How to Grow and Care for Anthurium scherzerianum Plants (Flamingo Flower)


Anthurium scherzerianum plants are a part of the Araceae family and don’t require much attention to grow.

All you have to do is plant them in loamy soil, water them once a week, and keep them at around 60℉ to 85℉. Plus, during the summer or spring, you can add a 10-20-10 fertilizer to the soil to ensure that the plants have all the nutrients they need to grow. 

These plants also need around 10 to 12 hours of sunlight every day. Lastly, flamingo flowers can be toxic to cats and dogs. 

If you’d like to learn more about how to create the perfect environment for Anthurium scherzerianum, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s explore the growing conditions and how to grow flamingo plants from seeds!

What Are Anthurium scherzerianum Plants?

Anthurium scherzerianum, also known as the flamingo flower and pigtail plant, is a species of perennial flowering plant in the Araceae family and native to tropical Costa Rica. 

Typically, gardeners grow this flora because of its exotic appearance. The plant comes with a striking orange-red curly spadix and produces glossy green, lance-shaped foliage. 

On average, an Anthurium scherzerianum plant will grow to around 12 to 18 inches tall and 9 to 12 inches wide, and the leaves are about eight inches long. This means the flamingo flower is perfect for small spaces. 

That, coupled with the simple care requirements and flashy bright flowers, makes the Pigtail Plant the ideal ornamental houseplant. With a little sunshine and water, you can grow these plants anywhere, including indoors. 

However, if you have pets, then you may want to stay away from Anthurium scherzerianum. That’s because the plants are toxic to animals like cats and dogs. 

Quick Summary of Anthurium scherzerianum

Here’s a quick look at everything you need to know about Anthurium scherzerianum:

  • Scientific name: Anthurium scherzerianum
  • Common names: Flamingo flower, pigtail plant, oilcloth plant, painter’s pallet, pigtail flower, pigtail Anthurium, fleabane
  • Light: Semi-shade to Full Sun
  • Watering: Once a week
  • Temperature: 60℉ to 85℉
  • Hardiness zones: 10, 11, and 12
  • Soil pH: 5 to 8
  • Soil type: Well-drained loamy soil
  • Repotting: Around every two years
  • Pruning: Once a year
  • Size: 12 to 18 inches tall and 9 to 12 inches wide
  • Bloom time: May to June
  • Propagation: Stem cuttings or separation of basal sprouts

How to Care for Anthurium scherzerianum Plants

One of the best features of Anthurium scherzerianum is that it doesn’t require much attention. The houseplants only need a spot by a window and water once a week. Plus, they may need fertilization during the spring and summer. 

With this flora, you won’t even have to do much pruning. Unless the leaves turn yellow or wilt, you can let the foliage grow naturally.  

Here’s an in-depth look at how to care for this indoor plant:

  1. Provide Sunlight

We all know that sunlight is a crucial factor when it comes to a plant’s life cycle. It enables florae to carry out photosynthesis to produce energy and grow. 

The flamingo flower is no exception. This plant needs around 10 to 12 hours of bright, indirect sunlight a day, depending on the season. 

Otherwise, the Anthurium may struggle to bloom and the flower density (number of flowers produced) will significantly drop. 

Because of that, it’s best practice to place the pigtail plant near a south-facing window. 

If your home doesn’t get much sunlight, don’t worry. You can always rely on artificial grow lights to make sure your plant has enough energy to thrive. 

  1. Mix Soil

Anthurium scherzerianum plants prefer to grow in loamy soil. This growing medium is a mixture of clay, sand, and silt that’s rich in organic material, which makes it more fertile than other types of soil. 

On another note, flamingo flower roots are incredibly sensitive to water. Any excess moisture can cause the structure to become soft and mushy, which can spell trouble for your plants. 

That’s why it’s crucial you use well-drained soil for this species. Your mix should include coarse components like peat moss, perlite, and pine bark.

