Anthurium Superbum Plant Care

The Anthurium Superbum, otherwise known as the Bird’s Nest or Ironclad Bird’s Nest, is a very unique looking foliage plant.

Originating from the jungles of Ecuador, it is accustomed to moist tropical conditions of lowland forests, which is one of the reasons it’s fairly specific about its environment. But, once you understand what to give it, it becomes quite easy to care for.

The Anthurium superbum has large leaves and is capable of growing to about 3 to 5 feet tall and up to 3 feet wide, this prehistoric looking houseplant is sure to catch anyone’s attention, and this is why some homeowners love it, despite being very picky about how much light, temperature and humidity it gets, when compared to other indoor plants.

It adds a very tropical feel to any home or living room and can also purify the air in the area.

Anthurium Superbum

Endemic to Ecuador, this exotic plant belongs to the Araceae family, where flowers grow on a spadix, which is a type of inflorescence.

This plant is often found in subtropical or tropical moist lowland, but unfortunately, it is threatened by habitat loss and labeled as vulnerable.

This plant is a hybrid. Such plants are the result of cross-pollinating two diverse varieties of the same plant. The seed which grows from this combo is the one from which a hybrid plant will be born.

As for the Anthurium Superbum size, the stems may grow up to 15-20 inches. The larger the spathe, the longer the stem.

When it comes to Anthuriums in general, there are many different types– There is Anthurium Crystallinum (Ace of Spades), Anthurium Veitchii (King Anthurium), Anthurium Clarinervium (Velvet Cardboard), Anthurium Andraeanum (Painter’s Palette), Anthurium Magnificum and more.

Anthurium Superbum Plant Care

Soil

The bird nest anthurium plant develops in the moss and leaf litter of tree branches, so when choosing the right type of potting mix for your plant, you need to have these characteristics on your mind.

Something that is used for orchids can be an excellent choice for Anthurium Superbum, as these mixtures are loose and breathable. just what this plant needs.

It’s usually a combo of multiple ingredients, such as potting mix, then charcoal, gravel, perlite, etc. This combo will not  keep the water inside the pot for too long, so you minimize the risk of your plant’s roots rot.

When you combine the right mix of soil with a good watering schedule, your plant will thrive and will treat you with lush and vibrant foliage.

Potting

When selecting a pot, be very keen about the size, get a medium-sized one. A large container will let your roots grow haphazardly retarding the growth of your plant.

Drainage is another crucial factor inherent in Anthurium superbum care. I strongly advise having one or more holes to drain off excess water and prevent the plant from drowning.

Potting solely depends on preferences, and there are numerous techniques you can use to pot your plant, and others do not even require potting soil, just water in a container.

Light

The Anthurium superbum grows best with bright indirect sunlight. This mimics its natural environment in the subtropical and tropical landscapes or forests of Ecuador where it is covered by the large branches of tall trees.

Thus, you want to give it dappled, filtered or indirect light and avoid direct sunlight at all costs. Leaving your ironclad birds nest in the direct path of the for hours can result in leaf burn.

You can choose from a few options for positioning the plant.

  • East-facing window – an ideal place to put your Anthurium superbum. The morning sunshine gives it a lot of bright light without the intensity of that in the afternoons.
  • West or South Facing Windows – Both the south and west experience harsher sunlight, with the former giving you more hours of it. 

So, if you want to place the birdsnest in either spot, it’s a good idea to place them at least 6-8 feet away from the window where it’ll still get a lot of light but is away from the sun’s rays. You can likewise use shades or curtains that block out some of the sun.

Watering

The ironclad birdsnest enjoys moist soil. As such it’s a good idea to check it regularly.

It is also important to understand that this live plant has two growth phases, namely the active and the passive stages and that the regularity of watering varies in these two phases.

During March to September, it goes through its growing season. As such, during this time you want to give it enough nutrients (fertilizer) and water. Like a growing child, it will also consume these faster than it does when it is in its passive stage.

