22:12 All cryptanthus species make good houseplants. They thrive in the sunniest places and if treated well are almost trouble-free^ In the wild, these ground-hugging star-shaped bromeliads (see pp. 48 49) are found growing mainly on rocks, on the moss-covered roots of trees, or in the debris on the floor of the rain forest.
Cryptanthus acaulis also called the starfish plant, spreads to 9in/23cm across and has medium green, tough leaves covered with gray scales, or ‘ scurf. The leaves are not easily spoiled by handling. The scales absorb water and nutrients from the air or from tropical downpours.
The root system is shallow. Special care must be taken to ensure that it does not dry out completely, especially in winter, since that may encourage infestation by root mealybugs. C.a. ‘Ruber has leaves with the margin and center purple-bronze and deep buff-yellow scales; the leaves of C.a. ‘Roseo-pictus’ and C.a. ‘Roseus’ have a reddish tinge.
HEIGHT To 5in/13cm.
POTTING MIX Peat-moss-based or equal parts of peat moss and leaf mold, with a little fresh sphagnum moss to ensure good drainage.
REPOTTING When the rosettes need separating, probably only every 2 years or so.
PROPAGATION In spring, remove offsets at the base of the plant and pot in a barely moist mix of peat moss and sand.
KEEPING PLANTS In the right conditions, these are long-lived plants.
Cryptanthus Acaulis Bromeliaceae Green Earth Star PLANT CARE
- Direct or subdued sunlight.
- About 75°F/24°C for flowering; a minimum winter temperature of 60°F/16°C.
- Water sparingly; allow the top half of the soil to dry out between waterings.
- Mist the leaves with weak liquid fertilizer occasionally during the spring and summer.
- Lack of light will make the leaves appear dull; move the plant to brighter
- If the atmosphere position, Free drainage is essential; the plant will rot at the base if the soil is too wet.