Scarlet star

Guzmania lingulata
Scarlet star
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Medium to Bright Indirect

The orientation of your window defines where to put your plant so it gets medium to bright indirect sunlight. If your window faces
North, place your plant between 0 and 1 ft away from it.
East or West, put it 1 to 5 ft away.
South, place it between 1 to 10 ft away, as sunlight from the South is the strongest.

O2 release at night

Unlike most plants, this one releases oxygen at night. Why not put a few of these in the bedroom?

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Guzmania lingulata is an epiphytic plant, meaning it tends to grow on other plants when found in its natural habitat, and takes its nutrients from the air. That’s also why it tends to require little maintenance from indoor plant owners.

Plant story

Guzmania lingulata, nicknamed the Drophead Tufted Airplant or Scarlet Star. The Latin word lingulata means ‘tongue-shaped,’ a characteristic of the plant emphasized by its dark red color. Its foliage grows in a star-shaped rosette with, at its tip, a cluster of flowers that come in shades of maroon, pink, red, orange, and yellow.
The Scarlet Star is a flowering plant native to rainforests in Central America, northern and central South America, southern Mexico and the West Indies.



Place of origin

Rainforest habitats in Central America, northern and central South America, southern Mexico and the West Indies


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Care Card Scarlet star

Guzmania lingulata
Scarlet star
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Check the direction of your window, then put your plant within the range suggested below.

Within any given range, aim to place the plant as close to the window as possible.

0-1 ft
0-5 ft
1-10 ft

Direct sunlight




The plant has a cup, tank, vase or urn (whatever you prefer to call it!) in the center of the plant which catches & stores water. It also gets moisture through the foliage. The roots are primarily a method to anchor these epiphytes onto other plants. You want to keep the cup about 1/4 of the way full of water. Just know that bromeliads don’t tolerate overwatering & will rot out if you keep them constantly wet.

Keep even less water in the tank if you have low light &/or cool temps. You don’t want the plant to rot out. I let the cup go dry for 2-7 days before I refill with a little water.

Completely flush out the water in the cup every 1-2 months to prevent bacteria from building up. Your Vriesea would appreciate a misting or spraying of its foliage once or twice a week. I also water the growing medium about every month or 2, depending on the season & the temps. If your water is hard, then use purified or distilled water – bromeliads are sensitive to the salts.

Keep 1/2 full cup and 2' undersurface

Sitting in water




Aim to provide the air conditions your plant would find in its natural habitat.


Mist daily

Use humidifier




Use liquid fertilizer as indicated below from March to September.


Fertilizing in winter and fall months

Care for your Scarlet star like a pro!



To place your plant in the perfect spot, let’s start with understanding how much light it needs and how much light your place gets. To figure this out, you need to find the direction of your window and measure how far the plant is from it. First, using the compass or map on your phone, see what direction your window faces: North, East, West, or South. Here’s what you need to remember:

  1. South-facing windows make for the brightest spots, then East- and West-facing, and then North-facing.
  2. If the window is in between two directions, use the least sunny direction as a base.
  3. Each window has an optimal proximity range. Here’s where to put your Scarlet star , based on the direction of your window:
    • within 1ft away from North window;
    • within 5ft away from East or West window;
    • between 1-10ft away from South window;

Within this range, the closer your plant is to the window, the more light photons it gets, and the better it thrives.

The Dislikes of Your Alocasia When It Comes To Light

Scarlet star
doesn’t like direct sun rays. They are harsh and can sunburn the plant’s sensitive foliage.


Note: This is a general guideline. Each place is unique, and you know yours best. Is the window view obstructed by the trees and a highrise? Is there a sheer curtain? If so, less light is coming in. Move your plant closer!

Still not sure if your Scarlet star will be thriving in the spot you picked?

Another simple way to define brightness levels is by measuring the intensity of the shadow. That’s particularly helpful if the view is somewhat obstructed and it’s hard to estimate how much light actually sneaks in. Place a sheet of paper on the spot where you’d like to grow a plant. Hold your hand about 1 foot (30cm) above the paper. Now, what do you see?

Scarlet star needs Medium to Bright Indirect.


Scarlet star is a GETS WATER FROM THE CUP.

Check your plant regularly, but only water it when it’s thirsty.

Every plant needs a period of drying for the oxygen to get to its roots. Overwatering damages your plant by preventing that process from happening. So how can you know how much water your
Scarlet star
needs? The ideal watering frequency depends on the plant’s drinking habits and how fast the soil dries out in your unique indoor space, so it would be misleading to recommend a fixed schedule. To best meet your plant’s water needs, monitor it, and watch for the signs it’s thirsty.

Here’s how the how to:

Once a week before giving your plant a drink, check the moisture level in the pot by dipping your finger a couple of inches into the soil.

Gets Water From The Cups
need to be watered when keep 1/2 full cup and 2′ undersurface.

The dislikes of Your Scarlet star When It Comes To Water

  • Your Scarlet star doesn’t like it when its roots are left sitting in water. They would start to rot and that would irreversibly damage your plant.

What to do: Make sure you always discard the drenched water from the pot or saucer after watering.


Scarlet star comes from a Tropical climate. Aim to provide the air conditions it would find in its natural habitat. At all times, maintain a comfortable room temperature of 65-80°F,18-27°C.

Scarlet star
thrives in high humidity (40-50%). It tolerates normal humidity (30-40%), but if the humidity is low (less than 30%), you may notice the foliage getting thin and dry on the edges. You can easily rectify that by misting it daily or using a humidifier.


To provide your Scarlet star with the right nutrients, fertilize it from March to September.
It’s a HEAVY eater plant. As a rule of thumb, it should be fertilized once a month.

Liquid fertilizer with NPK formula 17-8-22 (Nitrogen, Phosphorous, Potassium) works best for it.

Otherwise, you can use all-purpose indoor plant fertilizer.

Never fertilize your plant during the winter or fall months. It goes through winter dormancy and its appetite naturally slows down.

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