While “Velvet Cardboard” doesn’t sound like a common name fit for a plant, it is one of the most well-known and cherished Anthurium in the plant world today!
Though, if you could ask this plant, they would probably say they prefer their other common name: Queen Anthurium.
Hailing from Mexico and touting stunning, broad leaves highlighted by white veins stretch upward, sometimes growing to 6 feet (2 meters) tall, with leaves 20 inches (50.8 cm) wide in the wild.
Thankfully they tend to stay much smaller in the home or in terrariums.
Once old enough, the Anthurium clarinervium also can stretch its stems to put out dazzling, flamingo flowers. Like many other Anthurium flowers, they do not actually have petals, but instead bloom bright-colored with a glossy shine and thick velvety texture to match the thick velvety-soft leaves springing from the rest of the plant.
Anthurium clarinervium Care & Growth
|Plant Type||Foliage, epiphyte, large|
|Lighting||Bright, indirect light|
|Watering||Moderate, even moisture|
|Humidity||High humidity (60-90%)|
These plants are accustomed to receiving dappled light in the wild, so they prefer bright, but only indirect light when in the home.
Too much direct light can damage the leaves, but not enough can cause the blooming flowers to not turn their usually bright colors.
If possible, plant your Anthurium around the base of another, slightly larger plant to provide some of the filtered light it likes. Direct sun is okay in moderation, but only in the colder months when daylight is short and hard to come by.
The Anthurium clarinervium can stand a little under and overwatering in the right settings, but it’s best not to push it.
Brown tips on the leaves could be a sign of either too much or too little water, so keep an eye out for this. Overwatering can cause root rot to set in, so make sure you have additional plants or drainage to soak up the extra moisture.
Making sure that your Queen Anthurium has the proper soil mix may be the most important element to keeping her alive and happy.
Her roots can be easily damaged by water, so she needs her substrate to be fibrous enough to allow quick draining of water from its roots. Consider a coir and perlite-heavy mix for this Anthurium.
As long as your substrate provides plenty of drainage, you should be good-to-go!
Temperature & Humidity
Velvet Cardboard Anthuriums have fairly predictable temperate and humidity preferences when in a closed terrarium.
They thrive in exceedingly high humidity, enjoying a minimum of 60%, but they really start feeling their best at 85-90%.
Any temperature above 85°F can cause the plant to dry up, but below 55°F can cause them to freeze. If the terrarium they are in is placed near or on the windowsill, consider moving them further back in the wintertime to avoid potentially hazardous drops in temperature and loss of humidity.
The Anthurium clarinervium is an exquisite plant to watch grow at all stages of its life.
While the young flowers start out an almost metallic purple hue, the eventually grow older and broader to show off light green undersides and dark green tops streaked by pale white veins.
As with other members of the Anthurium family, new leaves sprout from very top of the plant, so adding some biomaterials to your terrarium will only help this Queen. When the time is right, this plant will produce gorgeous flowers – potentially all year long!
The Queen Anthurium is known to put out babies if given enough room to grow. Root division is the preferred method of this plant, which requires removing the plant from your terrarium, gently removing the soil from the roots and teasing away the new growth.
Because of the thick stems (that can reach up to 2cm in diameter), the usual stem propagation methods can also be used with this plant.
Keep in mind that this type of Anthurium needs to have more than one stem before propagating; if you aren’t patient, the mother plant may not be ready to have children yet and can go into shock.
Varieties & Similar Plants
Though this Anthurium may not have any other immediate varieties, there are over 1,000 other members of the Anthurium species, all unique but all claiming dense, tropical forest environments as their home in the wild.
Each produce similar petal less flowers, ranging in color from white and bright pinks, to vivid purples and blues. There are supposed variegated versions of the Anthrium clarinervium floating around in the world, but that is more likely myth than truth.
If you’re in the market for other velvet-leafed plants, check out the gorgeous Alocasia Black Velvet.
Anthuriums are not always used as closed terrarium plants due to their need for air circulation, but this can be overcome with a vent/partial lid or simply opening up your terrarium regularly.
Thankfully, the Queen Anthurium is lucky enough to not especially attract or have any weaknesses to any kinds of pests.
If not given the correct soil ratio however, it can quickly succumb to root rot because of its epiphytic nature, but this is as easy as adding some bark, orchid mixture, or perlite to your soil.