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How to Grow Guzmania

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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
Guzmania Bromeliad

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. 

Guzmania care 

  •  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.

Guzmania propagation 

  • 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. 

Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. has more than 10 million visitors each year.

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