The Q&A Archives: Name Of Plant

Question: We have a tuber that we would like to know the name of. It has paddle shaped leaves that are dark green w/lighter green veins. The leaves are from 5 to 12 in in length. The plant has a stalk that is rubarb red in color. The stalk ranges from approx 7 to 12 in in height. The flowers are clustered on several arms. The flowers are a purple-pink, w/a darker pink from the center. The center of the flower has a protrusion that is the color of the stalk on the end of this protrusion and it is a light green. Each flower has 5 petals. The leaves are fairly thick and they are smooth, like leather. The plant is evergreen. Thank you.

Answer: It sounds to me like one of the Bromeliads. Bromeliads are popular houseplants because of their striking flower heads. The plants develop a rosette of leathery, strap-like foliage, forming a cup in the center of the plant. This cup is where you apply water. Bromeliads take several years to reach flowering stage, and once the flower head dies, the plant dies, too. Before it does, though, it produces little offsets which can be removed from the parent plant and planted on their own. General care of Bromeliads includes: average household temperatures (with 75F degrees or higher when the flower stalk begins to grow), bright light but not direct sunlight, precise watering, and frequent misting of the leaves (use diluted liquid fertilizer instead of plain water in the sprayer). Bromeliads grow in regular potting soil. Water by filling the cup once every 1-2 months. Apply water to the potting mix only when it dries out. There are some Bromeliads that do not form a cup at the center of the plant. The care is the same, except you apply water to the potting soil rather than to the center of the plant.

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