Called Bromeliads, the key characteristics of these plants is that they can be potted or survive attached to a host plant without causing the host plant harm. Guzmania lingulata is a native of Middle and South America.
It takes three to four years to mature to the blooming stage, growing leathery leaves in stacking layers as they mature. The root system is small and forms above the soil. They produce a single stunning bloom in a cup-like fashion once in their life time.
How it looks: The flower head of this plant forms a wide, deep cup with multiple bracts coming out in layers. The coloration of these blooms begins as a deep green, which slowly fades into a yellow.
By the time the bracts drape away from the main cup of the flower, they turn a deep, scarlet red (or orange). The leaves are long and umbrella out from the central stalk of the plant. They begin as a light green color with a soft feel, and mature into leathery, deep green leaves.
Flowering: When viewed from above, the entire flower head takes on the shape of a star, giving the plant its name. As the plant blooms only once in its life, the bloom is hardy and lasts about five months. Within the center of the flower head small white flowers appear which are barely noticeable because they sit quite deep inside the head. Once the flower dies off, the plant will leave you pup's (offsets) that can now be propagated.
|Origin:||Central and South America.|
|Names:||Scarlet star (common). Guzmania lingulata (botanical/scientific).|
|Max Growth (approx):||Height 18 in/45 cm.|
|Poisionous for pets:||Non toxic for cats, dogs|
|Temperature:||The Scarlet Star prefers an average temperature of 65-80°F (18-27°C). When kept in this temperature, the plant will continue to grow all year long.|
|Light:||This plant prefers bright, yet indirect, sunlight at all times. Too much sunlight will cause the leaves to sunburn and damage the flower.|
|Watering:||This plant is a picky customer when it comes to water. The roots should be misted on a daily basis. The soil must be watered to the point of wet, but never soggy. Once it has been watered, allow the soil to dry completely before watering again. Do not allow water to sit in the saucer underneath this plant. The cup of the flower must be kept filled with 1 to 2 inches of water at all times. Every four days, pour the old water out of the cup and provide new water. Never use anything except distilled or rain-sourced water, as the chemicals in processed water will kill the plant.|
|Soil:||Guzmania lingulata may be grown in two ways in nature. Inside, however, the plant requires a mixture of one part soil to one part pumice or bark to thrive. Drainage must be good at all stages of the plant's life.|
|Fertilizer:||This plant may be fertilized with a balanced fertilizer mix. This is to be diluted to half strength, and delivered directly to the flower cup as long as the flower is blooming. This should be done once a month. The fertilizer should be poured out after 4-5 days and replaced with regular water. Do not fertilize the root system. When the plant is not flowering, the leaves may be misted with the same fertilizer, diluted to one-quarter strength, once a month.|
|Re-Potting:||Every spring, this plant should be re-potted to a container that is one size larger. This should continue until the plant resides in a 6 or 8 inch pot. Larger pots will reduce the bloom longevity. Once the plant has matured there is no need for re-potting again. They need to be secure in a pot because they are top heavy types and can topple over, easily.|
|Humidity:||The Scarlet Star demands humid living conditions. If you keep your home at average air humidity, sprays the leaves and flower cup with a light dose of water every other day.|
|Propagation:||Throughout its life, Guzmania lingulata will occasionally have small shoots form near the base of the plant. These may be broken off at the root and propagated into new plants in separate containers once they reach three inches tall. This may be done even after the plant has bloomed.|
Brown leaf tips: I would say dry air is the first possible cause, which misting will improve . Or there could be a chance the plants vase has not been filled with water.
Brown leaf patches: The most likely cause is too much direct sun. Place the plant where there is less direct sun.
Plant dies: After flowering as mentioned above it is time for this plant to die it's natural death. If it has not bloomed as yet, then the possible cause could be over- watering.
Insects: Mealy bug and scale can be a problem.