Joy Us garden

garden. create. make the world a more beautiful place.

Guzmania Plant Care Tips: The Bromeliad With The Vibrant Star-Shaped Flower

Bromeliads are colorful & easy houseplants. These Guzmania plant care tips will help keep yours looking great.

many guzmania bromeliad plants with flowers of different colors sit on a table in a greenhouse the text reads Guzmania Plant Care Tips: The Bromeliad With The Vibrant Star Shaped Flower.

I’m continuing on with the bromeliad series; and yes, I do love them that much.  So if you’re interested, be sure to check out the Aechmea and the Pink Quill Plant. Today I’m sharing Guzmania plant care tips. This one is popular because of its large, star shaped bloom. And, what sets it aside from many of the other bromeliads is that it is available in a wide range of flower colors.

There are many Guzmanias but I’m referring to the Guzmania lingulata, which has the red flower.  Now many other varieties are grown in a wide range of colors like orange, yellow, pink, plum, white and even  combos of the colors. When I was in the interiorscaping trade, we used these in mass plantings in malls, building lobbies and hotels because people loved their vibrant colors. This bromeliad is easy to find and you may even be able to pick 1 up at your supermarket alongside the other houseplants and cut flowers.

Guzmania plant care tips:


Like the other bromeliads, Guzmanias prefer and are happiest in bright, natural light.  An east or west exposure would be best but just be sure they avoid exposure to any direct, hot sun because they’ll burn.  They’ll be fine in low light for a few weeks, but they won’t be as long lasting. If you want them for the long haul & have them produce pups, bright light is the ticket.


Guzmanias have a tank, cup, vase or urn (the central well which the flower stalk arises out of) which is how they collect a lot of the water they need. You want to keep that vase about 1/4 of the way full of water & flush it out with fresh water every 1-2 months to avoid any build up of bacteria.

Keep even less water in the tank if you have low light &/or cool temps. You don’t want the plant to rot out. I let the cup go dry for 2-7 days before I refill with a little water.

Because moisture is collected through their leaves, they’d appreciate a spraying or misting once or twice a week. I also moisten the growing medium every 1-2 months depending on the temperatures and the season. Like all houseplants, you want to water less in the late fall through winter.

If you have hard water, consider using distilled or purified water.  And, don’t over water your bromeliad – they don’t like to stay constantly wet.

bright orange & yellow guzmania bromeliad plants sit on a table in a nursery

Colorful Guzmanias in the nursery.


Guzmanias, like other bromeliads, get their nutrients from matter which falls on them from plants growing above. The roots are just to anchor them onto whatever they’re growing on – trees, rocks, etc. For this reason, it’s best to spray the fertilizer onto the foliage & the surface of the growing medium. You can use an all purpose orchid food, diluted to 1/2 strength, or this fertilizer formulated for air plants.

I’ve never fertilized my bromeliads because I found they never really needed it. If your Guzmania does, just be sure not too get too much fertilizer in the vase because the salts build up & can burn. Only feed in the spring or summer, & only once or twice a year.

Growing Mix:

Guzmanias are epiphytes so the mix they’re in needs to drain really well. They’ll grow fine in orchid bark or cymbidium mix. I’ve also used 1/2 orchid bark & 1/2 coco coir, which is a more sustainable replacement for peat moss.


Guzmanias have small root systems so yours may never need repotting. The mother plant eventually dies (sad but true) after flowering which is just part of their cycle. Pups, or babies, will appear at the base of the mother so a part of her actually lives on. Happy ending!

You can leave the pups attached to the mother & cut away the flower & foliage after they die. Or, you can carefully remove the pups with a sharp, clean knife & pot them up in fresh mix. They can also be attached to wood, bark or driftwood for a different look.

close up of a guzmania bromeliad pup

Here’s a pup forming off the base so you can see what 1 looks like. Be patient because the pups don’t flower for 3-5 years.

Humidity / Temperature:

As I say about all houseplants: if your house is comfortable temperature wise for you, then your Guzmania will do just fine. You just want to avoid any areas with cold or hot drafts.

