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Earth Star Cryptanthus bivittatus

Phonetic Spelling
krip-TAN-thus biv-it-TAY-tus
Description

Earth Star is a native to Brazil boasting showy, bright pink leaves that form a star pattern. It is a bromelaid, which is a tropical plant having short stems with rosettes of stiff, spiny leaves.  Typically bromeliads form a cup for watering.  This variety needs to be watered from the root area.  It is also considered an epiphyte, similar to air plants, but in order to grow, it needs soil.  

Having the correct lighting is crucial.  Too much shade will cause the foliage to lose its brilliant color, while too much sun can cause the foliage to heat up, leading to the leaves withering and shriveling.  Morning and evening sun is best, while protecting from the midday sun. Watering should be done when the soil is dry to the touch.  When grown in hotter climates, regular watering is best.  

It is commonly grown as a houseplant and needs excellent drainage. It is a top choice for terrariums and appreciates well draining soil containing largely organic matter.  

Its small white flowers are formed in the middle of the rosettes of the leaves.  They are insignificant, the plant is grown for its showy foliage.  

A low growing plant, the height reaches only 6", while the spread can reach almost triple the height.  The foliage can be striped in ivory tones and many shades of red and pink.  

Propagate this plant by dividing its offsets, commonly called pups.  After flowering, the 'mother' plant will begin to die but will live on by means of its pups.  Pull the pups off the 'mother' plant and place them in their own container.

In tropical locations, it can be left to flower, die off, and produce pups making it a beautiful ground cover.  

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  Only flowers once in its lifetime, the plant will die after flowering.  

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Ruby'
    Deep ruby-red
  • 'Ruby Star'
    Pink tinged foliage
'Ruby', 'Ruby Star'
Tags:
#thorns#evergreen#houseplant#drought tolerant#frost tender#showy leaves#interiorscape#pink leaves#year-round interest#terrarium#spines#spiny leaves#unusual leaves#groundcover#bromeliad#humidity tolerant#non-toxic for dogs#non-toxic for cats#heat intolerant#heavy shade tolerant
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Ruby'
    Deep ruby-red
  • 'Ruby Star'
    Pink tinged foliage
'Ruby', 'Ruby Star'
Tags:
#thorns#evergreen#houseplant#drought tolerant#frost tender#showy leaves#interiorscape#pink leaves#year-round interest#terrarium#spines#spiny leaves#unusual leaves#groundcover#bromeliad#humidity tolerant#non-toxic for dogs#non-toxic for cats#heat intolerant#heavy shade tolerant
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Cryptanthus
    Species:
    bivittatus
    Family:
    Bromeliaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Houseplant or Terrarium
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Brazil
    Play Value:
    Colorful
    Easy to Grow
    Textural
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Houseplant
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Habit/Form:
    Horizontal
    Open
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Coarse
    Appendage:
    Spines
    Thorns
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Dappled Sunlight (Shade through upper canopy all day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    8a, 8b, 9b, 9a, 10a, 10b, 11b, 11a
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Insignificant
    Pink
    White
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Tubular
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    It can take many years before flowers will appear. It will produce flowers only once. After flowering, the plant will slowly begin to die while sending off shoots.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Broadleaf Evergreen
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Pink
    Red/Burgundy
    Variegated
    White
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Leaf Type:
    Fronds
    Sheath
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Rosulate
    Leaf Shape:
    Lanceolate
    Leaf Margin:
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The wavy, flat foliage comes in a variety of colors, each with striping. Plants can each have 10 to 20 leaves.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Houseplants
    Patio
    Landscape Theme:
    Drought Tolerant Garden
    Rock Garden
    Shade Garden
    Design Feature:
    Mass Planting
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Drought