The marvelous Anthurium hookeri is a sight to behold with its crinkled green leaves and captivating flowers. It is a rare variety of the genus Anthurium which makes it every houseplant lover’s dream species. The species is native to tropical rainforests of northeastern Venezuela and the Lesser Antilles.
It is associated with multiple names, including Wild Tobacco and Birdsnest Flamingo, to name a few. The most common name for this variety, however, is Birds Nest Anthurium.
This association is due to the oblong berries that the plant houses within the center. In addition to its stunning appearance, the plant is also loved due to its quality of being a natural air purifier.
Read on to get an insight into the care guide for this rare and moody species.
Anthurium Hookeri Classification
The plant was first identified by Carl Sigismund Kunth during the year 1841. It is a rare member of the Arum family and little is known about its details except for its origin. The plant has been dated since the eighteenth century, with evidence of its growth on elevations of 200 to 1450 meters.
Genus Anthurium is one of the largest members of the Arum family with over 1000 species of flowering plants. This genus typically stretches from regions of North America to parts of the Caribbean.
Most Anthurium varieties have been blessed with elaborate outlooks, making them a much-loved option for houseplants.
Features of Anthurium Hookeri Plant
The Anthurium hookeri has both epiphytic and terrestrial growth patterns. It typically exists with long, triangular leaves with a short stem. The leaves appear to be clustered at the head of the thick stem. During the growing season, it blooms with a greenish-purple spathe.
A mature plant can grow up to a whopping 19 inches tall. The D-shaped leaves can become as wide as 20 inches. The size of your plant may vary, based on the growth conditions you provide for it.
Most plants tend to achieve a bigger size when grown in their natural environment compared to a home-based habitat.
The crumpled green leaves of the Anthurium hookeri are a sight for sore eyes. They are a fresh dark green color with glandular punctations on either side of the leaf.
The leaves demonstrate a supervolute vernation pattern and continue to straighten up as they mature. You can also notice veins running throughout the leaf structure.
During the growing season, the Anthurium hookeri blooms with stunning purple flowers. It also gives rise to berries, which are white in color and oval-shaped.
The flowers of this species are not too showy nor are they fragrant. Nevertheless, the purple-hued blooms strike a captivating contrast with the dark green foliage.
All members of the genus Anthurium are toxic and this variety is no exception. Anthurium hookeri is toxic to both humans and animals.
It owes its toxic nature to the high concentrations of calcium oxalate crystals present as a component of the plant. These crystals are responsible for the adverse effects experienced upon contact with this plant.
Common symptoms of toxicity include pain and discomfort around the mouth and throat area. You may also experience digestive complaints if it is ingested. It is suggested to keep your pets and toddlers well away from the plant due to its toxic nature. In case of accidental ingestion seek immediate medical attention.
You may notice a reduced growth rate of your plant during the winter months. This is quite normal and the plant is said to be in its dormant phase. During this phase active growth is temporarily suspended and thus, the basic requirements also decrease.
Be mindful not to overwater or over-fertilize your plant during this phase. The plant will resume its active growth cycle once the temperatures become warmer.
Anthurium Hookeri Care
Birds Nest Anthurium is a stunning Anthurium variety with a tropical feel. Hence, a great choice for plant fanatics who want a tropical feel in their garden. However, choosing this variety comes with great responsibility.
It is not the easiest plant to grow. It will demand a great deal of your time and attention before it becomes the attention grabber of your collection.
To get accustomed to the care guide that works for your Anthurium hookeri, read on to find out.
Quick Care Guide
Water: Frequent, light waterings
Light: Bright, indirect sunlight
Humidity: High humidity, above 70%
Temperature: 21 to 32 degrees celsius
Fertilizer: Once monthly, supplement only during the growing season
This species loves to be grown in a bright sunny area with a warm temperature and plenty of moisture. Due to its relatively big size, it may not be the ideal houseplant but can be easily incorporated into your garden.
