Guzmanias are a genus within the Bromeliad family. They are grown primarily for their attractive flowers that emerge from the rosette of leaves, and that can last several months!
These tropical beauties like heat, bright indirect light, and humidity. While these specimens depicted were growing and bloomed by the US Botanical Gardens, there are many smaller growing hybrids that are popular as house plants. Guzmanias are often used in office interiors in mass plantings where their flame colored bracts and blooms provide a rare burst of color.
Most guzmanias that you will find have plain foliage, but there are exceptions such as the stunning specimen shown below which is attractive even when not in bloom! If you have guzmanias in your house4plant collection, be sure to keep the central vase filled with water and occasionally add a little dilute flowering plant fertilizer to keep your plants blooming.
Bromeliads make great houseplants. We’ve had this one forever. The plant forms multiple crowns after blooming. In fact, the one pictured is a grandchild offset from our original plant! It turns a marvelous pinkish-purple hue during its blooming cycle hence the name amount of light. I suspect they will be pinker in brighter light, as ours is.
The color on these can last for months. Then, offset emerge from the base of the mother plant which eventually dies. If you have enough room you can grow a large specimen with several crowns on one plant which also makes a dramatic statement. The plant gets up to 18″ across when mature but can easily be contained in a 4″ pot. We generally place our plant in a more decorative cache pot to prevent it from tipping over.
Folks always wonder where the flowers are. Well, they are right there in the center of the vase! See our photo to the right. They are so tiny, its not surprising that they need the the leaves to draw attention. The flowers may not matter much to us, but high in the treetops of tropical jungles where these bromeliads grow, they need to stand out to attract pollinators. That’s where the large leaves come in, luckily for us.