This popular houseplant as Cryptanthus (Cryptanthus) is directly related to the Bromeliaceae family. It has no stems and the elongated leaflets are arranged in a rather small and showy rosette. For this reason this plant is also called "Earth Star ". Under natural conditions it can be found in eastern Brazil.
The leaflets are rather long, broad at the base and narrower towards the end.
Often have wavy edges. The foliage can be colored in different colors, namely various shades of brown-red, white, green, pink or yellow. Species with patterned or striped leaves are often grown at home.
Small flowers, hidden in a leaf rosette. When flowering ends, the mother rosette dies, but before that happens, many offspring (daughter side shoots) appear near it.
Cryptanthus differs from the epiphytic members of its family in that it has well-developed roots and needs nutritious soil. It also has the smallest and most showy leaf rosettes. You can use ordinary flowerpots for cultivation, since this flower is not capricious despite the fact that it needs high air humidity.
This plant in room conditions is recommended to be placed in a half-closed or closed glass container such as a terrarium or florarium. It can also be added to a miniature garden in a bottle made up of plants that like moisture.
Cryptanthus is a star among bromeliads. An unpretentious indoor plant.
Cryptanthus care at home
This is a light loving plant that prefers bright light. However, it requires shade from the midday sun in summertime. The plant feels well in any light, but the more light, the brighter the pattern.
In the cold season the flower also needs good light. Daylight lamps are recommended for extra light.
In summer time the air temperature should be within 22 to 24 degrees. During the cold season, a lower temperature of 18 to 20 degrees will do. When growing Cryptanthus in room conditions, a temperature of 15 to 24 degrees is quite suitable.
You need to protect this plant from sudden temperature fluctuations as well as cold drafts.
Needs high humidity. It needs frequent spraying, experienced florists advise placing cryptanthus near a humidifier. During the heating season when the humidity in the apartment is low, it is recommended to put the plants in a terrarium.
How to water
Pouring should be quite moderate as the root system is quite small and can easily begin to rot.
During the summer, the soil should be constantly moist, but not wet. Do not allow the groundball to dry out. In the autumn-winter period (when Cryptanthus is dormant), watering should be slightly reduced, but the substrate should always be slightly damp.
Feeding is done during intensive growth once a month during the summer. Special fertilizers designed for bromeliads are used for this purpose.
No fertilizing is done during the cold season.
Cryptanthus hardly needs transplanting, only as needed, since its growth is extremely slow. The flower pot is chosen low, but quite wide. When the plant is an adult it can start to flower and at this time it may need extra space for the resulting offshoots and offspring.
Soil should be water permeable to avoid stagnant liquid.
A good mixture is made up of sphagnum moss, humus, leaf litter, pine bark and top peat in a 1:0.5:1:3:1 ratio. A bromeliad earth mixture can also be purchased. The height of the drainage layer is equal to a third of the pot.
Reproduction of Cryptanthus
In room conditions, this plant is propagated by lateral shoots.
After Cryptanthus blooms, it dies, but before that many offspring grows around it. It is advisable to transplant them into pots separately after a couple of months, by which time the young plants should have roots and grow 3 or 4 leaves. After carefully separating the side sprout with their roots, they should be transplanted into a separate pot.
After transplanting the young plants need heat (26-28 degrees). They also need high air humidity, and to provide it, you need to make a hood from a transparent bag.
Do not forget to air every day cryptanthus, removing the hood for a while. Once the foliage begins to grow actively, the flower can be cared for as an adult plant.
Propagation of Cryptanthus by cuttings
- Dry tips at the leaves - too little humidity.
- Slack leaves and nothing changes after watering - rotted roots.
- Brownish spots on the leaves - burns left by sunlight.
- Decaying rot - cold draft or overwatering.
Cryptanthus species with photos
Cryptanthus stemless (Cryptanthus acaulis)
This is the most popular species in home cultivation. This herbaceous perennial has no stem or a very short one. The pointed, narrow-lanceolate, leathery leaves have wavy edges. They can grow to about 20 centimeters in length.
It comes with small, sharp teeth along the edge of the leaflets. There are often lighter stripes on the green leaves. There are varieties with green-pink leaves. Its florets are white.
Cryptanthus bivittatus (Cryptanthus bivittatus)
The leaves are not as long (7-10 centimeters).
The not-so-large leaf rosette (up to 15 centimeters in diameter) is quite dense. On the wavy edges of the leaves have small teeth. They are colored pale green, and on their surface there are 2 longitudinal light stripes. There are varieties with leaves in pink and red color, and their stripes are light or green. The white flowers are rather unsightly.
Excellent for a miniature garden in a glass vessel.
Cryptanthus bromelioides (Cryptanthus bromelioides)
Unlike other species, it has a distinctive short trunk. The bright leaves are colored in various shades from copper-red to green. Their edges are serrated, wavy. The "Tricolor" variety, which has spectacular white, green, and pink-red stripes on the leaves, is usually available in stores.
Cryptanthus cross-striped (Cryptanthus zonatus)
The leathery leaves have spectacular cross-striped coloration. The leaves grow up to 20 centimeters in length. A large number of transverse stripes colored white or yellow are placed on a dark green or plain green background. There are white flowers are very small. It has produced a large number of varieties that differ not only in the color of the leaves but also in the transverse pattern.
Cryptanthus fosterianus (Cryptanthus fosterianus)
It is similar to the transverse-striped, but its leaves are somewhat longer and not as wide. They are 4 centimeters wide and 30 to 40 centimeters long. They are narrowed at the base. They have finely serrated, wavy edges. The leaflets are brownish-reddish in color from above and have zigzag stripes of a silvery hue.
The underside is densely covered with scales.
Cryptanthus "earth star"