Botanical name: Anthurium scherzerianum
Flamingo Flower also called Pigtail Plant is a popular flowering houseplant on account of the glossy red, heart-spaded blooms which can last for weeks. The blooms are not true flowers but are spathes, each with a white spadix covered densely with tiny true flowers. Flamingo flower grows to a height of 1 ft. It bears a 2 in. long waxy flower with an orange curly tail. Brilliant red is the usual color but a white variety (album) is available. The leaves are 8 in. long and are lance-shaped. Flamingo Flower are native to the tropical regions of Costa Rica where they grow as epiphytes on trees. They may not be easy to grow under room conditions but with proper care they can last for many years. Flamingo Flower is closely related to Anthurium andraeanum (Laceleaf).
Flamingo Flower prefers bright indirect light. A curtain-filtered sunny window is perfect. Protect the plant from direct sunlight to avoid scorching of the leaves. Learn more on how to ensure your plant receives the correct light in this guide on understanding light for houseplants.
Keep soil moist at all times for Flamingo Flower during the growing season but reduce watering in the cold season to maintain the soil slightly moist. Avoid waterlogging as it may lead to the root-rot. Learn more on how to water houseplants.
Average warmth with a minimum of 150C is ideal for Flamingo Flower. Protect it from cold draughts. Find out more on temperature for houseplants.
Flamingo Flower requires high humidity. Raise humidity by more frequent misting or set the pot on a wet pebble tray. Clean the leaves by damp-wiping with a soft cloth to get rid of dust and avoid water drops on the leaves as it may cause fungal infection.
Feed Flamingo Flower every 2-3 weeks during the growing period with a phosphorous-rich water-soluble fertilizer. Withhold feeding in the cold season as growth is minimal and feeding at this time can lead to fertilizer burn. Regularly flush out accumulated salts in the soil by running a stream of water through the soil until the water comes out through the drainage hole. Allow it to run for a few minutes and repeat several times. Learn more on how to feed houseplants.
Repot Flamingo Flower every 2 years at the beginning of the growing season. Use a pot one-size larger and free-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. Ensure the pot has drainage holes to prevent waterlogging.
Pruning Flamingo Flower is easy. Remove yellow and dead leaves to maintain the plant neat and tidy. Cut the leaves at the base of the stem. Wayward leaves can also be removed to maintain the shape of the plant. Learn more on how to prune houseplants.
Flamingo Flower can be propagated during the growing season from from splits. Divide the mother plant into several sections while ensuring each divison has some roots. Pot up the splits in moist soil in individual pots. Place the set up in a cool place and maintain the soil moist until new growth emerges. Ensure the crown of the plant is above the soil level to avoid rotting. Allow the plant to be well established before transplanting.
After blooming, give Flamingo Flower a 6 weeks rest period in a cool dimly-lit room at 150C. Give it very little water during this period. Bring it out after the rest period and continue with normal care. This will break the dormancy cycle and signal the plant to start blooming.
One reason for this is that the air is too dry for Flamingo Flower; set the pot on a wet pebble tray to raise humidity. The other reason for brown leaf tips is waterlogging of the soil; maintain the soil moist but not soggy.
There are two causes of yellow leaves in Flamingo Flower. One reason is waterlogging; maintain the soil moist but not soggy, ensure the pot has a drainage hole and the soil is free-draining. Reason number two is cold draughts; protect the Flamingo Flower from cold draughts or place it away from windy doors and windows.
These are sunburn marks caused by exposure of Flamingo Flower to direct sunlight. Move the plant to a shaded place or use a curtain to filter the light.
There are four causes of this in Flamingo Flower. One reason is low humidity: raise humidity by setting the pot on a wet pebble tray. Reason number two is incorrect watering, either underwatering or overwatering; maintain the soil moist at all times during the growing season and never allow the soil ball to dry out. Learn more on how to water houseplants. The third reason is too high temperature due to exposure to direct sunlight; protect the plant from direct sunlight. The fourth and last reason is pests and diseases infestation; take control measures for these pests.
Flamingo Flower that is not getting enough light will not bloom. Ensure the plant is receiving bright light but away from direct sunlight. Also underfeeding will prevent production of blooms. Feed Flamingo Flower every 2 weeks with a phosphorous-rich water-soluble fertilizer during the growing season.
If the Flamingo Flower was in bloom when you bought it, the reason could be it was forced to bloom before it was ready to bloom so it loses color as it ages. Improper watering, excess nitrogen fertilizer and wrong temperatures can also cause greening of the flowers. The blooms last for about 4 weeks and as they age, they begin to lose color by becoming green and paler as aging continues. Some species of Anthuriums produce blooms that turn brilliant green in color; check the species you are growing.
Flamingo Flower is prone to Root-rot Disease which is promoted by waterlogged soil.
Flamingo Flower (Anthurium scherzerianum) is toxic to both humans and pets. It contains oxalate crystals which can cause digestive distress, breathing problems and skin irritation. Always wear gloves when handling and wash your hands thereafter.