How to grow and care for Earth Star Bromeliad (Cryptanthus spp) Indoors

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Earth star bromeliad, Cryptanthus spp

Botanical name: Cryptanthus spp
Family: Bromeliaceae
Sufamily: Bromelioideae

Earth Star Bromeliad Description

The Earth Star Bromeliads (Cryptanthus spp) are stemless low growing Bromeliads whose small, wavy-edged, colorful leaves make spectacular houseplants.

Earth Stars are a unique group of Bromeliads in that they only grow terrestrially in soil. Unlike other Bromeliads, Earth Stars root systems are more developed and they prefer free-draining moisture holding soils.

Due to their requirement for humid air, Earth Stars are ideal for a terrarium or a bathroom where the air humidity is high.

Earth Star Bromeliads Flower

Earth Star Bromeliad flowers are small tubular white flowers and are often hidden in the center of the rosette of the leaves.

It may take upto 3 years to flower and it flowers only once. Once the flowers fade, the rosette of leaves begins to die and is replaced by offsets (pups) at the base which grow into new plants.

Earth Star Bromeliads Origin

Earth Stars (Cryptanthus spp) are endemic to Brazil's rain forests where they are found growing on the forest floors.

Earth Star Bromeliad Varieties

Earth Star Bromeliad Varieties: There is a wide range of Earth Star Bromeliads (Cryptanthus) to choose from; plain, striped and banded in green, red, brown and yellow.

Leaf sizes in Earth Stars range from 4 in. in Cryptanthus bivittatus to 15 in. in Cryptanthus fosterianus.

The brightest and also the most difficult to grow Earth Star is Cryptanthus bromelioides tricolor.

Buy beautiful and healthy Earth Star Bromeliads from Etsy.

Earth star bromeliad, Cryptanthus spp

Earth Star Bromeliads (Cryptanthus spp) Care Indoors

Earth Star Bromeliads Light Requirements

Earth Star Bromeliads Light Requirements: Earth Star Bromeliads (Cryptanthus spp) grow best in bright light but away from direct sunlight. It can also grow under a grow light.

Turn the pot regularly to ensure the plant receives light on all sides for even growth. Check out this guide on understanding light for houseplants.

Earth Star Bromeliad Watering

Earth Star Bromeliad Watering: Like with other rosette Bromeliads, Earth Star Bromeliads require 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 for your Earth Star Bromeliads as they are sensitive to chlorine and other chemicals that may be dissolved in water.

Water the soil of the Earth Star Bromeliad (Cryptanthus spp) only when it dries to keep the roots moist. Avoid soggy soil as it can lead to root-rot and eventual death of your Bromeliad.


Temperature for Earth Star Bromeliads

Temperature for Earth Star Bromeliad: The best temperature for growing Earth Star Bromeliad indoors is an average warmth with a minimum of 150C. However, to bring the Earth Star Bromeliad to flower requires temperatures above 260C.

Humidity for Earth Star Bromeliads

Humidity for Earth Star Bromeliad: Earth Star Bromeliad (Cryptanthus spp) requires a humid enviroment to thrive. If the humidity is too low, the plant develops brown leaf tips.

To raise humidity for your Earth Star Bromeliad, set the pot on a wet pebble tray or use a cool mist humidifier. Check out these techniques on how to raise humidity for houseplants.

Earth Star Bromeliads can also be grown in a terrarium as high humidity can be maintained inside a terrarium. Read on how to make a closed terrarium for houseplants.

Ensure there is good air circulation for your Earth Star Bromeliad to prevent pests and disease infestation.

Fertilizer (Feeding) for Earth Star Bromeliads

Fertilizer (Feeding) for Earth Star Bromeliads: Feed Earth Star Bromeliad (Cryptanthus spp) with a liquid fertilizer (foliar feed) every 2 weeks during the growing season.

Do not feed your Earth Star Bromeliad during the cold season as growth is minimal at this time and it may lead to fertilizer burn and eventual death of your Bromeliad.

Earth Star Bromeliads Repotting

Earth Star Bromeliads Repotting: Repotting Earth Star Bromeliad is not necessary as its roots are tiny and are unlikely to fill the pot.

