Is Anthurium a Lily? Unveiling the Floral Truth

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Anthurium plants, often called flamingo flowers or flamingo lilies, are known for their brilliantly-hued spathes and spadices, making them an attractive and popular option for indoor gardens. Though their name may suggest a relation to the lily family, anthuriums are not true lilies. They belong to the Araceae family, which is a separate group of plants altogether. These stunning tropical plants are abundant in Central America, northern South America, and the Caribbean, displaying an array of colors such as white, pink, salmon, red, and black-red.

Another plant in the Araceae family is the peace lily, which has led to confusion in identifying both plants as similar. Although anthuriums and peace lilies share some similarities due to their common family background, they are not the same. In fact, the two plants come from different genera—Anthurium is both the genus and common name for flamingo lilies, while Spathiphyllum is the genus for peace lilies.

Understanding the distinctions between the anthurium and true lilies or peace lilies leads to better care and appreciation of these unique and vibrant tropical plants. As indoor gardeners continue to cultivate anthuriums, their popularity is expected to rise, thanks to their breathtaking appearance and relatively straightforward care requirements.

Anthurium Vs Lily: Differences

Plant Classification

Anthuriums and lilies are two distinct plant types belonging to separate families. Anthuriums are part of the Araceae family, with the genus being Anthurium. In contrast, lilies belong to the Liliaceae family, with a different genus – Lilium. Although they share some similarities, they are not from the same family tree 1.

Flower Structure

In terms of flower structure, Anthuriums have a single, large, waxy petal with a bumpy central spike called a spadix. These flowers are usually red in color 2. On the other hand, lilies have fragrant, trumpet-shaped flowers with six petals each, arranged to form a symmetrical pattern 3. Other differences include:

  • Anthurium flowers last for an extended period, sometimes up to six weeks 4.
  • Lily flowers have shorter blooming periods but tend to grow in clusters 5.

Leaves and Stems

Anthurium and lily plants also have varying leaves and stems. Anthurium leaves are large, glossy, and heart-shaped, with a width of up to 12 inches. Their stems are long and upright, providing ample support for the foliage 6.

In contrast, lily leaves are elongated, narrow, and lanceolate, with a smooth texture. The leaves are arranged in a spiral pattern around the sturdy, erect stem 7.

Growth Habits

The growth habits of these two plants are quite different as well. Anthuriums thrive as epiphytic or terrestrial plants in tropical regions, often growing on tree trunks or in the ground 8. They prefer well-draining soil, indirect bright light, and high humidity 9.

Lilies, however, are bulbous perennials with a temperate preference and require more direct sunlight and a well-drained, fertile soil to prosper 10. Their growth height varies significantly, ranging from 2 to 6 feet, depending on the species 11.

In summary, while Anthuriums and lilies may appear similar at first glance, closer examination reveals significant differences in their classification, flower structure, leaves, stems, and growth habits. Understanding these distinctions can help you properly care for each plant type and appreciate their unique attributes.

Anthurium Care and Growth Conditions

Anthuriums, often confused with lilies, are colorful and exotic flowering plants native to Central America, northern South America, and the Caribbean. To help your anthurium thrive, it is essential to provide the right care and growth conditions. This includes providing proper light, water, soil, and humidity levels.

Light Requirements

Anthuriums require plenty of indirect sunlight for optimal growth. Too much direct sunlight can cause their leaves to become scorched, while insufficient light may lead to leggy growth and poor flowering. Try placing your anthurium near a bright window with filtered light for the best results.


Proper watering is crucial for maintaining a healthy anthurium. Overwatering can result in root rot, whereas underwatering may lead to brown and wilted leaves. To create a balanced watering routine, allow the top few inches of soil to dry before providing a thorough watering, allowing excess water to exit through drainage holes. Ensuring that the plant is never sitting in standing water is also vital.


Anthuriums prefer a well-draining, loose, and fertile soil mixture to support their growth. A quality potting mix can be amended with perlite, sphagnum moss, or orchid bark, which helps create aeration and prevent waterlogging. Providing proper drainage in your container is equally essential to prevent root rot and maintain healthy growth.


Humidity plays a key role in anthurium care, as these plants naturally thrive in tropical environments. To replicate this, maintain a humidity level of around 60-70% for your plant. This can be achieved through the use of a humidifier or by placing the plant on a tray filled with pebbles and water. Regular misting can also help maintain adequate humidity but avoid overdoing it, as excessive moisture can lead to issues such as mold and mildew.