Peat moss retains moisture while allowing excess water to drain away. This can prevent issues like root rot. 

As for pine bark and perlite, they add structure and aeration to the soil. That will provide an excellent base for the plant’s roots to anchor. 

Not only will these help you control the soil moisture levels, but they can also provide your plants with nutrients. 

  1. Add Water

Generally, it’s a good idea to water your flamingo plant once a week. Pour a cup of water over the soil and let it soak in. Although, this can change based on the weather. 

Watering a pigtail plant can be a tricky task since the roots can become waterlogged easily. So, before adding any water, you have to test the soil. 

Use your index finger to dig about two to three inches into the potting mix. If your finger comes out completely dry to the touch, your plant needs water. 

Yet, when the soil feels damp, it’s best to avoid adding any moisture.  

If you feel like your Anthurium scherzerianum needs more water, but the soil is wet, there’s a quick fix. Fill a spray bottle with water and lightly mist the leaves. 

  1. Control Temperature

Even though they’re tropical plants, flamingo flowers prefer cooler temperatures. They thrive in environments between 60℉ and 77℉ 

This provides the ideal conditions for flowers to bloom and the roots to dig through the soil and anchor the plants properly. Anything below 60℉ and you risk the leaves frosting over and breaking off. 

However, pigtail plants can survive in slightly warm habitats. The florae can withstand temperatures up to 85℉, but the growth rate will drop. That’s because they’ll have trouble maintaining the proper water concentration. 

Aside from the temperature, you need to take the humidity of the environment into account. 

Oilcloth plants prefer damp habitats with plenty of moisture in the air. That allows the leaves and stems to stay hydrated when the temperatures get too hot. 

So, if you live in a particularly dry area, you may want to invest in a humidifier. 

  1. Provide Fertilizer 

Along with sunlight, Anthurium scherzerianum plants also require a few other nutrients, especially phosphorus. This is a natural mineral that is essential for cell division and the healthy development of new leaves and blooms. 

Aside from that, these plants need nitrogen and potassium. Nitrogen is one of the main components of chlorophyll, which gives the oilcloth flowers their green color and allows them to carry out photosynthesis. 

As for potassium, it helps with enzyme activation and the movement of water and nutrients through the plant. 

Ideally, you need a 10-20-10 fertilizer for Anthurium scherzerianum. This mixture contains one part nitrogen, two parts phosphorus, and one part potassium. 

Dilute the fertilizer to about a quarter-strength and feed your plants every week during the spring and summer. 

You can also opt for natural alternatives, like bone meal, compost, or manure. Although, you have to reduce the frequency of fertilization to once a month during the spring and summer. 

How to Grow Anthurium scherzerianum Plants?

Planting Anthurium scherzerianum seeds requires a great deal of patience and special care. First off, you’ll need to find a suitable container. 

Flat pots are best because they drain quickly, reducing the chances of water-logging the roots. Although, a regular planter will work in a pinch. 

After that, turn your attention to the growing medium. While you can use loamy soil, vermiculite is a much better option. 

This medium holds nutrients and water close to the roots, which is crucial for seedlings. Place a layer of pre-moistened vermiculite in your planting pot and gently press the seeds into the soil, leaving a one-inch gap between them. 

Next, cover the container using a damp cloth. That will increase the humidity and temperature in the planter to speed up germination. 

You want to keep the seeds at around 70℉. If you live in a cold area, you may need to use a heat lamp or a seed mat. 

At this point, your plants won’t need any sunlight or water. 

Once you see green shoots growing out of the vermiculite, you can remove the cover. This can take anywhere between two to three weeks. 

Now, you’re ready to move the seedlings into individual containers filled with loamy soil. Finally, place the new pots in indirect sunlight and water them once a week. 

Starting with a seed, your flamingo flower will take around four years to bloom. That’s why gardeners prefer to propagate them from stems or side shoots. 

How to Repot Anthurium scherzerianum Plants?

