A rose is a rose is a rose—but there’s nothing like an anthurium. The waxy, otherworldly flower feels straight out of a Georgia O’Keefe painting, and it’s become a botanical barometer for measuring a restaurant’s downtown It factor. We’ve been spotting anthurium at NYC hotspots like Dimes, Primo’s, and Flora Bar for months, all thanks to florist Marisa Competello of Metaflora.
« My arrangements can be a little kooky and atypical—I go through phases where I’m really into using feathers or painting in my arrangements and anthurium definitely lend themselves to that, » Competello says. « They’re just kind of provocative and cool, as well as a little weird and phallic, and they’re available at the flower market year-round.”
It’s obvious that florists like Competello favor anthurium, but they’re striking enough to elevate any homemade arrangement too. Here, she walks us through the perks of using the so-called “flamingo flower.”
Go for monochrome
Anthurium come in a range of colors like white, red, green, and deep purply black. It can be tempting to use them all, but Competello prefers to hone in one color, clustering the monochromatic blooms together to make a sculptural arrangement. “I often use anthurium as an accent or a pop of color against a neutral background like palms, » she says. « They’re like an exclamation point. » This technique creates impact with just a few flowers, which is ideal as anthurium can be pricy. Try pointing all the flowers in the same direction for a smooth line and a striking shape.
Don’t kill your darlings
Cut flowers quickly fade from their prime, but anthurium are an excellent choice for arrangements because they’re relatively hardy. « Anthurium will last over a week, sometimes more, and when they expire the stamen will stay the same and look alive, which is also interesting, » says Competello. « It’s always helpful to change the water every couple of days, but other than that these are pretty low-maintenance and will last.”
Get a little weird
Sometimes the best arrangements aren’t afraid to get a little irreverent. Competello creates metallic palms with silver or gold spray paint, and tucks in plumes of feathers to channel tropical ’80s vibes. Keep things streamlined by picking one pop of color—a group of red anthurium, a spray of purple feathers—and keeping the background monochrome.
Go beyond bouquets
Floral arrangement are the perfect holiday party centerpiece but fade almost as fast as those bottles of Beaujolais. Anthurium are also a surprisingly rugged houseplant, just as long as you remember to water them regularly. Want a totally no-maintenance look that lasts? Pick up one of the bouquets from Metaflora’s new collaboration with West Elm—featuring imitation palm leaves, feathers, dried flowers, and yes, anthurium. Just don’t try to smell them. These ones are plastic, and therefore immortal.
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