Anthurium crystallinum ‘Ace of spades’ is a rightly sought-after species among collectors of unusual and rare tropical plants. Just as its name suggests, it has impressive, striking, large, heart-shaped leaves with a velvety texture.
The deep dark color of the adult leaves with a pronounced lighter ribbing that reflects the light as a shining crystal, combined with the reddish-purple young leaves color, make this plant a breathtaking sight.
Anthurium ‘Ace of Spades’ is a low-maintenance houseplant. It prefers constantly moist (but not soaked) soil, temperatures between 64 to 79ºF, a well-draining potting soil, fertilizing once every 2 months in the growing season, and higher humidity levels.
Pictures by AroidAddicted from Etsy.
- Light: Bright indirect sunlight
- Water: Only water when the top 1-2 inches of the soil are dry
- Soil: Well-draining light soil mix
- Fertilizer: Once every two months (during growing seasons)
- Size: Grows up to 2 feet (60 cm) tall
- Size: Leaves grow up to 2 feet (60 cm) long
- Leaf color: Redish-purple to dark green, almost black
- Temperature: Between 64 to 79Fº (18 and 26ºC)
- Humidity: Prefers 70% and more
- Cold hardy: Winter hardy only in US climate zone 10 to 11
- Propagation: By stem cuttings
- Toxicity: Toxic to humans and animals
General care for Anthurium ‘Ace of Spades’
Anthurium ‘Ace of spades’ thrives best in relatively moist soil but does not tolerate constantly sitting in the soaked substrate. Therefore, water it carefully, two or three times a week, with small amounts of soft, stagnant water.
Be sure to allow the surface of the substrate to dry slightly to a depth of 1 inch between waterings. This plant deposits water reserves in its thick leaves, and it is much more resistant to scarcity than excess water.
Anthurium ‘Ace of spades’ is an epiphytic plant that grows in nature on the bark of large trees. This fact is significant for two reasons! First, its root does not tolerate heavily compacted soils in which water retains for a long time, and the air circulates with difficulty.
Second, the ‘Ace of Spades’ prefers slightly acidic to neutral soils with a pH reaction of 6.1 to 7.3.
It means that a commercial potting substrate, which is prone to compaction, should be facilitated by adding an orchid mixture, perlite, or sand in a ratio of half to half. The DIY potting mix of sand and cocopeat in the same proportion is a great combination too.
Such mixtures will make the soil light,well-draining, rich in nutrients, and acidic enough. All this together will enable your anthurium to thrive well and develop properly.
The plant needs a position with partial sunlight or diffused light. It is best to choose a spot where it will get some direct morning or late afternoon light. Ideal places are next to the east or west window.
Move the plant at least a few feet away from the south window if it is not shaded, since the sophisticated leaves of this anthurium quickly get sunburns.
Anthurium ‘Ace of spades’ is a lover of a warm environment. It thrives best if it has a uniform temperature throughout the year ranging between 68°- 80°F. It can withstand slightly lower temperatures at short intervals but certainly not below 50F. It is sensitive to cold or temperature fluctuations. Temperatures at the freezing point turn the water in its leaves into ice crystals which destroys the tissue and leads to the ruination of the plant.
Like all other tropical plants, ‘Ace of spades’ prefers increased humidity levels of 70% or 80%. If we exclude the bathroom and kitchen, which naturally have a higher humidity level, in other rooms the percentage of air humidity is 10 to 30%. That is not enough for Anthurium ‘Ace of spades’. Its large, magnificent leaves need extra moisture to stay fresh and healthy. Yet, it is not unattainable! Here are a few simple ways to increase humidity in the plant surrounding:
- Misting – If you mist the plant leaves several times a week using a bottle with a fine spray that turns the water into a fine dripping haze, you will provide the plant with additional moisture. Large water drops on the leaves evaporate more slowly and In combination with high temperature, it favors the fungal disease’s development.
- Grouping the plants – A convenient way to modify microclimatic conditions is to group more plants in one corner, creating your private piece of jungle. Namely, water evaporation from their leaves and soil increases the humidity level, and the natural transpiration process does the job instead of you!
- Humidifier – Itis a valuable aid that will provide all your tropical plants with the right conditions for growth.
- Pebble tray-It is a very effective method when you want to create a more humid environment for individual plants.
Unlike flowering anthurium, leafy species such as ‘Ace of spades’ is the plant that you do not have to nourish constantly. Every eight to ten weeks from March to September, you could add water-soluble fertilizer.
The most effective are fertilizers for houseplants with decorative leaves because they have an increased content of phosphorus. Be sure to dilute the fertilizer to one-quarter of the recommended dose since high concentrations can burn the root.
One of the benefits of this plant is that you do not have to transplant it every year. Only when the plant outgrows the pot, when the root veins begin to appear through the drainage opening of the container, and when the plant has withered leaves even though you water it regularly, is it time to transplant.
Depending on the size of the pot and the plant, transplanting is only necessary after two or three years.
The new container should be only one or two inches larger than the previous one. Try to ensure that the plant grows in a mixture very similar to the previous one, since changing the substrate composition will cause stress, and the period of adaptation to new circumstances will last longer.
The impressive dimensions of this plant are one of the reasons that make it so irresistible. That is why you don’t need to prune it! Of course, you can remove any old, wilted, or damaged leaves to keep it looking healthy and attractive.
