The Guzmania genus has more than 150 species and nearly all are tank-forming. Most have shiny dark green leaves and some are colorful. The inflorescence of Guzmanias are their most desirable asset; these may be compact heads or elongated spikes resembling fountains. Color may develop in large primary bracts, the central leaves, the flowers or all of these. A flowering plant can remain colorful for months. In the wild, Guzmanias grow in montane tropical forests in wetter, cooler and shadier habits. They need more care but can grow well if one pays attention to their needs. There are hundreds of hybrids that are adapted to the home environment.
Guzmanias can adapt to darker conditions than most bromeliads. Many do not tolerate extreme summer heat, but others do. Night temperatures of 60-68°F/16-20°C is ideal for most. Water quality is very important and they are intolerant to hard, alkaline or salty water. Flush the water in the center with bottled or rain water frequently and the plants should do well. The potting mix must be acidic. A 1:1 mix of coarse peat moss and fir bark produces good results. Feeding promotes a healthy size of these plants. Use an acidic fertilizer without boron, zinc or copper micronutrients. Add a slow release fertilizer to the potting mix or use liquid fertilizer only if dilute.
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