How to Plant, Grow, and Care For Anthurium Crystallinum
Thinking of growing anthurium crystallinum but aren't quite sure where to start? This lovely houseplant is a bit more rare compared to other more mainstream plants, but it's quite beautiful, and can be a wonderful addition to an indoor garden. In this article, gardening and houseplant expert Madison Moulton walks through how to plant, grow, and care for anthurium crystallinum!
The large heart-shaped leaves of Monsteras and Philodendrons are what make them such popular, decorative houseplants. But sometimes, houseplant collections need something to spice up the plain greenery. Anthurium crystallinum, with its oval, white-veined leaves, does exactly this.
This striking plant deserves a special place in every houseplant collection as it adds a brilliant splash of difference. It’s also easy to care for, having very similar needs to other houseplants and making it an easy addition. While this plant is relatively rare, once you find one and snatch it up, it’s worth it.
If you are lucky enough to come across this beautiful houseplant, it’s important to provide them with proper care. With this simple guide, you’ll have everything you need to plant, grow, and care for the beautiful Anthurium crystallinum.
Anthurium Crystallinum Plant Overview
Central and South America
Bright Indirect Light
USDA hardiness Zone 13 and above
Pests & Diseases
Scale, aphids, spider mites
Airy and well-draining
What Is It?
Anthurium crystallinum goes by a few names, but it’s most commonly known as the Crystal Anthurium or the Strap Flower. This tropical beauty belongs to the Anthurium genus, which falls under the very large Araceae or Arum plant family. Many popular plants fall under the Arum umbrella, including Monsteras, Philodendrons, and Peace Lilies.
While it shares many characteristics with its cousins, Anthurium crystallinum is quite unique. Its heart-shaped leaves are large and have coppery-red undersides. Adding to its beauty are the white veins stretched across the foliage.
This plant hails from tropical environments and thrives in similar conditions. In its natural environment, it is known to climb structures to avoid competition and reach for the light.
While this plant has slight but striking differences from other houseplants within Araceae, it does share one unfortunate trait. Anthurium crystallinum contains calcium oxalate crystals, which makes it toxic to humans and pets.
If leaves or other parts of the plant are ingested, the crystals cause mouth and bowel irritation. These rough, invisible crystals can also cause skin irritation. So, it’s best to handle this plant with care and keep them away from curious little hands and paws.
History & Origins
The Anthurium genus hails from South and Central America, thriving most prominently in Ecuador and Colombia. They were discovered in 1876 by the French Botanist, Eduard Andre, who also discovered Bromeliads, Orchids, and Calla Lilies. He also introduced all these wonderful plants to the rest of Europe.
Anthuriums are also quite symbolic – signifying long last friendship and love, bringing luck to any relationship.
Adding to its significance is its air purifying qualities. In the 1980s, NASA set out to discover which plants best purify the air and filter out harmful toxins. Anthuriums actually top NASA’s list, ridding the air around it from formaldehyde, ammonia, xylene, and toluene. They’re also known to secrete substances that clear out viruses and mold.
Very little is known specifically about the rare Crystal Anthurium, other than that they were largely cultivated in Europe after their discovery. However, they offer the same air cleaning benefits as the rest of the genus.
Like the rest of the Anthurium genus, the Crystal Anthurium is native to South and Central America. It’s readily found in rainforests from Panama to Peru. Anthurium crystallinum tends to stick close to trees, where they can happily climb them to reach better, brighter light.
Thanks to these tropical habitats, Anthurium crystallinum thrives in similar conditions. They crave heat and high levels of humidity, along with plenty of dappled light – all of which is quite similar to indoor environments, making them wonderful houseplants. Depending on where you live, you can add this plant to your outdoor plant collection too.
The key characteristics of the Crystal Anthurium are what make it so special. It has classic, heart-shaped leaves that can grow to about 18 inches. This sheer size of the leaves is enough to set this plant apart and turn heads.
Most Crystal Anthurium leaves are velvety and deep, olive green. Sometimes, they take on a deep maroon. The undersides of leaves are also worth noting with their coppery hues.
But, what makes the Anthurium crystallinum so spectacular is the color along the main veins of the leaves. This can either be pale green, or a brilliant silvery-white, creating a stark, eye-catching contrast.
What makes this plant even more special is that its leaves change appearance as they age. While all leaves tend to have their copper-red underside throughout, younger leaves also start out with a reddish hue. Each silvery leaf is also unique – adding even more allure to this already alluring plant.
