Queen's Tears Plant (Billbergia Bromeliads) Indoor Care, Propagation, Problems and Solutions


Queen's Tears Bromeliads, Billbergia Bromeliads

Botanical name: Billbergia spp
Family: Bromeliaceae
Sufamily: Bromelioideae
Common names: Queen's Tears Plant, Friendship Plant

Description

Queen's Tears Plant (Billbergia Bromeliad) also called Friendship Plant is one of the easiest Bromeliads to grow indoors and is grown for the beauty of their drooping showy flower-heads and leathery, arching long grass-like leaves.

The flower-head bracts in Queen's Tears Bromeliads are about 3 in. long and the leaves are 1 ft long and reddish under good light.

The common name, 'Queen's Tears', is due to the drops of nectar that the plant produces when it is touched or is moved. While the common name, 'Friendship Plant', is because it is easy to share with friends from the pups (offsets) that form at the base of the plant.

The usual pattern for Billbergia Bromeliads is a rosette of leathery, strap-like foliage and flower-head which arises on a stalk from the cup-like center of rosette.

Flower

The Queen's Tears Bromeliad matures at the age of 2-3 years and flowers quite easily in spring and the display may last several months.

Once the flower-head fades, the rosette of leaves begins to die and is replaced by offsets (pups) at the base.

The display of the flower-head is due to the presence of long-lasting showy bracts; true flowers are small and short-lived.

Origin

Billbergia Bromeliads (Queen's Tears Bromeliads) are native to Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Argentina.

Varieties

The most popular of the Billbergia Bromeliads for growing indoors is the Billbergia nutans.

Another of the Billbergia Bromeliads that is common is Billbergia windii which is larger, with the flower-stalks being about 18 in. long and the foliage is grey-green.

Toxicity

Queen's Tears Plants (Billbergia Bromeliads) are non-toxic to humans and pets. The plants are safe to grow indoors.

However, the leaves bear short spines which may cause physical injury if handled with bare hands. Always wear gloves when handling Billbergia Bromeliads to prevent injury.

Where to Buy

If you would like to add this beauty to your collection, here is a Link to Etsy Shops.

Queen's Tears Plant, Billbergia Bromeliads

Queen's Tears Plant Care Indoors

Queen's Tears Bromeliads (Billbergia Bromeliads) booms in bright light away from direct sunlight, warm and humid conditions and moderately moist, rich well-drained soil coupled with fortnightly feeding during the growing season.

Billbergia Bromeliads are sensitive to chlorine and other chemicals dissolved in water, therefore water with chlorine-free water only that is at room temperature to avoid plant shock. Keep reading for more on the growing conditions and how to achieve them.

Watering

Like with other rosette Bromeliads, Queen's Tears Bromeliads require that the central 'vase' to be filled with water at all times.

Empty and refill the 'vase' regularly to prevent growth of bacteria which may cause the water to become smelly.

Use only chlorine-free water to water these plants as they are sensitive to chlorine and other chemicals that may be dissolved in water.

Water the soil only when it dries to keep the roots moist. Avoid soggy soil as it can lead to root-rot and eventual death of the Bromeliad.

Light Requirements

Queen's Tears Plant grows best in bright light but away from direct sunlight. Bright light is necessary to promote flowering of the bromeliad.

However, direct sunlight will cause the leaves to lose their dark-green color and will appear washed out with pale brown leaf patches.

Regularly rotate the pot to ensure that the Billbergia Bromeliad receives light on all sides for uniform growth.

Billbergia Bromeliads can also be grown under a grow light where the natural lighting is not sufficient.

Outdoors, Queen's Tears Bromeliad can be grown in a shaded place like under a tree where it is shielded from direct sunlight.

Temperature and Humidity

The best temperature for growing Queen's Tears Plant indoors is an average warmth with a minimum of 150C. Keep it away from drafts to avoid sudden changes in temperature which can cause reduced growth.

However, to bring the Billbergia Bromeliad to flower requires temperatures above 260C. You can achieve this temperature by taking this plant outside during the hot season but put it under a light shade.

Queen's Tears Plant requires a humid enviroment inorder to thrive. If the humidity is too low, the plant will respond with brown leaf tips and edges.

