Guzmania Lingulata (Scarlet Star) Care & Growing Guide

Guzmania Lingulata (Scarlet Star) Care & Growing Guide

One of the most popular indoor plants from the Bromeliad family is Guzmania lingulata, also known as the scarlet star. Guzmania lingulata is renowned for its pink or red blossom bracts. This stunning red tropical plant also comes in other popular varieties with orange or yellow bracts.

Due to the popularity of this lovely plant, this article will go through Guzmania lingulata care and characteristics.

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    Guzmania Lingulata Overview

    Family Bromeliaceae
    Origin South East Mexico to Tropical America
    Names Scarlet Star, Droophead Tufted Airplant, Orange Star, Vase Plant
    Genus Guzmania
    Species Lingulata
    Dimensions Height: 1- 2 ft / Width: 1 - 2 ft
    Toxicity Non-toxic
    Life cycle Perennial
    USDA Hardiness Zones 10a, 10b, 11a, 11b, 12a, 12b
    Bloom Time Summer
    Foliage Evergreen
    Propagation method Offsets

    Guzmania Lingulata flower

    About Guzmania Lingulata

    Guzmania lingulata is a tropical plant in the Bromeliaceae family indigenous to rainforest ecosystems in tropical Americas and the West Indies. The word lingulata means “tongue-shaped referring to the plant’s leaves [1]. 

    There are two types of Bromeliads: epiphytic and terrestrial. Guzmania Lingulata is an epiphyte bromeliad. Instead of living in soil, epiphytic plants cling to trees or other structures like rocks to stay alive. All the water and minerals that epiphytes need come from the air [2]. 

    While many of the older strains of scarlet star grew rather tall, most contemporary named variations are smaller, maturing at 10 in./25 cm tall and 12 in./30 cm wide. 

    This bromeliad is attractive due to its upright posture and glossy green foliage. Scarlet star produces a vividly colored quilled spike in its third or fourth year that appears just above the foliage in the center of the plant. The flower spikes begin to fade, usually six weeks or more after appearing. At this time, Pups emerge from near the plant’s base [3].

    Even though the red star prefers high humidity, it requires less light than other bromeliads and can thrive under the bright artificial light seen in workplaces.

    different colors of scarlet star flowers

    Guzmania Cultivars / Varieties

    Some of the common varieties of Guzmania are as below [1]: 

    Cultivar Description
    Cardinalis Found in Columbia and Ecuador
    Concolor Found in Central America, West Indies, northern and central South America
    Flammea Found in Columbia and Ecuador
    Lingulata Found in Guyana, Suriname, Jamaica, Venezuelan Antilles
    Minor Smaller size, only grows to 1 ft tall

    Guzmania Lingulata Care

    This lovely flowering evergreen plant can be found in many gardens and houses worldwide. It is highly valued for its colorful flowers, which take some time to bloom. If given the right amount of light, water, and humidity, scarlet star plants are simple to care for and will flourish.

    Guzmania Lingulata blooming


    Although scarlet satr can handle some low light levels, the scarlet star is a sun-loving plant. This plant may thrive in year-round moderate to bright sunlight. However, In the summer, you should shade it from the sun’s direct rays to prevent the leaves from becoming spotty and bleached. Scarlet Star thrives under fluorescent lighting or close to windows that receive early morning or filtered sunlight. 


    Scarlet Star is a tropical plant. As a result, it prefers average to warm weather. An optimal temperature range for this plant is 65 to 80°F.

    red Guzmania Lingulata care


    Guzmania lingulata watering schedule is slightly different from common houseplants as it has cups. Scarlet Star requires a lot of moisture, but not so much that the soil becomes soggy. Overwatering may result in root rot, which can kill the plant. 

    The best way to water the scarlet star plant is to water it until the soil is wet, then wait for the soil to dry out before watering it again. The middle of the plant’s leaves naturally forms “cups” that must be filled with water.

    Keep cups at least 1 inch/2.5 cm full of water, and pour a little water onto the roots to keep them moist. Every two to three weeks, empty the unconsumed water from the cup and replace it with new water. To get rid of accumulated salts throughout the summer, leach pots once.

    Guzmania Lingulata leaves


    The rainforests of the tropics are home to this plant. As a result, scarlet star plants consequently require a particular humidity level to live. If the humidity in the environment is insufficient, you can mist the leaves daily to raise it. High humidity levels are very helpful during flowering, but low humidity might result in the death of the flower spikes.


    Feed your Guzmania lingulata plants once a month, all year round, with fertilizer diluted by half. Feed the reservoir, leaves, and roots.


    The ideal soil to buy for your Guzmania Lingulata is potting soil made specifically for bromeliads or orchids. Alternatively, you can make your own potting mixture by mixing peat moss, perlite, and coco coir in a 1:1:1 ratio. 

    Additionally, remember that this plant has relatively shallow roots, so a deep container is unnecessary. Pebbles at the bottom of your container may aid drainage and stop root rot brought on by too much moisture.  

    scarlet star care


    A Guzmania lingulata plant can live for three to four years.


    There are numerous named varieties. The most well-known variety is “Luna,” which yields a mauve spike. Other variations have blooms that are red, yellow, or pinkish lavender. Often, reddish-leaf-marked varieties are not as vigorous as green-leafed varieties.

    Propagating Scarlet Star

    Offsets or seeds can be used to propagate Guzmania lingulata. The suggested approach utilizes the offsets, or “pups,” like most other bromeliads do. It grows more quickly and has a greater chance of success.

    The plant typically begins to wilt and die after it blooms. However, the offspring offer a quick means of developing a new plant.

    This strategy is quite straightforward. When offsets are at least 3 inches/7.5 cm tall, remove the pups from the parent plant and transplant them to potting soil. To boost humidity and keep the pot warm, cover it with plastic. In approximately a month, new growth should begin to appear. 

    colorful scarlet star close up

    Repotting Scarlet Star

    Put a layer of gravel or stones in the bottom of the pot before planting the scarlet star. This will ensure proper drainage and prevent oil from washing away.

    Since scarlet stars are epiphytes, they like absorbing nutrients from water and air. As a result, the potting mixture needs to be sufficiently porous to allow ventilation to the roots and ensure that the excess water drains away.

    If you don’t know how to prepare the potting soil yourself, use a typical orchid or bromeliad mix.

    Select the appropriate-sized pot when repotting. A drainage hole should be present in the bottom of the pot. When these plants are matured, their small size encourages blossoming. Repot annually in spring when the plant fills a 6 in/15 cm pot.

    Guzmania Lingulata flowers

    Guzmania Lingulata Toxicity

    Toxicity to Humans

    The Scarlet Star Bromeliad is not poisonous to people. But it still shouldn’t be consumed. 

    Toxicity to Cats & Dogs

    Guzmania Lingulata is not poisonous to cats or dogs. However, consuming it could still upset their stomach. You should be cautious to prevent your pet from eating this plant [4]. 

    If you have any experience regarding this topic, please share your experiences and views in the comments section below.

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