Home > Great Big Greenhouse Blog > August 2015 > The Great Indoors-Cryptanthus

The Great Indoors-Cryptanthus

The common name of “Earth Star” refers to the flattened star-like rosette of leaves that hug the ground, while the botanical name of “cryptanthus” comes from the Greek (cryptos, hidden, and anthos, flower) and refers to the small flowers that are tucked into the center of the rosette.  These terrestrial members of the bromeliad family are native to Brazil, and come in a variety of colors and patterns.  Unlike many of the epiphytic bromeliads, earth stars take their moisture and nutrients in through their roots, rather than the trichomes on their leaves as, for instance, do Tillandsias.

Cryptanthus prefer bright indirect light, not strong direct sun.  Keep the soil moist but not saturated, and provide good drainage.  It is important to maintain higher humidity, either by a pebble tray or by planting in an open terrarium (open for good air circulation.)  An African violet fertilizer works well, applied regularly at ½ strength.

Like many other bromeliads, cryptanthus are monocarpic, flowering once and then slowly dying and leaving plantlets or “pups”, which form around the parent plant, to take over.  These pups can then be potted up individually.
Posted: 8/28/2015 by Margot | with 0 comment(s)
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