Cryptanthus (Cryptanthus), zebra and colored rosettes: culture, maintenance

The cryptanthe (Cryptonthus) is a houseplant in our latitudes, native to eastern Brazil where it grows on the ground or on rocks in dry woods, up to 1600m altitude. It is afraid of cold and thrives at least 15°C. Its root system is very low.

The evergreen leaves form a flattened, flared, star-shaped rosette, without a stem (acaule). The ribbon-like leaves, 10 to 20cm long, have wavy edges and are often attractively tinged with cream, pink, silvery bronze on a green background.

In the center of each rosette, corymbs of small, tubular, starry, white, sometimes fragrant flowers rise in summer.

According to the species of Cryptonthussuckers form in the axils of the leaves, or at the base of the plant, which are easily removed.

All cryptanthes are part of indoor plants with decorative leaves that stand out: many amateurs looking for quite original plants are interested in Cryptonthus. In addition, their ease of cultivation as well as their relatively modest size make them additional assets in small residences and for beginners trying their hand at growing green plants.

  • Family: Bromeliaceae
  • Type: evergreen perennial
  • Origin: Brazil
  • Color: white flowers, striped leaves
  • Sowing: yes
  • Cutting: no
  • Planting: spring
  • Flowering: summer
  • Height: 0.20 m (as much as the spread)

Perfect soil and exposure for cryptanthes

The Cryptonthus is grown in the sun or in bright light to get a good color of the leaves. A mixture of equal parts potting soil, coir and perlite will make a good substrate.

Cryptanthus sowing and planting date

Sowing can be carried out in warm (27°C) spring, but this is a matter for specialists.

The separation of the shoots is preferred, also in the spring, which you plant directly in a small pot around 20 ° C, so that they continue well.

It is not important to repot cryptanthes because their root system is reduced.

Cryptanthus conservation and culture council

The substrate should be kept moist from spring to early autumn, then slightly moist in winter, using non-calcareous water if possible: basting the pot allows effective watering by suction . Foliage sprays are also accepted once or twice a week, especially in winter when the heating dries up the environment.

No pruning is done.

Cryptanthus 'Eileen' or 'Elaine'

Diseases, pests and parasites of Cryptanthus

The Cryptonthus is not susceptible to diseases or to the attack of parasites or any kind of pests, although mealybugs can stay in the rosette.

Location and desirable association of Cryptanthus

It is a plant that grows in front of a bright window, on a ledge or in suspension, or even on a green wall with other plants.

Cryptanthus species and varieties are recommended for garden planting

genre Cryptonthus counting about 20 species in total of which Cryptanthus bivittatus stands out as the most commonly seen, with dark green, oblong leaves streaked with white or pink, with wavy and toothed edges.

Other species included Cryptanthus fosterianus (photo 1) with brownish-green or reddish-brown foliage transversely striped with purplish-brown or copper-purple, and a whitish scaly underside. Different Cryptanthus fosterianus ‘Pink Starlight’ offers olive green leaves splashed with deep pink.

This species is sometimes confused with Cryptanthus zonathus, another closely related species, also striped with white horizontally on a bronze-green ground, and this one has a variety. Cryptanthus zonathus ‘Zebrinus’, there are chocolate leaves with silver stripes.

Cryptanthus acaulis, grows more rapidly, and is conspicuous by its green leaves tinged with purplish purple.

Remember, the cultivar Cryptanthus ‘Eileen’ where ‘Elaine’ (photo 2) which forms stunning striped and bladed leaves in bright pink.

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