Apartment plants


Question: How is guzmania ligulata grown?

Hi! They gave me in November the Guzmania lingulata flower, green leaves and orange top, but being the heating period the flower is dead, how should I behave for next year? Now I bought another part red top, and for a month I've been there but there are no signs of any sprouts, how can I make it multiply? Thanks

Answer: bromeliads

Dear Denisa,
guzmanias are evergreen plants, belonging to the genus of bromeliads, originating from tropical areas, characterized by a constantly hot and fairly humid climate; they live well even in the apartment, and do not require too much care.
They consist of a compact rosette of rigid leaves, at the center of which develops a high inflorescence consisting of colored bracts, usually red, between which small white flowers bloom.
The life of bromeliads is not very long, as at the end of flowering the plant perishes and dies, often producing small shoots at the base of the mother plant, which develop in some months on the same size as the mother plant; you can leave the small plants in pots, cutting the mother plant when it is dried; or you can detach them and repot them in single containers, of only a couple of centimeters larger than the rosette of leaves.
They are grown in a good, soft and very well drained soil, you can use universal soil, mixed with little sand, to increase drainage; They prefer fairly bright locations, but fear direct sunlight.
Watering is important, but these plants tolerate soil drought quite well, so if you forget to water the plant for a few days in a row, don't worry too much. Usually they are watered abundantly, but it is important to let the soil dry completely between one watering and another; avoid watering when the soil is still wet. This method will lead you to water often in the summer, only sporadically in winter, even when the plant is grown in the apartment.
The key with guzmanias is to keep the air fairly humid; to get the correct environmental humidity you can place the vase in a saucer filled with expanded clay, in which you will keep a couple of centimeters of water; or you can use the coca that forms between the leaves and fill it with water; if you notice that the water remains for several days, replace it periodically with fresh water.

The guzmania

The guzmania is a houseplant among the most appreciated and widespread on the market. It is sold alone or in beautiful compositions which, with its bright colors, gives a touch of exoticism. It is suitable for all lovers of the green because its cultivation is extremely simple and, in our city apartments, it finds acceptable climatic conditions throughout the course of the year.

Description and origins Guzmania

Guzmania is a plant native to the humid forests of Latin America and the Caribbean islands where it grows as an epiphyte, clinging to its roots in rocks or trees. It belongs to the Bromeliaceae family like the pineapple, which resembles particularly in the arrangement of the leaves: in fact they form beautiful concentric rosettes with a hole in the center from which the inflorescence will sprout, when ripe.
In nature, rainwater and plant fragments converge in this part, providing the right hydration and sufficient nourishment for growth. The leaves are persistent, of a beautiful bright green, soft and with a smooth profile. Its elegance reaches its peak when, once in a lifetime, it gives off a flowering stem. The individual corollas are white or yellow and last a few days.
The greatest and most enduring attraction, however, are the bracts that take on very bright colors, from yellow to orange to red even to fuchsia. The single specimen will then undergo deterioration: however, it will have produced numerous "sons" (suckers) at the base that we will be able to take to complete a new cycle (within 3-4 years).


Name, genus, species

Bromeliaceae, gen. Guzmania, more than 100 species
Type of plant From apartment with decorative foliage
Height From 20 to 70 cm
Foliage Persistent
Foliage color Green, purple, pink, brown
Flowers Detective stories
bracts Red, yellow, orange, purple, pink
Maintenance Medium-low
irrigations Frequently, freshly moist soil
humidity Alta; necessary sprays
Substrate Light and draining, acid pH
fertilizing Balanced liquid or for a leaf product
Growth slow
Resistance to cold Not rustic (minimum 15 ° C)
Exposure Very bright, no direct light
Container At most d. 20 cm
Propagation Suckers removal
Pests and diseases Cochineal, red spider mite, aphids

Guzmania exhibition

Guzmanias can be constantly grown in the apartment. We choose rooms with large windows facing East or West, very bright in the morning and in the evening. Instead, avoid rooms facing south, especially in the summer season and in the middle of the day. If it is not possible to do otherwise, we will have to arrange to place the plant a little away from the light source and / or possibly shield it with light curtains. During the summer (indicatively from June, when the minimum temperatures do not fall below 18 °) it is possible to move the vase in the garden or on the terrace, in a luminous but shielded position from the sun's rays (ideal it is under a pergola or at the foot of a sawmills).


From this point of view, in the city dwellings we will hardly have problems if we always keep the plant in inhabited rooms. They want almost constant temperatures all year round with lows around 15-18 ° C (at night and in winter) and maximums around 20-22 ° C. They can also withstand the scorching heat as long as they never lack water in the central hole and the ambient humidity is very high. For this purpose we also avoid the dangerous drafts, especially cold ones.

