This stunning houseplant with velvety green leaves and distinctive white veining is a dream for all plant enthusiasts. Crystal Anthurium (Anthurium crystallinum) is one of the trickier plants to care for, only because it has very specific needs. As long as you provide the proper care, though, this Anthurium will thrive and bring sparkle to your house.
Crystal Anthurium Origin & History
A native to Central and South America, A.crystallinum loves the heat and humidity of the tropical rainforest. The crystal part of the name comes from the glistening leaf undersides, which look like they are covered in hundreds of tiny crystals.
This Anthurium was first described in the late 1800s by Gustav Wallis, a German plant collector. He traveled all over Central and South America, collecting new plant species for horticulture companies in Europe.
Crystal Anthurium is beloved for its massive heart-shaped green leaves with very prominent silvery-white veining. The leaves are longer than they are wide and slightly velvety. It grows up to 2 1/2-3 feet tall in the right conditions, so be sure to place it somewhere it can spread out.
The stems emerge from a central rhizome, and each stem produces one leaf. The big leaves droop a bit downwards, so they face outwards instead of upwards, commanding everyone’s admiration. While the tops of the leaves are a rich green, the undersides are coppery colored.
A.crystallinum doesn’t grow a lot of leaves; usually, there are only 3-8 on the plant at one time, but they are so prominent in maturity that quantity doesn’t matter. In fact, the limited leaves add to the specialness of the plant.
The Crystal Anthurium is often confused with two other Anthuriums, A.magnificum, and A. clarinervium. The confusion is understandable as they all do look quite alike, with some minor but telltale differences. Thankfully, the care for all three is the same, so exact identification isn’t needed to provide the proper care.
A.clarinervium leaves are broader than Anthurium crystallinum and darker green with whiter veins. A.magnificum also has darker leaves, and the leaves are shinier, with more of a leathery feel, not velvety like A.crystallinum. To make matters even more challenging (and also exciting), there is now a hybrid cross between crystallinum and magnificum on the market! Overall, though, unless the plants are side by side, differentiating them can be challenging.
Anthurium Crystallinum Care Guide
This section covers important Anthurium Crystallinum care factors such as lighting, watering, temperature, humidity, fertilizing, and more.
Anthurium crystallinum grows at a moderate rate. When young, it grows semi-fast, then as it reaches maturity, it slows down and focuses on producing its spectacular foliage. A healthy plant will produce a new leaf every 4-5 weeks during the growing season, spring and summer.
This Anthurium is a climber and produces aerial roots. Give it a moss pole to climb up, and it will be very happy.
Lots of bright, indirect sunlight is a must. Don’t put A.crystallinum in direct sunlight, or the leaves will burn. It needs between 12-16 hours of indirect light each day during the growing season. This is a lot of light, and in many climates, it is only possible with grow lights.
A south-facing window is best; just make sure to set it back a little from the window, so no direct rays touch the foliage. Blinds or a lightweight curtain work well to temper the light, as well.
A Crystal Anthurium that is getting too much direct light will develop burn marks with yellow spots on its leaves. If there is a lack of light, the stems get leggy, and overall growth slows down.
This Anthurium likes consistently moist but not soggy soil. Keeping the soil just right can be tricky, so it’s essential to pay attention and always check the dryness before watering.
The best way to determine if Crystal Anthurium needs water is to stick your finger in the soil 2 inches. If it is dry and dirt isn’t clinging to your finger, it needs watering. On the other hand, if it is at all moist and there is soil sticking to your finger, hold off for a couple more days.
While it’s nice to have a watering schedule, it doesn’t always stay true, especially as indoor conditions fluctuate throughout the seasons. It’s always best to err on the side of caution with Anthuriums, so always check the soil first.
The thing about A.crystallinum is that it is an epiphyte, which means in the wild, its roots are exposed. It soaks up water prolifically; then, the roots dry quickly. This is challenging to mimic in the home environment. A lot depends on the soil as well as the watering technique.
Plan on watering more frequently and not deeply. Usually, this is between 3-5 days in the growing season and every 1-2 weeks during winter. If any water collects in the saucer underneath, be sure to discard it, so the roots don’t sit in standing water – this will lead to root rot.
Anthuriums, in general, are pretty picky about water quality and will often struggle with tap water. Use distilled water or collected rainwater for the best results.
Temperature & Humidity
Humidity and temperature are the trickiest parts of maintaining A.crystallinum. It likes very high humidity, between 70-80%, and room temperatures between 65-80F.
A humidifier is a must, as it is the only way to keep the humidity consistently high. You’ll also need to run a small fan because high humidity leads to fungus and bacteria issues. A fan will fend this off. You can also keep this houseplant in the bathroom, where it will appreciate steam from showers.
Anthuriums don’t like rapid temperature fluctuations; be wary of drafty windows and doors, air conditioners, wood stoves, and heat registers. All these will impact your plants’ health.