Similar to other plants that belong to the Araceae family, this plant also flowers. It doesn’t flower often, especially indoors, but when it does, the blooms are quite mundane. They resemble very skinny, stringy Peace Lilly flowers, and range from brown to purple. In the right conditions, the Crystal Anthurium can bloom throughout the year, but as it is relatively rare, it’s far more satisfying to focus on the foliage.
Where To Buy One
You may find it difficult to come across Anthurium crystallinum at local nurseries. These plants are quite rare, and because of this, can be on the expensive side. However, if you do come across one in a garden center, snatch it up quickly. Make sure to thoroughly inspect the plant before carting it home, as you don’t want any problems spoiling this worthwhile investment.
You’ll more likely to find this plant online. There are several online nurseries to choose from, but you may even find your perfect plant on Etsy or Amazon. Smaller, younger plants tend to be more affordable online, however, it’s best to opt for larger plants. While they can be more expensive, they’re better established and are more likely to survive after the stress of shipping.
If you’re lucky enough to have a kind friend or neighbor who already owns this must-have plant, you can always propagate it. The Crystal Anthurium is amongst the easiest plants to propagate, allowing you to add it to your collection for free.
Your Anthurium crystallinum is usually content with the pot it came in. However, you can replant it in a pretty one that suits your home’s style too.
- Remove the plant from the pot it’s currently in.
- Shake off the loose soil that’s near the roots.
- Gently tease the roots in order to untangle them.
- Fill the new pot with the proper soil mix.
- Use the original pot as a guide of how high the bottom soil line should be.
- For the correct soil, refer to the Soil section in this guide.
- Place your Anthurium in the pot, spreading out the roots.
- Hold it in place and fill in the gaps around the pot with extra soil mix.
- Fill the soil mix up to a few inches below the rim of the pot.
- Press around the base to anchor the plant in place.
- Remove any large air pockets.
- Water immediately after planting.
How to Grow
Despite its rarity, Anthurium crystallinum is extremely easy to grow and care for. It enjoys similar conditions to most leafy houseplants. It thrives in indoor conditions that match the warmth and humidity of its native environments.
This leafy beauty is also low maintenance, often only needing to be pruned for aesthetic purposes. This plant is truly perfect for beginner collectors and experienced plant parents alike.
These large leafy Anthuriums favor plenty of bright, indirect light, similar to the dappled light of jungles. Like other leafy houseplants, the Crystal Anthurium cannot handle direct light. The velvety, white-veined leaves are quite sensitive and prone to sunburn.
When outdoors, Anthurium crystallinum grows best under the safety of large trees, where they can receive a full day of shaded light.
The best spot for this leafy plant is near an east-facing window, or a spot that gets plenty of morning sun and limited afternoon sun. If your desired spot only receives direct rays throughout the day, you can place a sheer curtain over the room’s windows. Sheer curtains keep a space bright while filtering out the harsh rays.
Alternatively, if your space doesn’t meet the light requirements of this striking plant, you can always grow it under grow lights.
You’ll know when your plant is receiving the wrong amount of light. It tends to wilt and yellow when there is too little light, while the leaves tend to brown and show signs of sun scorch when it receives too much direct light.
Due to its tropical roots, the Crystal Anthurium adores moist soil. However, it should never sit in soggy, water-logged soil, as it encourages stress and the proliferation of diseases.
The correct watering methods are extremely important to the overall health of the Anthurium crystallinum. You’ll know you are watering wrong if the leaves yellow and you see signs of root rot. On the other hand, you’ll notice the leaves beginning to brown and curl at the edges if you’re underwatering your Anthurium.
The correct watering methods are luckily easy to learn. The best time to water is as soon as the top layer (1-2 inches) of soil has dried. Test this by simply poking the soil with your finger. If it’s still damp, don’t water. If it’s dry, it’s time to quench your plant’s thirst.
Avoid watering your Anthurium crystallinum, along with the rest of your houseplants, on a strict schedule. The conditions around your plants change daily, affecting how quickly the soil dries out. Not watering your houseplants properly will impact their lifespan, so it’s important to get it right.
How you water your plants is just as important. When you do water, do so slowly and deeply. You should also avoid watering the leaves, focusing on the base of the plant.
Anthurium crystallinum, like most houseplants, needs specialized soil to flourish indoors. This soil mix contains just the right materials to help drain the soil, while keeping it moist, airy, and light.
You can find these houseplant soil mixes online or at your local nursery or garden center. They have the correct ratios for your Anthurium and most other houseplants. You can even find mixes with a bit of fertilizer, which gives your plants a healthy growth boost.