Soil and composition of the vase

The ornamental guzmanias are in nature almost all epiphytes: in pot therefore they need a substrate almost inert, able to remain slightly damp, light and with an acid pH. On the market it is difficult to find suitable mixtures: the premixes for terricolous orchids are those that are closest to their needs.
If we want to do this we can mix, in equal parts, non-calcareous soil and peat. An excellent alternative is, always in equal parts, universal soil, medium peat and coarse sand. In any case the addition of pine bark is always welcome. It is very important to choose a vase that is not too large, with a maximum diameter of 10 to 15 cm (to avoid stagnation and favor rooting) and create a thick draining layer on the bottom.
The best time for repotting (and for splitting from suckers) is the end of winter or the beginning of summer.

Irrigation and humidity

It is one of the aspects to pay more attention to. In nature most of the water is absorbed through the leaves or from the central hole: it is important every day to vaporize the leaves several times trying to avoid that drops fall into the hollows. We also put most of the irrigation water in the center, except for the period in which the stem is present (because it would rot).
From time to time we completely empty, dry and clean and then fill it again immediately (we will avoid the decay of any fallen plant or animal material). The substrate must always be slightly damp; on the other hand, if it were soaked it would soon cause the onset of rot and collar. For all these purposes we use rainwater or mineral with a low fixed residue.


Fertilization can be continued throughout the year or suspended in winter (especially if the temperature does not rise above 18 ° C). We choose a liquid product for green plants, balanced in the main elements and rich in microelements. We can administer it every 2 weeks with irrigation water; we will obtain the best aesthetic results by choosing a formulation suitable for foliar distribution. In this case we will dilute a lot and we will be able to distribute every day, through nebulization.


Flowering takes place on 3-4 year old plants, in the summer period. However, it may happen that some struggle to produce the stem and need an external stimulus. A very simple method is to cover the plant with a transparent plastic bag and inserting apples into it: they will release abundant ethylene, a gas that naturally stimulates flowering and fruit ripening. Within a week the flowering will begin and the bracts will begin to take their typical bright colors.


Seed propagation is to be reserved for horticulturists who want to obtain new hybrids or cultivars. At the household level, the most widely used method is the removal of suckers once the mother plant is exhausted.
During repotting they can be removed using a smooth and disinfected knife. Whether or not they are rooted they can immediately be transferred to jars with the final compost, making sure they are extremely small: this will facilitate the emission of the first rootlets (in about 6 months). In the first weeks we keep the humidity higher by covering it with a transparent plastic bag.

Pests and diseases

The most frequent enemies are the cochineal with scudetto or cotonosa, the red spider and the aphids. It is good for everyone to use specific products or, in the case of light attacks, to remove manually then improving the growing conditions.

Species and variety of Guzmania

The genus Guzmania is vast: it includes about one hundred different species, numerous hybrids and cultivars.
Guzmania lingulata
It is native to the forests of Latin America; it was the first to become common as an ornamental and is still the most known and widespread. As an adult it reaches 30 cm in height and has beautiful bright green leaves, narrow and rigid. The flower stem can reach 45, but it is particularly appreciated for the large triangular bracts usually of crimson color. There are many cultivars among which we point out:
'Cardinalis' larger than the species; 'Minor', very small (leaves at most 10 cm long), suitable for small vases and compositions; 'Splendens' with reddish variegations on the leaves; 'Concolor' with very dense and imbricate rosette of leaves

Guzmania Tricolor

Medium-sized plant: it reaches a maximum of 40 cm in total, but is rather large, easily exceeding 70 cm. The leaves are narrow and curved, up to 40 cm long. One of their strong points is undoubtedly the bright green color, although there are variegated cultivars in silver and cream. Flowering takes place in summer: in this case, too, the light green bracts with purple streaks and red or orange tips are noticeable.

Guzmania musica

Native to the forests of Colombia and Panama; It is among the largest since it grows up to 50 cm, to which it is necessary to add, at the time of flowering, the 40 cm of the stem. The leaves are more coriaceous than in other species, bright green, but crossed by brown lines and with purple backs. The flowers are a beautiful bright yellow and pink bracts. Very ornamental at every stage of growth.

Other varieties of Guzmania

Guzmania sanguinea
Plant about 20 cm high, but up to 40 cm wide. The leaves are lanceolate and curved, the lowest green and the central yellow and red ones. The inflorescence is red and yellow. Originally from Colombia.
Guzmania zanhii
Among the most ornamental at every stage of growth. It has very long, ribbon-like leaves, crossed by pink or red lines on both sides. There is a beautiful variegated silver-based cultivar with pink streaks. Reaches 30 cm in height to which to add, then, 30 cm of stem during flowering.
Guzmania Berteroniana
One of the largest, but above all large: it can even measure 75 cm in diameter. Among the few that grow in the ground level in nature, it is characterized by very large leaves and crimson or burgundy bracts.



March or June
Flowering Summer
Division Spring
Withdrawal inside From September to June
Composting Every 15 days