Bromeliads are native to the sub tropics & the tropics but seem to handle the lack of humidity in our homes & offices just fine. I want to tell you that Guzmanias are susceptible to brown tipping (at the ends of the leaves) which I point out in the video.

Safe For Pets:

From all I’ve heard, Guzmanias are considered non-toxic for both cats & dogs. Their leaves are nice & crunchy so if your kitty likes to munch away, you might want to keep the plant out of reach. It won’t poison but could make Fluffy sick.

close up of a red guzmania bromeliad flower

The flowers are actually small, whitish and fairly inconspicuous. You have to look inside the colorful flower head to see them. Speaking of the colorful flower head, it should last and look good for up to 4 months.

Guzmanias make great houseplants and are not only easy to maintain but very colorful also. They made it into the pages of our houseplant care book Keep Your Houseplants Alive so they’re just that fabulous!

Happy gardening & thanks for stopping by,

Share this!


  1. How about if the leaves are curled inward? What should I to about it? When I repotted them I found out the roots got some kind of white tiny eggs, I removed them but what should I do further? Thanks

  2. Hi Liz – When bromeliad leaves curl inward, it’s usually a sigh the plant is too dry. The eggs could be root aphids or root mealy bug. They’re treated in different ways so you can do some research to see if it’s either of those. Nell

  3. I bought my first guzmania but didn’t realize I should mist the leaves plus I had it setting in the front window which doesn’t get a lot of light, but the tips of my red flowering stalk have some brown now. Do I leave the brown tips to die and fall off? What else can I do to “save” it? How far from the window can it be set and still get enough light? As you can tell, I don’t know a lot about plants, but I loved this particular one when I saw it and had to get it. Thanks for your help.

  4. Hi Suzi – There could be a few reasons – here are the 2 most likely. The air is too dry & it’s a reaction to that. More likely: the flower is going through its cycle of dying. Mine is doing that too now. It slowly turns brown. Guzmanias like bright (not direct) natural light but will do fine for a couple of months in lower light. Hope that helps, Nell

  5. Hi Nell
    I’ve bought a Guzmania a few weeks ago. Some of the red foliage is turning green on the tips. Is this normal? My plant is not sitting in direct sunlight but I also notice it’s leaning towards the light but as my living room can have quite a bit of sunlight coming through I do not want to put it near to the window. As you can gather I’m new to this and don’t want to lose this plant still learning.
    Many thanks

  6. Hi Fiona – That is normal. I have a very tall yellow Guzmania sitting right across from me in my office which I’ve had for almost 2 months & the tips of the lower leaves on the flower stalk are turning green. They get less pronounced up near the top of the flower. Nell

  7. Hi Nell

    I received the red Guzmania as a host gift and enjoyed this low maintenance plant.
    I have my plant outside and it has done very well but now I have about 6 pups. Could you explain
    how to cut pups and put on drift wood.

  8. Hi Pat – Sure thing. Here’s how to remove bromeliad pups:
    And here’s 1 way to attach them to driftwood: Here are some other methods: You could easy wrap them in moss & attach them. Nell

  9. Pingback: Bromeliads: Grow and Care for Bromeliaceae

  10. Pingback: Neoregelia Plant Care Tips: The Bromeliad With The Striking Foliage - |

  11. The heart of the blossom (red leaves) are turning brown. Is that the dying process or something I am doing wrong?

  12. So I bought a smaller one of these. Will it get bigger and long will it live for?

  13. Hi Teresa – Its most likely dying. Here’s a post & video I did about that: Nell

  14. Hi Melinda – Your mother plant will start to die after it flowers; so no. However, pups (babies) will form off the mother plant & they’ll grow & get bigger. If you want a large plant, buy one at the size you want it. Nell

  15. HI NELL!


  16. Well thank you Tracy! Much appreciated!! Nell

leave us a comment!

Thanks for joining the conversation!

This post may contain affiliate links. Please check our policies here.

Privacy Preference Center