Depending on your circumstances, it’s often easier and far cheaper to make your own soil mix, especially if you are a houseplant addict with tons of them around your home. It also allows you to tailor the soil to your plant’s specific needs and the environment in your home.
This plant thrives in a mix with a combination of potting soil, perlite, and peat moss or coconut coir. Both coconut coir and peat moss hold on to plenty of water while still maintaining their light and airy mixture. Perlite – small white rocks of volcanic glass – increases the spaces between soil particles, improving drainage and exposing the roots to oxygen.
The best ratio for your DIY potting mix is 2:1:1. Mix two parts of potting soil, and one part perlite, and one part coconut oil or peat moss. Depending on your plant’s needs, add more or less of each material.
Temperature and Humidity
Crystal Anthuriums hail from the tropics, so they thrive in warm, humid, jungle-like environments. They don’t tolerate the cold as well as other houseplants and should be kept away from cool drafts. Due to their love of humidity, Anthurium crystallinum will struggle in dry conditions.
Luckily, comfortable indoor conditions are similar to their natural jungle environments, growing best in temperatures above 65F. The perfect range for your Anthurium crystallinum is anywhere between 75F and 85F.
Crystal Anthuriums are a bit fussier about the levels of humidity in their immediate environment Most houseplants will tolerate humidity levels at 50%, but this plant is a little more demanding. It needs humidity levels at around 70% or higher to flourish.
While there are several tips and tricks to improve humidity levels in your home and around your plants, they’re often not sufficient to meet the 70% requirement. The best way to meet the needs of your Anthurium crystallinum is to add a humidifier to your space. Humidifiers will replicate this plant’s natural environment, and give you more control.
Anthurium crystallinum is a relatively slow grower. However, it still requires fertilizer to grow best. This striking houseplant, like its cousins, requires a dash of extra nutrients during its growing season – spring and summer.
These special nutrients are separated into three categories – macronutrients, micronutrients, and secondary nutrients. Nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium make up the macronutrients, the biggest category. However, micronutrients like boron, and secondary nutrients like calcium, are just as essential to the overall health of your plants.
The best way to add these important nutrients to your plants is by using a balanced houseplant fertilizer. These are often diluted and water-soluble. You add them to your soil by mixing them into your watering can and carefully watering your plants.
Unfortunately, liquid fertilizers wash away over time when you water your plants, meaning you’ll have to fertilize more often. This increases the chances of over-fertilizing your plants, which can lead to several issues. Slow-release fertilizers are a great alternative. As the name suggests, these release the necessary nutrients over time.
Avoid putting too much fertilizer in your soil as it can burn the roots. It’s better to under fertilize than overdo it. Read the instructions on your fertilizer carefully before applying.
Despite what its rarity and beauty may suggest, this plant isn’t considered a high maintenance plant. It requires little fuss to keep it flourishing in your home. To keep your plant looking as spritely as the day you bought it, you’ll only need to implement a few basic care practices.
As the Crystal Anthurium is a relatively slow grower, regular pruning isn’t necessary. If you spot any dying or discolored leaves, it’s always a good idea to cut them away. This keeps the plant looking good and encourages new growth. It also prevents the plant from expending energy on these dying leaves, allowing it to focus on new growth and healthier foliage.
Remember, this plant is toxic, and while it’s most dangerous when indigested, it can cause skin irritation. When pruning, do so with care and a pair of trusty gloves. Always use a sharp, clean pair of shears, too, and cut just above the leaf node.
Houseplants collect dust and debris like any other surface in your home. Larger leaves, like those of the Anthurium crystallinum, tend to gather the most. While seemingly harmless, the layer of dust prevents photosynthesis and transpiration, affecting the overall health of the plant.
Every so often, gently wipe down the striking leaves of your Crystal Anthurium with a clean, damp cloth. This also keeps the leaves looking shiny.
You can propagate an Anthurium crystallinum a few ways – through root division, from seeds, and by stem cuttings. Propagating from seeds is the trickiest, mainly because you can’t be sure whether your plant will flower. Your best bet is to opt for root division and stem cuttings. No matter which method you choose, wear gloves to prevent skin irritation caused by the toxic parts of the plant.
Root division is an easy process, but it can be very messy. It’s also best to only opt for this method when you’re planning on repotting your Crystal Anthurium, or else you run the risk of shocking your plant.
When your Anthurium crystallinum has outgrown its pot, or it’s time for a soil refresh, you can make one plant two by simply dividing them at their roots.
