Guzmania, a tufted airplant, is a genus of more than 120 species of the flowering plants that are found at altitudes of up to 3500 m (11,483 ft.). It is native to Florida, the West Indies, southern Mexico, Central America, and northern and western South America. This plant belongs to the botanical family Bromeliaceae, subfamily Tillandsioideae.
Several species of this genus grow as indoor and outdoor garden plant among them the popular one is Guzmania Lingulata (scarlet star). They bear orange and red bracts. The flowers of this plant can be bright red, maroon, brown, and pink and. This plant has a unique feature. It dies after producing its flowers in summer. You can propagate the plant from the offsets that appear as the parent plant dies, which are also known as epiphytes.
How to grow and care Guzmania
Go through the following topics to know the ways of growing and caring guzmania. If you carefully apply the below mentioned contents, you can successfully have guzmania in your beautiful garden.
- In natural conditions, Guzmania can reach 75 cm to 80 cm but rarely grows above 40 cm. It is due to the lack of moisture, light, and limited conditions for the growth of the root system. That is why; you need the best combination of the soil.
- To grow Guzmania, all you need is a well-drained potting mix. Orchid bark or cymbidium mix will be best.
- For the best potting mix, you can use ½ orchid bark and ½-coco coir, which seems to be a more sustainable replacement for peat moss.
- Like other bromeliads, Guzmanias prefer bright, and natural light.
- Avoid direct sun as the hot sun along might burn them.
- For a few weeks, low light is fine, and for better production of the flowers, bright light is perfect.
- The plant has storage in itself that is the central well, which the flower stalk arises out of, this is how the plant collects the water they need.
- If you want to fill the storage, you need to fill ¼ of the way full of water and flush it out with freshwater in every 1 to 2 months. It helps to avoid any buildup of bacteria.
- If the plant is placed in low light and cold temperature, then water even less otherwise, the plant might rot out instead. Let the storage be dry for 2 to 7 days before refilling it with water. Do not overwater the plant, as they do not like to stay always wet.
Humidity and temperature
- This plant requires a warm temperature and relatively high humidity.
- If the root of the plant gets too wet and cold, then sac fungus and others can cause fatal root rot.
- The required humidity ranges from 75% to 85%. For maintaining the moisture necessary, you can use a room humidifier or daily spray but do not pour water over the plant.
- The required temperature for the plant during summer is between 19 degrees Celsius to 25 degrees Celsius and during winter is 17 degrees Celsius to 20 degrees Celsius.
- Though the Guzmania plant blooms for a long time, the flowering period of this plant occurs within 3 to 5 years only.
- Like other bromeliads, Guzmanias get their nutrients from matter, which falls on the plants growing above.
- Spray the fertilizer onto the foliage and the surface of the growing medium.
- To feed, you can apply orchid food and all-purpose formulated fertilizer for air plants. Do not overfeed them because the salt in the fertilizer can burn the plants. Only feed in the spring and summer and only once or twice a year.
Repotting and Propagation
- Guzmania plant can be propagated only from dividing the plant. The plant may not need repotting, but in rare cases, the parent plant can produce several young plants and the baby will be one.
- There are also some rare cases, in which both the mother plant after the flowering period and the baby plant continues the layer life cycle.
- As a part of their life cycle, the mother plant eventually dies after flowering and pups appear at the base. Now, you need to leave the pups attached to the mother and cut away the flower and foliage.
- You may carefully remove the pups with a sharp, clean knife and pot them up in fresh soil mix. If you want to create a different look, then you can attach the plant to wood, bark, or driftwood.
Benefits and Uses
- Guzmania is non-toxic for both cats and dogs.
- Since they have beautiful and crunchy leaves, they are edible to the kitten, so they love to munch away them.
Possible side effects
- Guzmania is nonpoisonous, but if your pets consume the leaves of the plants, they might get sick. So, it is better to keep the plants out of their reach.