The Flamingo Lily is one of the most flamboyant plants that you can grow as a houseplant.
While so many tropical natives are grown as foliage plants, this rainforest native will add a generous splash of color to your indoor garden.
While it’s a little harder to care for than other houseplants, the brilliant flowers make it worth the effort.
|Scientific Name||Anthurium andraeanum|
|Common Name||Flamingo Lily, Painter’s Palette, Anthurium Lily|
|Light||Bright indirect sunlight|
|Watering||Water if the top inch of soil is dry|
|Temperature||60 to 90ºF (15 to 32ºC)|
|Hardiness Zone||10 to 12|
|Soil Type||Rich, quick-draining, loamy|
|Soil pH||5.5 to 6.5 (acidic)|
|Fertilizing||Once a month in spring and summer|
|Repotting||Every 2 to 3 years|
|Pruning||Only to remove dead leaves and flowers|
|Propagation||Division or stem cuttings|
|Toxicity||Toxic to humans and pets|
|Mature Size||14 to 18 inches as a houseplant|
What’s Unique About Flamingo Lily?
Today, the Flamingo Lily plant is primarily associated with Hawaii, where many of the cultivars have been developed.
However, Flamingo Lily plants are actually native to the tropical rainforests of Colombia and Ecuador, where they were discovered in the late 1800s.
The Anthurium Lily is prized for its spectacular flowers, which can adorn the plant year-round under the right conditions.
While growing Flamingo Lily can be more challenging than other houseplants, a healthy plant can live for years, and is easily propagated.
Anthurium Lily is also a useful addition to your indoor environment, as it filters contaminants from the air.
Flamingo Lily Care
Anthurium Lily originates on the equator, in the steamy rainforests of Colombia. Anthurium Lily care in your home should get as close as possible to its native growing conditions.
The essentials of Flamingo Lily plant care are heat and humidity. It’s worth the extra work to get those growing conditions right to ensure big, beautiful blooms.
The sun that beats down on the rainforests along the equator is strong and hot.
However, by the time it reaches the forest floor where the Anthurium Lily grows, it’s been filtered by the tree canopy.
Thus, Flamingo Lily light requirements are for bright but indirect sunlight, or between 10,000 and 20,000 lux.
Most homes can easily meet Anthurium Lily light needs without using grow lights. Still, if your winter days are short, or you only have a heavily shaded interior, that’s always an option.
Usually, however, putting your Flamingo Lily directly in a north or east window, or several feet away from a south or west window, should suffice.
Keep it out of the full sun, though, because the strong rays can damage the foliage.
Flamingo Lily likes to have moist soil, but will not tolerate wet soil.
This isn’t as difficult to achieve as you might think; water Anthurium Lily whenever the top inch has dried out. All you have to do is saturate the top of the soil and then let it seep down into the pot.
Just make sure that the pot is never in standing water.
An easy method of Flamingo Lily watering is to place a full jar of water above the height of your Anthurium Lily pot. Put one end of thin,soft cotton rope in the jar, and bury the other end deep in the soil.
Water will slowly wick from the jar to the soil, letting you fulfill Anthurium Lily’s watering needs even when you’re away from home.
There’s no doubt about it; Anthurium Lily likes it hot.
While the Flamingo Lily temperature range is from 60 to 90ºF (15 to 32ºC), the preferred daytime temperature for Anthurium Lily is above 70ºF (21ºC). If you keep your indoor temperature around that, you should be fine.
Just be sure to keep it out of drafts.
However, Anthurium Lily has very low temperature tolerance below that range. In fact, anything below 60ºF (15ºC) will damage the plant, if not outright kill it.
Obviously, Anthurium Lily has no frost hardiness at all. It can only be grown outdoors in tropical zones with no chance of cold temperatures.
The equatorial rainforest is a steamy environment, and so Flamingo Lily humidity requirements are really high.
The ideal humidity for Anthurium Lily is 80% or more. Taking steps to create a high humidity level will help ensure strong, healthy growth and the maximum number of brilliant blooms.
Misting the foliage every day is one option, but it’s the most labor-intensive.
You can also place your Anthurium Lily pot on a pebbled tray and keep it filled with water.
Grouping your humidity-loving plants together can go a long way towards creating a more humid microclimate, but give your plants a boost with a small humidifier.