Gently remove your plant from its pot and remove as much soil as you can. Next, untangle the roots and look out for natural points of division. Carefully pull the plant apart at these points.
Plant the two pieces in their new pots following the directions under the Planting section. Ensure you use the correct soil mix and water well. Keep a close eye on them for any signs of transplant shock.
Propagation by stem cuttings is perhaps the easiest method of adding plant stock to your collection. It also comes with a few benefits – you can propagate multiple times, take multiple cuttings at a time and you limit the risk of shocking the plant when done correctly.
All you need for this method is a healthy, strong stem and a sharp, clean knife. Healthy stems have the best results, producing strong new plants. When cutting the stem, cut just below the node – the point where a leaf meets the main stem.
Crystal Anthurium cuttings thrive when rooted in soil. Dip the cut end into some rooting hormone before planting to encourage root growth. Ensure you’re using the correct soil mixture too. A mix of vermiculite, perlite, and coconut coir is best as it drains well and offers very little resistance to new root growth.
Place your cuttings in a warm, humid spot for optimal root growth. After the roots have grown anywhere from 1-2 inches, the cuttings are ready for their homes. Use the right size pot and soil mix for your new baby plant.
The beautiful Anthurium crystallinum is a relatively slow grower and doesn’t mind being root bound. Despite this, you should opt to repot your Crystal Anthurium once it starts showing signs of stunted growth or the roots begin poking out the pot’s drainage holes. Repotting your plants is also the best opportunity to refresh the soil.
To repot your plant, follow the same instructions as for planting above, choosing a slightly bigger pot. A pot that is one to two sizes up is always best, as an excessively large pot holds on to too much water, which encourages root rot.
You may notice a few common symptoms of transplant shock, like wilting and the yellowing of leaves. Your plant should return to normal after a brief adjustment period.
To limit the chances of shock, don’t expose the roots to the air for too long and water well immediately after repotting. Try to limit changes to the conditions, like different conditions and soil, and avoid disturbing the roots too much.
Despite its easy-going nature, this Anthurium is not without its problems. However, with the right care, this plant is sure to bounce back and continue thriving. Take a look at these issues to identify the root cause and stop it at the source.
The problem that most houseplant parents face, no matter the plant, is yellowing leaves. There are several reasons why the beautiful leaves of your Anthurium crystallinum are changing this sickly shade. However, the main cause is usually overwatering.
While this tropical beauty enjoys moisture and high levels of humidity, it hates soggy or water-logged soil. Yellowing leaves are often the first sign of overwatering and a symptom of root rot. Luckily, this is an easy fix – let the soil dry out before watering your plant again. However, if you’ve got a severe case of root rot on your hands, you may need to repot your plant.
Overwatering isn’t the only thing that causes yellowing leaves, however. Insufficient humidity levels can also cause this discoloration. They grow best in areas with humidity levels over 70%.
There are several ways to ensure your plant gets the humidity it craves, like placing it in the most humid room in the home – the bathroom. Alternatively, if you don’t want to hide your Crystal Anthurium, invest in a humidifier. As mentioned, this device is one of the most effective in increasing the humidity around your plants.
The causes don’t stop there, unfortunately. Yellowing leaves can also be a result of a nutrient imbalance. While root rot can cause this, so can a build of salts in the soil. If your plant is yellowing near the edges and developing strange yellow-white spots, its salt burn. Repot your plant and adjust your fertilizing routine.
Browning leaves are just as common as yellowing leaves when it comes to houseplants. Often, it’s due to insufficient water, but there are several other causes too.
When your Anthurium crystallinum is underwatered, the leaves begin to curl along the edges and brown at the tips. They also lose their vibrancy and become a little crispy. While they hate soggy soil, you can’t let it go without water for too long. Adjust your watering routine to the tips given above and watch your Crystal Anthurium flourish.
If underwatering isn’t the cause, then it could be sunburn. Being a tropical plant, they grow best in dappled sunlight. Achieving this effect is easy indoors – simply place your plant near an east or south-facing window.
However, if you only have west-facing windows, hang a sheer curtain in front of them. Sheer curtains filter the harsh sun rays while keeping your room bright, allowing your plant to get all the indirect sunlight it needs.
The Anthurium crystallinum is without a doubt a must-have rare plant for every plant parent. If you are looking for a houseplant that will steal a little attention from your philodendron pink princess, or your begonia maculata, this houseplant is the perfect pick. Its easy-going and low-maintenance nature, along with its beauty, make the slightly hefty price tag well worth it.