How to care for Guzmania Bromeliad

pj_in_oc_california(z10, Sunset 22)April 24, 2009

Hi all,

My mom received a beautiful Guzmania Bromeliad for secretarys day. It is about 29 inches high in a 6" pot. We are in Orange County California in zone 10 which rarely ever has a frost. We donÂt have any sunny rooms indoors.

Question 1: Should it be potted up now?

Question 2: If so, what size pot would you recommend? 10 inches? Or larger?

Question 3: Is it OK to grow it in the front yard in the shade of the house? She will bring it indoors when it is windy.

Question 4: Should she bring it indoors when it is cold outside? If so how cold should it be? Under 50 degrees?

Thanks in advance for your help.


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Care for it like any tropical house plant

    Bookmark   April 27, 2009 at 8:53AM
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from experience I have found that Guzmania's do not like alot of sun if you live in a dry heat zone. They prefer a well shaded enviroment with plenty of air circulation. Repotting is a personal choice thing as it grows quite happily even pot bound. This plant will produce offsets giving your mum many years of beautiful flowers. Sorry I could not be of much help I have trouble growing guzamnia's where I live but now grow them low to the ground in 90% shade and they seem to be doing alot better. When fertilising do not use any that contain copper traces.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2009 at 6:02PM
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pj_in_oc_california(z10, Sunset 22)

Thanks for the help. I did not know about copper.

I am a little confused though. Is it a houseplant that can live indoors indefinitely, or should we leave it outside in the shade. Or should we just bring it out into the shade when the weather is fine.


    Bookmark   April 27, 2009 at 10:44PM
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It will do fine indoors with the right light and watering. After the bloom finishes and dries out on Guz's, I clip the bloom off and then toss the plants out in a shady spot in my garden. Oh, I'm in zone 23. They don't like direct sunlight or frost. Guz's don't seem to be the quickest to bloom from pups, so I don't bother nursing them indoors for that long. If they bloom back in the garden its just an extra treat.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2009 at 12:45AM
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I received one for Easter and the top has dried out. Can the top be cut out of it?

    Bookmark   July 1, 2011 at 2:31PM
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Hi everyone,

pj - In Australia where I live, most of the commercially grown Guzmanias are grown just for the flower trade.

You can take them inside the house and enjoy them instead of a bunch of flowers and they will last for about three months.

When they're finished flowering I just cut off the old flower spike and put the plant out in the garden in a shady area free of wind. I find that they usually produce offsets (commonly called pups) which will flower when they mature.

If you like, when these offsets are 1/2 as big as the mother plant, they can be removed and planted in a pot of their own and eventually they will flower and the process starts all over again.

The following is a short article I wrote about my experiences growing Guzmanias on the South East Coast of Australia.

I apologise for taking up so much space but I don't know any other way of posting it other than "cut and past"

Neville Wood - 2009

Up until recently I had about six or more Guzmanias in my shade house which I had accumulated over a few years having previously purchased them in flower at markets. I really never saw myself as a Guzmania grower, but thought of them more as a substitute for a bunch of flowers to brighten up the inside of the home. When you consider that a reasonable bunch of flowers costs a minimum of $30 these days, and any I've ever bought seldom lasted more than a week; a flowering Guzmania which could be bought for around $20 and often lasted in flower for 2-3 months was a much better financial proposition, don't you think?

After they had finished flowering and the old inflorescence was removed, they were relegated to an unused corner of the shade-house and allowed to just do "their own thing", as I really didn't have much interest in them as a plant. They were never fed and only watered when I watered the other brom's. They continued to grow and occasionally would put up a pretty ordinary looking inflorescence which was never anywhere near as spectacular as the one on the original plant had been. I simply put this down to a couple of things, either I just couldn't grow them or my conditions didn't suit them or maybe it was a combination of both.

A couple of years back I read an article in (I think) a back issue of a BSI journal. It was by a Guzmania grower in the US and gave details of his methods of culture and included a picture of him standing up to his waist in the centre of a group of beautiful flowering Guzmanias. These beautiful plants were the best looking Guzmanias I had ever seen with their healthy green leaves and beautiful large inflorescences. What he said was basically, never let them dry out completely, grow them in lower light to Neo's, Aechmeas etc, give them a warm environment with good air circulation, and the bit that really caught my attention, FEED THEM AS OFTEN AS YOU FEED YOURSELF! This man only grew Guzmanias and was known by local growers as somewhat of an expert with a nickname of "Mr. Guzmania".

Until I read that article I treated my few Guzmanias in a similar manner to my Neo's. The plants never really looked "happy" and I only ever got the occasional inflorescence of average quality. My success was such that I threatened to toss the plants out if they didn't perform better the following year. The plants were moved to another area on the southern, shadier side of our house beneath 75% green shade cloth. This area is in a higher part of the yard and is protected from winds by the house on the north side and re-cycled charcoal coloured Laser Light on the walls of the other three sides. Because it is so protected from the elements and is a bit higher than their previous location it also appears to be slightly warmer in the cold weather.

After being moved to their new location, all were re-potted using a mix of six parts of Brunnings Cymbidium Orchid Mix to one part of fine Coco Peat. During re-potting when the pot was about 3/4 full of mix, I added Osmocote at the rate of 1 level teaspoon to a 5" pot, plus some Blood and Bone at the same rate, making sure the fertilizers didn't directly contact any part of the plants. Sufficient mix was then added to come up almost to the top of the pot and they were then thoroughly watered until the water flowed from the bottom of the pot.

I foliar fed these plants each two weeks, alternating between Manutec and Phostrogen right throughout the whole year along with a monthly application of Seasol. The results were amazing; the plants picked up and grew beautifully and this year I had a better show of flowers than I could have ever imagined. There's only two things which could have caused such a dramatic improvement; and that was the new location with extra fertilizer or the threat to "bin them" if they didn't perform better. As I don't think the Guzmanias heard the threat "to bin them", I think it had to be the change of location and the increase in feeding.

I hope this helps in some way

All the best, Nev.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2011 at 8:16PM
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A Canadian who as well gardens in Florida
And have grown to know some of Bromeliads, at least in the garden in Florida
Today looking at one of our better garden centres where I live came across a marked down 50% Guzmania Bromeliad Really neat flower Red and yellow I know when the bloom is finished etc. etc.
It has been overwatered at the garden centre and looks sad As well a couple of Orchids that I as well did purchase
I know just what to do with them
One thing I read just now on another site though is
to get a bromeliad to bloom that is one nearing or in maturity, put a plastic bag over it and an overripe apple in the bag with the plant This gives off I forget what gas but will help the plant to bloom

For a period of seven to 10 days
Do you know of this

    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 5:26PM
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Ethylene gas

    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 5:40PM
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I have mine growing under trees. Temps here get down to 4degrees C or 39degrees F so yours should do okay outdoors.
Enjoy your plant as is, and when the pups come and are big enough to take off, plant them in your garden. You should get 6 or more pups.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 7:38PM
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