Anthurium Plant Pests – Controlling Insects On Anthuriums

By Bonnie L. Grant

Anthurium is a popular tropical ornamental. Its broad brightly colored spathe is the standout feature of this plant and they are easy to keep, needing minimal care. However, anthurium pests are a constant problem, especially when growing the plants outdoors. Mealybugs, aphids, thrips, scale and spider mites are all common pests that can be found on indoor and tropical plants. Anthurium pest control starts with recognizing the insects infesting the plant and then taking prompt measures to eradicate them.

Anthurium Plant Pests

Anthurium, or flamingo flowers, are from South America and there are over 100 commercial varieties of the plant. The unique flowering structure of this species makes it a curiosity plant and has also made it a popular indoor houseplant. Flamingo flower is a shade-loving plant that needs well-draining, highly organic rich soil. Infestations of pests generally start in summer when the weather is warm and the temperatures are hot. Anthuriums in poor conditions can get decimated by pests, as they are stressed and unable to combat insect invaders.

The pests of anthurium are primarily sucking insects. Their thick leaves are not generally bothered by the chewing class of pests. Anthurium pests gradually remove plant sap and reduce the health of the flamingo flower over time. The effects may be difficult to spot initially, as these types of insects have a slow effect on plant health, but you can often spot the invaders themselves.

Aphid anthurium plant pests may be black, gray, white, red, green or brown. They are crawling insects, which stick their feeding mouth parts into the plant’s flesh and draw out sap.

Thrips and spider mites, which are too small to see with the naked eye, feed on these plants too. Spider mites leave behind tiny webs to identify their presence while a piece of white paper placed under the plant while you shake it can show you the tiny black thrips (as well as the mites).

Scale has a hard body and clings closely to plant parts as it sucks the life out. Mealybugs are most common in warm regions and plant pests of many ornamentals, resembling speck of cotton.

Symptoms of Pests of Anthurium

Anthurium pest control starts with correct identification of the invaders. Sucking insects, like aphids, leave distorted mottled leaves over time. They may also be accompanied by ants, who love the sticky sweet honeydew that is the aphid’s leave behind.

Insects like scale cause weak plants and can be visually identified. They have hard ridged carapaces and tiny legs. Yellow stippling in leaves is a telltale sign of spider mites. Thrips also cause mottled leaves and feed on new growth, as do mealybugs.

All of the insects feed by removing the plant’s fluids, which are rich in carbohydrates and the fuel for its growth. Overall, plants become faded, limp and fail to produce new growth. It is essential to start on a program of controlling insects on anthuriums as soon as possible to prevent loss of plant vigor and potentially marred leaves and stems.

Controlling Insects on Anthurium

Anthurium insects can often be controlled naturally with short, sharp blasts of water which dislodge and often drown the pests. Stubborn insects may respond to horticultural soap or oil sprays which are natural and don’t harm the plant.

You can hand wipe off scale or use a Pyrethrin based insecticide. These are naturally based and the active ingredient comes from chrysanthemum plants. Mealybugs are really hard to control and may require a Malathion based spray or one which contains dimethoate. A consistent vigil for plant pests is the best start for Anthruium pest control and helps prevent significant damage in large infestations.

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