However, if you want to maintain a desired size or height of the plant, you can shorten its tops in the spring before the new development cycle begins.
Another advantage of this stunning plant is that it is not prone to diseases or pests as long as it grows in optimal conditions. If problems such as fungal leaf diseases or bacterial root rot occur, they are mainly the consequence of inadequate care, among which excessive watering is the most common.
Fungal leaves disease causes black spots on the leaves. If you notice them, remove the infected leaves and treat the plant with some standard fungicides.
Root rot is a dangerous disease that is difficult to treat, and if you do not react in time, it leads to the loss of the plant.
You will recognize it by the unhealthy leaves that wither, the watery stems without firmness, and the darkened bud base of the plant.
If the disease has not progressed, you can try the following:
- Remove the plant from the wet substrate and remove all remaining soil from the root ball.
- Inspect the rootball and cut off all the rotten parts, taking care that the total mass of the removed part should not exceed one-third.
- Leave the plant to air dry for half an hour.
- Transplant the plant into a new substrate and do not water the first week.
The velvety leaves of this plant do not seem to be particularly attractive to pests.
However, in an environment with a low percentage of humidity, spider mites can occur. Fortunately, it is easy to get rid of them by wiping the leaves with a piece of soft cloth or cotton wool soaked in neem oil.
Cleaning the leaves of the ‘Ace of Spades’ once 1-2 weeks, will help prevent pests from infesting your plant. By wiping off any dust or dirt from the leaves, the plant can absorb more light and will stay healthy. A healthy plant has less chance to get infected by a pest.
How to Propagate Anthurium ‘Ace of spades’
The simplest way to propagate is by stem cuttings. It is an undemanding and effective procedure in a few steps:
- Choose a stem that is at least 3 inches long and has a few leaves.
- Remove the leaves from the lower part of the stem, leaving just two or three leaves on the top.
- Prepare the small container filled with the mixture.
- Stick the stem in the middle of the pot and water it.
- Keep the pot with the cuttings in a warm and shady place. Water it as soon as the substrate surface dries.
Very quickly, between 7 and 10 days, you will notice new growth. It means that the plant starts the root development and, you can further treat it like adult anthurium plants.
Frequently asked questions:
Why are the leaves of my new plant falling off?
It is a common occurrence that Anthurium ‘Ace of spades’ you have got does not give new leaves for weeks. Moreover, it is not uncommon to even discard one or two leaves. It does not necessarily mean that you are doing something wrong and that the plant is dying!
Most of these plants come from nurseries, where they have professional care and excellent conditions. The living conditions in your home are different, so the plant needs some time to adjust. Therefore, arm yourself with patience and don’t give up right away!
Why are Anthurium ‘Ace of spades’ leaves yellowing?
Unhealthy yellowing of the leaves can occur for several reasons. The most common cause is excessive watering. Too much water in the substrate disrupts the physiological processes of the plant and ruins the leaves.
Excessive fertilization of the plant has the same consequences since ‘Ace of Spades’ is not much of a feeder! But even if you overdo it with water or fertilizer, it does not mean that you have lost the plant. Transplant it into a fresh substrate, give it time to recover, and continue watering and feeding according to its needs.
Why are the leaf tips of my Anthurium ‘Ace of spades’ brown and dry?
Brittle and dry leaf tips are most likely an indicator of a lack of air humidity. Don’t forget that this is a tropical plant that struggles in a dry air space.
Also, you should pay attention to the quality of the water you use since it could be the reason for dry brown leaf tips.
Use rainwater, stagnant or distilled water, as this is closest to what the plant gets in its natural environment! Tap water is adapted to our needs and not the needs of our houseplants!
Is Anthurium ‘Ace of spades’ toxic?
Anthurium ‘Ace and spades’ is toxic for both pets and humans since all parts of the plant contain calcium oxalate. The substance can cause irritation, itching, and redness on the skin.
It is much more dangerous if it enters the digestive tract as it causes swelling of the throat and oral cavity vomiting or diarrhea. Be careful when handling the plant! Wear gloves when transplant it, and make sure children and pets do not touch it.
How fast does Anthurium ‘Ace of spades’ grow?
It is a slow-growing plant. It usually takes at least two or three years to reach full size. During the growing season, new leaves appear approximately every month. In other words, it is rather normal for the plant to give only a few leaves a year.
Is Anthurium ‘Ace of spades’ a climber?
It is a trailing species of anthurium. Young plants can be kept in hanging baskets, but as the plant grows and takes up more and more space, it is much more practical if you grow this plant in a pot in which you have placed a pole that serves more as a support and keeps the plant upright.
Why does my Anthurium ‘Ace of spades’ have pale leaves?
The general rule says that plants with darker leaves tolerate shady conditions better than those with light or variegated leaves. However, when it comes to this plant, that rule is only partially correct.
Namely, the anthurium Ace and spades will thrive in the shade, but its leaves will not have the characteristic color and will not reach full size. Pale leaves and slowed growth are precisely the results of too deep shade!
Does Anthurium ‘Ace of spades’ bloom?
Unlike some other anthuriums, such as A. obestum with its shiny and noticeable flowers, a flower that Anthurium crystallinum produces is rather inconspicuous. It has the shape of an elongated pistil with a bract of unimposing light green color.
Moreover, when the flowers appear, it is better to prune them! The plant directs energy to the development of flowers instead of the development of leaves. After all, the stunning leaves are the focal attraction and the main trump card of this anthurium.