Fixing Brown Spots on Your Anthurium

What’s prettier than a dazzling “Flamingo Flower”? White, pink, red, purple… the hues of these beautiful flowers are almost endless! However, these loveable houseplants battle a common ‘buzz killer’: brown spots! How can you fix the brown spots on your Anthurium?





Causes & Cures for Your Anthurium’s Brown Spots

The good news: Brown spots on Anthuriums are a common problem. So, don’t go beating yourself up too much! The causes? They range from simple to complex, but the majority of them are very fixable! (We will start with the easiest!)


No Fun in the Sun

In a nutshell: Anthuriums shouldn’t be exposed to direct sunlight. Their leaves easily burn, leaving you with unsightly, dry, brown patches. The fix? Relocate your plant to an area that receives filtered light, with no direct sun.


The bad news? Brown leaves won’t fix themselves, so feel free to cut the stem off 1 inch above the soil with sterile scissors. Remember to always leave 3-5 leaves behind! What not to do: Don’t cut the leaves themselves. Doing so leaves large, open wounds that invite bacteria! (More on that to come.)


Getting Hungry Over Here!

A nutrient deficiency will also result in your Anthurium developing brown spots. If you fertilize your plant regularly, this is not your problem. What does a “healthy” fertilizer regimen look like?


You should fertilize your Anthurium with quarter strength fertilizer every 3-4 months. Some Anthurium parents opt for a slow-release formula. But (chances are) if you’re trying to fix your plant’s brown leaves, you should fast-track fertilization with a liquid soluble formula.


Just remember: Even if you suspect your plant is undernourished, don’t overdo it. Establish a routine and stick to it! Overfertilizing your Anthurium is dangerous to its health.


R.I.P. Old Leaf

Sadly, leaves don’t last forever. The occasional browning, dropping leaf could just mean that it reached the end of its life expectancy. As long as your Anthurium continues to produce healthy growth, continue caring for it as usual!


Drowning in Love

Okay, who here is guilty of “over loving” plants? Every plant parent has killed a plant or two (or three… or four) by overwatering it. Anthuriums are no exception! Overwatering leads to root rot, which is a fungal infection that will ultimately kill your plant.


While you may be thinking “‘Root rot’ and ‘brown leaves’, what’s the connection?”, remember that your plant’s roots determine its overall health. So, yes: Rotting roots can cause your Anthurium’s brown leaf spots.


How do you fix the problem? If your plant is too far gone, there may be little chance of its survival. But, let’s be hopeful and assume you caught the problem early!


  • Remove your plant from its current container.

  • Ensure that your current container is appropriately sized (it should be 1 inch larger than the root ball).

  • Plant your Anthurium in fresh soil: ½ potting mix and ½ orchid bark is ideal.

  • Leave your plant unwatered for an hour or two, allowing the roots to dry out slightly.

  • Water your plant and maintain a healthy watering routine.


What is a healthy watering routine? Water when the topsoil is visibly dry and crumbly. Less is more! If you’re unsure, wait a day or two.


Gasping for Air

A dry environment will also contribute to brown tips and spotting on your Anthurium. These tropical plants flourish in 80% humidity. That’s a pretty tall order, considering most American homes hover around 10%. The solution? Place your Anthurium near a humidifier so it can absorb as much consistent humidity as possible.


Just a tip: Humidity for plants is undeniably important, but remember the health of your family too! Unless you have your Anthurium in a greenhouse or terrarium setting, 60% humidity is the highest recommendation for a normal home. (Who wants mold growing on the ceiling, right?)


“I’m Sick!”

Leaf Blight (aka leaf spot) is probably the scariest sounding cause of them all, and it does require a little TLC. What is it? A bacteria! What does it look like? Yellowing that turns crispy brown, and has “water droplets” on the leaf tips. (Which is actually your plant’s sap!) What caused it? An open wound!


How did it happen? We are always pruning, repotting, or otherwise injuring our plants. These open areas welcome harmful bacteria, which can cause leaf blight, and eventually kill your Anthurium.


Prevention

Water and wet surfaces carry bacteria, so overhead watering (especially when you know your plant has a wound) is a bad idea. For this reason, many Anthurium parents choose to water the soil only, use the 6 ice cube (once a week) method, or bottom water to avoid the dangers of leaf blight. We suggest you do the same! To futher avoid wet leaves, place your Anthurium near a humidifer instead of misting it.


Treatment

First: How much of your Anthurium is affected? The leaves-only or the entire plant? If your whole plant has leaf blight, this means that the bacteria is in its ‘veins’ (so-to-speak) and that there is zero hope of recovery. You should trash your plant, dispose of the soil, and santize the container before reusing it.


If there’s only a leaf or two that’s affected, begin by breaking the leaf off the stem. Where? At the petiole (the little elbow that’s located directly behind the leaf, connecting it to the stem). Leaf blight is extremely contagious, so be ready to sanitize your hands or scissors after you make the break!



Nursing your Anthurium back to good, all-green health can be simple and rewarding! We wish you the best in your plant parenting journey. And don’t forget, if your Anthurium is too far gone, we’ve got you covered for your “Take #2”.




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