anthurium clarinervium

How to Grow and Care for Anthurium clarinervium

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The Anthurium clarinervium, also known as the Velvetleaf Anthurium, Velvet Cardboard Anthurium, or Esqueleto, is an epiphyte that is a part of the Aroid family. This plant displays vibrant, velvety, dark green leaves with stark white veins. It truly is a stunning plant. 

Like most plants that attach themselves to other natural materials such as trees or cliffsides, they need special attention and care. Because of this, they are primarily a houseplant or reside in greenhouses. They don’t take up much room, but they can take up a lot of your attention. 

With the proper watering regime, sunlight, humidity, and temperature, you can help this plant thrive in your home. 

Read on to learn how to care for Anthurium plants properly.

Plant Facts

Scientific nameAnthurium clarinervium
Common namesVelvetleaf anthurium, Velvet Cardboard Anthurium, Esqueleto
FamilyAroid (plants with a unique spathe and spadix combination)
Plant TypeHouseplant
Height and WidthLeaves grow anywhere between 6 inches to 12 inches, 2 feet tall, 2-3 feet wide
OriginChiapas, Mexico
Flower colorsLighter green
Foliage colorDark green with white veins
Sun ExposureBright indirect sunlight or filtered sunlight. 
Soil Type & pHWell-draining, chunky potting mix for roots to cling to, 5.5-6.0 pH
Special featuresBroad, heart-shaped leaves, grows as an epiphyte (plants that cling to other plants for support without harming the host), leathery foliage, flowering but it is largely insignificant, many different varieties with various leaf shapes, hard to find at your local nursery due to high demand.

How to Grow Anthurium Clarinervium

Before getting into specifics for growing your Velvet Cardboard Anthurium, make sure you purchase a pot with a drainage hole that is slightly bigger than the plant’s root ball. Planting this type of plant in too big of a pot will risk root rot and other diseases. 

Additionally, we recommend planting your A. clarinervium in a clear plastic pot so you can view the roots and observe growth. You can grow this plant in a terracotta pot, but the roots might end up sticking to the sides and you’ll have to gently rip them from the sides of the pot.

Finally, if you choose to grow outdoors, you can plant the A. clarinervium when the weather is warm (70-90 degrees Fahrenheit) to optimize growth and reduce the risk of the plant decaying due to colder weather. 

Propagation

Once your Velvetleaf Anthurium has several stems, you can safely propagate the plant. Gently remove one of the stems with the roots and at least one or two leaves attached. 

Then, plant them separately in small pots with the appropriate potting mix. The best time to propagate this type of plant is during the Springtime when the weather is warm and the plant can enter its active growing period.

Soil

The Anthurium clarinervium is an epiphyte. In other words, this type of plant clings to other plants or objects (such as trees, cliffs, rocks, etc.) without damaging the host. Further, epiphytes thrive off sunlight and moisture from the air since their roots are relatively exposed.

Because of the nature of this plant, normal soil will prove deadly for the plant. Instead, a potting mix that is “chunky” in character is necessary. 

Think of orchid bark. This type of mix provides the roots with something to latch onto while being extremely well-draining. Peat-moss potting mix is highly recommended with a bit of perlite mixed in. You can even mix some orchid bark with the peat-moss mix to optimize airflow by the roots.

If you’re just starting out, we recommend using a commercial peat-based mix with part perlite before concocting your own mixture at home.

Pruning

Pruning is not a regular care practice for this plant, but it does need maintenance when there are dead or damaged leaves on the stems. 

If the leaves are dead, you can gently pull them off with your hands. If the leaves are broken, you might want to utilize a clean, sharp pair of scissors or a knife to remove the leaf from the stem. 

It is essential to remove all dead and damaged leaves to prevent diseases from spreading.

Repotting and Transplanting

Repotting and transplanting usually occur every 2-3 years. Just like when you initially planted the Velvetleaf Anthurium, you will need to select a pot that is slightly bigger than the root ball. For specifics, you might want to select a pot that is an inch or two bigger than the root ball.

When you end up planting the Anthurium clarinervium in too big of a pot, you risk the potting mix staying too wet. When this happens, root rot is more likely to occur in addition to yellowing or curling leaves.

When you do repot, hold off from fertilizing for a few weeks to a month so the plant can adjust to its new home.

How to Care for Anthurium Clarinervium

Much like any other epiphyte plant, they are a bit tricky to take care of. Therefore, this plant is not recommended for beginner plant parents. 

However, if you have had repeated, long-term success with other houseplants and want to try your hand at cultivating an epiphyte, the A. clarinervium is a great beginner epiphyte. This is so because this type is a little more forgiving with short-term care inconsistencies. 

Water

The right watering regime for the A. clarinervium is essential for this plant’s survival. When you overwater and let the roots soak, you will gradually kill the plant as this causes root rot and other diseases to manifest. 

To avoid overwatering or underwatering, you can perform a simple finger test. In other words, stick your finger about two inches deep into the potting mixture. If the soil that far down is dry, water thoroughly but not so much that the entire potting mix is soaked. 

