Anthurium Dressleri: Plant Care & Propagation, 4 Common Problems + Buying Tips

Anthurium dressleri is a rare houseplant that has recently had plant collectors in awe. But growing it can be a real challenge. So even if you have experience with high-maintenance plants, this species will put your green fingers to the test. 

If you’ve recently added Anthurium dressleri to your collection, learning how to care for it and keep it thriving is essential. And if you’re thinking about buying one, the first step is learning about the ecological threats this species faces and how buying it from a reputable seller can make all the difference.  

Read on to find out more. 

What Is Anthurium Dressleri?

Anthurium dressleri is an exotic terrestrial plant belonging to the Aroid family. It’s endemic to the tropical forests of Panama, which means that it doesn’t grow anywhere else in the world.

The easiest way to identify Anthurium dressleri is by using its foliage. The leaves are heart-shaped, with well-defined, sometimes overlapping lobes. 

They are dark green, with a velvety texture and faint sheen. The midrib is slightly more prominent than the other veins and is a lighter green color. 

The leaves have long petioles with a purplish color on the underside.  

Unlike other Anthurium species, such as A. crystallinum or A. clarinervium, Anthurium dressleri doesn’t have white leaf veins. 

Why Is It Called “Anthurium Dressleri Croat”?

Anthurium dressleri takes its name from two well-known botanists. First, it was named “dressleri” in honor of American botanist Robert Louis Dressler, who spent his life documenting and describing hundreds of plant species, mostly orchids. 

The “Croat” suffix is used in botanic nomenclature to refer to Thomas Croat, an American botanist and aroid expert who has, so far, collected over 85,000 species.   

Care Guide

Let’s face up to the facts: Anthurium dressleri is not a beginner-friendly plant. It has very specific growing requirements that are difficult to meet in most homes. 

It’s pretentious about soil, temperature, humidity, and watering regime and will not respond well to environmental changes. But with the proper care guide, Anthurium dressleri can be incredibly rewarding to grow. 

So let’s start with the basics.

Light 

Anthurium dressleri has moderate light requirements. In its natural habitat, this terrestrial species grows on the jungle forest floor. 

Unlike epiphytic Anthuriums, this species doesn’t use its roots to climb trees and other surfaces. As a result, it spends most of its life in dark areas and only receives dappled sunlight coming down through the canopy.

When growing Anthurium dressleri indoors, always keep it away from direct sun. The velvety leaves can scorch easily, even when exposed to sunlight for short periods. 

Ideally, you’ll want to keep it in a room facing east or west, at least 4 feet (1.2 meters) away from the window.  

Soil 

The ideal potting mix for Anthurium dressleri should be very light, well-draining, and rich in organic matter. 

To better understand its soil requirements, let’s take another look at how this plant grows in the wild.

This terrestrial species often grows on jungle floor slopes and rocky outcrops. These surfaces don’t have much soil on top of them, which means that the roots of Anthurium dressleri have adapted to living in a substrate that is constantly moist but also very well draining. 

Recreating this potting medium indoors can be challenging but not impossible. 

Plant your Anthurium dressleri in a mix of peat moss, orchid bark, coco coir, and perlite or pumice to keep the roots healthy. 

You can also add some vermiculite to help with water and nutrient retention and horticultural charcoal to improve drainage. 

Water 

Always keep the soil of your Anthurium dressleri moist but not soaked. The only way to achieve this delicate balance is if you’re using the right soil mix. Otherwise, the combination of constant moisture and compacted soil will suffocate the roots and start to rot.

Always use the soak and drain method to water this plant. 

Slowly and evenly pour water through the soil until it starts dripping through the drainage holes. Allow the soil to dry to a depth of no more than an inch (2.5 cm) before watering again.

Anthurium dressleri is sensitive to the salts and minerals in tap water, which can cause crispy tips and dried leaf edges. If you can, try using distilled water or water from your aquarium. 

Temperature

The ideal temperature range for Anthurium dressleri is between 68°F and 80.6°F (20°C to 27°C). 

The key to successful growth is maintaining the temperature even. Avoid exposure to sudden cold drafts, keeping your Anthurium next to an air conditioning unit, or drafty windows and doors.

