Cryptanthus plants love very bright locations but far from direct sunlight, especially during the hottest periods of the year; the colour of the leaves of the bromelia tends to fade if the plants are grown in excessively dark places. They fear the cold, the ideal growth temperature is around 15-20 ° C, so in winter they should be grown indoors or in a temperate greenhouse.
As far as the summer temperatures are concerned, they do not have any problems if they reach 30°C, if the environment in which they are placed guarantees the correct degree of humidity. To understand if the brightness is adequate, just look at the leaves; if they lighten, they are placed in a place that is too bright, while if they are too shady, the leaves will tend to lose their mottling.
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I cryptanthus need constant and regular watering, so that the soil is kept constantly moist, but without exceeding and avoiding water stagnation.
From March to October, provide fertilizer for green plants dissolved in the water of the watering every week.
Increase the ambient humidity by often vaporizing the leaves with distilled water, especially during the summer period or when the plants are placed in environments with a high temperature, as can happen when the radiators are on.
The Bromelia prefers loose soils, well drained, rich of organic matter; for a correct development of the rooting apparatus, it is good to repot the plant at least every two years, and to supply containers of not too small size.
It is not necessary to wait for a particular period for repotting, the important thing is that the temperature is rather constant, around 20 °C, so that the plant can adapt to the new soil in the best possible way.
A mixture of peat, soil and sand can be the ideal solution to have a soil that is well drained.
To multiply the Cryptanthus plants, in spring or summer the axillary shoots are detached, taking care to remove the first 2-3 leaves and to immerse them in the rooting hormone; they are rooted directly in a single container, often watering the substratum, which must consist of balanced soil of good quality. Keep the new plants in a warm and semi-shady place, avoiding exposure to sunlight; sometimes they take months to develop the root system.
It may also be possible to proceed with the multiplication of Bromelia by seed, even if it is a more difficult technique that does not guarantee to obtain plants that have the same characteristics as the mother.
Bromelia – Cryptanthus: Pests and diseases
The specimens can sometimes be attacked by aphids or mites, although the cryptanthus are much more resistant to insect attack and disease than other bromeliads. Cochineal can make its appearance on the leaves of these plants; in this case, it is possible to intervene for their elimination by using a cloth with alcohol, or by washing the leaves with water and neutral soap, to be eliminated then carefully.
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