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
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.
- 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.
- 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.