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Anthurium Leaves Drying Up and Turning Black (Causes & Solutions)

So, you’ve recently noticed black or brown spots cropping up on your Anthurium’s leaves (inside the leaves or at the tips), and they may even completely dry out soon.

That’s an alarming sign. Most likely, the root of your “flamingo flower” (a playful nickname for the Anthurium) is starting to rot, but it’s also possible that your Anthurium is suffering from dry air.

Let’s explore why your Anthurium’s leaves might start to dry up and turn black, why this sudden change might have occurred, and what you should do next.

Why Has Your Anthurium Developed Dry Brown or Black Spots on the Leaves

The leaves could have turned black for one of two main reasons:

  1. You’ve been overwatering your plant.
  2. The air in your room is too dry (plus high temperature and direct sunlight = heat and dryness).

Typically, if black watery spots start appearing in the middle of the leaf and then spread across the entire leaf, this is a clear sign of overwatering.

On the other hand, if the tips start to dry out and turn black (or brown), this usually indicates dry air (or sunburn).

However, overwatering can also cause the tips or edges of the leaves to turn black first, but they will be limp and watery, not dry.

Anthurium’s Leaf Tips First Dried Up and Then Turned Black or Developed Brown Spots Due to Dry Air

Is the air in your room dry? Is the humidity level low?

Anthuriums need high humidity for healthy growth and development. Dry air can cause the leaf tips of your Anthurium to dry up and turn black (or brown).

And if the temperature is too high and there’s too much direct sunlight, your flamingo flower could be in real trouble.

Droplets of a water landing on the leaves during misting in bright sunlight (direct sunlight) can act as lenses, ultimately resulting in “burns” (dry brown spots) on the leaves.

How Can You Increase the Humidity on the Windowsill or Make the Air Less Dry?

Here are some tips for creating a more humid environment for your plant:

  1. Regularly mist the leaves with warm water from a spray bottle.
  2. Place the plant on a wide tray filled with water and pebbles(Here’s how to make one).
  3. Consider investing in an air humidifier.
  4. Periodically give your Anthurium a shower – thoroughly rinse it from above in the bathtub, covering the soil with plastic wrap to keep it dry.

Remember! If the leaf tips suddenly become dry and turn black (or brown), dry air (low humidity) is likely the culprit. However, if the tips become limp and turn black, this suggests overwatering (more on below).

Anthurium’s Leaves Have Turned Black (With Black Spots), and the Roots are Starting to Rot Due to Overwatering

Anthuriums don’t just dislike overwatering; they can actually die from it. When the plant’s leaves start to turn black, it’s a signal that the root system is beginning to rot.

Therefore, if you consistently overwater and saturate your Anthurium, leaving the soil constantly wet, in the end, your flamingo flower’s roots will likely start to rot.

Note: The appearance of Black Spots and Overwatering Doesn’t Always Mean Rotted Roots.

More specifically, they’re okay when you remove the plant from the pot and inspect its roots.

A quick tip: Soft and black leaves indicate your anthurium is already severely rotted (the roots are definitely rotting), while the ones just starting to rot may look almost normal, just somewhat “soft and watery” (this suggests the roots might still be alright).

Too Frequent Watering

How often do you water? Do you let the top layer of the soil dry out?

The soil should have a chance to dry out roughly halfway between waterings. Push your finger about 1-2 inches (3-4 cm) into the soil, and if it feels dry, water the plant.

It’s better to underwater your Anthurium rather than overwater it.

As a rule, you shouldn’t water your Anthurium more than once weekly. In the fall, winter, and spring, you should water it approximately once every 10-14 days (only if you have a cool windowsill; if it’s hot and dry, water more frequently and definitely mist).

Regardless, you should base your watering schedule not on a “set schedule” but on how dry the soil is. If the soil’s top 1-2 inches (3-4 cm) is dry, water; if not, it’s too soon.

Anthurium likes a balance when it comes to watering.

Lack of or Poor Drainage

Do you have drainage or drainage holes at the bottom?

The pot’s bottom should always have drainage holes, allowing excess water to escape.

Make a few holes on the sides of the pot for better air access to the roots and quicker drying after watering.

Besides drainage holes, you could add a layer of drainage material to the pot’s bottom, such as expanded clay, pine bark, or even sphagnum moss. Some people even crumble and use styrofoam.

Interesting experiment: “Adding sphagnum moss to the soil caused the roots to rot, as it retains moisture, and consequently, the soil inside remains moist. Like bark and any organic material, the moss begins to decay from moisture and causes rot.”

Important: Some People Use Expanded Clay on Top of Soil, but it Can Make Determining Moisture Levels Difficult

Some folks put expanded clay on top of the soil for decorative purposes or to keep cats from digging, but this makes it hard to tell how moist your soil is beneath.

So, it’s usually best to use expanded clay as drainage at the bottom of the pot.

Heavy Soil

Anthuriums need light and loose soil that’s permeable to water and air. Be sure to add sand, perlite, or vermiculite.

You can also use a bit of sphagnum moss and coconut Coco coir.  In heavy soil, roots can not only rot but also suffocate.

Thoughts and advice on the topic:

My Anthurium grows well in orchid soil. Add more peat to the Anthurium substrate; this lowers the risk of overwatering as it dries out nicely.

Too Large a Pot

You should choose an Anthurium pot strictly based on the size of the root system. If the pot is too large, the roots won’t be able to fill its volume, resulting in the “empty” soil becoming acidic.

If you’re repotting your Anthurium after purchasing it, the new pot should only be about an inch (2-3 cm) larger than the previous one.

Watering with Cold Water, Drafts, Low Air Temperature

The low temperature on the windowsill, watering with cold water, and drafts — all these negative factors can lead to root rot due to moisture stagnation.

As you understand, cold and moist soil takes much longer to dry out!

What to Do if Anthurium Leaves Have Turned Black Due to Overwatering

Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Carefully remove the plant from the pot.
  2. Inspect the roots closely.
  3. When repotting, you’ll probably find the soil at the bottom of the pot isn’t just moist; it’s wet (acidic).

However, the soil in the deeper layers should never completely dry out; it should always be slightly moist.

No wonder they say, “Anthurium loves a balance when it comes to watering.”

  1. Remove rotten roots, and treat cuts with charcoal or cinnamon.
  2. Repot into a new pot that fits the size of the root system and with suitable soil.

Key Takeaways

Anthurium is afraid of overwatering; it’s the first reason it wilts! All plants fear overwater, but Anthurium holds the record! We had a long learning curve to get the watering right, had some black leaves too.

Now, I follow good advice — only water two-thirds. Too much water is a no-no for these plants. The great thing is they respond instantly

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