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Earth Stars

Earth stars (Cryptanthus species) are different from most bromeliads. They are terrestrial which means they are grown in rich, organic soil. Cryptanthus means “hidden flower” in Greek because the flowers are produced between the leaves and are not easily seen. The common name, earth star, was given because of the shape of the plant. They come in a variety of different shapes, colors, patterns, and sizes.

Earth Stars (Cryptanthus species) are terrestrial bromeliads.

Earth Stars (Cryptanthus species) are terrestrial bromeliads.
Barbara H. Smith, ©2018 HGIC, Clemson Extension

There are many different species of Cryptanthus that come in a variety of different shapes, colors, patterns, and sizes.

There are many different species of Cryptanthus that come in a variety of different shapes, colors, patterns, and sizes.
Barbara H. Smith, ©2018 HGIC, Clemson Extension

A “pup” offspring may be produced at the base of the parent plant.

A “pup” offspring may be produced at the base of the parent plant.
Barbara H. Smith, ©2018 HGIC, Clemson Extension

An Earth Star “pup” is easily detached from the parent plant.

An Earth Star “pup” is easily detached from the parent plant.
Barbara H. Smith, ©2018 HGIC, Clemson Extension

These easy to care for plants are native to Brazil; therefore, earth stars grow best in a moist and humid climate. Don’t place them near a heat or air vent as they will dry out. Like all bromeliads, earth stars will flower once, then die. The parent plant will produce “pups” which are small clones of the parent that develop in the center or base of the original plant. I got my first earth stars many years ago and continue to grow the offspring of the original plants.

The “pups” are easily detached from the parent plant and planted into potting soil. Just gently press the end of the plant into the soil mix, water, and you will have a new generation of earth stars to enjoy.

For more information on bromeliads, see HGIC 1501, Bromeliads.

If this document didn’t answer your questions, please contact HGIC at hgic@clemson.edu or 1-888-656-9988.

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