If the potting mix is still moist, put off watering until the potting mix is dry. 

The trick is to keep the rest of the potting mix (past the top two inches) slightly moist, but not so much that it’s damp. Additionally, you’ll want to ensure that the saucer at the bottom of your pot doesn’t retain water. It is important to keep that saucer dry whenever you water. 

The watering needs of the A. clarinervium are among one of the reasons why a beginner plant parent should not start here. There needs to be an expert evaluation of the slightly moist to dry potting mix ratio in order to help this plant survive.

If you are looking for a starter plant, try a variety of cactus or snake plants. These plants are low maintenance and a great introduction for those looking to begin a houseplant library. 

After you’ve successfully cultivated houseplants for a while, the A. clarinervium might be a great beginning epiphyte plant to take care of. Because you are familiar with your other houseplant’s needs, you can take on this challenge. 

Sunlight

Because these types of plants are usually shaded by trees, a cliffside, or other plants, they don’t do well in direct sunlight. 

If you plan on keeping this plant indoors, a North-or East-facing window is preferable since they receive plenty of indirect or filtered sunlight. 

Avoid placing these plants right by the window to reduce the risk of sunburn. You can tell when your plant has been sunburnt by the development of white or brown splotches on the leaves. 

If you live in a particularly cloudy area, especially in the winter, place the A. clarinervium outside in the direct sun for a little amount of time. The coverage from the clouds won’t be bad for the plant for a shorter amount of time. 

As a general rule, remember that these plants naturally grow with shade provided by other structures. They need light, but it must be indirect or filtered. 

Temperature and Humidity

Anthurium clarinervium needs warmer temperatures ranging from 70-90 degrees Fahrenheit. The absolute lowest this plant can tolerate is 60 degrees Fahrenheit, but it is recommended to keep the temperature higher to also supplement the humidity. 

That being said, the Velvet Cardboard Anthurium prefers high humidity. If you live in drier climates, purchasing a humidifier is necessary. Specifically, this plant prefers 40%-60% constant humidity. If you don’t want to keep this plant indoors, then it will thrive in a greenhouse environment. 

Consider purchasing both a humidifier and a hygrometer to measure the level of humidity the plant is receiving. If you do end up using a humidifier, keep the plant in the open air. In other words, keep it out in a large room. If you put the plant in a crowded space or in an enclosed space with a humidifier, certain fungal infections may occur since the plant still needs proper air circulation.

With the temperature and humidity circumstances to keep in mind, you must also remember to provide proper airflow for this plant. This includes within the pot itself and the space this plant resides in. 

If it is colder outside, turn on your ceiling fan or another oscillating fan and set it to a low setting. Or, if it is warmer outside, open a window to give this plant proper air flow. In terms of the potting mix and space in the pot, don’t pack in the mix. Allow some room for the roots to move and grasp onto the mix you use.

Fertilizer

When fertilizing, only fertilize during the active growing season which lands during the Spring and Summer months. 

You can dilute an organic fertilizer to half-strength and administer it to your plant every other week. 

Pest and diseases

The Anthurium clarinervium is not prone to infestation or infection from many pests and diseases. 

The most common diseases to look out for are root rot, yellowing leaves, and curling leaves. These diseases are primarily caused by overwatering. 

Yellowing and curling leaves can also be a result of underwatering or overexposure to the intense amount of light. To determine the cause, evaluate the moisture or dryness of the soil. In addition, if it is overexposed to light, you will notice those white or brown spots as well. 

Common Varieties and Cultivars

There are several popular varieties of the A. clarinervium to choose from!

  • Anthurium Faustomirandae Clarinervium
  • A. clarinervium ‘Pterodactyl’
  • Anthurium ‘Macrolobium’

The Anthurium Faustomirandae Clarinervium looks very similar to the A. clarinervium variety, but the white veins aren’t as vibrant. In other words, the veins are slightly muted against the dark green leaves.

The “Pterodactyl” variety has more elongated, or narrow, foliage. Instead of having broad, heart-shaped leaves, they are longer and don’t resemble the standard heart shape as closely. 

The Anthurium Macrolobium variety is rare and has very dramatic leaves. This variety has one of the largest leaves of all the anthurium family, is lighter green in color, and has slightly muted white veins. 

That being said, the A. clarinervium and its varieties are hard to find as they are in high demand. You might want to try other easy-to-find Anthurium types.

Conclusion

The A. clarinervium is a unique, vibrant house plant native to Mexico. Their epiphyte nature allows them to cling to other plants, trees, cliffsides, and other natural formations without damaging their host. 

Because of their natural properties, they are a bit tricky to take care of especially if you are a beginner plant parent. Their watering, soil, temperature, humidity, and sunlight needs are all incredibly specific and need a good green thumb. 

With the proper care, you can cultivate a gorgeous, heart-shaped plant for your garden library. Consult your local nursery to find out  the right variety for you and start your search for an Anthurium clarinervium today!

*image by firn/depositphotos

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