Question: We just got back from the Hawaiian Islands and we were amazed at the exotic-looking flamingo flower (Anthurium andraeanum), which grows all over in the wild there. We even bought a few little starter plants to take back home. Hopefully they will grow and bloom for us. Any growing tips? —- B.V.D., Carlsbad
Answer: In Hawaii, this plant is found growing in people's yards, but here in our area, they are mostly grown as potted plants for warm patios or indoors.
Native to tropical American rain forests, they adapt easily to our Southern California climate. These exotic-looking plants have dark green, sometimes very shiny, leaves with heart-shaped flower bracts (deep red, rose, salmon, white) and a yellowish/whitish callalike flower spike protruding from the bract. The flowers, some of which shine as if lacquered, may last six weeks on a plant, and last up to 4 weeks in a vase
Anthuriums are easy to grow and no more difficult than some orchids. As they come from hot and humid areas, they thrive on humidity; since you live near the coastal regions, there will be plenty of it. In our warm inland areas, regular mistings would definitely benefit the plant.
Being a tropical plant, temperatures below 50 degrees could be detrimental, so ideal growing temperatures are between 70 and 90 degrees (typical Hawaiian temperatures!). Daytime temperatures ideally should not go below 65 degrees, and night-time temperatures not below 55 degrees. By keeping a small thermometer/hygrometer nearby, it will be easy to keep track of the readings.
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