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Flower Meanings


Also known as laceleaf, anthurium is a stunning flowering pant of about 1,000 different species, and the largest genus of the arum family, Araceae. Some other common names of this beautiful bodacious bloom include tailflower and flamingo flower.

The Meaning of Anthurium

Anthurium is adaptive and thrives in both warm and cold weather, which is why this beauty is commonly known as a symbol of strength and perseverance.

This bloom is also referred to as the hospitality flower because it makes the perfect houseplant no matter where you live.

If you’re ever looking for the perfect housewarming gift, anthurium might just be your new go-to! Not to mention, its warm red blooms can make anyone feel welcomed and at ease.

Happiness is another common symbol of the anthurium plant. Their heart-shaped leaves often represent love and joy.

Anthurium is also a symbol of abundance, as this bloom attracts positivity and good vibes with its charming good looks. [1]

The name anthurium comes from the Greek words oura, meaning tail, and anthos, meaning flower—put those two terms together, and you get the name tail-flower. They probably got this name because of the long tail-looking spadix that grows out of the center of this beauty.

What Does Anthurium Smell Like?

Anthurium scents can run the spectrum from sweet like marzipan, mango, and blueberry—to more unpleasant smells…we’ll spare you the details. This is most likely due to the various species of anthurium.

"O My Anthurium! Sweet red Anthurium! Without thee what life would be?"

Dong Agosto

The History of Anthurium

Anthurium originated in the tropical rainforest of South America, specifically in the area between southwestern Columbia and northwestern Ecuador. The anthurium of the past resided there untouched for several hundred years, gaining no interest from the native people. This is most likely because previous varieties of anthurium were not as beautiful as the anthurium we know and love today.

Samuel Damon, otherwise known as, the man who first introduced Anthurium to Hawaii, was the son of two missionaries. Damon rose to great prominence in the Kingdom of Hawaii as a businessman and politician. For scale, in 1924, he left an estate that was worth over $250 million. (Adjusted to today’s US dollars, this would sore into the billions).

Pretty successful guy!

Damon and his gardeners grew the anthurium andreanum that he had imported in the gardens of his estate.

Through Damon’s gardens, these plants became widespread throughout the region, and others began growing their own anthurium. [2]

Toward the latter part of the 1930s, people began propagating anthurium via seeds, creating a huge change in the production of the bloom—including many different varieties, shapes, and colors through selective breeding.

Hawaii in the 1940s saw a huge boom in anthurium’s economic growth. Anthurium became increasingly popular during this time, specifically among tourists, making the bloom more valuable and desirable. [3]

Hawaiian florists began carrying these blooms in their shops, leading to a brand new industry—the anthurium industry!

Some began expanding their cultivation of anthuriums from gardens to full-fledged anthurium farms.

Today, anthurium flowers have become an international business—big thanks to the invention of airplanes, which played a crucial role in anthuriums growth in popularity around the world. [2]

DID YOU KNOW - Anthurium Fun Fact

Anthuriums produce flowers all year round. [4]

How to Grow Anthurium

Anthurium plants can tolerate all levels of indirect light, but those growing in low light may grow fewer flowers and at a slower speed. Keep in mind, these plants can’t tolerate direct light. Intense light will burn their leaves. Your new anthurium plant will grow best in bright, indirect light. 

Good draining soil that will still hold a bit of water is also critical to a healthy anthurium plant. If you’re growing anthurium as a houseplant, a half and half mixture of potting soil and orchid soil/perlite will be perfect for your new plant.

If you’re planting anthurium outdoors, choose a well-draining location as your planting area. Keep in mind, these blooms don’t like continually moist soil.

Be sure to water your anthurium plant regularly but beware of overwatering. Only water when the soil is dry to the touch as this bloom is susceptible to root rot, so too much water can kill your plant.

On the other hand, if you allow your anthurium to get too dry, it will slow down its growth, and the roots can be difficult to re-moisten.

Pro Tip: Fertilize your anthurium with a one-quarter strength fertilizer once every three to four months. [5]

DID YOU KNOW - Anthurium Fun Fact

The colored heart-shaped spathe isn’t the flower. The anthurium’s inflorescence consists of a spadix and a spathe (a type of bract). Its actual flowers consist of little bumps on the spadix, yet it’s the color and shape of its conspicuous spathe that attracts attention. The function of the spathe is to protect the flowers. [4]

How to Care for Anthurium

Anthurium is a tropical plant native to the rainforest, so it’s safe to say they prefer a humid environment.

These blooms thrive in a warm, bright room with plenty of humidity, such as a bathroom or conservatory.

Mist your anthurium regularly, or place a tray of moist pebbles underneath your plant. Water whenever the top few centimeters of compost feel dry. Only repot your anthurium when the roots have filled the pot, usually in the springtime. [6]

If you’re growing your own anthurium or you’ve got some cut anthurium you want to put in a vase, here are some tips for caring for your cut anthurium:

  • After you’ve got your cut blooms, cut about 5 cm off the base of the slack and put the flowers in a clean vase with tap water.
  • Anthurium doesn’t need flower food, just clean water will do just fine for these blooms.
  • Keep the water in your vase fresh by replacing it every few days and trimming about 1 cm off the base of the stem. This will keep your anthurium blooms looking fresh and bright for 2 to 3 weeks easily. [4]

When to Give Anthurium as a Gift

Anthurium’s beautiful, welcoming appearance makes them the perfect housewarming gift. The red and pink varieties make a lovely, unconventional Valentine’s Day gift as well. A nice break from traditional red roses ;). Orange anthurium also makes the perfect Thanksgiving gift.

Flower Meanings — keep discovering

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