Pot your Earth Star Bromeliad in a shallow, heavy pot to prevent it from toppling over as it can become top-heavy.

Also provide support for your Earth Star Bromeliad to help keep it upright. Read more on how to train houseplants.

Soil for Earth Star Bromeliad

Earth Star Bromeliad Soil: The best soil for Earth Star Bromeliad should be rich in organic matter, loose, free-draining bark soil to prevent it from getting soggy while providing the required nutrients.

Most orchid potting mixes are ideal for Earth Star Bromeliad. Buy quality Orchid Potting Mix for your Earth Star Bromeliad from Etsy.

Earth Star Bromeliads Pruning

Earth Star Bromeliads Pruning: Pruning Earth Star Bromeliad involves removal of dead leaves to keep your plant neat and tidy and to allow adequate room for the new plants to grow.

Remove the dead foliage from your Earth Star Bromeliad by cutting at the base with a sharp, clean knife or a pair of scissors.

Earth Star Bromeliads Propagation

Earth Star Bromeliads (Cryptanthus spp) Propagation: Earth Star Bromeliad can be propagated from offsets (pups) appearing at the base of the plant.

How to propagate Earth Star Bromeliads from offsets (pups)

Earth Star Bromeliads propagation from offsets (pups): When the Earth Star Bromeliad offset (pup) 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 Earth Star Bromeliad offset has some roots attached to it and pant the offset shallowly in loose, free-draining bark soil.

Use a shallow heavy pot to prevent your Earth Stars Bromeliad from toppling over as it can get top-heavy.

Ensure the Earth Star Bromeliad is well supported to prevent it from toppling over as its has a small root system.

Place the set up in a warm, shaded place until the new Earth Star Bromeliad plant is well established after which you can begin routine care.

Earth star bromeliad, Cryptanthus spp

Earth Star Bromeliad (Cryptanthus spp) Problems Indoors

Earth Star Bromeliad (Cryptanthus spp) problems indoors are due to cultural faults in humidity, lighting and watering. Read on for the remedies and solutions.

Earth Star Bromeliad pale brown leaf patches

Earth Star Bromeliad pale brown leaf patches are due to exposure of the Bromeliad to direct sunlight.

Earth Star Bromeliad does not like to be exposed to direct sunlight as direct sunlight causes sunscorch. Protect it from direct sunlight or move it to a shadier spot.

Earth Star Bromeliad dark, soft, drooping, long leaves

Inadequate light for your Earth Star Bromeliads is the cause of dark, soft, drooping, long leaves. Move the Earth Star Bromeliad to a brighter spot as it prefers bright light but away from direct sunlight. It can also grow under a grow light.

Earth Star Bromeliad brown leaf tips

Earth Star Bromeliad brown leaf tips are caused by too dry air (low humidity. Earth Star Bromeliad grows best in a humid environment.

To raise humidity for your Earth Star Bromeliad, set the pot on a wet pebble tray or use a cool mist humidifier. Check out these techniques on how to raise humidity for houseplants.

Earth Star Bromeliads can also be grown in a terrarium as high humidity can be maintained inside a terrarium. Read on how to make a closed terrarium for houseplants.

Earth Star Bromeliad pests

Earth Star Bromeliad pests are scales and mealy bugs. Isolate the affected plant to prevent spread to other houseplants and treat it appropriately for the pests.

Earth Star Bromeliad dying

Earth Star Bromeliad dying is due to two reasons. One reason is if the Earth Star Bromeliad has not flowered, the cause of death is root-rot disease due to soggy soil.

The other reason is, if the Earth Star Bromeliad has flowered then rotting and death of rosette which bore flower-stalk is natural to give room for the new plants (pups).

Remove the dead foliage from your Earth Star Bromeliad by cutting at the base with a clean knife or a pair of scissors to create space for the new plants (pups).

Is Earth Star Bromeliad (Cryptanthus spp) toxic?

Earth Star Bromeliads (Cryptanthus spp) are non-toxic to humans and pets. The plants are safe to grow indoors.

However, the leaves of Earth Star Bromeliad bear short spines which may cause physical injury if handled with bare hands. Always wear gloves when handling your Earth Star Bromeliad to prevent injury.

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