Scarlet Star

Botanical Name: Guzmania lingulata

Guzmania lingulata 'Scarlet Star' is one of the most common house plants from the Bromeliad family. Other popular cultivars have bright yellow or orange bracts.

Watering Tip

Bromes are sensitive to the chlorine and fluoride in tap water. Use rainwater and allow it to warm to room-temperature first. House plants hate cold water!

Its leathery, glossy green leaves grow in a rosette that creates an urn which must be filled with water at all times. This is the only plant I know of that should be watered in its center and will not rot.

After 3 or 4 years, 'Scarlet Star' produces a flower head made of bright red bracts that rise in the plant's center and last about 5 months. Its small, white true flowers are almost hidden by the bracts.

Bromeliads add dazzling color and a tropical feel to any room. Get one for your office, too, and make a bold statement. It grows well under the fluorescent light of offices. Keep it out of direct sunlight to prevent the bract color from fading.

Guzmania lingulata won't need repotted until it produces offsets. In fact, keeping it in a small container helps promote blooming.

If you want to cover up a plain nursery pot, just slip it in a decorative container. It's a good idea to place some small rocks in the bottom of the container to keep the nursery pot above the drainage water. Bromeliads have small root systems and won't tolerate soggy soil.

Plants bloom once and then die, a slow process that takes up to 3 years. Propagating its offsets -- or pups -- that grow at the base of the plant will give you a collection that blooms year after year.

Bromeliad Scarlet Star Growing Tips

scarlet star, bromeliad care, guzmania lingulata

Origin: Central and South America

Height: About 12 in (30 cm) high. Its leaves can reach up to 18 in (45 cm) long.

Light: Moderate to bright light. No direct sun.

Water: Water the center of the rosette and keep 1 in (2.5 cm) of room-temperature rainwater or distilled water in its urn (center of the rosette) at all times. Water soil just enough to keep the roots barely moist. Empty old water from the urn every week and promptly replace it with fresh water.

Humidity: Prefers high humidity.

Temperature: Average to warm 65-80°F/18-27°C

Soil: Bromeliad or orchid potting mix. Or mix equal parts fine-grade fir bark and all-purpose potting mix.

Fertilizer: Feed monthly spring through summer with a balanced liquid fertilizer diluted by half in the plant's urn, then empty it after 1 week and fill with water. Or mist the leaves with a weak foliar fertilizer once a month.

Propagation: Cut off the pups when they reach 3 in (7.5 cm) tall and plant them in fresh, barely moist potting mix. Maintain high humidity for the pups for the first month.

Green Thumb Tip

Put this tropical house plant in a bright location out of direct sun. Sun exposure can cause brown spots on leaves.

It will thrive in the bright artificial light of an office.

Buying Tip

New varieties of Guzmania lingulata are introduced all the time. Choose what you like -- they're all spectacular.

'Orange Star' has long-lasting orange bracts. 'Luna' is a popular variety with mauve bracts. 'Rana' is a newer hybrid with a slightly larger flower spike than the species, in orange-red.

Keep Growing

Discover many more types of bromes you can grow indoors. Take a look at these beautiful, tropical Bromeliad plants. This family includes some of the most stunning flowering plants... and they're easy to grow.

Take a Stand

Need more space for your house plants? Indoor plant stands may be just the solution. Take a look at these new ways to display your house plant collection.

Pots and Containers