Common Name: scarlet star
Native Range: Tropical Americas
Zone: 10 to 12
Height: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: Seasonal bloomer
Bloom Description: White with yellow, pink and red bracts
Sun: Part shade to full shade
Water: Dry to medium
Guzmania or vase plant is a bromeliad. Bromeliads are either epiphytic or terrestrial. Guzmania is an epiphyte. Epiphytic plants do not live in soil but survive by clinging to a tree or other supports such as rocks. Epiphytes obtain all their water and mineral needs from the air. Guzmania need bright, but indirect light and warm temperatures to grow well. Temperatures should be a minimum of 60°F at night. Water your plants well and then allow the soil to dry before watering again. Guzmania are prone to root rots if the soil is kept wet. Proper drainage is essential. The soil mix must be porous enough to allow water to drain off quickly, but should never be soggy, and allow air to reach the roots. Keep water in the cup at the center of the plant, especially during the summer months. Plant should be kept drier during the cooler or winter months. The plants also need humid air to prosper. Use a diluted fertilizer of half-strength or less.
After flowering the parent plant dies. Offshoots, or pups, provide for the steady renewal of the plant.
The foliage of vase plant is 18 inches long, green, sometimes with dark crossbands and forming a funnel-shaped rosette. The flower stem is usually shorter than the leaves. The flowerhead is globular with up to 50 flowers with white petals nestling in a bed of large red to pink bracts. The flowers often last 2 to 4 months.
Potential problems are leaf spots, scales, spider mites, and mealybugs. Keeping the air humid enough for successful growth could also be a problem in a home environment.
Used very successfully in indoor commercial situations such as shopping malls and office buildings. Guzmania do well in low light conditions and artificial light. They also hold their color for an extended time making them ideal for indoor pot culture.