Because some days can be hotter than others the amount of moisture in the soil will get used up at different rates. So, while you’ll likely need to water the plant once or twice a week.

You should also check the soil by sticking your finger into the soil about an inch deep. If it feels dry or is almost dry, then it is time to water again. However, if the top soil is still moist, test again in a few days.

On the other hand, once fall and winter comes around, it will go through its passive stage. This is when you scale back on watering. During this time, you’ll likely only need to water once every few weeks. Again, do check using your finger to tell when to do soil.

In addition to regular monitoring, observing your plant’s elliptical leaves tells you if you’re over or underwatering it. Foliage color, size and vibrancy will change if it isn’t happy.

Temperature and Humidity

Anthurium superbum enjoys it best between 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Like most other anthurium varieties, this makes it perfect for indoor environments like homes and greenhouses.

It can also tolerate conditions that are slightly hotter. However, it is more sensitive when the thermostat drops. You’ll be able to notice this as its dark green leaves will turn yellow. This often happens once the temp starts below 55 degrees.

You can also grow them in the ground, outdoors, if you live in USDA zones 10 or 11. But, be aware that it will look a bit different when grown in the garden as opposed to containers.

Additionally, it also likes high humidity. But, if you leave it where the air is drier, you’ll see its leaves start to turn brown. This is a sign that your plant is suffering. And, if you don’t remedy it quickly, you’ll soon see it die out.

Fertilizer

This is probably the most beneficial and, at the same time, dangerous option for feeding anthurium. This is because the line separating fertilizer as a source of nutrients and poison is very thin, and it all depends on the quantity.

This means you need to practice self-restraint when fertilizer. Too much fertilizer often results in “fertilizer burn”, where the plant’s roots get burned by the excess amount of nitrogen, which is often the highest ingredient in most products.

The simplest product to use is a fertilizer for orchids and feed the Bird’s Nest once every 3-6 weeks. Alternatively, you can also use an all-purpose fertilizer and fertilize every 6-8 weeks.

Slow release or liquid formula also work well, so choose according to your preference.

Once the growing season is done and the fall and winter come around, you can stop feeding until spring comes around again.

Flowers

These lovely tropical plants will also produce unusual looking flowers, also called flamingo flower. Blooming in various colors, they radiate just enough scent and visual interest to attract pollinators.

Under the right conditions, Anthurium Superbum has been known to bloom year-round. With each flower, specifically designed to attract the maximum number of pollinators, they can last for up to three months. 

Each bloom consists of a single white or pink spadix (which can grow to 6” in length and look like a tail) that is cupped by a dark, burgundy petal. Which is surprisingly just a different type of leaf. Anthurium Bird’s Nest will be slower to produce these blooms when grown in lower light and inconsistent watering may result in them being deformed in shape as they emerge.

Toxicity

The Anthurium Superbum is toxic. This is because of calcium oxalates. So, in addition to wearing gloves when you handle the plant, make sure not to let pets or young children ingest any part of the plant. This will cause throat and mouth irritation as well as other digestive troubles.

Touching it likewise can be a problem because it causes skin irritation. And if you touch your eyes, nose or mouth, those areas will be affected as well.

Pruning

Pruning isn’t much of an issue with the Superbum. It doesn’t get too long or messy. However, you will want to trim it back once in a while because for health purposes.

Get rid of the diseased, discolored or dead leaves. This not only removes the ugly looking sections but also keeps the plant from expending energy in trying to recover or revive them. It also stops the spread of the problem as well.

Encourage new growth. Trimming helps promote new, fresh growth that will make the plant look more vibrant.

As always, do use sterile tools when cutting. Wipe down your scissors with rubbing alcohol before using them to snip sections of your plant. This prevents risk of infection.

Anthurium Superbum Propagation

You can propagate your anthurium Superbum either by division or seeds. Although the former is much easier than the latter and takes a lot less time. Thus, we don’t recommend propagation by seed.

