The decorative Cryptanthus [krip-TAN-thus] ‘Earth Star’ is an unusual plant with a flat rosette of leaves. These plants can reach up to 2′ feet across despite their flat shape. The short plant comes in a variety of shades, including red, green, and white.
Cryptanthus plants are part of the Bromeliad plant family and are native to Brazil.
- Cryptanthus Quick Care Tips
- Tips On Bromeliad Earth Star Plant Care
- Propagating Cryptanthus Plants
- Cryptanthus Pests or Diseases
- Uses For Cryptanthus Bromeliad
Cryptanthus Quick Care Tips
- Botanical Name: Cryptanthus spp.
- Common Name(s): Earth Star, Starfish Plant
- Synonyms: None
- Family & Origin: Bromeliaceae family, native to Brazil
- Growability: Easy to grow
- Grow Zone: 8-11
- Size: 6-12′ inches tall and wide
- Flowering: Rarely flowers indoors
- Light: Bright, indirect light
- Humidity: High humidity preferred
- Temperature: 65-75°F
- Soil: Well-draining soil
- Water: Keep soil moist but not waterlogged
- Fertilizer: Use a balanced fertilizer every 2-3 months
- Pests & Diseases: Mealybugs, spider mites, and scale insects can be a problem. Root rot can occur if overwatered.
- Propagation: Division of offsets or pups
- Plant Uses: Indoor plant, terrarium plant, and ground cover in tropical gardens.
Tips On Bromeliad Earth Star Plant Care
Size and Growth
Cryptanthus earth star plants come in different varieties and colors. Most species of Cryptanthus (the botanical name) grow from a flattened rosette. The leaves are wavy and feature a striped pattern.
Its beautiful foliage may range from dark green, bright reds, and silvery stripes to variegated.
They are typically available in various shades of red, green, white, and pink.
The earth star bromeliad care can become increasingly difficult as it gets quite big. When grown outdoors in ideal conditions, it can reach up to two feet across. However, it doesn’t get very tall.
Flowering and Fragrance
- The pink earthstar plant will produce flowers once in its lifetime.
- The tubular white flowers often remain partially hidden in the middle of the rosette.
- While the flowers do have a fragrance, it’s barely noticeable.
- The earth star plants may take several years to flower.
- Unfortunately, the cryptanthus plants only live a short time after flowering.
- After the flowers come and go, the earth stars mother plant slowly begins to die.
- After blooming, offsets will then appear around the mother plant.
- Propagate the plant and extend its life.
Bromeliad Cryptanthus Care: Light and Temperature Requirements
Cryptanthus bromeliads grow outdoors under the cover of trees in USDA hardiness zones 8 to 11.
The pink star plant care can get tricky during winter, for it won’t survive freezing winter temperatures since it’s native to humid conditions.
You can recreate humid environments resembling their natural habitat by misting the plant frequently or providing a room humidifier or humidity tray.
When grown as indoor plants, normal room temperature is fine. Outdoors, this plant should receive 65° to 75° degrees Fahrenheit weather.
Bright indirect light or light shade throughout the day is the best option.
When grown indoors, place it in any window except a large southern-facing window where it may get too much direct sun.
Cryptanthus needs lots of indirect light but not direct sunlight. The bright UV rays can scorch, burn, bleach, and kill the leaves.
In addition, remember that if your plant is fading or drooping, it’s not getting enough light. Low light levels will result in loss of color, too.
Watering and Feeding
Another important aspect of cryptanthus elaine care is watering. During the summer, water frequently. In the winter, water sparingly. When grown in containers or pots, ensure it has adequate drainage holes.
Apply diluted liquid fertilizer during the spring. In the summer and fall, avoid adding any additional fertilizer.
NOTE: Don’t pour water into the rosette. Always water the soil, as water can get trapped in the leaves and cause mildew or fungal growth.
Soil and Transplanting
Porous, moist soil or any soil medium with good drainage should be used.
To create the perfect soil conditions, combine regular potting soil with an equal amount of leaf mold, coco coir, orchid bark, perlite, sphagnum moss, or peat moss.
A little extra sand can also help create better drainage while keeping the soil moist.
Transplanting is rarely needed, as Cryptanthus doesn’t grow very fast and may only last a few years. They have small root systems; the roots are also delicate and don’t always survive repotting.
Maintenance and Grooming
Grooming or pruning isn’t necessary. The only step needed is the removal of dead flowers or leaves.
Popular Cryptanthus Varieties Include:
- Cryptanthus Bivittatus – striking striped, mottled foliage, hues of green and reddish-brown.
- Cryptanthus Black Mystic – deep, almost black foliage
- Cryptanthus Elaine – star-shaped foliage, mesmerizing pink stripes with distinct bronze-green coloration.
Propagating Cryptanthus Plants
Cryptanthus produces offsets throughout the year and is one of the easiest propagation methods for this plant.
While the mother plant slowly dies after flowering, this allows pups to develop, so you can keep it going by collecting the offset pups.
Instead of dropping the offsets in the soil around the foliage and growth, the offsets are found between the leaves.
The offsets should be left in place until you plan to propagate.
The offsets can be removed carefully and placed in the same type of soil mix recommended for the mother plant Earth stars.
After placing the offsets in their own pots, cover them with plastic and add ventilation holes. Set the pots in a bright spot.
Within two to three months, the plant’s root systems should develop.
Cryptanthus Pests or Diseases
Cryptanthus are not prone to any major diseases or attacks from pests.
But like many houseplants, its biggest threat is overwatering.
- Earthstar plants have delicate leaves and roots.
- Constant moisture can cause rot and fungal growth or disease, including rust disease, leaf spot, and crown and root rot.
- If the rot spreads to the rosette, the entire Pink starlight plant will likely die.
- The affected areas can be trimmed off if the rot is detected early.
- Plants should be transplanted into a new container and carefully observed for several weeks.
- If it looks like your plant may die, try to collect offsets from between the leaves to propagate the Cryptanthus.
Scale insects may pose a problem. When these pests are detected, remove them with a cotton swab. Insecticide isn’t recommended, as it may damage the plant.
Other insect pests that may occasionally attack Cryptanthus pink star include mealybugs, spider mites, and whiteflies.
Uses For Cryptanthus Bromeliad
Pink earth star plant are epiphytes or air plants that should be grown indoors in a pot or container in most regions.
All the different varieties look great in a bathroom with their unique foliage. They also make perfect plants for a terrarium because of their thirst for humidity.
It also pairs well with other plants in the Bromeliad family and tropical-type flowers, such as orchids.