By providing anthuriums with the proper care and growth conditions, including suitable light, watering, soil, and humidity levels, you can enjoy their vibrant and long-lasting blooms while adding a touch of the tropics to your home.

Lily Care and Growth Conditions

Light Requirements

Anthurium, also known as Flamingo Lily, thrives in bright, indirect sunlight. Direct sunlight may burn the leaves and cause discoloration. Placing the plant near a window with filtered light or using a sheer curtain to diffuse sunlight is ideal for maintaining healthy growth.


Proper watering is essential for the well-being of Anthurium plants. Allow the top 1 inch (2.5 cm) of soil to dry out between watering sessions. This helps prevent root rot and ensures a healthy root system. Additionally, maintaining high humidity around the plant is beneficial, as it mimics its natural habitat in tropical regions. You can achieve this by using a humidity tray or misting the leaves regularly.


Anthurium plants prefer well-draining, acidic, soilless potting mix. A mix composed of peat moss, perlite, and orchid bark in equal proportions provides excellent drainage and aeration, catering to the plant’s needs. Be cautious about using heavy garden soil, as it may hinder the plant’s growth due to waterlogging and poor aeration. Maintaining a soil pH between 6 and 6.5 ensures an optimal environment for Anthuriums to grow and bloom.

By providing the appropriate light, watering, and soil conditions, your Anthurium will flourish and showcase its beautiful, vibrant flowers throughout the year.

Common Anthurium and Lily Problems


Anthuriums and lilies, like many plants, can be prone to various pests. Some common pests affecting these plants include aphids, spider mites, and mealybugs. To prevent and control these pests, it’s essential to inspect your plants regularly and take appropriate measures such as introducing beneficial insects, using insecticidal soap, or applying a pest control solution.


Both anthuriums and lilies can experience diseases that can affect their health and appearance. For instance, anthuriums can suffer from bacterial blight and root rot due to improper watering. On the other hand, lilies are susceptible to fungal diseases like botrytis and basal rot. To prevent diseases, it is important to water plants appropriately, using suitable fungicides as necessary, as well as ensuring adequate air circulation.

Environmental Issues

Anthuriums and lilies are both sensitive to environmental issues that can cause problems in their growth and overall health. Some common environmental issues for these plants include:

  • Light: Both anthuriums and lilies need adequate light to thrive. Insufficient light can lead to weak growth and poor flowering, while too much direct sunlight may cause leaf scorch or yellowing. Place your plants in a spot with bright, indirect light to avoid issues.
  • Watering: Overwatering or poorly draining soil can lead to various problems, such as root rot or fungal diseases. Anthuriums, in particular, are sensitive to overwatering. It is crucial to allow the soil to dry between waterings and use well-draining soil to prevent these issues.
  • Temperature and Humidity: Anthuriums and lilies have specific temperature and humidity requirements. Anthuriums prefer warmer temperatures, while lilies can tolerate a broader temperature range. Additionally, anthuriums require higher humidity levels compared to lilies. Maintaining appropriate temperature and humidity levels for each plant type will ensure their optimal growth and health.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are peace lilies and anthuriums the same?

No, peace lilies and anthuriums are not the same. Though they may appear similar, they belong to different plant families. Peace lilies (Spathiphyllum) are part of the Araceae family, while Anthuriums belong to the same family but are a different genus.

What does an anthurium symbolize?

Anthuriums are often associated with hospitality, happiness, and abundance. Their vibrant color and heart-shaped leaves make them an attractive choice for brightening up any space and conveying a positive message.

What is anthurium’s common name?

Anthurium is commonly referred to as flamingo lily, painter’s palette, or tailflower due to its vibrant colors and the unique shape of its inflorescence.

What type of flower is anthurium?

Anthurium is a type of tropical flowering plant that features shiny, heart-shaped leaves and a colorful, long-lasting modified leaf called a spathe. The spathe is often mistaken for the flower; however, the actual flowers are tiny and found on the spadix, the long spike at the center of the spathe.

Are red anthuriums lilies?

Although red anthuriums resemble lilies in appearance, they are not true lilies. Both plants belong to separate families, with anthuriums being part of the Araceae family and true lilies belonging to the Liliaceae family.

Is Anthurium andraeanum a lily?

Anthurium andraeanum, also known as the flamingo lily, is not a true lily. It is a species of the genus Anthurium in the Araceae family. Despite sharing similar characteristics with lilies, such as brightly colored spathes and a central spadix, Anthurium andraeanum is a distinct and separate plant species.



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