Musings

Adding Colour to a Dull Corner

By Barbara-
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I am always found rearranging plants in my home when I feel they will look great elsewhere in the house. I am no stranger to the concept of having plants in every room in your home, so I try to place plants wherever ample light is available. I have a few plants in my bedroom by the window, however when my husband mentioned how bland our dresser looked, I thought, why not add a colourful plant to brighten that part of the room.  As I made a mental list of all the colourful plants I had, I settled on a few; an Aglaonema, a flower orchid and a Guzmania bromeliad. After playing around with them a little, I settled on the Guzmania which immediately lighted up the room. I also added a spider plant in a red vase for more colour.

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The genus Guzmania have over 120 species and I am not certain what species my plant is but my best guess is, it is G. lingulata or is it the cultivar “Allura”. In any case, it is part of the bromeliad family, which includes popular plant groups like Tillandisa, the Urn plant, the edible pineapple plant, and Cryptanthus.

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Guzmania bromeliads are epiphytic which means their roots are more for anchoring on trees, than for obtaining nutrients. They originate from South America, and love bright indirect light and a humid environment. They come in different colours (orange, red, yellow or purple) and have what appears to be a flower in the middle of their rosette-forming leaves. These ‘flowers’ are not flowers at all but actually many superimposed bracts that form a tall spike. After a couple of years, true flowers bloom from these bracts and only last a few days. The purple flowers that emerged from my Pink Quill plant (which is also a bromeliad) lasted for about 3 days each and then died.

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Just like the pink quill plant, once the flowering period ends, the bract wither and die. At this time you can gently cut off the dead bract from the plant with a clean sharp knife. Continue to care for your bromeliad as usually and not long after or even before the bract withers, you will see 1 or more pups emerging from the base of the plant. Once they are big enough (about 1/3 of the mother plant), you can take them off the mother, let it callous and plant in a potting mix while providing high humid conditions for the young one.

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a little pup spotted in between the leaves

As well as growing Guzmania mounted to a substrate (as in nature), you can also grow it in a container, which is the most common way you will find them bring sold. In bromeliads such as Guzmania which have a water-retaining cup, it is important to keep the cup full of water. Empty it and replace the water often to prevent the reservoir from becoming stale. I empty mine every week.  Rain water is best. I use tap water, which is not ideal. Distilled or filtered water might work as well. Also, water the potting mixture moderately allowing the top half-inch of the mixture from drying out. Although, I kept mine in a bright location for a while, the new location is not as bright.  It doesn’t appear to be suffering now so I’ll keep it there and see what happens. In fact I read they can tolerate low light conditions and can also be grown under fluorescent lighting  this would make a great office plant then

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This plant also goes by the common name Scarlet Star because it looks like a star when observed from the top down (as in the above picture)

I am sure many of you have tried to brighten up a boring corner, wall or table you have using plants. What colourful plants did you choose? Share below.

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Barbara

Hi, I’m Barbara and I’m a little obsessed with house plants. I share my house plant adventures in the hopes of inspiring you to continue to enjoy the greens in your home. And if you have no plants (yet!) I hope this blog inspires you to add some green to your home. So go on! Try it! I think you might quite like it. And who knows? You may end up being … obsessed too.

4 Comments

  1. Adorablest

    Hi Barbara, I have a pink moon cactus (yeh, I fell for those colourful grafted ones!) with some other hairy counterpart cacti in a bowl inside. The pink was fading fast, but since putting it outside for some sunbaking recently, it’s really hot pink again! I didn’t know this, but sure glad it’s back. Your arrangement is very striking and pretty 🙂

    16 . Jan . 2016
    • Barbara

      Great the colour returned. I have a yellow one and I like how it brightens among all the green in my plant space. Thanks for stopping by.

      16 . Jan . 2016
  2. Peter/Outlaw

    Your arrangement is wonderful! I love the way the pot for the spider plant and the rims on the baskets echo the red color of the bromeliad bloom.

    14 . Jan . 2016
    • Barbara

      Thanks Peter

      14 . Jan . 2016

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