You can grow Anthurium dressleri outside in USDA zones 10b to 12. However, this is a rare species, and growing it outdoors can make it more susceptible to diseases and pest infestations. 

To avoid losing your Anthurium, try keeping it as an indoor plant instead.

Humidity

Anthurium dressleri needs high humidity levels to thrive. Like all Anthurium species with velvety leaves, it grows best when the humidity is around 70% to 80%. 

If your home is too dry, the Anthurium leaves will soon develop crispy, brown edges, and the plant will grow at a slower rate.

Achieving humidity levels as high as 80% is tricky because most homes fall in the 30% to 60% range. So misting or placing the pot on top of a pebble tray won’t be effective. 

Realistically, you’ll need to invest in a humidifier for your Anthurium dressleri. Another option is to grow it in a glass cabinet enclosure, which helps maintain a constant temperature and humidity levels.  

Fertilizer

Anthurium dressleri benefits from monthly fertilizer applications from early spring until early fall. You can use an organic fertilizer with a balanced N-P-K ratio. 

Always dilute the fertilizer according to the instructions on the label to prevent burning the roots.  

Pruning and Maintenance

Anthurium dressleri has a slow growth rate and compact growth habit, so it doesn’t need much pruning. 

Use a sharp, sterilized pair of scissors to trim yellowing leaves and keep the plant tidy.

Once a month, use a soft, damp cloth to wipe the leaves. Their velvety texture can attract dust, which can clog the stomata and prevent the plant from producing its own food through photosynthesis.  

The Anthurium dressleri leaves have a green sheath or cataphyll, which dries out after a few weeks. If you don’t like the look of the dried cataphylls, you can peel them off. But make sure to peel them gently. Otherwise, you risk breaking or damaging the stem. 

Repotting Anthurium Dressleri

Anthurium dressleri needs repotting once every 2 to 3 years. This plant does not have an extensive root system, so it won’t mind being a bit pot-bound. Check the underside of the pot, and if you can see roots coming out through the drainage holes, move the plant to a larger container.

Spring and summer are the best times for repotting Anthurium dressleri. The plant is actively growing during these months, which means it has a better chance of becoming established after transplanting. 

Use a container one size or 2 inches wider than the old one. Fill it with a well-draining soil mix, repot your Anthurium, then water it thoroughly. 

Avoid giving the plant additional fertilizers for the next three months to prevent fertilizer salt buildups.  

Propagation

The best way to propagate Anthurium dressleri is using stem cuttings. You can use this method during the plant’s active growth stage in spring or summer.

Propagating Anthurium dressleri is a difficult and lengthy process. For best results, only propagate plants that have been in your care for at least six months. 

This allows them to acclimatize to their new growing conditions and reduces the risk of the plant dying due to stress.

Also, try propagating Anthurium dressleri in sphagnum moss rather than soil or water. Cuttings rooted in soil have a greater chance of developing stem rot. Similarly, rooting them in water can also lead to bacterial diseases that will kill the cuttings.

Here’s the step-by-step guide to propagating Anthurium dressleri:

  1. Take a sharp pair of scissors and disinfect the blade with rubbing alcohol.
  2. Cut the stem between two growth nodes. Make sure that the leaves on each stem cutting are healthy and pest-free.
  3. Take a transparent plastic container with a lid and half-fill it with pre-soaked sphagnum moss. The cuttings need lots of humidity and constant temperatures to grow roots, and using a plastic container is the best way to achieve that.
  4. Put the cutting in the container and wedge the growth node in the moss. Poke a few holes in the container lid to facilitate air circulation, then place the lid on top.
  5. Keep the container in a warm, bright room, away from direct sunlight.
  6. Check the moss once every 5 – 7 days and keep it moist. 
  7. Be patient. The cuttings can take anywhere between one and three months to develop roots. So if you don’t see anything happening yet, give them more time.
  8. When the roots are at least 2 inches (5 cm) long, you can transplant the cuttings in a well-draining potting mix.

Cover the pot with a transparent plastic bag to encourage the newly planted cuttings to become established. This will maintain humidity and reduce the risk of transplant shock. 

After a month or so, you can remove the bag, but keep monitoring the plants for any signs of distress.

Common Pests & Problems

Now let’s look at some common problems and pests that can affect Anthurium dressleri.

