When you are on the lookout for plants to grow in your garden with minimum inconvenience, the Guzmania Bromeliad is one of the first flowering plants you should consider.
Not only are they just lovely to look at, but they are low maintenance as well.
Even newbie plant parents would probably find no trouble in tending for Guzmanias. Its needs are easy to provide for!
Guzmanias are perennial plants with great variety, belonging to the bromeliad family.
Originally from South America, The Guzmania bromeliad essentially can be classified as epiphytic plants—implying that they grow well without soil.
They cling on to the trunks and roots of other trees. However, this is not a parasitic relationship—so rest easy, you will not have to sacrifice any of your dear plants for the sake of the Guzmania bromeliad.
Guzmanias are quite charming to look at.
You will observe that petals grow in bracts from the center of the plant, and these can be vividly colored in red, yellow or purple.
Thin, dark green leaves grow around these bracts. Guzmania bromeliad really is a gorgeous plant to have out in your garden!
Guzmania bromeliad care
While Guzmania bromeliads are able to grow outdoors in a garden, making sure you provide it with slant, indirect sunlight will go a long way. Guzmania grows best at moderate warmth. A steady 55℉ (13℃), would be ideal for the plant’s growth. Medium to high humidity is best for this plant.
As for the plant’s fertilizer requirements, a balanced fertilizer once a fortnight during its growing season will serve the purpose well.
Guzmania bromeliad plants are epiphytic in nature—which is to say that typically, they grow without any particular soil to dig their roots in. If you are looking for a mix that will serve the purpose well, you should consider a cymbidium mix. Orchid bark would work just as well.
These epiphytic plants use the trunks and roots of other larger trees as their base instead, but as stated earlier, this relationship is not parasitic.
However, It would probably still be natural of you to be uncomfortable with the idea of letting it grow on your other precious plants.
So the mix that you opt for should most certainly have certain properties. For starters, it simply has to be one that is well-draining. These plants are not genetically used to soil, much less the water-clogged type.
Apart from cymbidium and orchid bark, you could use a coco coir or peat moss mix, too.
Guzmania plants are easy to grow in well lit regions of a garden, but they suffer if the light is harsh or too direct. Placing them to the eastern or western side of your garden will be perfect to avoid this.
While Guzmanias love bright light, exposing them to direct sunlight can prove ultimately detrimental. The petals and leaves are prone to burning or getting charred under very harsh sunlight.
So, my advice would be to place the plant somewhere in your garden where it would receive plenty of bright natural light, without being directly under the sun. For that, choose a location towards the east or west.
This will result in your plant receiving enough light, as it is already outdoors in your garden, but it will not be under the risk of burns or dehydration.
Of course, you could technically grow Guzmanias in low light, too. But that will not be a very sustainable option over a long period of time, as insufficient light can potentially stunt the growth of these vividly colored flowering plants.
Guzmania thrives in temperatures that are moderate to mildly warm. Temperatures around 55℉(13℃) would be ideal for the growth of this plant.
While one can find an ideal temperature for every single species of plant out there, it is also important to note that your plant will probably do just fine even if you can not stick to the prescribed condition literally.
So, as long as your location is not one that is very prone to sudden bursts of icy cold winds, or unnaturally hot and dry spells, your Guzmania bromeliad plant will manage fine on its own.
Problems like brown tipping might arise but it is nothing that your plant can not survive through.
The Guzmania bromeliad is native to the tropical and subtropical regions of South America, so in case of further confusion, that is the kind of climate you can always turn to as a reference point!
Your primary concern when it comes to watering the Guzmanias should be to keep an eye on the water level in the urn of the flower. At least a quarter of it should be filled with water. To avoid problems arising from the stagnancy of water, you could consider changing it every few months.
Watering a Guzmania bromeliad is actually really simple to keep track of. The plant itself grows in colorful bracts, and the center forms a hollow, structured like a vase or urn. This is what will essentially indicate whether or not your plant needs watering.
Basically, Guzmanias collect the water that they need in this urn, and they also absorb moisture through their leaves. The most helpful advice, in this case, would be to keep an eye on the water-collecting hollow, and the level of dryness of the leaves.
It would be quite alright to mist the plant, say, a couple of times a week. Filling and refilling the urn with distilled water to keep infections at bay would be a smart move.
Pro tip—Guzmanias absolutely do not enjoy being wet and sluggish constantly. So, make sure that you strictly avoid over watering the plant!
The natural habitat of Guzmania plants is the tropical and subtropical zone, and as is obvious, these regions are subject to high humidity levels. You should aim for a moderate level of water saturation in the air.
On average, the regular levels of humidity in most areas experiencing temperate or tropical climates will work just fine in the favour of the Guzmanias. As long as you can avoid exposing the plant to very extreme conditions, you do not have much to worry about.
In fact, problems like brown tipping are common in Guzmanias. So if you notice any discoloration of the leaves, you could take that as a cue to review the humidity in the environment.