The best time to propagate by division is when you re-pot it. Ideally, in the spring when the weather is around 75 degrees or so. This reduces the shock experienced by the plant which can hinder its growth.

Steps on how to propagate an Anthurium superbum

It is best to propagate your anthurium plant during repotting as the roots are exposed, making the process easy.

Of all the different methods used for propagation, plant division is more suited to proper Anthurium superbum care.

Step 1: Take it out

Take the plant out of the pot. Depending on the size of your plant, this may be a one or two person job. The reason being you want to gently ease the root ball out of the container and not just force it out.

Step 2: Inspect and Choose

Once you have the root ball out, inspect it to find the main stems extending from the root.

Choose the one that’s already growing. The further out it’s grown, the bigger the new plant you’ll have. And, the less risk that it won’t grow properly.

Step 3: Separate and Repot

Separate the section that you want to replant from the mother plant. Then, place the plants in their own pots and fill with fresh soil. 

Step 4: Positioning and Fertilize

Place the new plant somewhere it receives bright indirect light. You can likewise put it somewhere under a shade to protect it from direct light. Wait about 6 weeks then start fertilizing.

Anthurium Superbum Transplanting & Repotting

The Anthurium Superbum is a fairly slow grower, but can produce multiple plants. Thus, you won’t need to worry about having to repot it too often.

Depending on how big your plant is, most of them will work well with pots that are between 10 to 20 inches in diameter. Most start out with 10 inch wide by 10 inch deep containers. This gives the roots room to grow.

Because of the size the plant can grow, you want the roots to set up a healthy structure. Thus, giving it a loose, tall and wide environment to do so makes the plant healthier. Once your plant starts outgrowing its pot, or it becomes root bound, it is time to move to a bigger pot. Leaving it in its current pot will slow down its growth.

While it is tempting to get a huge pot, so you don’t have to transplant it for years, it isn’t the best plant growing strategy.

Large pots means a lot of room to grow. But, it also means that the plant will focus more energy on growing down below (the roots). This reduces the effort up above, leaving you with lackluster foliage.

When it comes to repotting, spring and summer are the best times to do it. As always, make sure that your container has at least one hole in the bottom to allow for proper drainage.

Anthurium Superbum: Common Problems

Pests and Diseases

Like any other plant, Anthurium superbum is susceptible to attacks from pests.

It can be affected by sucking parasites such as thrips, mealybugs, scale, and spider mites. However, the plant is not affected by the biting and chewing pests due to its thick leaves.

This should not give you false hope since such animals still suck the sap off anthurium and are detrimental to its health.

Fortunately,  its thick leaves are somewhat impervious to their bites. However, you still need to monitor your plant for pests regularly because infestations often move to other plants near it as well.

It is also fairly easy to get rid of these pets. All you need is soap and water. You can likewise use horticultural oil. It is not recommended to use any chemicals because I have young kids and pets around the home.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is anthurium a good indoor plant?

There are roughly 1,000 different species of anthurium plants worldwide. They’re perennials, and although they can be grown outdoors in warmer climates, they’re one of the best indoor plants, and are often seen in an indoor garden collection.

How long do anthurium plants last?

Anthuriums can last  5 years and longer. As such, with proper care and the right conditions, you should be able to enjoy their beauty for a long time. However, you can likewise propagate them by division if you want to add more plants or keep them around you indefinitely.

Conclusion

The Anthurium superbum is one of the best plants you can get for your home or interiorscape due to its air-purifying properties. It eliminates contaminants in the air, such as ammonia; therefore, we recommend getting this tropical plant, if you want clean air in your residence.

You do have to remember that this house plant is also susceptible to attacks from pests that cause yellow leaves and peat moss. It also has insoluble calcium oxalate crystals that may irritate the skin and eyes. 

Therefore, if you want to keep your plant problem-free, it is best that you carefully  follow the guide we’ve shared above.

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