Flamingo Lily soil has to be well-draining, while at the same time absorbing enough water to stay consistently moist. In the rainforest, it’s used to a spongy soil full of organic matter.
The best pH level for Anthurium Lily is 5.5 to 6.5, or acidic.
You can keep the soil for Anthurium Lily really simple; 100% peat moss will be perfectly fine.
If you want to try a more complex soil mix, combine equal parts peat moss, perlite, and orchid bark.
If you prefer, a commercial orchid potting mix will provide the right balance of porousness and moisture retention.
You do not need to use a lot of Flamingo Lily fertilizer, but regular light feedings will help ensure optimal healthy growth.
The ideal fertilizer ratio for Flamingo Lily is 1-2-1, as it needs lots of phosphorus to support flowering.
Liquid fertilizers are the easiest to use, but never use a full-strength fertilizer for Anthurium Lily.
Dilute it to one-quarter the recommended strength, and only apply it once every six weeks or two months during its growing season.
Pour the fertilizer solution over the whole surface of the soil shortly after watering. This protects the roots from damage and ensures equal absorption.
Potting & Repotting
Flamingo Lily repotting is necessary every two or three years, depending on how root-bound it gets.
When you start to see roots poking out through the drainage holes, or taking up all the space in the pot, it’s time. It’s best done in spring at the start of its growing season.
When repotting Anthurium Lily, you have the perfect opportunity to divide the plant for propagation.
Only move up one pot size, and choose a new pot with drainage holes.
Even if your Flamingo Lily hasn’t outgrown its pot, you should at least replace the potting soil to avoid a build-up of pests and diseases.
You don’t have to do much in the way of Flamingo Lily pruning, but you will want to trim it from time to time to keep it looking its best.
When cutting Anthurium Lily, use sharp, sterilized shears, and wear gloves to prevent getting the toxic sap on your skin.
Pruning can be done at any time of the year.
Always remove spent blooms and dying foliage. They will detract from the look of your Flamingo Lily, and sap energy that should be directed towards fresh growth.
As well, you can cut out any leaves to refine the shape of your Flamingo Lily. Just make sure that you leave at least four or five on the plant.
Cut all flower and leaf stems at the soil level.
There are a couple of easy methods of Flamingo Lily propagation.
The best way to propagate Anthurium Lily is by dividing the roots. This should be done when you repot.
When you’ve removed the root ball from the pot, clean off the soil and look for offsets growing around the perimeter of the mother plant. Gently tug or cut them loose and plant each in its own pot.
Otherwise, you can root stem cuttings in water or soil. Cut a stem just below a node, and place it in a jar of water or moist soil. Keep them warm and humid, and you should have newly rooted baby plants within a month or so.
Common Problems of Flamingo Lily
Most Flamingo Lily problems can be prevented by giving your plant the ideal growing conditions for vigorous growth.
However, even if you do have some problems with Anthurium Lily, you should be able to save the plant and return it to health.
The leaves are where you will see the first signs of problems.
Most Flamingo Lily pests will be very familiar to any indoor gardener, but there are simple ways to control and prevent infestations on your Anthurium Lily.
Bugs can be deterred by wiping down your Flamingo Lily’s leaves regularly with a solution such as insecticidal soap or neem oil.
Spider mites leave their sticky webs and yellow bumps on the leaves as clues to their presence. Give your Flamingo Lily a good showering to get rid of them.
Aphids are green flying insects that congregate on the underside of leaves. Vacuum them up with a hand vac.
Mealybugs gather in cottony clumps under the leaves; they can be wiped off with a cotton ball soaked in rubbing alcohol.
Scale insects look like brown bumps under the leaves and on stems. Scrape them off gently.
Flamingo Lily diseases usually result from too-wet conditions, either for the soil or the leaves.
If your Anthurium Lily leaves are turning yellow, and the stems are getting soft, it’s probably root rot. Check to see if the roots are turning black and developing a bad smell.
If so, cut off all the affected parts, and repot your Flamingo Lily in fresh soil in a disinfected pot.
Bacterial blight is the culprit when yellow, wet lesions on the leaves turn black. Cut off all infected leaves and improve air circulation around your Flamingo Lily.
Bacterial wilt shows up as yellowing veins and wilting, brownish bronze leaves. Cut back to healthy growth and repot Flamingo Lily in fresh soil.
