Originally from South America, the guzmania amaretto is part of the bromeliad family and named after the Spanish naturalist, Anastatsio Guzman. This popular tropical plant is epiphytic (which means it grows on other plants) and can be found attaching themselves to trees in the jungle. Because of this, they have an unusual way of staying hydrated. Instead of taking water up through their roots, guzmania plants collect rainwater in the crevices of their leaves and the central ‘cup’. You can make them feel right at home by watering them in the same way - even better if you’re using distilled water or collected rainwater.
Although the top of the plant looks like a flower, it’s actually a collection of bright red leaves called a ‘bract’. The flowers themselves are white, and will grow in the colourful bract. Once the bract has grown, the plant will live for about five months before dying back - but don’t worry, it’s very easy to propagate from the new shoots that appear.
In the wild, guzmanias get their nutrients from decomposed leaves and monkey droppings that collect in its cup - yum! In spring and summer, you can give your guzmania a boost every two with diluted fertiliser, so you don’t need to worry about taking it to the local zoo.