked lesions among leaf tips, and yellow or brown dots on flowers.
Treatment: The best way to treat bacterial blight and wilt in anthurium plants is to use pesticides containing copper, mancozeb, and phosphorus. Increasing ai circulation to the leaves will also help.
This bacteria can enter inside the leaves and stems through the open wounds caused by pruning. So, always ensure that the pruning shears are well sterilized and sanitized before using.
2. Rhizoctonia Root Rot
Root rot is considered to be one of the common plant problems that get a lot of attention in the gardening community. It is justified because untreated anthuriums will dry and wilt in a very short amount of time.
Root rot occurs due to many reasons. And, Rhizoctonia fungus is just one among them.
But, among the other fungus-induced root rots, this is the one that causes severe problems to the plant. And, this fungus usually attacks the roots and the lower parts of the stem that are in close contact with the soil.
Signs: Dark mushy roots, rotten smell, visible fungus growth, discoloration wilting, and drooping leaves.
Treatment: The ideal way of treating a root rot-affected anthurium plant is to repot the plant in freshly prepared soil in a new sterilized pot.
It is recommended to throw away the old soil because Rhizoctonia fungus is said to live for years in the soil medium. But, if you want to use the soil mixture, then you have to treat it using a fungicide containing thiophanate methyl and steam sterilize afterward.
3. Oomycetes Rot
Oomycetes rot is usually caused by either Phytophthora or Pythium, two fungi in the same genus.
Similar to the above Rhizoctonia root rot, these fungi also attack the root system to trigger root rot in the anthurium plants.
The appearance, symptoms, and control treatments are the same as Rhizoctonia root rot. But, this has a much lower impact on the plant’s health compared to the Rhizoctonia root rot.
4. Black Nose Disease
Black nose disease is caused by a fungus called Colletotrichum gloeosporioides.
Many tropical plants like monstera, pothos, etc are very prone to this fungus attack. But in anthurium, it attacks only in the spadix region of the flower whereas in other plants roots, stems, and even leaves are not spared.
Appearance: It first appears as a dark ring around the spadix, then develops further and turns the entire spadix to dark brown or brown color.
Signs: small black dots in flower spadix that are similar to burn.
Treatment: Treat your anthurium with a fungicide containing mancozeb.
Anthurium Diseases & Problems – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
It is very natural to have a lot of doubts when your plant is affected by some disease. In this section, I will be answering some of the most commonly asked questions related to anthurium diseases and problems.
What are the commonly seen anthurium diseases?
The commonly seen anthurium diseases are bacterial wilt, bacterial blight, black nose disease, Oomycetes rot, and Rhizoctonia root rot. Treatments include using fungicides and pesticides containing mancozeb, phosphorous, and copper along with repotting the plant if necessary.
Should I cut brown leaves off anthurium?
It is recommended to cut down the infected brown leaves off the plant to direct the plant’s attention towards newly grown leaves. But, if your plant has only a couple of leaves, then you should wait until new leaves are grown.
Anthurium is an excellent houseplant that can be grown by even beginner plant owners due to its low maintenance.
But, that doesn’t mean you can plant it and forget! You need to make sure that the plant is getting the care and environment it deserves.
After all, spending a couple of minutes a day with your anthurium plant is worth it considering the beautiful blooms that it can display all year round.
To back up the information we provide in our articles, the Plantials team only uses high-quality sources published in peer-reviewed university or scientific research journals.
- A Bacterial Disease Of Anthurium In Hawaii, Center For Agriculture & Bioscience International.
- Effect Of Light On Chlorophyll Content, Research Gate Publication
- Color Breakdown In Anthurium (Anthurium Andreanum Lind.) Spathes Caused By Calcium Deficiency, Center For Agriculture & Bioscience International.
- Identifying Anthurium Flower Injuries, University Of Hawai
- First Report Of Bacterial Blight Of Anthurium Caused By Xanthomonas Axonopodis In Turkey, Center For Agriculture & Bioscience International.