Other growing problems aren’t really a case of a sick plant, but just one growing in less than ideal conditions.
Brown tips on the leaves usually indicate that you’ve been underwatering your Flamingo Lily. Check the soil moisture more frequently and add more water whenever the top inch has dried out.
Dull leaves mean low humidity. Flamingo Lily leaves should be really glossy, so it’s time to invest in a humidifier or move it to a spot like a bathroom with higher humidity levels.
If your Flamingo Lily’s leaves have brown patches and bleached centers, you’re giving it too much direct light.
Toxicity of Flamingo Lily
Anthurium Lily is toxic to humans and animals, although it rarely causes death.
Its toxicity is due to the calcium oxalate crystals that are found in all parts of the plant. These tiny, sharp crystals can irritate delicate tissues.
It should be handled with care and kept out of reach of pets and children.
Flamingo Lily is toxic to humans, although the worst an adult might experience is a rash from the sap.
Children, however, are more likely to try eating it.
If a child tries to nibble one of those inviting flowers, they are unlikely to persist beyond the initial taste, as they will immediately experience pain where they’ve come in contact.
Get them to rinse and spit any that’s in their mouth, and after wiping off any plant material, give them something cold to dull the pain.
It’s not a common reaction, but if they have a swollen tongue or constricted airways, take them to the emergency room.
Flamingo Lily is toxic to pets, including cats, dogs, and rabbits.
If your pet tries eating some of your Flamingo Lily foliage or flowers, and starts vomiting, drooling excessively, or has diarrhea or difficulty breathing, don’t try to treat it yourself.
Take it to the veterinarian as soon as possible, as permanent organ damage is possible without treatment.
The best way to prevent such an outcome is by keeping your Flamingo Lily out of reach. As it only grows to less than two feet tall, you can easily place its pot on a high shelf or mantel, well away from small creatures.
Flamingo Lily Appearance
The Flamingo Lily appearance is defined by its brilliant waxy red and yellow flowers, but the glossy green leaves are also very attractive.
While the classic lipstick red flowers are the most common Anthurium Lily variety, newer cultivars ranging from white through to pink, purple, and practically black are also available.
The foliage of Flamingo Lily is lovely all on its own, although the glossy leaves are often just a backdrop for its brilliantly colored flowers.
A Flamingo Lily leaf is between 5 to 8 inches long, with a broad heart shape and an elongated tip. The texture is thick and leathery.
They are deep green with an extremely glossy surface. You can maintain that shiny look by wiping the leaves down regularly.
Each leaf grows from the tip of an erect petiole springing from a short central stem.
Leaves are evergreen and persist for many months before fading and dying.
It is the brilliant Anthurium Lily flower that has made Flamingo Lily such a popular houseplant.
Flamingo Lily flowering can happen year-round with the right growing conditions. Blooming requires bright, indirect light for about 8 hours a day. Also use a fertilizer high in potassium and keep the humidity as high as possible.
What appears to be a large, bright red petal is actually a bract; the flowers themselves are tiny and cover the spadix that sticks up at the base of the bract.
One of the delights of Flamingo Lily flowers is that they last for a long time before fading; you can expect a month at least from each bloom.
Size and Growth
When grown inside, you can expect the full size of Flamingo Lily to be between 14 and 18 inches high and 12 inches across, although some growers report heights of 2 feet or more.
Flamingo Lily has a moderate growth rate and once it reaches its full size a plant can live for 10 years or so.
Anthurium Lily has a short central stem which the individual leaf stems, or petioles, spring up from. The petioles are stiff, holding the leaves and flowers erect above the green foliage.
Aerial roots develop as the plant matures, but it is not a climbing plant and does not need to be staked.
Flamingo Lily Fragrance
Despite its lustrous flowers, there is no Flamingo Lily fragrance. Neither the foliage nor the blooms have any scent.
That does not mean that Anthurium Lily does not have a positive impact on your indoor air, since it effectively filters out chemical contaminants such as formaldehyde.
As well, many people don’t appreciate a heavily perfumed plant, especially in a small enclosed space like a studio apartment or office.
In fact, many public places, such as nursing homes or schools, actually don’t allow fragrant plants because of people with sensitivities. Anthurium Lily is an ideal plant for use in such settings.
