Flamingo lily | Anthurium care & info

Anthurium scherzerianum and Anthurium andraeanum lend their common name, flamingo lily, from their brightly colored waxy flowers. They are appreciated for their exotic looks and, when their needs are met, can bloom year-round. A great choice for any houseplant lover looking for a pop of color in their home!

Keep reading for everything you need to know about growing flamingo lily in your own home.

Name(s) (common, scientific) Flamingo lily, flamingo plant, flamingo flower, painter’s palette, tailflower, laceleaf, Anthurium scherzerianum & Anthurium andraeanum
Difficulty level Moderate
Recommended lighting Bright indirect
Water Keep lightly moist
Soil type Well-draining

Flamingo lily natural habitat

The genus Anthurium, which the flamingo lily is part of, is native to Central and most of South America as well as the West Indies. Like many other houseplants, they are naturally found in tropical rainforests.

If you want to successfully grow them and provide optimal Anthurium care, it’s a good idea to imitate these rainforest conditions as much as possible in the home.

Did you know? Although the flamingo lily is naturally found South America, it’s usually associated with Hawaii. The islands are massive exporters of this aroid houseplant.

Higaki, Lichty & Moniz, 1995

Flamingo lily light, location & temperature

Light

In rainforests, not much sunlight reaches the ground because larger trees block out most of the light. This means that although flamingo lilies love bright light, they do not appreciate direct sunlight and burn easily.

Give this plant a spot in front of a window that receives bright light but no sun. If you only have sunny windowsills to offer, place a sheer curtain between your flamingo lily and the window if you feel like things get a little too intense.

Close up of pink Anthurium (flamingo lily) flower | Full flamingo lily care guide
Hover over image to pin to Pinterest!

Location

When choosing a location in your home to place your flamingo lily, keep in mind its lighting needs as well as its preference for high humidity. A spot near a window that doesn’t get direct sun in a relatively humid location (such as the kitchen or bathroom) should work well.

In less humid locations you can try placing a humidity tray under the plant, grouping multiple plants together so they form a mini rainforest or running a humidifier.

Remember, low air humidity is harmful to humans in the long run too, so taking some measures to raise it can help you stay healthy as well.

Temperature

Because flamingo lilies natural occur in tropical areas, they won’t do well in low temperatures. Make sure to place yours in a location that doesn’t drop below 15 °C/59 °F, even at night.

Avoid spots that are drafty, close to a single-paned window or under an A/C. Also try not to place your Anthurium close to a heater, since the air might get too dry and it’ll be difficult to maintain the lightly moist soil that this species likes.

Tip: Do you love flowering plants? The flamingo lily is on the list of amazing houseplants that flower along with 6 other species you might like.

Flowers and leaves of Anthurium houseplant.

Flamingo lily soil & planting

Flamingo lilies like a well-draining peat moss-based soil type. Because there is still discussion on whether peat moss is sustainable or not, you could also try a replacement such as coco coir.

Simply mix your peat moss or coco coir with potting soil and some kind of medium to improve drainage, such as perlite or bark. Some flamingo lily lovers also swear by adding a little charcoal to the potting mix.

Flamingo lilies don’t have to be repotted very often. You can usually repot them during Springtime every two years or so; when doing so you can either move one pot size up or divide the plants and plant them separately.

Watering flamingo lily

As with many houseplants, watering is one of the more difficult aspects of flamingo lily care. These plants like evenly moist soil, especially during Summertime, but absolutely do not appreciate wet feet. When left in standing water for too long, this plant’s roots can quickly develop rot.

Leave your flamingo lily to dry out a little more during Winter when it isn’t growing as much. During these dormant months, if you stick a finger into the soil, you should still feel some slight humidity at the tip but not throughout the entire soil like in summer.

Green flowers of Anthurium andraeanum, a popular houseplant also referred to as flamingo lily.
A green-flowered cultivar of Anthurium andraeanum.

Flamingo lily fertilizer

If your flamingo lily is actively growing (most likely during the Spring and Summer months) you can lightly feed it with a diluted fertilizer around every two weeks or so.

Don’t feed during the dormant months or whenever the plant isn’t actively growing or you risk burning the roots.

Anthurium propagation

If you’d like to expand your flamingo lily collection, you can do so for free! Anthurium propagation is easy enough and there are two ways to do so. Well, really there are three, but Anthurium propagation from seed is something reserved for the more dedicated hobbyist.

Here’s how you do it:

  • Anthurium propagation by stem cutting: Mature flamingo lilies will have a clearly visible stem. You can cut the stem using a clean knife of shears, making sure there are at least one or two nodes and ideally a few leaves on your cutting.

    Anthurium stem cuttings can be rooted in water, or you can pot them up directly in the same soil type you also used for the mother plant.
  • Anthurium propagation by division: This is best done if you were already going to repot your flamingo lily. When you take your plant out of its container, you’ll notice that it often actually consists of multiple plants. This is because Anthuriums tend to produce offshoots over time.

    You can carefully untangle as many offshoots as you want and place them in their own planters. Because they should already have their own root systems, they will usually keep growing without issue.
  • Growing Anthurium from seed: Because flamingo lilies flower so abundantly, it is possible to obtain seeds, especially if you have multiple plants. You’ll have to fertilize the flowers yourself, though, so release your inner bee and spread pollen around the flower spadixes using a soft-tipped paintbrush.

    If all went well, berries will appear, although this can take a few months. You can harvest these berries when they are orange and easy to remove from the spadix. Remove the pulp and plant the seeds in moist vermiculite. Place the whole thing in a germination tray with a humidity dome and remove the cover once the seedlings sprout.
Red flower of Anthurium scherzerianum, the flamingo lily.
Anthurium scherzerianum. All other photos in this article show Anthurium andraeanum, the more common flamingo lily.

The difference between Anthurium scherzerianum and Anthurium andraeanum

Although Anthurium scherzerianum is the “official” flamingo lily, both scherzerianum and andraeanum are commonly referred to using this common name, which can obviously get a little confusing as the plants are not actually the same.

Anthurium andraeanum is much more common. It grows a little larger and is known for being a bit fussier than Anthurium scherzerianum. Its spadix (the part that sticks out of the flower) is straight, whereas that of Anthurium scherzerianum is usually curly.

Buying flamingo lily

As we’ll discuss below, there are two species often referred to as flamingo lily. Anthurium andraeanum is more commonly available than the ‘actual’ flamingo lily, Anthurium scherzerianum. You should be able to find it in some plant stores and garden centers.

You can also easily buy Anthurium andraeanum online. Keep in mind that selective cultivation has lead to a whole bunch of different Anthurium cultivars. The flowers come in white, green, light red, dark red, pink, yellow and probably even more colors!

Is flamingo lily toxic to cats and dogs?

Yes, unfortunately flamingo lilies are toxic to cats, dogs and humans. The leaves contain calcium oxalate crystals that cause a nasty burning sensation.

This means that anything that might eat or play with this plant (pets and kids) should always be kept away from it and you might want to handle it carefully or wear gloves yourself.


If you have any more questions about Anthurium care or want to share your own experiences with this funky flowering plant, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below!

Higaki, T., Lichty, J. S., & Moniz, D. (1995). Anthurium culture in Hawai’i.


4 thoughts on “Flamingo lily | Anthurium care & info”

    • A standard houseplant fertilizer tends to work absolutely fine, especially a liquid one. You can also use worm castings, or a fish emulsion one (though the smell of the latter really is something else). 🙂

      Reply

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