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What is Guzmania?

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  • Written By: Mandi Rogier
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 03 November 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
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Guzmania is a type of bromeliad native to South America. The name comes from Anastasio Guzman, a Spanish naturalist of the 18th century. This tropical plant is perennial and can be found in about 120 distinct species.

This plant has smooth, narrow, glossy green leaves. What appears to be a brightly colored flower at the center of each guzmania is actually a grouping of bracts. These specialized leaves are typically red, orange, or yellow in color. Some varieties are purple, white, or even multicolored. The actual flower of this plant is very small, and pale yellow or greenish white.

The most common species of this plant is Guzmania lingulata. This variety is easily identified by its brilliant orange and red bracts. G. lingulata is appropriately known as scarlet star guzmania. This is one of the larger types as it can grow to a width of more than two feet (about 60 cm).

Most varieties of guzmania are about one to two feet wide (about 30 to 60 cm). When planted indoors, they should be kept in a heavy pot. The majority of the plant’s weight is toward the top. This can cause it to easily become imbalanced and tip over a lightweight plastic pot.

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Guzmania will grow outdoors in warm tropical climates. They can also be grown indoors as houseplants. They require warmth and humidity to flourish, though they do not like direct sunlight. These plants should be kept moist, but not drenched. They prefer a well draining soil.

The actual flowers of this plant appear for only a short while — usually a couple of days. Shortly after blooming, the guzmania plant will begin to wither. As the existing plant wilts, new plants, referred to as “pups,” will begin to emerge from the center. To propagate the plant, one can remove the pups from the mother plant when they are still small and replant them in their own containers.

Bromelids such as this are typically very easy to care for. In the right environment, this plant should thrive with very little attention. Avoid areas that are too cold and keep the plant away from direct sunlight, as it is very sensitive to this. Make sure the soil is evenly moist as too much or too little water can cause damage. As long as these precautions are taken, guzmania should remain healthy and beautiful.

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