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Guzmania...my Favorite Houseplant

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Johnalewis74 blog photos
Joined: 8/23/2007
Location: Tampa Bay Florida
Posts: 54
Posted: Nov/10/2007 2:07 AM PST

Guzmania
Guzmanias are among the most beautiful and colorful bromeliads in cultivation, and one of my favorites.
The genus Guzmania was established in 1802 and named after a Spanish pharmacist named "Guzman". Most guzmanias originate from northwstern South America where they occur in the tropical rainforest belt of the Andes in Columba, Ecuador, and northern Peru.
The family distribution however, extends from southern Florida (with a single species, Guzmania monostachia) through Central America and the West Indies, down to western Brazil and Boliva.

Guzmanias are not as numerous as tillandsias or vrieseas, to which they are closely related. They belong to the subfamily Tillandsioideae and have entire spineless leaves. Most guzmanias grow in moist, cool, shady habitats in the lower areas of the jungle where they are found growing on trees and bushes, although larger species grow as terrestrials and in leaf mold. Guzmanias grow at altitudes between sea-level and 9,900 feet.

They need to be snugly potted, with the pot just a little larger than the root area, allowing for about a year's growth before potting onto the next size pot and fresh compost. A major factor for successful culture is an open potting mix that provides a continually acid environment. A Cymbidium orchid mix is suitable, or one which contains peat moss. A mix that allows excess water to drain away is critical as guzmanias hate wet feet. Water quality is very important as they are intolerant of hard, alkaline or salty water. Alkaline water causes burning in the central leaves of the cup. The ideal situation is to use rainwater where possible. Being a green leafed plant, they can be fed with a diluted (half strength) foliar food or slow release fertilizer added to the potting mix.

Guzmanias can be grown outside successfully if in a shady, sheltered place out of the frost. However, they make ideal houseplants and are grown extensively in the United States for this purpose.

Most of the propagation is done through tissue culture in Europe (Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands), from where they are sent to the United States and other countries to be grown for the houseplant trade.

There is a wide variety of shapes in the inflorescence (flowers, sepals, primary bracts, flower bracts), from a straight spear-like structure to a globular shaped one. Most typical is the inflorescence that comes up and spreads out to a large head. One exception is Guzmania sanguinea, of which there are two varieties, a large form and a small one. Guzmania sanguinea has flowers that come up from the center of the cup where the leaves have turned bright red and/or yellow, and having an appearance more like a neoregelia than a guzmania. They are not prolific puppers, producing one or two at most, which grow right at the top of the plant and are very difficult to remove. They are best left on the parent plant as long as possible because to get at them requires stripping the leaves and almost destroying the plant. Currently there are 183 species of guzmania, but only a few are readily available commercially.

http://www.freewebs.com/jacksbromeliads/


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CarolineC blog photos
Joined: 7/14/2007
Location: SE Pennsylvania zone 6b
Posts: 393
Posted: Nov/10/2007 5:39 AM PST

Those are very interesting looking. Thanks for sharing.
gimlet photos
Joined: 9/16/2007
Location: lake greenwood, greenwood, sc
Posts: 131
Posted: Nov/11/2007 12:38 AM PST

Hi John,

Those are the most beautiful Bromeliads that I've ever seen. I bought a small red Bromeliad last year and it bloomed once. The one that I have has solid dark green leaves, not the colorful ones like in your photos. It has produced two pups so I will take your advice on leaving them on the parent plant as long as possible. I am going to look in our local nurseries and the garden catalogs that I receive through mail to find the type of Bromeliads that you have so I can purchase one or two or ......

Keep those hands dirty,
gimlet
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Johnalewis74 blog photos
Joined: 8/23/2007
Location: Tampa Bay Florida
Posts: 54
Posted: Nov/13/2007 1:43 AM PST

Quote:
Originally posted by gimlet
Hi John,

Those are the most beautiful Bromeliads that I've ever seen. I bought a small red Bromeliad last year and it bloomed once. The one that I have has solid dark green leaves, not the colorful ones like in your photos. It has produced two pups so I will take your advice on leaving them on the parent plant as long as possible. I am going to look in our local nurseries and the garden catalogs that I receive through mail to find the type of Bromeliads that you have so I can purchase one or two or ......

Keep those hands dirty,
gimlet
[/size]
Thanks....
Here's a link to one of the largest mail-order bromeliad nurseries in the world. Dennis Cathcart's Tropiflora in Sarasota Florida. I've known Dennis and his wife Linda for years, being they only live one half an hour from me.
Try their website at:
www.tropiflora.com
They stock thousands of bromeliads from all over Central and South America....
Thanks Again,
Jack.....
lilmac442 blog photos
Joined: 10/29/2007
Location: Michigan
Posts: 1687
Posted: Nov/13/2007 11:34 AM PST

Gotta love any plant that ends in "mainia" ! They are so pretty!
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