But if all looks well, you should not worry too much about abiding by the exact details when your plant doesn’t seem to be telling you that something is wrong!
The Guzmania bromeliad is typically undemanding in terms of its fertilizer and feeding needs. An all-purpose orchid fertilizer during its growing months facilitates the growth and development of this plant.
The Guzmania bromeliad grows during summer and spring—so this is when you should feed your plant if at all. Often, these plants can grow and develop well on their own, without any external assistance like fertilizers.
Here’s a pro-tip— the Guzmania plant essentially absorbs the materials it needs to grow on the basis of what reached it from above. So spray the plant instead of dumping fertilizer near the roots, while making sure that you steer clear of the water-collecting urn.
Planting and Pruning
The Guzmania bromeliad plant is, in itself, already well arranged and visually satisfying. While pruning any plant from time to time improves its growth, it is not particularly necessary in this case. If required, you can snip off the foliage of the parent plant when the pups appear.
These flowering plants die when they mature and flower. Pups appear at the bottom and this is where a new plant grows from.
You could remove the foliage of the older plant if you don’t enjoy an unruly garden—just make sure that you use a sufficiently sharp and clean pair of shears.
The pups grow into a fresh plant, so don’t be too upset about the completion of the parent plant’s life cycle.
The Guzmanias don’t necessarily need to be repotted or replanted, as their root systems are not very vast even when they fully mature.
Epiphytes like these only really ever use their roots to cling firmly onto their base.
Like most bromeliad varieties, The Guzmania also grows rather slowly for a year, and its life cycle ends soon after it comes to bloom. The Guzmania flowers once during its lifetime, and that results in the formation of pups.
These pups later grow into full plants. The Guzmania bromeliad is a perennial plant, so its life cycle lasts for more or less a year, after which it blooms, produces pups, and perishes.
At maturity, a Guzmania bromeliad is typically around 24 inches(60cm) tall. Once they produce the vividly colored flowers, they can remain just as pigmented for quite a while.
Pests and Common Problems with Guzmania Bromeliads
If you have noticed pests around your Guzmania bromeliad, it is very likely that there is a mealybug infestation. Other than that, this flowering plant is also rather susceptible to issues like brown tipping. Heart rot is another condition that they might fall prey to.
Mealybugs are the primary pests that you must look out for while tending to Guzmanias. Their brightly coloured flowers attract these bugs. They may cause serious damage by introducing toxins in the physiology of the plant—if the infestation is left unchecked.
Spider mites are another kind of pests you should be wary of, as these too are often found to be attracted towards bromeliad plants.
A disbalance in the humidity levels in the air can cause the tips of the Guzmania leaves to slowly turn brown. This is a clear indication from the plant regarding its incompatibility with the environment it is being reared in.
Finally, heart rot is a condition where the urn of the flowers begins to smell slightly disgusting. It also appears to be discolored and uncharacteristically slushy, and the leaves and petals begin to fall off.
This condition is caused by overwatering the plant.
In fact, allowing the fertilizer spray to sit for too long at the heart of the flower, and collect over time, can also impact the plant negatively. The deposition of salts in the urn can lead to burning.
Frequently asked Questions about Guzmania Bromeliads
How do you get rid of pests in Guzmanias?
Mealybugs are the common pests seen buzzing around bromeliad varieties. Guzmanias, too, are no exception. Spider mites, too, can cause considerable damage to the health and development of Guzmanias. Application of insecticidal soaps can help with the latter, while cotton swabs soaked in rubbing alcohol can be a great way of dealing with mealybugs.
How often should you water a Guzmania?
The leaves of a Guzmania absorb moisture, so misting the leaves of the plant every couple of days might be a good way to go about it. Also, ensure that the urn resting between the bracted petals of the colorful flower is about one-fourth full at all times.
How long do Guzmanias last?
Most bromeliad species last between one and five years. Guzmania is a perennial plant, which means that it blooms once in a year and perishes soon after.
How do you care for Guzmanias after they bloom?
After a Guzmania plant has come to bloom, you have to use a pair of very sharp and sterile garden scissors to carefully remove the spent foliage. This is necessary to give the new plant now growing from the pups enough space to grow. Remove as much of the older plant as possible but make sure that you don’t harm the new plant in any manner.
Guzmanias are quite simple to tend to, as you must have gathered already. Besides, their eye-catching bloom can brighten up any gloomy day!
As long as you take care of its major requirements, the Guzmania bromeliad can be a convenient, hassle-free and gorgeous addition to your garden.
So, I would highly recommend that you add this plant to your collection soon. Have a happy plant parenthood!
Marcel runs the place around here. He has a deep passion for houseplants & gardening and is constantly on the lookout for yet another special plant to add to his arsenal of houseplants, succulents & cacti.
Marcel is also the founder of Iseli International Commerce, a sole proprietorship company that publishes a variety of websites and online magazines.