This variety of the genus Anthurium requires moderate water to grow well. The key to a healthy Anthurium hookeri is a consistent watering schedule. A watering routine of once weekly during the summertime is adequate to fulfill the plant’s watering requirements. In the winter months, you can cut it down to once every two weeks.
The plant loves moist soil but is not a fan of soil that is saturated with water. Therefore, always make sure not to overwater your plant. Excessive water can cause root rot and several other fungal diseases.
As a rule of thumb, only water the plant when the top 25% of the soil looks and feels dry.
Being native to the tropical rainforest, this species loves sunlight. With adequate exposure to the sun, they can carry out photosynthesis at the required rate. This in turn ensures optimal health of the plant.
Keep your plant at a place where it is exposed to ample amounts of diffused sunlight throughout the day. Be wary of putting your plant under direct sunlight though, as this can burn the foliage beyond repair.
This exquisite tropical plant is not cold hardy, the minimum temperature it can bear is 16 degrees celsius. Stemming from the tropics, it tends to thrive well in hot and humid environmental conditions.
The ideal temperature range for this species is anywhere between 21 to 32 degrees celsius. Make sure you protect your plant friend from temperature extremes in both summers and winters.
A well-draining and porous soil is Anthurium hookeri’s best friend. This kind of soil maintains the correct balance of moisture within the soil. It does not let excess water stand in it rather it helps it to drain out.
The ideal mixture of a growth substrate can be half potting soil and half orchid soil. A great trick to make your soil mixture even more well-draining is to add perlite in it.
Also note, that since this plant is an epiphytic species it can grow fine without soil as well as a climber.
The anthurium hookeri plant adores a high humidity index as it is used to it in its natural tropical habitat. Generally, a humidity level of 70% or higher is ideal for its growth. To increase moisture within your environment you can use techniques like misting or making use of humidifiers.
Another great way to increase humidity is to cluster all of your moisture-loving plants together. This creates a highly humid environment for all of them all at once.
For younger plants consider fertilizing them once every month. However, if your Birds Nest Anthurium is mature then you can slack on its fertilizer needs. A fully grown plant needs to be fertilized once every three to four months.
This variation exists because mature plants can efficiently store nutrients that they take from the soil. Bear in mind to always use mild fertilizers for this species.
A fertilizer that is too potent can cause root damage by excessive build-up of electrolytes. Fertilizers with a high phosphate content are best suited for this plant and aid in healthier foliage and flowers.
A regular pruning routine can ensure the optimal growth and health of the anthurium hookeri. Regularly trimming or cutting the old or diseased leaves can benefit your plant in many ways.
Firstly, with all the droopy leaves gone the plant looks more fresh and fuller. Secondly, removing diseased leaves can limit the spread of infections. You can also consider removing old blossoms. This can speed up your plant’s growth.
It is best to report it early in the year so that new roots can anchor in the fresh growth medium. You may only need to report the plant when it outgrows its previous pot.
This can include signs like excessive root massing at the bottom of the pot. You may also notice a bulge at the sides of your plant pot. In this case, it is best to transfer your beloved plant into a new, bigger pot. Repotting provides the plant with ample space to grow.
The ideal growth zones for this species have been recommended as the USDA growth zones of 13a and 13b.
Anthurium Hookeri Propagation
Over some time, you may start to notice leggy growth and aerial roots of your Anthurium hookeri. This is when you can conveniently take cuttings from the plant and make more of this stunning but rare species.
Simply take a cutting of the leggy growth the mother plant has sent off and plant it in a potting mix. Within four to eight weeks you can notice new roots being developed.
Also, the mother plant is likely to send new shoots from where the cutting was taken. This way you end up with a new plant and a fuller mother plant as well.
The Anthurium hookeri is a royal plant with its broad spreading leaves and a tropical vibe. It can easily become the center of attention within your plant collection. Although it requires patience and a lot of effort to grow and care for it, it is all worthwhile.