Pests

The most common pests for Anthurium dressleri are spider mites, mealybugs, thrips, and scale. They are often found on the underside of the leaf or the petiole and will cause wilting, yellowing leaves, stunted growth, and, in severe cases, death. 

If you notice any pests, isolate the plant immediately. Use a sterilized blade to trim the infested leaves, then rinse off the plant in the shower to dislodge as much of the pests as possible.

You can get rid of spider mites, and mealybugs using a solution of one part 70% isopropyl alcohol and four parts distilled water. Wipe the leaves with this mix once every 5 – 7 days for a month. 

For scale, use a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol to remove the pest clusters. Then wipe the leaves with a water and alcohol solution as described above.

If your Anthurium dressleri has thrips, your only solution is using a systemic pesticide.

Remember that neem oil only works as a prevention, not a cure. Once your Anthurium becomes infested with pests, neem oil will not be efficient in getting rid of them.

Yellowing Leaves

Anthurium dressleri turning yellow is usually a sign of overwatering. To prevent this problem, use a well-draining potting mix, and allow the soil to dry out slightly between waterings.

Soft Black or Brown Leaf Spots

If you notice soft black or brown leaf spots, your Anthurium dressleri is in trouble. This is typically a sign of fungal disease, most likely root rot. 

To save the plant, take it out of the pot immediately and inspect the roots. Identifying root rot in Anthurium dressleri can be tricky because the roots have a natural brown color. But they’re rotting if they’re soft and slimy and have an unpleasant, musty smell. 

Remove all the soil and rinse the roots with a solution of one part 3% hydrogen peroxide and two parts water. Use the same solution to disinfect the container. Then repot your Anthurium in a fresh potting soil mix, and adjust your watering schedule in the future. 

Brown, Crispy Leaf Edges

This is a sign that the air in your home is too dry. Keep in mind that Anthurium dressleri needs humidity levels of at least 70% for healthy foliage. You can also avoid crispy leaf edges by keeping this plant away from hot or cold drafts.  

Tips for Buying Anthurium Dressleri

Anthurium dressleri became popular among houseplant collectors in 2021. However, this plant only grows in one region of Panama, and it’s challenging to cultivate on a commercial level.

This makes Anthurium dressleri expensive and challenging to find. To meet demand, some online suppliers will sell plants that have been poached from the wild. 

Not only is this illegal, but it also threatens this species’ survival in its native habitat. 

When shopping online for an Anthurium dressleri, always make sure you’re buying from a reputable seller. Always ask them where the plant comes from or how it was propagated, and ask for proof that the plant was sourced legally. 

Also, be wary of buying large specimens, as these are most likely to have been poached from the wild.  

On a lighter note, Anthurium dressleri hybridizes readily with other Anthurium species. This results in hybrids such as Anthurium dressleri x ForgetiiA. Dressleri x Radicans, or A. Dressleri x Papillilaminum

These hybrids are also rare and expensive, but because they’re man-made, they help reduce the demand for exotic plants that, unfortunately, encourages poaching. 

So if you can’t find the genuine item, consider buying an Anthurium hybrid as an ethical and environmentally-conscious alternative.

FAQ

Is Anthurium Dressleri Toxic?

The ASPCA does not have the Anthurium dressleri on its list of plants toxic to cats and dogs. However, all Anthurium species contain saponins and calcium oxalate crystals in their stems, leaves, and roots.

These toxic substances can cause painful irritations and gastrointestinal problems if ingested. To prevent any accidents, keep this plant away from pets. 

Does Anthurium Dressleri Flower?

Anthurium dressleri rarely flowers indoors. However, if provided with ideal growing conditions, it can produce an inflorescence after 3 – 4 years, sometimes later.

The inflorescence has a yellowish spadix and a greenish-white spathe, with a purple-tinged stalk. The plant will produce small, purple, inedible berries if pollination occurs.  

Does Anthurium Dressleri Climb?

Anthurium dressleri is a terrestrial species, which means it doesn’t need a pole or support to climb on. Try planting it in a long container with drainage holes, such as a trough planter, to mimic its natural growing conditions.

SOURCES

https://www.gbif.org/species/141423886

http://www.aroid.org/genera/anthurium/cardiolonchium/dressleri.php 

http://www.aroid.org/TAP/species/anthdressleri.php