Anthurium scherzerianum roots don’t grow rapidly. So, you won’t need to repot the plant often. Once every two years should do the trick. 

To repot your Flamingo Flower, start by removing the top layer of soil from the pot to reveal the roots. Then, gently pull out the plant from the container. 

Next, find a planter that’s no more than two inches larger than the old container and fill it a third of the way up with loamy soil. 

After that, lower the roots of your Pigtail Plant into the pot and pack it with more growing medium. Lastly, water the soil to lock it in place. 

You can repot your plants at any point throughout the year, but we recommend you wait until spring or summer. During these seasons, the roots are more flexible and less fragile. 

This will ensure your repotting is successful. 

How to Care for Anthurium scherzerianum Plants in All Seasons?

As the weather changes, your Anthurium scherzerianum plant’s needs will change. First up, flamingo flowers need less water during the winter and fall. 

They require around one watering every two weeks. You should give the plants more sunlight as well, around 12 hours a day. 

Plus, if the temperatures in your area drop below freezing, you may want to break out the heating lamp to keep the plants warm. 

During the summer and spring, one watering a week and 10 hours of sunlight are the perfect conditions for Anthurium scherzerianum. These seasons are also the best time for repotting and adding fertilizers. 

How to Propagate Anthurium scherzerianum Plants?

To propagate plants, you need sharp gardening shears and a clean pot of freshly watered loamy soil. With your pruners in hand, find a well-developed side shoot growing off the main stem. 

The shoot should have at least one leaf and a few aerial roots. Using your shears, cut a straight line where the shoot branches off the stem. 

Then, place the shoot in your clean planter and cover it with soil up until the aerial roots. After that, water the plant to secure it in place and give it two to four weeks to sprout new leaves. 

What Family Do Anthurium scherzerianum Plants Belong to?

Anthurium scherzerianum belongs to the Araceae family, which is a group of flowering plants where the blooms grow off of an inflorescence called a spadix.

Commonly known as the arum family, it includes famous flowers such as the classic peace lily and skunk cabbage. Although there are countless other Araceae types.

How Long Do Anthurium scherzerianum Plants Live for?

With the proper care and environment, your Anthurium scherzerianum can last for about five years indoors. However, this can change based on several factors, like the fertilization schedule and the type of soil you use. 

What Are Common Pests and Plant Diseases for Anthurium scherzerianum Plants?

There are quite a few pests that like to snack on flamingo flowers. These include:

  • Mealybugs
  • Aphids
  • Soft scales
  • Spider mites
  • Thrips

Plus, the plants are susceptible to illnesses like root rot and leaf spot disease. 

How to Tell if Anthurium scherzerianum Plant Is Not Growing?

Anthurium scherzerianum should grow about four to six flowers each year. If your plant produces fewer flowers, or the blooms last less than two to three months, there may be an issue with the growing conditions. 

Check the moisture levels of the soil and the temperature. You may also want to adjust the amount of sunlight your plant is getting. 

Are Anthurium scherzerianum Plants Poisonous?

Flamingo flowers contain insoluble calcium oxalate crystals. This is an organic compound that can cause inflammation, swelling, and irritation when ingested. 

Because of that, the plant is incredibly toxic to cats and dogs

Does Anthurium scherzerianum Flower?

Anthurium scherzerianum can produce around six flowers every year. They have bright orange-red, curly petals and grow off of the spadix.

These flowers can stay in bloom for anywhere between two to three months. 

How to Help an Anthurium scherzerianum Plant to Grow?

Caring for your Anthurium scherzerianum should be a walk in the park. Although, you should keep a close eye on the foliage. 

If you notice the leaves of your flamingo plant are drooping, the culprit is usually root rot. Check the moisture content of the soil and make sure that there’s no sign of rooting on the roots. 

However, when the leaves turn yellow, that means there’s a problem with growing conditions. You may need to add fertilizers to the houseplant or increase the amount of daily sunlight.