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Leggy Anthurium Seedlings

As the seedlings become a young plant they often become leggy and will lean to the side, as they become top heavy. When this happens, you will notice there are a lot of air roots sitting above the soil. It is at this stage, that I like to do a re-pot for a few reasons.

Growing Anthurium from seed is a fantastic way to grow your collection and have extra plants to sell or swap… or just to have a sea of the same stunning plant. Whatever your reason for growing from seed, there is always some maintenance that will need to be done along the way.

As the seedlings become a young plant they often become leggy and will lean to the side, as they become top heavy. When this happens, you will notice there are a lot of air roots sitting above the soil (see below). It is at this stage, that I like to do a re-pot for a few reasons.

Anthurium Mag, Forgetii X Betty Sang Seedling has become leggy and laying across the soil.

Reasons for re-potting the seedling are…

Purely cosmetic. The plant just looks better standing, with its leaves flowing to the side.

General Plant Health. I have noticed I have lost more seedlings and had more issues, when they are leggy and leaning over.

More root growth. Most seedlings will have a root system growing out of the base of the stem. (See the picture below) The air roots sitting above the soil have the potential to become more roots. The more roots your plant grows, the more stable and healthy your plant will become. See all of the emerging air roots on the pictured plant and consider how many new roots will potentially grow once the plant is placed deeper below the soil. Of course they will probably grow down into the soil, in time. But why wait?

Anytime you re-pot your Anthurium, you are upsetting the root system that is there and could potentially shock the plant. This time, you do not have to increase the pot size, or replace the soil, unless it is needed. I simply just remove the plant from the pot and soil with the end result being that it is re-planted, just at a deeper level and a bit of maintenance.

I always assess the current growth and health of the plant. If there is any sign of root rot or bugs, I will deal with this as the situation requires.

I then remove any leaves that sit low on the stem and will likely have the petiole sitting under the soil. It will likely rot anyway. Then as I get ready to re-plant, I decide how deep I want the plant to be sitting in the soil.

With the plant I am working on here, I remove the bottom leaf and then replant with all of the air roots under the soil. It may seem drastic, but there are at least 7 air roots there that could become new roots. That is a big bonus for the plant, when they become part of the root system.

This advice I offer, is what works for me, and is not intended as anything but an opinion. Any maintenance you do to your plants, is done at your own risk

The final result. It may seem extreme, but it will pay off in the end.

Always finish your re-pot with some slow release fertiliser and a drink of half strength liquid fertiliser to prevent shock. Then continue loving it as you did before!

You will notice that once a re-pot is completed, it will look like the plant has taken a big step backwards in its development. Don’t feel too discouraged, the plant will benefit in the long run. Below is another plant from the same batch of seeds (Anthurium Magnificum, Forgetii X Betty Sanguineum) that went through the same process a few months prior.

This plant (Anthurium Magnificum, Forgetii X Betty Sanguineum) from the same seed batch, received the same treatment a few months prior.

As you can see from the plant above, the setback from removing lower leaves and a re-pot of a leggy anthurium seedling, is only temporary. This plant has bounced back and then some, in the few months between. Its root system is healthy and full. It’s winter now and the plant is still growing, despite sitting in a cabinet at about 16-18deg (60-64F) over winter.

So be brave and have a go.

Thanks for reading and happy growing. Xx

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