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 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 overwater your bromeliad – they don’t like to stay constantly wet.
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.
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.
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.
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,