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Plant Care Guide >> Cactii & Suculents >> Cryptanthus spp.
The genus Cryptanthus consists of about 50 terrestrial species commonly called earth stars because of their shape. The variability of shapes, colours, and patterns, plus their adaptability to a wide range of growing conditions, make Cryptanthus a favorite of plant lovers around the world. Cryptanthus make wonderful accent plants in well-lit bathrooms or above the kitchen sink where the humidity is generally high. Cryptanthus are grown for their bright and colorful leaves rather than for their flowers.
Common name:

Earth Stars, Starfish Plant

Botanical Name:

Cryptanthus spp.

Family:

Bromeliaceae

Foliage:

Cryptanthus are prized for their foliage. They have many narrow leaves tapering to a sharp point. A few species have spoon-shaped leaves which have the appearance of being carried on a petiole (leaf stem). Several species have very narrow, even grassy, leaves. Leaf edges are usually undulated and armed with fine teeth. Leaf undersides covered with scales (trichomes).The leaf color varies between green, pink, red, maroon, chestnut, near black.

Flowers:

The plants have inconspicuous white flowers.

Light:

Bright, diffused light is necessary to bring out maximum colour in most Cryptanthus.

Temperature:

The plant prefers average to warm temperature.

Soil:

The growing medium should be a loose, porous mixture.

Humidity:

Cryptanthus prefer high humidity.

Watering:

They must be kept damp for best growth. It should never be allowed to totally dry out.

Pest and Problems:

Cryptanthus are relatively pest-free. Two of the more common insect problems that may be encountered are mealy bugs or scale.

It could also suffer from crown rot if the plant is too wet.

Growth habit:

The plants have low-spreading rosettes of six to 20 leaves. Most grow in shady moist areas, some grow in rocky terrain, a few grow in full sun. They are dependent on their root system for water supply, since they do not store in their centers. A very few are succulent and can store water in their leaves.

Fertilizing:

Add slow-release fertilizer to the potting mix and feed with liquid fertilizer as well.

Pruning:

No pruning is necessary for the plants.

Propagation:

Propagation is done from offsets that appear between the leaves.

Special Care:

The plants require minimal care.

Landscaping Utility:

Cryptanthus should always be growing as potted plants. They are excellent plants for terrariums.

Uses:

attractive foliage in pots, accent plants

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