One of the prettiest of bromeliads, this is also one of the easiest to grow. Its tough, straplike, tooth-edged, olive green leaves, which can be as much as 16in/40cm long and V2in/13mm wide, arch over in an attractively random fashion.
The pendant flowers, which usually appear in late spring, are tinged with blue, yellow, pink, and green and are encased in pink bracts.
Nectar formed within the small flowers sometimes drops out when the plant is touched or moved, giving it its common name; it is also called the friendship plant.
A much underrated, easy-care plant, this billbergia is seen to best effect when grown at eye-level, as in a hanging container, which will show off the pendulous bracts to full advantage.
While most plants in elevated locations may suffer as a result of dry conditions, billbergias are much more tolerant, and small hanging pots can be plunged into water occasionally to give them a good soak.
ORIGIN Argentina; Brazil; Uruguay.
HEIGHT To 16in/40cm in flower.
POTTING MIX Commercial bromeliad or orchid potting mixture, or soilless potting mix.
REPOTTING In spring, in a pot up to 5in/13cm in diameter.
PROPAGATION Detach offsets when they are half the size of the parent plant. Let the cut surface dry for a day or so before potting up.
KEEPING PLANTS Empty the water reservoir in the center of the rosette once a month and refill with fresh water.
Billbergia Nutans Bromeliaceae Queen’s tears PLANT CARE
- Keep in good light but out of direct sunlight to maintain good leaf color and promote flowering.
- Normal room temperature, but will tolerate temperatures as low as 35°-40°F/2°-4°C for a short while.
- Water moderately all year-round, with rainwater or cool boiled water.
- Apply weak liquid fertilizer every 2 weeks both to the soil and as a foliar spray