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How to Grow Guzmania

Guzmania magnifica
Guzmania magnifica

Guzmania is a genus of evergreen, mostly tree-growing (epiphytic) perennial bromeliads with colorful floral bracts that can be yellow, orange, or bright red. The bracts and the small yellow flowers they surround are borne above lance-shaped leaves that form funnel-shaped rosettes.

Guzmania can be grown outdoors in any region where temperatures do not fall below 59°F (15°C), otherwise, they must be grown in a warm greenhouse or indoors as a houseplant.

Outdoors Guzmania should be grown in partial shade attached to the branches of a tree. Indoors it can be potted in a bromeliad growing medium where it can be grown in bright indirect light. Guzmania needs a humid location; it should be misted daily indoors.

Guzmania is a genus of about 180 species native to tropical and subtropical southern Africa, Australasia, and South America.

Get to Know Guzmania 

  • Plant type: Terrestrial or epiphytic bromeliads 
  • Growing zones and range: Zones 14-15
  • Hardiness: Where temperatures drop below 59°F (15°C) grow indoors or in a greenhouse
  • Optiaml growing temperature: 60° to 80°F (16° to 27°C)
  • Height and width: 12 to 36 inches (30-90cm) tall and wide depending on the variety
  • Foliage: Broad, lance-shaped leaves form funnel-shaped rosettes
  • Flowers: Tubular flowers, white or yellow, usually ringed by colorful often red, yellow, or orange flower bracts appear on stalks 
  • Bloom time: Summer
  • Uses: Houseplant or tropical garden
  • Common name: Guzmania
  • Botanical name: Guzmania
  • Family name: Gunneraceae
  • Origin: Tropical and subtropical southern Africa, Australasia, and South America
Guzmania Bromeliad

Where to Plant Guzmania 

  • Light: Indoors give Guzmania moderate light from eastern exposure. In winter, tolerates direct sun. Does well under artificial light, needing 16 light-hours daily. Air circulation is important. 
  • Outdoors grow Guzmania in dappled shade in a humid moist spot. Attach Guzmania to the branches of trees in partial shade.
  • Soil: Plant Guzmania in epiphytic or terrestrial bromeliad mix.

When to Plant Guzmania 

  • Set Guzmania outdoors in a tropical or subtropical location any time during the year.

Planting and Spacing Guzmania 

  • Space Guzmania 12 to 36 inches (30-90cm) apart depending on the variety.

How to Water and Feed Guzmania 

  • Water: Keep the plant medium moist, not soggy. Keep fresh water in the plant’s leaf cup except while blooming. Mist daily. Humidity, 45% to 60%. 
  • Feed: Feed Guzmania monthly, with a mild all-purpose fertilizer. Avoid oil-based products such as fish emulsion. Foliar spray fertilizer. Spray fertilizer on leaves, add to water in cup, or apply to growing medium after watering; never feed a dry plant. 

Guzmania Care 

  •  When in growth, mist Guzmania daily in the morning. In winter, do not mist.

Growing Guzmania as a Houseplant

  • Grow Guzmania in a warm room with average humidity and indirect light.
  • Plant Guzmania in a rich, well-drained, soulless medium and keep it evenly moist.
  • Ensure that there is always water in the cup at the base of the plant.
  • Fertilize Guzmania monthly with quarter-strength liquid fertilizer.

Guzmania Pests and Diseases 

  • Guzmania can be attacked by mealybugs and fungi causing leaf spots.

Guzmania Propagation 

  • Remove offsets and replant them in spring.
  • Sow seed in a very warm place.

Guzmania Varieties to Grow 

  • Guzmania lingulata. Epiphyte; grows to 18 inches (46cm) tall; solid green leaves; small white flowers appear encased within red or pink bracts. There are several popular hybrid cultivars of this species: ‘Major’ also called ‘Broadway’ has leaves thar are red at the base; flowers are white and surrouned by bright red bracts; ‘Minor’ has thin, leathery strap-shaped leaves that are yellow-green with vertical maroon strip; bracts are orange-red around white flowers.
  • G. monostachia. Grows to 16 inches (41cm) tall; light green leaves; white flowers surrounded by orange-tipped white bracts borne on a long stalk. 
  • G. musaica. Terrestrial plant; leaves to 30 inch (76cm) long with dark green lines on tops and purple lines on undersides; flowers are yellow, golden bracts have pink markings. 
  • G. sanguinea. Stemless species; grows to 8 inches (20cm) tall; inner leaves in rosette turn red before green and white flowers emerge. 
  • G. zahnii. Grows to 20 inches (51cm) tall; leaves form a spreading rosette; flowers are bright yellow. 
  • G. zahnii var. variegata has leaves striped with pink, white, and green. 

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