House Plants/Guzmania lingulata
I have two lovely Guzmanias, (is that the plural of Guzmania?) a "torch" that's healthy and a decent size, as well as one with yellowish bracts. I found these plants discarded next to a dumpster and had to save them. As always, I took them out of their pots to check for pests etc, and while doing this, I believe I damaged the central cup, as it no longer holds water easily. I put some fallen leaves in the cup to help water retention, with the added benefit of simulating natural conditions. Before I did this, the leaves began to curl inward substantially, and turn brown and crisp at the edges. I have it in some soil for stability, but the soils moisture doesn't seem to be helping. Any suggestions? Is it maybe just her time to die anyway? If she is dying prematurely due to a cracked cup, will she still put out pups?
There is a reason your Guzmanias (correct pluralization!) were in the trash. Like all Bromeliads, Guzmanias produce one long lasting (about 3 months) flower before slowly dying over the course of a year or more. In the interim, offsets or baby plants emerge at the base of the mother plant to carry on. It is difficult to get the offsets to reach blooming size, so many folks discard Bromeliads after the original flower fades.
Th central cup is slowly dying so that it is why it cannot hold water properly. BTW, although these cups do help collect rainwater in their native habitats, it is not a good idea to put water in the cups when they are potted and kept indoors. The reason is that indoor air circulation is poor and the water often becomes stagnant and rots the leaves. In addition, in pots, Bromeliads develop root systems that are quite capable of supplying water when the soil is watered properly.
If your plants do not have any healthy offsets by now, then you should discard the plants. Otherwise, cut back the dying leaves of the mother plant. For the remaining offsets, provide lots of bright light and water the soil when it is dry halfway deep into the pot.
I have written articles on Bromeliad care that I will email for free to you (or anyone else) who emails a request to me at wcreed@HorticulturalHelp.com. I have also written an indoor plant care book in a PDF format that I can sell you if you contact me at my email address.
Please let me know if any of this is unclear or if you have any additional questions.
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Will Creed, Interior Landscaper
Horticultural Help, NYC
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