I feel the earth beneath my feet. I breathe her breath which each inhalation. I live in her bosom.

Guzmania lingulata

"Bromeliad"

Bromelia

I purchased this plant at Home Depot 2014 April. My house is a bit cold in the winter, but I thought that I would try get a few plants that would need to stay above freezing. So far, none of my other house plants have frozen to death during the winter. Finding the species took a lot of effort. It was simply labeled as bromeliad, which is the family name, not even the genus.

  • Botanical Name: Guzmania lingulata
  • Family: Bromeliaceae
  • Subfamily: Tillandsioideae
  • Common Name: Bromeliad
  • Plant Type or Function: evergreen, epiphytic perennial, Houseplant
  • Bloom Time: Year-Round
  • Growth Rate: Medium
  • Height: 30 to 76 cm
  • Spread: 60 to 76 cm
  • Flower Color: Mixed (mine is red)
  • Cold Hardiness: Never below 10° C.
  • Light: Low Light, 1-2 Hours of Indirect Light Per Day

Guzmania is a genus of over 120 species of flowering plants in the botanical family Bromeliaceae (bromeliads), subfamily Tillandsioideae. They are mainly stemless, evergreen, epiphytic perennials native to Florida, Central America, and northern and western South America. They are found at altitudes of up to 3,500 m in the Andean rainforests.

Guzman bromeliads are able to store water in a "tank" formed by their tightly overlapping leaf bases.

Guzman bromeliads prefer a pot that is just large enough to accommodate its roots and is filled with rich, loamy soil that drains well. Bromelia should be re-potted in March, before the growing season of the summer. Bromelias like evenly moist soil and regular watering but not soggy soil. Use your finger to test the soil, and water when the soil is damp dry. Do not allow your bromelia to sit in water that remains in the saucer.

During the growing season, fertilize with a liquid organic fish fertilizer by following the instructions on the label. In October, when the bromelia begins its winter dormant period, stop fertilizing. Bromelia plants do not care to be placed in direct sun but thrive in bright, defused light.

The main pest that attacks a bromelia is a scale insect that's similar to a mealy bug and difficult to eliminate. In most cases, it may be better to discard the plant and begin again with a new, healthy bromelia.

How to Propagate Bromeliads

Bromeliads are satisfying plants to grow at home partly because they are so easy to propagate. Over a few years, one bromeliad can turn into a whole garden of bromeliads. Most people get bromeliads as gift plants, when their colorful bracts are shooting up from the central plant cup. These bracts, which actually contain the bromeliads small flowers, last for a long time, sometimes months, before slowly fading and dying. After the bract is dead, the "mother" plant will send out a series of offsets, or pups, from the base of the plant. They'll look like tiny versions of the mother plant emerging from between the mother plants bigger leaves. These pups can be used to propagate your bromeliad.

To take an offset, use a sharp shovel, long knife or saw. Cut the pup as far down as you can, even below the surface of the soil. Don't worry if the pup hasn't developed roots yet. Bromeliads are epiphytes, which means their roots are only for holding and securing the plant. They get their water and nutrition from their central cups. However, you want to get as much plant material as possible to help the young bromeliad stay firmly positioned in its new home.

After you've removed the pup, you can either place it into a new pot with new potting media. Or, you can tie the pup to a branch or cork board for its new home. The young pups will begin to grow almost immediately. But, don't overwater them at first. Keep their central cups full. Or, keep the potting soil barely (but continuously) moist. A young bromeliad should flower within 2–3 years, depending on the species.

A healthy mother plant will generally produce multiple pups, sometimes as many as three or four, before the plant completely fails. This kind of propagation is known as asexual reproduction.

Sources: Lowe's Plant Guide | eHow.com | About.com