To increase humidity, set the pot on a wet pebble tray. Check out these techniques on how to raise humidity for houseplants.

Ensure that there is good air circulation for Billbergia Bromeliad to prevent pest and disease infestations.

Feeding

Feed Queen's Tears Plant with a liquid fertilizer (foliar feed) every 2 weeks during the growing season to encourage a lush growth.

Do not feed the bromeliad during the cold season as growth is minimal at this time and it may lead to fertilizer burn for the bromeliad.

Repotting

Repotting Queen's Tears Bromeliad is not necessary as its roots are tiny and are unlikely to fill the pot. Pot it in a wide, shallow, heavy pot to prevent it from toppling over as it can become top-heavy.

Also provide support for the Billbergia Bromeliad to help keep it upright and prevent it from toppling over.

Potting Mix

The best soil for Queen's Tears Plant is Orchid Potting Mix as it is rich in organic matter, loose, free-draining to prevent it from getting soggy while providing the required nutrients.

Most orchid potting mixes are ideal for Billbergia Bromeliad. Buy quality Orchid Potting Mix online from Etsy.

Pruning

Pruning Queen's Tears Bromeliad involves removal of dead leaves to keep the plant neat and minimize pest and disease infestations. This also allows adequate room for the new plants (pups) to grow.

Remove the dead foliage by cutting at the base with a sharp, clean knife or a pair of scissors to minimize injury and disease infestations.

Propagation

Queen's Tears Plant (Billbergia Bromeliads) are propagated from offsets (pups) appearing at the base of the plant.

How to propagate Queen's Tears Bromeliads from offsets (pups)

When the Queen's Tears Plant offset is several months old or 1/3 to 1/2 the height of mother plant, separate it from the mother by cutting with a sharp, clean knife or scissors.

Ensure the offset (pup) has some roots attached to it as they are necessary to provide support for the pup.

Plant the offset shallowly in loose, free-draining, bark soil. Use a shallow heavy pot to prevent the plant from toppling over as it can get top-heavy.

Also, ensure the bromeliad is well supported to prevent it from toppling over as the root system is small.

Place the set up in a warm, well-lit spot until the new Billbergia Bromeliad is well established after which routine care can begin.

Queen's Tears Bromeliads, Billbergia Bromeliads

Queen's Tears Plant Problems

Queen's Tears Plant (Billbergia Bromeliads) growing problems include brown leaf tips, plant death, drooping leaves, leaf patches, pests and diseases among others. Read on for more on these problems, their remedies and solutions.

Brown leaf tips

Queen's Tears Plant brown leaf tips are caused by too dry air (low humidity) This plant requires a humid environment to thrive.

To raise humidity for the Billbergia Bromeliad, set the pot on a wet pebble tray or use a cool mist humidifier.

You can also grow the bromeliad in a bathroom and other moist areas in the home if the lighting is adequate.

Pale brown leaf patches

Pale brown leaf patches in Queen's Tears plant are due to exposure of the plant to hot, direct sunlight.

Billbergia Bromeliad does not like to be exposed to direct sunlight. Protect it from direct sunlight or move it to a shadier spot where it will receive bright light away from direct sunlight.

Dark, soft, drooping, long leaves

Queen's Tears Bromeliad dark, soft, drooping, long leaves are caused by inadequate light (too little light).

Move the bromeliad to a brighter spot and ensure it is receiving bright light or grow it under a grow light.

Also, regularly turn the pot to ensure that the plant receives light on all sides for uniform growth.

Plant dying

If the Queen's Tears Bromeliad has not flowered, the cause of death is root-rot disease due to soggy soil.

Take out the plant from its pot and inspect the roots. Mushy brown-black roots indicate root-rot. Read on how to treat root-rot disease in houseplants.

If Billbergia Bromeliad has flowered then rotting and death of the rosette which bore the flower-stalk is natural to give room for the new plants (pups).

Remove the dead foliage from the Queen's Tears Bromeliad by cutting at the base with a clean knife or a pair of scissors to create space for the new plants.

Pests

The common pests in Queen's Tears plant are scales and mealy bugs. Isolate the affected plant to prevent spread to other houseplants and treat with Neem oil or Insecticidal soap.

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