Suggested Uses for Flamingo Lily
There are few locations that will not benefit from a beautiful Anthurium Lily plant, indoors or out.
While it can only be grown outdoors year-round in tropical zones, you can certainly move your Flamingo Lily outdoors for the hot and humid summer weather. Just make sure it isn’t exposed to temperatures lower than 60ºF (15ºC) at night.
Indoors, as long as you’ve got enough light to support flowering, you can tuck this small plant with a big look into almost any spot.
Put one in your bathroom to treat it to extra humidity, or in your bedroom to clean your air.
It is ideal against a dark green or light backdrop to showcase the beautiful, long-lasting flowers.
What is Flamingo Lily?
Flamingo Lily is a flowering tropical plant native to the rainforests of Colombia and Ecuador, and has been grown extensively in Hawaii as a potted plant and cut flower.
How to identify Flamingo Lily?
Flamingo Lily has large, heart-shaped leaves that are glossy green, with long-lasting blooms with shiny, bright red bracts and yellow spadices covered in tiny flowers.
How to care for Flamingo Lily?
Flamingo Lily should be grown in bright, indirect light with very high heat and humidity, in porous soil that retains moisture and is fertilized lightly.
How to grow Flamingo Lily indoors?
Flamingo Lily can be grown as a potted plant in warm temperatures and high humidity levels, kept out of the full sun and watered regularly to maintain moist soil.
How to grow Flamingo Lily outdoors?
Flamingo Lily can be grown outdoors in tropical zones where the temperature never drops below 60ºF (15ºC), or brought out to a patio or balcony for the summer in temperate zones.
How fast does Flamingo Lily grow?
Flamingo Lily has a moderate growth rate, and it will take 3 years to reach its full size when grown indoors as a potted plant.
How tall does Flamingo Lily grow?
Flamingo Lily usually grows to a full size of 14 to 18 inches when grown as a houseplant, although some growers have reported plants more than 3 feet tall.
How to make Flamingo Lily grow faster?
Flamingo Lily will grow the fastest when it is kept in the brightest possible light short of full sun, and grown in high heat and humidity.
How to stake Flamingo Lily?
Flamingo Lily naturally grows upright, so it does not need to be staked. If some of the tall flower stalks get too floppy, use a bamboo skewer for extra support.
How to pot Flamingo Lily?
Flamingo Lily should be potted in porous soil that retains moisture, in a pot with good drainage. A pot with some weight to it will help prevent overbalancing.
How to revive Flamingo Lily?
If your Flamingo Lily soil has dried out, try plunging the pot into a pail of tepid water to fully saturate the soil before letting the excess drain away.
Why is my Flamingo Lily dying?
Your Flamingo Lily may have a bacterial or fungal disease from too much water, either in the soil or on the leaves. Maintain good watering practices to avoid this.
Why is my Flamingo Lily drooping?
Your Flamingo Lily may be over or under-watered. Do not stick to a regular watering schedule but base it on the actual soil moisture levels.
How cold can Flamingo Lily tolerate?
Flamingo Lily will not tolerate temperatures lower than 60ºF (15ºC). Lower temperatures than that can slowly kill it, while freezing temperatures will kill it immediately.
How to get rid of pests on Flamingo Lily?
Flamingo Lily pests can be prevented by wiping down both sides of the leaves regularly with a solution of insecticidal soap or neem oil on a damp cloth.
Is Flamingo Lily toxic to cats?
Yes, Flamingo Lily is toxic to cats. Keep plants out of reach and if a cat does eat some foliage, take it to the vet if serious symptoms develop.
Is Flamingo Lily toxic to dogs?
Yes, Flamingo Lily is toxic to dogs. If your dog starts wheezing, vomiting, or drooling excessively, take it to the vet for urgent care immediately.
Is Flamingo Lily toxic to children?
Yes, Flamingo Lily is toxic to children. If your child develops a swollen tongue or has difficulty breathing, take them to the emergency room at once.
Is Flamingo Lily toxic to humans?
Yes, Flamingo Lily is toxic to humans. Some people develop a severe rash after exposure to the sap. Rinse your skin thoroughly after any contact.
Does Flamingo Lily have a scent?
No, Flamingo Lily foliage and flowers do not have any scent at all, making it suitable in settings where fragrant plants are discouraged or not allowed.