Flowers of the Friendship Plant - Billbergia Nutans.

What You Need to Know About the Friendship Plant – Billbergia Nutans

Also known as friendship plant or queen’s tears, this is one of the easi­est of the bromeliads to grow, and is a popular and attractive indoor plant. The arching, olive-green leaves reach about 18 in. (45 cm) long, and form a rosette, although the prolific produc­tion of offsets means that the overall appearance is glasslike.

Each flower spike carries a cluster of small pink, blue, and yellow-green flowers, backed by long, pink bracts. Billbergia comes from South America.

Size: Height to 2 ft. (60 cm).

Light: Direct sunlight.

Temperature: Normal room.

Moisture: Keep thoroughly moist all year.

Feeding: Provide standard liquid fer­tilizer every two weeks in spring and summer.

Propagation: In the spring, remove 4-6 in. (10-15 cm) offsets, plant shal­lowly in small pots, and allow to root. Rooting takes 6—8 weeks.

Special needs: After a rosette has flowered and the rounding offsets have started to develop, cut it away.


Flowers of the Urn Plant - Aechmea Fasciata.

What You Need to Know About the Urn Plant – Aechmea Fasciata

The urn plant naturally lives as an epiphyte on the branches of trees in its native Brazil. It roots into accumulated debris, needs little support, and gets all its moisture by catching rain in its rosette of leaves. The arching, spiny leaves are grayish green, with cross markings of powdery white, and can reach to 2 ft. (60 cm) in length.

Each rosette produces one flower spike as it natures. This carries pink bracts surrounding the tiny flowers, which are pale blue at first, but rapidly turn red. The flowers are short-lived, tut the 6 in. (15 cm) inflorescence can remain decorative for several months. After flowering, the rosette slowly dies, to be replaced by new offsets.

Size: Height to 3 ft. (90 cm).

Light: Direct sunlight.

Temperature: Normal room; minimum 60°F (15°C).

Moisture: Water to keep soil moist, but not we

Feeding: Fertilize every two weeks during spring and summer (into the central cup as well as the soil). Propagation Detach offsets once they are half the size of the parent plant.

Special needs: The central reservoir of water should never be allowed to dry out; it should also be emptied and refilled periodically to prevent the water becoming stagnant. Hard tap water will mark the leaves, so it may be preferable to use rainwater to fill the central cap.


Flower of Scarlet Star Plant - Guzmania Lingulata.

What You Need to Know About the Scarlet Star Plant – Guzmania Lingulata

Although its arching, 18 in. (45 cm) long leaves are attractive — shaded from rich dark brown at the base, to green, and sometimes striped with violet — the plant is usually grown for its flowers.

More accurately, since the flowers themselves are small and yellow, the attraction is the bracts that surround the flower and form a bright crimson star-shaped cup at the top of a 1 ft. (30 cm) stalk, hence the common name starlet star. Its home is the West Indies and Brazil.

Size: Height 1 ft. (30 cm), spread to 2 ft. (60 cm).

Light: Indirect sunlight.

Temperature: Warm; above 65°F (18°C).

Moisture: Keep thoroughly moist at all times, including the central cup.

Feeding: Use half-strength liquid fer­tilizer once a month on the soil, the leaves, and into the cup.

Propagation: Take 3—4 in. (7—10 cm) offsets in spring, using a sharp knife. Rooting should take 3—4 months.

Special needs: High humidity is vital. Keep the plant on a tray of damp peb­bles and mist the foliage every day.


Flowers of the Blue-flowered Torch Plant - Tillandsia Lindenii.

What You Need to Know About the Blue-flowered Torch Plant – Tillandsia Lindenii

The smooth, loose rosette-forming leaves of the blue-flowered torch are dark green above and purple below, arching, and up to 18 in. (45 cm) in length. The flower spike grows to around 16 in. (40 cm) high and consists of a hard, long-lasting head 10—12 in. (24-30 cm) long, made up of numerous densely overlapping., rose-pink bracts.

From between the bracts, the true flowers emerge singly. Each is up to 3 in. (7 cm) long and a rich shade of royal blue with a white- throat. This species comes from northwest Peru.

Size: Height to 32 in. (80 cm).

Light: Indirect sunlight.

Temperature: Warm; above 60°F (15°C).

Moisture: As the roots serve little purpose in gathering moisture for the plant, mist thoroughly two or three times a week. The water that runs off should suffice for the soil.

Feeding: Give half-strength liquid fertilizer once a month using a mister.

Propagation: Use a sharp knife to take 3 in. (7 cm) long offsets at any time. Rooting should take 4-6 months.

Special needs: High humidity is essential, so place the plant on a tray of moist pebbles.


Flower of the Flaming Sword Plant - Vriesea Splendens.

What You Need to Know About the Flaming Sword Plant – Vriesea Splendens

Also known as flaming sword, this plant from Venezuela is grown for both its flowers and foliage. The leaves are 16 in. (40 cm) long and art: dark green with broad, dark purple- brown crossbands.

