Cryptanthus - Bromeliaceae - How to care for and grow Cryptanthus plants

Cryptanthus - Bromeliaceae - How to care for and grow Cryptanthus plants

We are searching data for your request:

Forums and discussions:
Manuals and reference books:
Data from registers:
Wait the end of the search in all databases.
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.



They are plants that adapt very well to being grown in pots or even outdoors, in temperate climate areas and are mostly small plants, very decorative thanks to their variously colored and mottled leaves.






: Angiosperms


: Monocotyledins


: Commelinoids











: see the paragraph on "Main species"


The genre Cryptanthus belonging to Bromeliaceae family and to Bromelioideae subfamily it includes about 20 species of terrestrial plants (unlike most plants belonging to this large family).

They are almost all native to Brazil where they form real grassy carpets.

Their peculiarity is that most of the species are almost all stemless and the leaves form a rosette almost at ground level.

The leaves are very decorative and can be mottled or streaked, of the most varied colors: brown, pink, green, silver, gray, copper, pink, white or red. They produce small, mostly inconspicuous cream colored flowers.

They are plants that adapt very well to being grown in pots or even outdoors, in temperate climate areas and are mostly small plants.


In the genus we find about twenty species among which we remember:


There Cryptanthus acaulis it is characterized by wavy leaves and slightly thorny margins. It is small in size, not exceeding 15 cm in height and for this reason it is one of the most cultivated species at home.

It has leaves of a beautiful pale green color on the upper page while on the lower one they are covered with small silvery white scales. They form the characteristic central well typical of bromeliads.

Among the different species it is the one that produces the most beautiful and fragrant flowers.

There are numerous varieties among which we remember: C. acaulis var. ruberwith purple shaded leaves.


There Cryptanthus bivittatus it is characterized by lanceolate leaves with wavy margins, quite thin and thorny. It produces very small white flowers, quite insignificant.

We find several varieties: C. bivittatus var. atropuepurea with purple shaded leaves; C. minor with olive green leaves with reddish-brown bands; C. majuswith leaves tending to reddish; C. tricolor with narrow and leathery leaves of a beautiful olive green color with cream colored edges and tinged with salmon-pink.


There Cryptanthus beuckery it has the leaves of a particular shape, almost like a spoon that come together to form a very large rosette.

It is a very small plant in fact it does not exceed 15 cm in height and has leaves of a beautiful intense green color speckled with white and streaked with pink with slightly toothed margins and a scaly underside.


There Cryptanthus bromelioides it is a larger species than the previous ones, in fact it can reach 35 cm in height.

It is characterized by leaves of a beautiful intense green color on the upper page and silver-white in the lower one due to the presence of small scales, slightly fleshy, bronzed, even 20 cm long and with slightly wavy margins.

There are numerous varieties but the most widespread is the C. bromelioides var. tricolorwith longitudinal white streaks tinged with pink.


There Cryptanthus zonatus it is a small species not exceeding 10 cm in height. It is characterized by leaves with white transverse streaks.

There Cryptanthus zonatus var. zebrinus it has very colorful leaves.


There Cryptanthus fosterianus produces large rosettes of leaves characterized by numerous horizontal gray streaks on the upper page while on the lower page there is a thick layer of gray scales. The leaves are fleshy, slightly wavy and with the margins provided with small thorns.

It is very similar to the C. zonatus var. zebrinus but it differs in size as it remains much smaller.


There Cryptanthus lacerdae it is characterized by leaves of a beautiful dark green color with white longitudinal stripes and with toothed silver margins.


The Cryptanthus they are very simple plants to grow as they do not require great cultural care. In this discussion we refer to the species that are normally present in our apartments.

Being a plant native to the Brazilian jungle, it needs high temperatures to grow: in winter it is advisable that they do not drop below 15 ° C and in summer they can easily tolerate temperatures of 30 ° C and even more provided that a excellent environmental humidity and the soil always remains moist.

If they are grown outdoors (we recommend in pots if we are in areas where the temperatures become too cold during the winter) and therefore the temperatures could drop excessively, it will be necessary to keep the plant dry and protect the roots by arranging mulch (for example straw. ) above the ground where the roots are which will avoid an excessive lowering of the temperature at the root level; the plant may also defoliate but with healthy roots, as soon as the warm season resumes the plant will recover.

As for the light conditions, they need excellent lighting, without direct sun, but be careful that it is not excessive, the same plant will be an excellent indicator because if the leaves become too light it means that the light is excessive. vice versa if it is too little, the leaves lose their mottling.

It is strongly recommended not to use products to polish the leaves but to simply clean them with a soft cloth moistened with water.


From spring and throughout the summer there Cryptanthus water it frequently enough to keep the soil constantly moist (not soaked). Never let the soil dry out.During the winter, water just enough to keep the soil slightly moist.

