Guzmania bromeliads are wonderfully stunning tabletop plants. They feature long, narrow, shiny green leaves that rise from a deep central cup. The plants are somewhat taller than many bromeliads. Their large and showy flower bracts arise in the summer in an amazing array of colors. Guzmania are not difficult bromeliads to grow, and they will reward you with many weeks of color with little or no effort.
- Light: Indirect light or moderate shade. Do not expose to direct sunlight.
- Water: Keep water in the central cup. Change water frequently to prevent rot. Avoid tap water if possible. During colder weather, they can be watered lightly in the soil with a dry cup.
- Temperature: Aim for at least 55 F or higher. These are warm-house bromeliads that appreciate high humidity and warmth.
- Soil: Any soil mix will work fine. These are technically airplants that use their roots for support.
- Fertilizer: Fertilize very sparingly with a liquid fertilizer during the growing season.
After the flower bract dies back, cut it off low in the cup. The mother plant will soon begin to die back, and new plantlets will emerge. When the new plantlets are a few inches tall, and the mother plant is looking ragged, cut the mother plant back at soil level, being careful not to damage the young offspring. These new bromeliads can be potted up individually in small pots or left to form a clump. Make sure newly potted bromeliads are well supported; they tend to fall over as the root systems are weak at first.
Mature bromeliads should not be repotted. Smaller bromeliads can be potted into small containers until they are established then moved into 4-inch or 6-inch pots until they flower. Be aware that a mature guzmania is a fairly top-heavy plant and will tip over in a standard plastic pot. Make sure the pot is well weighted.
Although there are several varieties of guzmania in cultivation, by far the most popular in the trade is the G. lingulata and G. sanguinea. Hybridists have worked with these plants extensively, producing an amazing array of flower bract colors. The red varieties, among the most popular, include G. Luna, G. Passion, and many others. Guzmania are also available in multicolor: yellow, white, orange and purple.
Guzmania are fairly typical bromeliads. The two best tips for success are: make sure the plant is potted adequately so it won't pull over the container and provide ample warmth and humidity. If the plant is exposed to cold, dump out the central cup and refill with warmer water at the first available opportunity. These plants don't acclimate to higher light levels as well as some other bromeliads, therefore be extra careful about exposure to direct sunlight.