Caring for Guzmania – interesting facts about bromeliads

Like the pineapple, the houseplant Guzmania belongs to the bromeliad family (Bromeliacae) and fascinates with its exotic appearance. Selections have resulted in a large number of species that differ in color, shape or shape. Whether in classic red, pink, yellow, orange or two-tone, with their attractive bracts, bromeliads quickly bring a touch of the tropics into your home.

Useful information Site care Watering Fertilizing RepottingPests & diseases FAQ

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Things to know about bromeliads

Botanical name: Guzmania with different species and varieties, Guzmania hybrids
Other names: bromeliad, guzmania
Use: flowering houseplant, table decoration, conservatory, bowl plant, terrarium plant, traffic light plant
Origin: tropical rainforests in Central and South America
Flower colors: red, pink, orange, yellow, pink, two-tone
Flowering period: 3 months in a row, possible all year round
Special features:The plant needs a light location without direct sun. Watering is important when caring for Guzmania. The colored bracts are striking, the actual flowers are rather inconspicuous. The plants flower for many weeks and easily form so-called children, which can be separated from the mother plant and used for propagation. The exotic beauties bloom only once.

In which location does the bromeliad feel most comfortable?

As tropical plants, Guzmania need a lot of warmth. Temperatures of 18 to 25 °C are ideal. Make sure that the ambient temperature for the plants never falls below 18°C. Avoid direct sunlight and drafts. A bright window seat without midday sun is ideal, otherwise unsightly burns can occur. If the houseplant is darker, its durability is reduced, as is the case with many other species. As a decoration, the houseplant can also stand in dark corners, but it doesn’t really feel comfortable here and only serves to beautify the room for a short time. Bathrooms are also a good locationwith sufficient light, warmth and high humidity. From the end of May to the end of September, the Guzmania can be in a shady spot in the garden or on the balcony.

Our gardening tip: In the wild, the exotic plants grow as so-called epiphytes in the rainforest. As epiphytes on trees and other plants, the epiphytic bromeliads take advantage of the available light at high altitudes, but grow in the light shade, protected from direct sunlight. The demands in the home are in line with their natural distribution.

How do I care for my Guzmania?

As an epiphytic species, Guzmania are very undemanding in terms of substrate. Nevertheless, in the room it is often difficult to provide the natural conditions. The plant substrate should be loose, permeable, humic and as low in nutrients as possible. A mixture of indoor plant soil and orchid soil is therefore suitable for all types of bromeliads. It is important that the substrate used has good drainage, as waterlogging is not tolerated. Guzmania thrive best in tropical conditions. The best way to create the combination of heat and high humidity is in a heated living room by regularly spraying the plant with lime-free waterspray water. Large glass jars or conservatories are also a way of caring for the exotic in the best possible way. A cut is not necessary. You can simply cut off dried leaves and faded inflorescences.

How do I water my Guzmania?

Keep the soil of your Guzmania evenly moist and pour fresh water into the funnel of the leaf rosette every three to four days. This structure, also known as a leaf cistern, should be emptied once a month to prevent odors. Then fill the leaf funnel with fresh water. The best way is to use soft water, as too much lime causes unsightly edges on the leaves and flowers. Make sure that there is never water in the saucer or planter after watering. Waterlogging will nottolerated, so you should pour off the remaining water 15 minutes after watering. In the summer months you can spray the plants daily with a spray bottle , in winter the fine water vapor helps against spider mite infestation.

Our gardening tip: put a layer of expanded clay or a drainage pad in the saucer or planter. This prevents waterlogging and the bromeliads thrive better.

How do I fertilize my Guzmania?

Like most epiphytes, Guzmania has a fairly low nutrient requirement. From March to October you can supply the exotic plants with flowering plant fertilizer once a month. Add the liquid fertilizer to the irrigation water and make sure that the soil never dries out completely after fertilizing. You can also use fertilizer sticks as a convenient solution. This practical solution provides the flowering plants with all the important nutrients for three months. The bromeliad species thrive without any fertilizer, but the leaves are very light and the plant is less vigorous.

How do I repot my Guzmania?

You can leave new plants in the pot for the time being. Since most species die off after flowering, repotting is not actually necessary. However, the mother plants form several side shoots after they have faded. You can separate these so-called children and continue cultivating them as an independent plant. Wait with the propagation until the plant has completely faded and the offshoot is at least half the size of the mother plant. Carefully separate the guzmania kindelwith a knife and plant one section per pot. The vessel should not be too wide, since bromeliads are very frugal in the root area. Small planters are ideal for the young plants, it is important that they have a good stand. For planting, use a well- drained substrate with a pH of 4.5 to 5.5. A mixture of high-quality potting soil and orchid soil with sharp sand is suitable. Make sure that water drainage is guaranteed and that you use a container with a hole. Due to the low demands on the soil, the Guzmania can also be cultivated as a traffic light plant.

What pests and diseases can guzmania get?

With the right site conditions, the exotic species are less susceptible to diseases and pests. Avoid blazing sun as this will result in burns. Possible problems can be:

spider mites

The affected leaves have silvery dots on the upper side and webs are visible on the underside of the leaves. It is usually sufficient to spray the plants with water and treat them with plant strengtheners. These organic active agents contain natural plant extracts that contribute to the vitalization of the plant. An infestation with spider mites occurs particularly at high temperatures and low humidity.

Woolly scale insect

There are white, slightly curved knobs, especially in the leaf axils. The scale insects are safely hidden under these protective shields and are therefore difficult to combat. As soon as you discover the infestation, you should wipe the scale insects off. The pests can be controlled biologically with oil-based agents. It is important that the application is carried out several times.

FAQ — Frequently asked questions about Guzmania

What happens if you leave the kids on the mother plant?

After flowering, the original plants die off and the long leaves turn brown and dry up. The houseplant no longer looks beautiful because the middle is falling apart. It is therefore advisable to remove the Kindel and plant them in fresh soil. If the offshoots are not separated, they will continue to grow in the pot and, with a bit of luck, they will form colorful leaves and flowers again.

Are there different types?

The genus Guzmania includes about 130 species, in horticultural culture it is mainly hybrids that delight with red bracts. The long pointed leaves are mostly green, but sometimes variegated. Within the Guzmania species there are various varieties that come up with different shapes and colors.

How are exotic species propagated?

Propagation by Kindel in spring is common. After flowering, the side shoots form all by themselves on the mother plant. Propagation by seeds only occurs when new species are bred.

What do the flowers of Guzmania look like?

The actual flowers are inconspicuous and only briefly on the plant. Depending on the species, they sit on a long flower stem or grow from the colorful bracts. After they have faded, they are dry and fall off.

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