Bilbergia nutans - Queens Tear's
If you are starting out with Bromeliads in the UK then Bilbergia nutans or as it is Queens Tear's. They will grow well indoors and can even thrive outdoors in a protected position.
Considering the species is originally from Brazil and Argentinait may surprise that it can grow well in our climate. However it does grow at altitudes in its natural habitat
Bilbergia nutans is an evergreen plant with attractive green foliage year round. However it is the wonderful flowers that appear in spring to summer that are the main attraction.
The flowers themselves appear on long stems and are large for the size of the plant. A natural drooping habit has them hanging down gracefully, pink with green and yellow. The slightly recurved tips of the petals are a feature
Bilbergia nutans Care
As long as you do not try to grow Bilbergia nutans in areas of the UK where they will be subjected to hard frosts you will find them fairly easy.
These are en epiphytic plant an do require a well drained growing medium, Bilbergia nutans can also be grown as mounted specimens on trees, large ferns and any cold hardy palm trees you happen to have.
- Filtered light is essential, its natural habit is a rainforest so the classic 'dappled shade' suits well.
- A free draining potting mix similar to a fine orchid mix suits well
- In summer a little misting with a spray bottle will add some humidity
- Although Bilbergia nutans are reasonably cold and almost 'light frost hardy' we would tend to grow them in containers and over winter indoors
- Fertilize with a liquid seaweed fertilizer every 2 - 3 weeks during spring through summer (although we often do not fertilize ours for a few months and the survive)
- Hold back on water during winter, do not allow to the soil desiccate, but keep fairly dry
Easy by division or removal of offsets, and as Bilbergia nutans quickly form clumps in good conditions you can divide them every 3 - 5 years once they are established.
Use a sharp knife to separate the offsets just after flowering and repot. And you can give the new plants to a friend, after all its other common name in the Friendship plant.
Other Bilbergia varieties and species include :
- Bilbergia pyramidalis
- Bilbergia zebrina
- Bilbergia saundersii
- Bilbergia 'Casa Blanca' - a very attractive hybrid
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