The Q&A Archives: Billbergia Zebrina Info

Question: Hello! I've checked your library of questions about "Queen's Tears" to find explanations of "Billbergia Nutans" only-I've found an ad in a mag for "Queen's Tears-Billbergia Zebrina" saying it's a colorful/unusual house plant-long, fluted, silvery-white leaves which are heavily cross-banded and turn a dramatic purplish bronze. From those leaves grow graceful, downward curving spikes holding a mass of gorgeous, long-lasting blue & white flowers. You can watch nature @ work as "tear drops" of nectar form on the stigma. The plant is supposed to withstand dry indoor conditions & grow well in light or shade. However, the ad only shows a colored, hand-drawn picture with color & no actual photo of the plant-is it difficult to grow? Care? Instructions & interesting information? Please let me know.

Answer: In my experience these plants are not particularly demanding, asking only average light, temperature, and watering although as most bromeliads do, these plants prefer an airy yet humid atmosphere to do their best. The coloration in the foliage of the Zebrina plants I have seen was quite attractive, a rosette of somewhat tubular leaves with a gold vertical banding with a silvery cross hatching of sorts. The flowers are interesting although I suspect beauty is somewhat in the eye of the beholder. The rather large plants do make a nice foliar accent, and the form is similar to that of the other billbergias.

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