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I have some flamingo plants, Anthurium sp., growing in my 60x100x60 cm rainforest terrarium.
My problem is about this big one here
big anthurium flamingo plant

It's about 60cm in height, and I want it to keep it a bit smaller and growing more, but smaller leaves (both the green leaves and the spadices).

The plant is growing on a mixture of orchid and plain clay granules. Lightning is a very natural (and powerful) sun spectrum, and the plant is fully exposed to the lights. The permanent daylight schedule is 13/11 (on/off), which I've chosen mainly for my pets (madagascar daylight geckos) living there. The actual lighting setup is a 50W HID lamp (directly above this plant), and a 150W HQI lamp, that produces most of the required sunlight spectrum.
Also watering is almost completely automated, I've got a rainfall (misting) simulator, that runs 5 times a day (the atmospheric humidity is pretty high ~75-80%).
I have other, smaller flamingo plants growing in this terrarium, and they are more appropriate within my conceptions. Though the plant I'm talking of, already was big from the beginning (~35cm).

My question is:
What can I do (how to cut down) to give this plant a more smaller (ca. 40cm height), and more bushy shape?

To elaborate on my concerns:
I'm afraid of just clipping all of the big leaf and spadix sprouts, could I actually kill the plant?

Any hints appreciated!

  • Hi! Welcome to our site! Looks like a bit more information would be needed; what kind of lighting, what is your routine (hours of light, hours of darkness), type of soil, drainage, watering schedule and amount...how many plants, are you using tap water? More light would make smaller more compact plants. Cutting off the terminal or apex buds makes bushier more dense plants. But healthy plants will need room...very interesting question! How long have you had this terrarium and plants? Pruning won't kill anything unless not enuf photosynthesis to upkeep plant. More pictures and info! – stormy Sep 15 '14 at 20:01
  • @stormy I've put some more edge facts. – πάντα ῥεῖ Sep 15 '14 at 20:21
  • @stormy To complete more on some of your particular questions: I'm running the terrarium, since about a half year now. I don't really think not enough light is the major problem (the 150W HQI is pretty powerful, and gives a very natural spec). The problem is a bit, that those plants don't really have apex nodes, but all come just from the root directly. I'll stick with the advice to cut the biggest ones off, and will see how it evolves. Also cutting the roots occasionally sounds to be a good idea. THX for your help. – πάντα ῥεῖ Sep 16 '14 at 1:44
  • Whenever you have a branch the very last bud has the most energy. Cut that off (heading) and that energy is transferred to the lateral buds. Root pruning would be very good, in essence you are trying to create bonsai. Your intervention is critical. Is your light plugged into 110 or 220 volt? Pruning your plants is probably the best thing you can do...taking off leaves that don't get enough light, apical buds, making sure you have enough air flow in your terrarium. Hard to kill a plant with proper pruning. Also, reproductive is more energy consuming than vegetative. – stormy Sep 16 '14 at 22:08
  • @stormy "Whenever you have a branch the very last bud has the most energy." Again: There are no branches, all of the plant's sprouts just stem from the roots directly. " Is your light plugged into 110 or 220 volt?" What should make the actual difference for having the lamp plugged to 110V or 220V? Isn't 150W just 150W anymore?. Yeah, in fact it's a try to make bonsai plants of them. – πάντα ῥεῖ Sep 16 '14 at 22:34
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You appear to have set up a perfect environment for your anthuriums so keeping them smaller will be challenging.

  • One very simple approach is removing the largest leaf at the base of the plant on a regular basis. New growth will continue and fill in the empty spot.
  • EDIT: your light levels look fine. Your plants may be experiencing lower light levels than you think due to condensation on the glass blocking light. Increasing the amount of light might help keep them smaller. Many plants will stretch out or etiolate in response to lower light levels.
  • another approach would be to restrict the root growth. Theoretically a plant with a smaller area to grow roots will stay smaller. In this case I am not sure how effective it would be as moisture, light and a substrate are all available.
  • "without knowing your light levels it is hard to say ..." I've tried to give some more info about my current lightning. As for your last point about root growth: The smallest plant I have is put into a small planting bay, filled with substrate. The others are growing just freely in the substrate filled ground. – πάντα ῥεῖ Sep 15 '14 at 20:29
  • "You appear to have set up a perfect environment for your anthuriums ..." THX for teh flowers :$! It was primarily meant for my geckos ;-) ... – πάντα ῥεῖ Sep 15 '14 at 20:34
  • Way cool that someone gets to enjoy this environment! What fun! For you and your geckos!! – stormy Sep 16 '14 at 22:14
  • @kevinsky "Your plants may be experiencing lower light levels than you think due to condensation on the glass blocking light." It's not all glass (but metal gaze) the light comes through. Exactly for that reason, that some of the UVA/UVB spec. will be blocked by plain glass. This is also essential for the animals, which would suffer from vitamin D otherwise. – πάντα ῥεῖ Sep 16 '14 at 22:36
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    I've been experiencing now, that (cautiously) cutting back the big sprouts and pseudo blossoms, will slowly improve the shape of the plant, and encourage to have more and newer small sprouts from the roots. – πάντα ῥεῖ Oct 29 '14 at 20:04

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