Once you start collecting anthuriums you quickly begin to wonder how to pollinate them. By pollinating your own anthuriums, you can grow your collection and produce interesting hybrids. All of your pollinations probably won’t be successful, so don’t worry if you fail! The great thing about plants is that they are resilient and want to grow, so if you don’t succeed on your first try you will have many more chances.
I should probably start with a clarity statement that I am not using scientifically correct terms, but rather phrases like “rub them together” and “wait until it has little bumps.” I have gained my experience by trial and failure in my greenhouse, and these are the terms that work with my brain. With that said, let’s get to the facts!
Flowers and Inflorescences
Getting your anthuriums to flower might be one of the hardest steps of pollinating anthuriums. I find that they are more likely to “flower” or produce inflorescences, when they are slightly stressed. The temperature and humidity of our greenhouse fluctuates, and the plants really enjoy that change. It mimics the feeling of their natural habitat with warmer days and cooler nights.
When you are growing at home in a humidity tent or cabinet, it can be hard to replicate that temperature change. If you use heat mats or an external heater, try turning those off at night. Make sure to use a timer on your grow lights to create a light cycle. Use a fan to circulate fresh air constantly, it will help your plants grow stronger and healthier.
Once your anthurium flowers, you need to wait for it to open. It is super tempting to open it up manually, but don’t do it! Once it opens it is in its receptive phase, waiting for pollen. If you don’t have any pollen yet, don’t worry, you will soon! You will notice that it secretes a liquid and looks like it is sweaty. That is the inflorescence trying to find the pollen.
When the receptive phase is over, the inflorescence will begin to produce pollen. The pollen will likely be an orange or yellow color and look like dust. You can collect the pollen with a paint or makeup brush into a small plastic container or piece of foil. I like to use small paint containers or the ziploc containers for salad dressings. If you don’t have a receptive flower yet for the pollen, you can store it in your freezer for a few weeks.
The easiest way to pollinate anthuriums is if you have two plants flowering at once, at different stages. Then you can simply rub them together, or even tie them together to pollinate on their own.
If you are using pollen that you previously collected, take a small brush or your fingers and rub the pollen on a receptive flower. You will know the flower is ready to pollinate when you see it producing liquid or sweating. Repeat this process for a few days.
You will know your pollination was successful when the inflorescence begins to form little bumps, and becomes an infructescence!
These bumps will turn into berries. You will know the berries are ready to be harvested when they turn a juicy red or orange color and fall off easily. If you are worried about the berries falling off before you harvest them, try using organza bags to tie over them.
Once you have your anthurium berries, you simply “smush” them and out pop your seeds! If you are lucky, some of your berries will have more than one seed inside of them. I like to put the seeds in sphagnum moss inside of a humidity dome. I keep them moist, and not wet. I fertilize them every other week with fish fertilizer.
Before you know it your seeds will start sprouting! If you have any questions feel free to reach out to us via email or Instagram with any pics.