On of the easier Bromeliads to grow indoors, Guzmania species and cultivars are popular for both the colorful and architectural foliage as well as the colorful flower bracts. It is often the long lasting upright flower bracts, sometimes persisting for 6 weeks, that makes Guzmania bromeliads are another excellent indoor plant. However it is the foliage that is attractive year round that adds extra appeal.
They are so good indoors as they require filtered light and protection from frosts, and indoor cultivation provides these conditions. In warmer zones they can be grown outdoors, and certainly they can be grown in containers and over wintered in a protected position.
Foliage tends to be narrow and strappy, however Guzmania are a bromeliad that does put on a flower show in the warmer months. The flower bracts are very colorful and will rise above the foliage.
These are epiphytic plants, meaning they do not grow naturally in the soil, rather on host plants, trees, dead logs and even rocks. This also provides a few characteristics that makes them easy indoor plants.
You do not need to grow them on mounts, although you can if you like. The easier way is to grow them in containers and use an open potting mix. A medium orchid pine bark is excellent. Some growers add some peat moss and other additives, to make their own ‘mix’, however a bag of orchid or succulent mix from your local nursery or garden centre will do nicely.
One issue is anchoring the plants to the growing medium until they establish a root system strong enough to hold them, you can achieve this with some wire.
- Watering Guzmanias. – Guznamias are ‘Tank Bromeliads’, they hold water in the central stem in a hollow. You can add water to the tank every now and then, however it is also good to flush it out every 2 – 3 months as well.
- Temperature –
- If you consider how well Guzmanias grow in shopping centres than you will understand the temperature requirements. 68 – 77 F (20 -25 C) daytime and down to 60 F (15 C) overnight. They will take lower temperatures, however risk of foliage damage comes into play.
- The warmer temperature the more water will be required.
- Good filtered light is essential,
- Guzmania do not respond well to strong direct sun.
- In most zones these will be grown in pots, indoors over winter.
- Forget the notion that any old soil mix will do, Guzmania do require a free draining mix or you may find that problems arise.
- Guzmania paulina – Most Guzmanias for sale will be hybrids, however a few species hold particular interest. So from over 120 species and upwards of 500 listed cultivars Guzmania offer a variety of foliage, flowers, colors and sizes. Hybrids such as Guzmanai ‘paulina’ or ‘mini pauline’ are sometimes of very mixed parentage.
- Guzmania conifera
- Guzmania lingulata – Tall upright flower bracts, Guzmania lingulata hybrids are one of the most common forms used as indoor plants.
- Guzmania monostachia – Perhaps the tallest of all of the flower bracts.