This could be what you have too, Pam. Guzmanias are the type of bromeliad
most seen in florists, and other retailers. These, in many people's opinion,
are one of the harder for a beginner to grow....however don't be discouraged.
It is a high altitude plant, probably why most of us have problems...but
this makes it a good indoor plant tolerating less light than most Bromeliads.
In nature it grows in wetter, shadier, cooler mountainous areas of the
Leaves are usually upward growing shiny, smooth, green (sometimes variegated
or such) without spines, forming a tank in the center. The inflourescence
(bloom) will emerge from the center of this cup and be either a rounded head
or a spray of colored foliage like a fountain.
The inflourescence lasts a long time, several weeks, to even months....which
is why it is used by florists a lot in their flower arrangements. Let the
bloom die (dry) totally back before cutting. Cool thing too, a lot of folks
will keep this dried inflourescense and spray paint it and use it in dried
arrangements. The drawback of having the bloom last so long is that once you
cut off it off, the Guzmania really isn't that attractive for some time. This
is when most people discard the plant, thinking it is dead. Just keep it
though, and it will produce more plants. SOme Guzmanias grow them out of the
inside of the original plant....different than other bromeliads that will
shoot out new pups from the sides. Just cut off the dead leaves as they die
back totally....eventually you'll be left with a nice clump, each new plant will
eventually bloom and produce more pups.
All bromeliads need good air circulation. Care of this type of the Guzmania
depends on whom you talk to, I have found. Some say you definitely do not
put water in the tank. Others say, put both, in pot and tank....and others
say pot only. Hm...what I've found is that you definitely do not water any
part that is colored.....the bloom. If you water the tank, put water in the
areas of the leaves, not the very center of the plant. The excess water will
then run down into the soil. This keeps me from overwatering, I found....and it
always keeps the plant hydrated by having some water reserved in the leaves.
I rot mine if I water the soil.....so I guess you will just have to see
what works for you. Don't let the soil stay wet, but don't let it dry out too
much inbetween...so as long as there is moisture in the leaf, I guess. Some
people say do not use city water, hard water on Bromeliads of any kind. I
use rain or whatever I have. I suppose it depends on your type of water...if
it is extreme one way or the other...use distilled or rain water. ( I've
personally never used distilled water on anything.) One easy way to judge if
your plants are getting enough water......if the leaves are firm, they are well
hydrated...if they are curling at the ends and don't feel firm, they are not.
Just don't over water either. I'm sorry...sounds difficult, but just keep
water in the leaf part and it should be fine. One thing that people tend to
agree with is that Guzmanias need more fertilizer than any other
Bromeliad......once a month or every second month with a balanced diluted fert. (some say
reduced phosphorus, center number like 20-10-20). I don't fertilize mine,
but that is just because I'm lazy and don't think about it.
Hope this helps...
Texas Gulf Coast
In a message dated 5/16/2005 11:02:20 PM Central Standard Time,
I just purchased a bromeliad.. Guzmanias... How long are they in
Bloom?? There is a baby already! I will print out this information also!
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