The flower spike grows to about 2 ft. (60 cm) high and consists of a flattened, blade-shaped head of tightly-compressed, scarlet bracts, each up to 3 in. (8 cm) long. The yellow flowers, about 2 in. (5 cm) long, emerge from between the bracts. They are fairly short-lived, but the hard flower head and colored bracts persist for several weeks.

Size: Height to 3 ft. (1 m) in flower.

Light: Direct sunlight, except at noon in summer.

Temperature: Normal room.

Moisture: Keep the central cup filled.

Feeding: Provide half-strength liquid fertilizer once a month, pouring It into both cup and potting soil.

Propagation: Detach 3—6 in. (7—15 cm) offsets from the plant’s base, not from leaf axils, using a sharp knife. Pot singly and enclose in a plastic bag. Rooting should take about six weeks.

Special needs: After flowering, the individual rosette dies, so when taking material for propagation make sure that a replacement for the parent plant is left.


Fruit of the Ananas plant.

What You Need to Know About the Ananas Plant

Two types of pineapple are com­monly grown, although all pineapples will eventually grow into very large plants and are only really suitable for use indoors for a few years. In a heated conservatory, however, they will last until their allotted space is outgrown. A. comosus variegatus, the species, originating from Brazil, is used commercially.

It is a dramatic plant with a rosette of long, sharply- toothed leaves. The fruit forms on a 12-18 in. (30—45 cm) stalk and is green-brown, surrounded by red bracts. There is a red form, A. bracteatus var. tricolor, with leaves striped cream and flushed and edged with pink.Unless the growing conditions are ideal, it may not be edible.

Size: Height 3 ft. (90 cm), spread 3—5 ½ ft. (1—1.6 m).

Light: Direct sunlight.

Temperature: Needs to be constantly warm to produce edible fruit.

Moisture: Keep moist at all times, but not wet.

Feeding: Use standard liquid fertilizer at every watering.

Propagation: Detach offsets when they are 4—6m. (10-15 cm) long. Rooting should take about 8 weeks.

Special needs: Pineapples like high humidity, so place the pot on a tray of damp pebbles and mist on a regular basis.


Flowers of bromeliads plants.

What You Need to Know About the Bromeliads Plants

The Bromeliads are a large group of tropi­cal and subtropical plants which differ from other plants in that they take in food and water through their leaves, as well as through their roots, hence their common name of air plants.

In the wild, they grow as epiphytes on the branches or trunks of trees, in crevices in rocks, or on the ground. They have developed the ability to take in food from the air to such an extent that some have ceased to rely on roots for anything but stability.

Bromeliads are grown variously for their dramatic foliage or for their spectacular flowers, although a few, such as vriesea and aechmea, do well in both categories. The leaves of most of the varieties grown as houseplants tend to be rosette-forming, with a cluster of leathery, straplike leaves surrounding a central, water-filled cup. It is from this cup that the flower arises — some barely rising above the level of the water and others forming at the top of a tall spike. Individual genera are listed below.


What You Need to Know About Cryptanthus Plants

This is a genus of ground-dwelling, stemless bromeliads that make their homes amid tree roots and in rock fis­sures in their native Brazil. They are commonly called earth stars. The dramatic foliage is rosette-forming, strongly marked, and highly colored, often with prickly edges. As airplants, they take little through their roots in the way of nutrients, using them chiefly for anchorage.

The small, white flowers are usually hidden in the leaves, hence the Latin name, meaning “hidden flower.” These plants are ideal for growing in a bot­tle garden or terrarium. The leaves of C. bivittatus form a dense, spread­ing rosette and can reach 8 in. (20 cm) in length. They are sharply pointed and dark green with two broad, white or pink bands running along their length. Diameter to 1 ft. (30 cm). C. bromelioides, known as rainbow star, grows upright, rather than flat, and spreads by stolons with plantlets at the ends.

Its leaves are 4—8 in. (10—20 cm) long and olive-green or variegated. The variety C.b. tricolor has leaves that are striped lengthwise with light green and cream, flushed rose-pink in bright light. This is not one of the easiest plants to grow since it is inclined to rot at the base. Height to 18 in. (45 cm). C. fosterianus is one of the largest species of Cryptanthus, with a flat rosette of thick, fleshy leaves that can reach up to 1 ft. (30 cm) in length, in shades of copper-green or purple-brown, banded with gray. Diameter 20 in. (50 cm).

Size: See individual species.

Light: Direct sunlight.

Temperature: Warm.

Moisture: Keep barely moist at all times.

Feeding: Give only an occasional spray with half-strength foliar fertil­izer to improve leaf coloration.

Propagation: Use a sharp knife to detach offsets in spring. They root in about 12 weeks. C. bromelioides pro­duces plantlets that can be treated as offsets.

Special needs: After flowering, cut away the parent plant to allow the new offsets to develop.