They are plants that love humid environments so it is good to spray the leaves almost daily during the summer. It is also advisable to place the vase in a saucer that contains pebbles and where there will always be a trickle of water so that by evaporating it will guarantee a humid environment, making sure that the bottom of the vase does not come into contact with the water.


There Cryptanthus it is repotted when it is observed that the pot has become too small to contain it. It is not necessary to do this at a specific time of the year, the important thing is that a minimum temperature of 21 ° C can be guaranteed, which is necessary for the roots to stabilize in the new soil.

A porous and loose mixture made up of peat, a little coarse sand and perlite is used to ensure the rapid draining of excess irrigation water as they do not like water stagnation.

They do not like to have forced roots so in choosing the pot, first of all choose terracotta pots that allow the earth to breathe, also choose it of a size at least equal to those of the plant.


They do not need large fertilizations.

From spring and throughout the summer it is fertilized once a month using a liquid fertilizer to be diluted in the irrigation water, halving the doses compared to what is indicated on the package.

Use a fertilizer balanced in nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (k) in the measure of 10:10:10 or 14:14:14 (which means: 10 parts of nitrogen, 10 parts of phosphorus and 10 parts of potassium). You will not have difficulty finding it for example among the fertilizers of orchids.


There Cryptanthus it blooms only once in its life and then the mother plant dies. This must not sadden or hope that it does not bloom because in any case the plant in the meantime will have provided (before or immediately after flowering) to produce, generally at its base, a series of suckers that will guarantee the perpetuation of the species.

Among the different species, the C. acaulis (photo below) is the one that provides the most beautiful and also fragrant flowers. The flowers are however small and are formed in the center of the rosette from which they do not come out.

C. acaulis


The plant cannot be pruned, only the possibly damaged leaves are removed.

Even in the case of pruning I will never tire of repeating it: sterilize, possibly with the flame, the shears you use to cut especially when you switch from one plant to another.


The multiplication can take place by the division of the shoots or by seed.

In choosing the technique to be adopted, it is necessary to keep in mind that if we multiply the plant by seed, taking over the genetic variability, we are not sure of having a plant equal to the mother plant. Therefore, if you want to have a precise plant it is good to do the multiplication by suckers.


After flowering the old rosette of leaves gradually dies but before this the plant develops, usually at the base, new shoots (or in the center of the rosette).

Once these shoots have reached a height of at least 1/3 or 1/4 of the mother plant they can be detached.

Proceed in this way: remove all the plant from the pot and carefully separate the shoots by dividing the roots (use a sharp and flame-disinfected knife). The new shoots at that point you can transplant them into single pots using a mixture as indicated for adult plants.

Then place the pot in a bright place (not in direct sun) and where there is a constant minimum temperature of 21 ° C and the environment must remain humid.

When the new leaves begin to appear, it means that the new plant has taken root. Then curate it as if it were an adult.


They are not plants particularly prone to diseases.In any case, the pathologies that can be found are the following:

The leaves fade and lose their colors

This symptom is attributable to excessive lighting.
Remedies: move the plant to a less bright place and within a few weeks it will recover.

The leaves lose their mottling

This symptom is attributable to poor lighting.
Remedies: move the plant to a more suitable place.

Leaves that turn brown starting from the tips

This symptomatology is due to a too dry environment.

Remedies: increase the environmental humidity and better regulate irrigation by making sure that the soil is always moist (not wet).

Spots on the underside of the leaves

Spots on the underside of the leaves could mean that you are in the presence of cochineal and in particular the mealy occinilla. To be sure, it is recommended that you make use of a magnifying glass and observe yourself. Compare them with the photo on the side. They are features, you can't go wrong. Also if you try to remove them with a fingernail, they come off easily.

Remedies: remove them with a cotton swab soaked in alcohol or you can wash it with water and neutral soap by rubbing very gently with a sponge to remove the parasites, after which the plant must be rinsed very well to remove all the soap.


The name Cryptanthus derives from Latin krypte "Hidden" y anthos "Flower" to indicate the fact that the flowers remain hidden among the leaves. This fact, however, is partially true as the flowers, even if in most of the species they are small and inconspicuous, are still visible. It is thought that this is probably due to the fact that the flowers are not as showy as for example in theGuzmaniaor in theAechmea.

In English these plants are called with a very poetic name earth stars "Stars of the earth" due to the fact that they are small, flat and grow at ground level, almost embracing the earth.

Video: Cryptanthus bromelioides - grow u0026 care Starfish Plant


  1. Marian

    What words... super, an excellent phrase

  2. Laban


  3. Shakam

    don't like this

  4. Meleagant

    It is stupidity!

  5. Nasih

    There is something similar?

  6. Nelkree

    YES, this is on time

  7. Kar

    What necessary phrase... super, remarkable idea

Write a message