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The anthurium, also known as the flamingo flower, is particularly striking because of its unusual inflorescences, to which it also owes its German name. Under optimal conditions, these magnificent flowers appear all year round. The conditions in the living room at home are not always ideal for originally tropical plants such as the flamingo flower. This can be shown by yellow or brown leaves, among other things. But what do these discolorations of the leaves indicate, what is the flamingo flower missing?


Causes of Yellow/Brown Leaves

Anthuriums are not the easiest houseplants to care for, and in terms of light and water requirements, temperature and humidity, they are sometimes really sensitive little ones. It reacts quickly to mistakes in care with discoloration of the leaves. But what are the reasons for this?

lack of light

Unfavorable lighting conditions

In its natural home, the anthurium grows and thrives in rainforests, both on the ground (terrestrial) and as a so-called epiphyte on mighty jungle giants. Or it grows in the light shade of extensive forests. Even if they grow as shade plants in their country of origin, they do not feel comfortable here in the shade or in the blazing sun, but they need sufficient light at all times.

  • Yellowing or browning of the leaves can indicate too much sunlight
  • does not tolerate direct or blazing sun
  • too dark location leads to similar discolouration
  • dark location can also lead to reduced flowering
  • nevertheless, it needs sufficient light to thrive optimally

In order to prevent such discoloration of the leaves, it is advisable to give it a spot in front of a sunny window and to shade it when the sun is shining or on sunny days. Even in winter, the location should be bright enough. The chosen location is optimal when the leaves of the anthurium are shiny and it forms new flowers regularly.

temperature fluctuation

If the light conditions correspond to the needs of the plants, unfavorable temperatures or temperature fluctuations can be the cause of yellow leaf tips. Most often, it reacts to low temperatures with yellowing of the leaf tips. The Anthurium loves harmonious climatic conditions and should not be exposed to any major temperature fluctuations. Constant temperatures between 18 and 20 degrees are ideal, all year round, because the flamingo flower knows no seasons. It is definitely not advisable to put them outside in the summer months. They should not be colder than 16 degrees. Drafts and direct heating air also have an unfavorable effect.

Tip: Temperatures of 16 degrees in winter for a period of 4-6 weeks are only recommended to stimulate bud formation in Anthurium scherzerianum.

Wrong substrate

As an epiphyte, the anthurium does not develop a widespread root system like most other plants. Similar to an orchid, it only has one main root shoot with small secondary roots. Their roots need light and air to live. If this is not the case, it reacts with brown leaves. As a result, the substrate should above all be loose, permeable to light, air and water and low in nutrients.

Compact potting soil is therefore completely discouraged, as it would retain moisture for too long. Commercially available orchid soil is very suitable, or you can mix high-quality potting soil with plenty of Styrofoam balls or expanded clay. Calcareous substrates are completely unsuitable.

Incorrect watering

Improper watering

Improper watering, for example watering with hard, calcareous water, often turns the leaves yellow. If hard water gets on the leaves, the plant reacts with brown spots, which later lead to yellowing of the entire leaf. The situation is similar when the roots absorb the calcareous water.

  • therefore only water with lime-free rainwater if possible
  • normal tap water should be stale for at least 2-3 days
  • Waterlogging also leads to yellow or brown leaves
  • Anthurium is very sensitive to too much moisture
  • it inevitably leads to root rot
  • damaged roots can hardly absorb any water
  • the result is brown, dried-up leaves
  • in the event of root rot, repot the affected plant into fresh substrate as soon as possible
  • cut off all rotten root parts and dispose of the old substrate

To prevent this problem in the future, you should water significantly less. But not only too much moisture but also a rootstock that is permanently too dry causes the leaves to turn yellow. The roots should never dry out, because leaves and flower stalks grow from the fleshy rootstock. It is best to water when the substrate has dried well to a depth of a few centimetres. Excess water in pots and coasters should always be removed quickly, as it could encourage re-infestation. If you water with calcareous water, it is advisable to repot in fresh substrate every year, because even stagnant water still contains a certain amount of lime.

air dryness

In accordance with their tropical origin, anthuriums require a humidity of around 60 to 65%. Especially in winter, these attractive plants suffer from dry air. Brown leaf tips can indicate that the air is too dry. You can remedy this by increasing the humidity. You can do this by setting up air humidifiers, spraying the plants regularly, if necessary daily, with soft water, or setting up commercial vaporizers. An indoor fountain can also do a good job here.


A delicate touch is required when fertilizing Anthuriums, because they acknowledge both a nutrient deficiency and an excess with leaf discoloration. While a lack of brown discoloration is evident, an excess will result in yellowing of the leaves. Basically, these plants are quite frugal in terms of nutrient requirements. But you can't do it without fertilizer.

You fertilize about every two weeks with a commercial liquid fertilizer at half the concentration. It is important to ensure that the fertilizer is never applied to the dry substrate, this would burn the roots, which in turn causes leaf discoloration. It is best to water sparingly at first and fertilize a few hours later. Fertilizers that are also used for orchids are well suited, because both species thrive in nature in one and the same habitat with very similar requirements.

Tip: The following applies to this plant, which incidentally is one of the weak feeders: fertilize moderately but regularly.

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