Earth Star Bromeliad Care
Cryptanthus spp. are commonly known as earth star bromeliad, which is a perfect nickname. (Unlike Monstera deliciosa, which is commonly called split-leaf philodendron even though it is not a Philodendron.) Earth star bromeliad grow in a star-like pattern and are a genus under the Bromeliaceae family. See? Perfect!
While the majority of bromeliads are epiphytes, Cryptanthus spp. are terrestrial. This means they grow in soil as opposed to on host plants in substrate, such as staghorn fern, tillandsia, and orchids. As such, Cryptanthus spp. are great houseplants.
Keep slightly damp. Water when soil is dry to the touch. Underwatering = brown patches. Overwatering = root rot, yellow leaves. Tolerates occasional short periods of drought. Never pour water into the centre of the rosettes as it can cause mildew & fungal growth.
Bright indirect - direct morning or evening sun. Brighter light = better coloring but midday sun is too intense. Too much light = withered & shriveled leaves. Too low light = color loss.
Medium - high. Low humidity = leaf tips brown & curl. Tolerates average household humidity.
Soil & Potting
Prefers soil with higher acidity. Use a bromeliad mix or peat-based potting soil. Pot should drain.
60 - 85°F is ideal. Tolerates up to 100°F (increase watering frequency). Suffers in temps below 40°F.
Blooming & Lifecycle
Blooms once when approx. 3-years old. Will produce offshoots called 'pups' following the blooming phase. Pups can be removed once they are 1/3 - 1/2 the size of the mother plant. Mother plant will eventually die.