Soil & Pots
Use a high-quality indoor houseplant potting mix with good drainage and moisture retention. It’s a good idea to add in some perlite, orchid bark, and coco coir to enhance the drainage and give the plants’ roots some breathing room. Anthuriums prefer an airy soil mix to a dense one.
Always use a container with drainage holes, so the soil can drain and not turn soggy.
Apply an orchid fertilizer diluted to ½ strength every 6-8 weeks during the growing season. Hold off on fertilizing in winter when the plant is resting.
No pruning is necessary except to remove dead or damaged foliage.
While A.crystallinum is young, plan on repotting every year to replenish the potting soil and give the plant more room to grow. Repot it to a container just one size bigger – if you use too big a pot, it affects the watering and moisture levels, which is quickly problematic with this houseplant.
Once it’s matured and the growth has slowed down, it’ll only need to be repotted every 2-3 years.
Unfortunately, Crystal Anthurium is toxic to dogs, cats, and humans. It isn’t deadly, but it will make you very ill.
Anthurium Crystallinum Propagation Methods
The best time to propagate Anthurium crystallinum is in the spring, at the same time you are repotting it. Division propagation is the easiest method. Only propagate from healthy and mature plants, and don’t rush it.
- Gently take the plant out of the pot and inspect the roots.
- If the roots look robust and healthy, go ahead and separate them.
- Separate the roots into clumps, ensuring each grouping has good roots attached. The roots will likely be tangled up, so be patient and work slowly.
- Each root clump needs at least one leaf growing.
- Put each division into a container, water thoroughly, and place it in a bright, warm location (the exact location as the parent plant is ideal).
- It will take a few weeks for the baby plants to recover and start growing, but after a while, they’ll take off.
Pests and Diseases
Anthuriums are prone to some pests, mainly because many pests also love warm temperatures and high humidity.
Spider Mites, Aphids, Mealy Bugs, and Scale
It’s hard to believe these minor bugs can cause so much damage, but they sure will if left unchecked. You’ll need to check your Anthurium regularly to make sure it remains healthy and bug-free. Give your plant a thorough inspection, including underneath the leaves, every time you water.
The best treatment for insect pests is a neem oil spray treatment. Mix two teaspoons neem oil with one teaspoon dish soap in a quart spray bottle. Fill the rest of the bottle up with water. Spray your Anthurium every 5-7 days until the pests are gone. Spray under the leaves and the top of the soil too, where the pests like to lay their eggs.
The majority of pest infestations happen when a plant is stressed out already. A stressed plant struggles to fight off problems. If you see a pest problem, check that your Crystal Anthurium isn’t struggling from lack of water or sunlight.
Bacterial blight causes V-shaped sores on the foliage. It forms due to high humidity and overly wet soil. Unfortunately, since Anthurium crystallinum likes high humidity and moist soil, this can become a delicate balancing act. And another reason why it is crucial to regularly monitor the watering, light, room temperature, and humidity.
Cut off any leaves with blight to prevent them from spreading. Seclude the plant from any other houseplants, as well, as it will jump from one to another.
This section cover a few of the most common questions about keeping Anthurium Crystallinum.
Are Anthurium Crystallinum plants rare?
Yes, the Crystal Anthurium is often difficult to find, although it is becoming more common. It used to be very expensive, rarely found under $100, but prices have come down a lot, and it’s possible to find one for $25-50 nowadays.
Why are the leaves of my Crystal Anthurium brown?
The foliage is receiving too much direct sunlight if there are brown patches on the leaves. Move the plant further away from the light source.
If just the leaf tips are brown, it is because there isn’t enough humidity. Look into getting a humidifier if you don’t have one already.
What is causing my Crystal Anthuriums foliage to droop?
Drooping combined with yellow leaves means too much direct light. It may also be a lack of fertilizer. Check to see that no direct sun is hitting the foliage, and if you haven’t added fertilizer in a while, do that, too.
What are these weird V-shaped marks on my Anthurium crystallinum?
This is bacterial blight – look to the pests and disease section for what to do.
Why isn’t my Anthurium crystallinum growing?
Remember, this Anthurium needs lots of indirect sunlight – significantly more than most other tropical houseplants. Move your Crystal Anthurium to a location where it will receive more indirect light. Be careful not to put it in direct sunlight, though, as that will burn the leaves.
Should I mist the leaves of my Crystal Anthurium to increase humidity?
Yes, maybe. If you do it in the morning and the leaves have enough time to dry before colder evening temperatures hit, then yes. But, misting should never be done when there is the potential the foliage will stay wet for an extended period of time – this leads to fungal diseases. So, do it in the morning, or not at all.
Will my Crystal Anthurium flower?
Most likely, no. This Anthurium does flower, but indoor climates and conditions usually aren’t conducive to flowering.
Anthurium crystallinum truly brings the exotic home with show-stopping foliage and impressive height. It’s not the best houseplant for new plant parents since it’s a bit fussy, but seeing its magnificent leaves is worth all the effort. Crystal Anthurium is a plant that needs you and won’t stand being neglected; a perfect plant for the person looking to embrace their nurturing side.